09 January 2012

Hazelnut Crunch

*I pre apologize that the formatting is all wonky. I don't know what's happening here and can't get it fixed.

If you like Ferrero Rocher chocolates you will love this cake. Like many recipes I found this on Epicurious and modified it a bit to suit my pocketbook. I will say that this is one of the fussiest recipes I've ever dealt with, but that aside I think it's also my new favorite chocolate cake recipe.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar

First you have to sift the flour and cocoa powder three times.  THREE TIMES

Also you have to clarify the butter. Melt the butter but try not to let it simmer. Once completely melted, skim off and discard the floaty stuff on top. Then spoon out the remaining liquid, leaving anything on the bottom of the pan alone.

Add the vanilla to the clarified butter and set aside.

Next you have to rig up a double boiler and whisk the eggs and sugar until they get warm. It definitely helps to pre heat the water otherwise it takes forever for the mixture to warm up.

When that's done, put your bowl of clarified butter/vanilla into the warm water in order to keep it liquidy.

Then using a standing mixer if you have one (you'll get really tired if you don't) whisk the warm egg mixture until it triples in size; roughly 5-6 minutes. When it's done it should be all white and frothy and trick you into thinking its meringue.

Then, somewhat incredibly, you have to sift, again, the blasted flour/cocoa mixture over the fluffed eggs. Do it in three batches and fold it all together, do not use the mixer. Finally fold in the butter.

Pour into a 9 inch, parchment paper lined cake pan and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

Hazelnut crunch
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/3+ cup chopped hazelnuts

This is where one of my modifications came in. The original recipe wants you to use some European hazelnut flavored chocolate that's so fancy you can only order it online. No. Why bother when there's Nutella? You can use Nutella on its own or what I did was melt some regular chocolate in a double boiler (I would recommend Baker's or Chiradelli) and then add Nutella. I didn't measure, I just spooned it in until it looked like I might have enough and then tossed in a little bit more.

Mix the hazelnuts with Rice Krispies (I used Cocoa Krispies because I knew I'd eat the rest of the box!) with chocolate/Nutella mixture.
Then spread it on the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9 inch spring form pan.

Before that hardens you'll want to press the cake on it to make sure that they stick together. So a bit of a late warning but hold off making this until the cake is cool enough to come out of the pan.

The mousse is one of the easiest things to make and one of the yummiest things to just eat. All you need to do is make whipped cream, use at least 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream and beat until it's all whipped creamy, then fold in Nutella. I'd say use 2/3 to 3/4 of the smaller jar of Nutella. Spread that on top, dust it with cocoa powder, and viola!

I made this cake three times in two weeks. The second time was my contribution to dinner at one of my favorite cousin's house. I brought home a left over piece to my mom who loved it so much that I made it again a few days later for her birthday.

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