chocolate hazelnut cake

My Dad's favourite cake is Aran Goyoaga's lemon pound cake and I make one for him every time I visit. He also quite likes chocolate cake so I thought I'd make him a chocolate pound cake for a change. Whilst doing a little sleuthing, I unearthed a chocolate cake recipe from Aran that was published in her first book, 
Small Plates and Sweet Treats.

The cake is made with hazelnut meal and buckwheat flour so it's naturally gluten free. It's meant to be served unadorned but I couldn't help myself and topped it with a glossy chocolate ganache.

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here, which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Chocolate and hazelnut cake by Aran Goyoaga - makes a 17cm cake
30g hazelnuts
125g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped 
90ml/85g oil or unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 tsp espresso powder
3 eggs, separated
50g brown sugar
60 mls (1/4 cup) plain full fat yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g hazelnut meal
25g buckwheat flour
pinch salt
40g caster sugar

Chocolate ganache
50 mls cream
¼ tsp espresso powder
pinch salt
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Grease and line the base of an 17cm cake tin with baking paper then dust with cocoa powder. Set to one side.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant. Using a dry kitchen towel, rub the hazelnuts together to remove their skins. Cool then set to one side.

In a medium bowl, combine chocolate and oil or chopped butter with the espresso powder. Place the bowl over a pot filled part way with simmering water and melt the contents over the water bath. Let it cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and the brown sugar. Add the yoghurt, vanilla, the chocolate mixture, hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they form semi stiff peaks. Sprinkle with the caster sugar while continuously whipping. Whip to stiff peaks. Fold one third of the egg whites into the yolk chocolate base to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the centre is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake it as the chocolate will burn. Allow to cool slightly before inverting onto a cooling rack. Serve as is or if you like, you can ice the cake with a chocolate ganache and decorate the top with the toasted nuts.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until close to boiling point. Add the espresso powder and salt and stir to dissolve. Add the chopped chocolate and leave for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Gently stir the mixture until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened. Leave to cool until a spreading consistency then top the cake with the ganache. Sprinkle the top with whole or coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts.

I made the cake for a work morning tea and it was well received. The cake is nothing like a pound cake though. It's quite dense, more like a brownie than a cake, which isn't necessarily a bad thing and the chocolate ganache topping is fire! Meanwhile I've been working on the chocolate pound cake recipe. The first cake I made was pretty good but I'd to make a few tweaks before sharing the recipe with you.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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