If you are looking for a very indulgent chocolate cake that’s literally chocolate on chocolate on chocolate then this is the cake for you! It even has chunks of scrumptious hazelnut praline perched on top for that ultra gourmet touch. I have to admit that the end product really looked quite gourmet, almost professional in a home-baked kind of way.
I developed and made this cake for Geoff’s birthday the other night. I recommend using your usual chocolate cake recipe as we all have our favourites and if you are anything like me, you are quite particular. However, this recipe works well and is a very easy, quick mix recipe. You just throw everything into the mixing bowl and press the button. How easy is that?!!
I even surprised myself with the hazelnut praline “accessories”. I had never made praline before but had seen a recipe incorporating almond praline in a magazine at the hairdressers. They had crushed their praline up in a food processor but, as usual, I developed my own interpretation or “style”.
I love a good chocolate cake with hazlenuts so I decided to try a hazelnut praline and consulted Google for a recipe.
I was going to let the praline set as a slab. However, while I was pouring it out, I noticed strings of toffee and thought they would make a great decorative touch. I ended up pushing the hazlenuts apart with two forks (to prevent burning my fingers), which created some interesting, twisted shapes trailing with toffee threads. These looked quite spectacular for something so simple and tasted quite heavenly!! After all, who doesn’t like toffee?
Unfortunately, we’d gone out for Indian for Geoff’s birthday dinner and could barely squeeze in much of the cake…especially being so rich! So I’ve taken the toffee bits off and put the rest of the cake into the freezer for when Geoff’s sister visits on the weekend. I am thinking I might somehow turn it into a chocolate cake tiramisu. I could even recycle the praline. That does sound a bit ambitious but I have shocked myself quite a bit lately pulling things off.
Who knows? Perhaps, I might even make it onto Masterchef one day! You know how modest I am!
2 teas vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup water
Grease and line a deep 23cm round cake pan.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low speed until all ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium for about 3 minutes or until mixture in smooth and changed in colour. Pour into prepared pan.
200g dark cooking chocolate
1 cup of cream
Place the chopped chocolate and the cream together in a small saucepan and melt gently over low heat. Stir until the mixture is melted, glossy and smooth. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until cool. Once cool, use a whisk to bring the mixture together and ice as usual.
Nutella Hazlenut Spread
½ cup sugar
1 cup of lightly roasted hazelnuts with skins removed.
Lightly roast hazelnuts making sure you don’t over cook them. I emphasise that they should be lightly roasted.
Rub roasted hazelnuts in a dry tea towel to remove skins.
Lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork, until melted and cook, without stirring, swirling pan, just until a golden caramel. Add hazelnuts, stirring until coated well. Immediately pour mixture onto baking sheet.
You can arrange this as a slab and then cut the praline with a large sharp knife or you can do it my way and separate the hazelnuts with a fork and create smaller pieces with stretched threads of toffee, which looked quite stunning. Try not to touch the praline as this removes its glossy appearance.
Cut the cake in half and coat the bottom half with about 1 cm of Nutella using a warm knife. Cover in whipped cream and add the top half of the cake.
Ice the top of the cake with chocolate ganache. Again use a warm knife.
Decorate the top with hazelnut praline.
November 22, 2012