Tag Archives: hazlenuts

Nigella’s Nutella Cake Revisited.

Nigella Lawson is a legend in the kitchen…the original “Domestic Goddess”.

Sadly, we mere mortals can only dream of finding a magic wand to convert our TV dinners, burnt offerings and tinned spaghetti on toast, into something out of the pages of her cookbooks.

Actually, I’m not a bad cook. Indeed, I am renowned for my pavlova, pancakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies and roast dinners. I’ve even successfully tackled Jamie Oliver’s Lasagna.  Moreover, I’ve also been teaching my kids to cook and I must admit, they’ve also been teaching me. I’m not that arrogant to believe that this teaching the kids stuff is a one-way street. I learn a lot too.

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Nigella’a Nutella Cake with Rowena’s Raspberry Cream.

 

However, my trouble is with consistency, which more and more, I’m also attributing to NOT being in the Masterchef kitchen. I know you’re probably thinking that only a bad cook blames their appliances but you just tell me the last time you saw frozen eggs appear in the Masterchef kitchen? That’s right…NEVER!!!

Indeed, I had NEVER EVER seen frozen eggs before either. By the way, when I say frozen eggs, I’m not talking about the ingredients of an IVF stew. Rather, I’m taking about raw hen’s eggs. I store our eggs in the fridge and somehow the temperature control had been moved and we had frozen eggs. Not all of them, just a few. When I cracked them open, they’d turned into sloppy ice cubes and couldn’t be used..especially for Nigella’s cake, which  was built on fluffy egg white. After all, I could hardly separate the yolk from the white when they were fused together in an amorphous blog of ice. Moreover, freezing destroyed the cell membranes. So, even once the eggs finally defrosted, they were completely useless and looked in need of Viagra. I’ll say no more.

So, when I blame my cooking disasters on my appliances, I’m not just making excuses. It’s true!

Nigella Nutella Cake

“The Avalanche”…My first Attempt at Nigella”s Nutella Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache.

Indeed, I think there’s some kind of appliance mutiny or rebellion going on in my kitchen and it’s spreading beyond the fridge. In what might seem an unlikely union of forces, the fridge is in cahoots with the oven.

You see, our oven has a faulty fan. That same fan makes your oven “fan-forced”, which makes quite a difference to the temperature of your oven and cooking times. Moreover, when the fan isn’t working, it also means that your food doesn’t cook evenly and horror of horrors, you might need to open the oven door and turn things around. If you know anything at all about baking cakes, especially sponges, you’ll know that opening the oven door is the kiss of death, which deflates your lofty sponge faster than a speeding bullet.

Just to complicate things further, our oven fan sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t and turns itself on and off during a bake.

Clearly, that oven is not my friend.

So, with a faulty oven and frozen eggs, for a second time I set out to replicate Nigella’s Nutella Cake. I don’t know whether you’d say I was brave or crazy because even before I’d melted the chocolate or whipped up the egg whites, there was trouble. While all those motivation types would tell me: “Never give up” BUT haven’t they heard of what’s meant to be? Or, more pertinently, that something “wasn’t meant to be”.

Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s being a a quitter or a loser when you decide to stop banging your head against a brick wall and try something else. Use a lateral approach. Everybody’s different. We’re not all meant to fit into the one, same pair of shoes.

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Our son smothered his slice with Nutella. Found the cake too bitter. That was without the icing. Neither of our kids like dark chocolate.

The other problem I had with Nigella’s Nutella Cake is that my kids didn’t like it. My son slathered his slice in Nutella to mask the “bitter” taste and my daughter didn’t eat it. Even though the cake does have Nutella in it, which my kids absolutely adore, it also has dark chocolate which they can’t stand. Based on their comments, I’d say it’s more of an adult cake and even then, you only need small portions. It’s quite rich. I also felt it I needed raspberries and cream in addition to the generous covering of whole roasted hazlenuts found in Nigella’s original. She also recommends eating it with a glass of Frangelico and perhaps I should have tried that, but it was a busy night.

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I hope half of this is still in the fridge. I’m feeling sick just looking at all that Nutella….even though I really love it!

So, at this stage, I don’t know whether I will make Nigella’s Nutella Cake again…even with my modifications. Most of my cooking is for our family and I can’t see the point of going to so much trouble to make a cake my kids don’t like when there are other cakes and desserts we all enjoy such as Apple Crumble with fresh custard.

Although the recipe says it’s easy, you’re separating eggs, whisking egg whites by hand, melting chocolate, using two separate bowls…that’s a lot of fiddling around and cleaning up for one cake, which I still haven’t been able to perfect on my second attempt. This time, the cake was good but the icing was still runny.

Still, my husband and I enjoyed it.

On a more positive note, I’ve just returned for a second piece 24 hours later and really loved the cake…with or without the cream and will be making it again. The cake much much more moist. The icing had set and it was a great flourless hazlenut chocolate cake. Something I really would be proud to serve for guests. With Masterchef gracing the airwaves, that’s quite an endorsement.

Perhaps, I am a Domestic Goddess after all and my spirit is soaring… on chocolate wings!

My baking no longer human. It’s divine.

xx Rowena

PS I will be posting the recipe in my next post.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Hazlenut Indulgence Cake- My Own Creation.

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!

Chocolate Cake

185g butter

2 teas vanilla essence

1 3/4 cups castor sugar

3 eggs

2 cups self-raising flour

2/3 cup cocoa

1 cup water

Method

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.

Chocolate Ganache

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.

Filling

Whipped cream

Nutella Hazlenut Spread

Hazelnut Praline

½ cup sugar

1 cup of lightly roasted hazelnuts with skins removed.

Method

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.

Assembly

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.

Bon Appetit!

November 22, 2012