Living a relatively solitary life having started a new job working at home for the past year I don’t tend to make cakes all that often too more. Eating a whole cake between two people is just a bit too much. So when I heard a colleague of my husband’s brought a cake they’d made into work, I saw my opportunity and decided to make one myself. Unfortunately for my waistline (not so much for my taste buds) the majority of the cake came home as my husband’s colleagues are health freaks that don’t eat carbs. At my old company in London, everyone would bring treats in and we even had a baking competition (which I won twice). I can only hope that my colleagues at the new job I’m starting are more in this vein.
For my first cake in a while, I decided to choose a recipe from Nigel Slater’s ‘Notes from the Larder’. He is the king of cakes in my opinion. I’d made another hazelnut cake from one of his books in the past but I think that one didn’t have icing. The icing in this one uses hazelnut spread. You can use Nutella but I used Baci because I’ve seen a picture of the make-up of Nutella and I don’t think I can eat it anymore. At least with Baci I can claim ignorance even if it is made by Nestle and the less said about that company – the better! I’d try to avoid putting the cake in the fridge so put on the icing at the last minute.
- 250g hazelnuts
- 90g + 6 tbsp sugar
- 200g dark chocolate
- 250g butter
- 2 eggs
- 120g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 150g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp double cream or sour cream
- 200g chocolate hazelnut spread
1.) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
2.) Line a 7 inch square tin (or round tin with 10 inch diameter)
3.) Oil a baking tray
4.) Put a frying pan on low-medium heat and add the hazelnuts to toast
5.) Once toasted, add the 6 tbsp sugar and let it melt to a golden caramel. It’s ok to move the sugar a little but don’t stir too much.
6.) Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and allow it to cool until cool enough to be able to put into a food processor.
7.) Blitz the praline in the food processor to coarse crumbs
8.) Now, make the cake. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie.
9.) Measure out 100g of the butter and add in chunks to the chocolate and melt with the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the 90g sugar and the praline crumbs.
10.) Beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the mix.
11.) Measure out the flour and the cocoa powder and fold into the cake mixture. It will be quite thick.
12.) Bake for 35 – 40 minutes (mine was done after 35)
13.) In the meantime, make the buttercream, beat the hazelnut spread, softened 150g butter (microwaving it helps) and the icing sugar until it’s not lumpy. Loosen with the cream/sour cream.
14.) When the cake is cooled and removed from the tin, spread the buttercream liberally over the top.