Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hazelnut Cake

Alright folks, it's dessert time again....I got to thinking about this cake especially because a friend and fellow blogger who also knows his way around the kitchen recently did a post about how he baked himself this particular cake to celebrate four years on his current job.   In today's climate..four years at any job is a reason to celebrate...


Triple Hazelnut Cake:

Shortening, for greasing pans

2 tablespoons cake flour, plus 3 1/3 cups, divided

4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1/3 cup hazelnut-flavored liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)

1 teaspoon hazelnut extract

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 cup peeled, toasted and finely chopped or ground hazelnuts

3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Hazelnut Filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup peeled, toasted and finely chopped hazelnuts

1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)

1 teaspoon hazelnut extract

2 tablespoons finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate disks
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or chocolate disks

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from 7 to 8 large eggs)

4 sticks (32 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon hazelnut extract


2 cups peeled, toasted and finely chopped hazelnuts

8 whole peeled, toasted hazelnuts

8 milk chocolate curls


To make the cake, grease 2 (9 by 2-inch) round cake pans with shortening and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Grease parchment and dust each pan with 1 tablespoon flour, shaking out excess. Set pans aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, liqueur, and hazelnut extract until blended and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer, gently combine on low speed 3 1/3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and hazelnuts until blended. Add the butter and sour cream and beat on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened.

Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 1/2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.

In 3 separate additions, add the egg mixture to the batter, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

Divide batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake on the center rack for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes.

Remove from pans, discard parchment and cool cakes completely on wire racks, 1 to 2 hours.

To make the hazelnut filling, in a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat

Sprinkle with flour and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the sugar and cream and cook, whisking constantly, for 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in the hazelnuts, salt, liqueur, hazelnut extract, and chocolate and cook just until chocolate melts. Set aside in a bowl and cool completely.

To make the chocolate buttercream frosting, melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over medium heat until smooth. Set aside, off the heat, and cool completely. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and egg whites until blended. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture reaches 140 degrees Farenheit.

Remove mixture to a large bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment and beat on low speed for 1 minute to cool slightly. Increase speed to high and beat for 4 minutes or until mixture is cool to the touch and doubled in volume. Reduce speed to low and add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the butter has been added. Continue to beat until mixture looks smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate and the hazelnut extract and beat until fluffy.

To assemble the cake, split each cake layer horizontally in half to make 4 separate layers. Spread equal amounts of the hazelnut filling between each layer and frost top and sides of cake with the buttercream. To garnish, press chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe rosettes around the top rim using remaining frosting. Place whole hazelnuts and chocolate curls on the top of the cake.

TIP: To make this cake an easier undertaking, take the time to search out hazelnuts that have already been peeled. If peeled nuts are unavailable, working in batches, boil nuts in 2 cups water along with 2 tablespoons baking soda for 1 to 2 minutes.

Run nuts under water and slip off skins. Dry the nuts well and toast on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and finely chop and proceed with recipe. If you purchase the nuts already peeled, toast in a 350 degree F oven for only 15 minutes.

GOOD FOODIE NOTE: I overlapped cooking times (the filling can be made while the cake cooks, for example, and the frosting can be fully prepared while the cake cools).

Like all good desserts...This goes best with a tall glass of milk!



Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website

Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household