Friday, 26 November 2010

Nutella Cake - chocolate, hazelnut & other friends


Due to travel and the business of getting back into routine since returning from overseas, I haven't had a lot of time to discuss the Cookbook of the Month, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. However, I could not let the month slip by without sharing with you some of the great advice that this book offers for flavour pairings. No such book would be complete without a decent number of pages dedicated to chocolate and suitable pairings and examples of such delicious duos...

The usual and delightful suspects are there - chocolate & almond, chocolate & raspberry, chocolate & peanut, but there are some suggestions that rouse my curiosity and creativity...

Of course, the pairing of chocolate and its good friend the hazelnut comes as no surprise. The combination is probably known in the best form of the world renowned spread Nutella. It may not be especially daring, but by golly it works... Here is a recipe for a cake that combines chocolate and hazelnut (as well as a little hazelnut liqueur) to make an easy and decadent treat that won't last long! And yes, it's no misprint - it calls for an entire jar of Nutella ;)

Nutella Cake
Adapted Nigella Lawson recipe (serves 8 very generous Nigella portions, or 10 regular portions)

Ingredients
6 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
125g soft unsalted butter
400g Nutella
1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum or water
100g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate, melted

100g hazelnuts (peeled weight)
125ml double cream
1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum or water
100g dark chocolate
25g milk chocolate

Method

1. Grease and line a 23cm springform round tin. Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC/gas mark 4.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you're using), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.
3. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.
4. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.
5. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. Transfer to a plate and let cool. This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it'll turn oily.
6. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece.
7.Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts. If you have used Frangelico, put shot glasses on the table and serve it with the cake (this is optional, of course).



If you like chocolate and hazelnut as a pairing, why not consider some of these ingredients as unusual companions to chocolate as suggested by Niki Segnit, author of The Flavour Thesaurus:
- Lemon
- Chilli
- Cardamom
- Ginger
- Pear
- Anise
- Tomato

I endeavour to one day give some of these pairings a try in my kitchen - if only there were more time for cooking in life!

But tell me readers, have you ever tried any unusual flavour combinations with chocolate? And were they successful?


Ladybird x

14 comments:

  1. This has been on my list to bake for forever! I have some nutella that needs using up too! Since I'm buying up at Costco on Sunday!

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  2. I just love this recipe!! I can just imagine the hazelnut-ty goodness.

    Chilli and chocolate is definitely my absolute favourite - better if there's some sea salt flakes added in!!

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  3. The cake looks fantastic, but I can only imagine chocolate and tomato if used very sparingly... I must buy this book!

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  4. Wow, maybe I am not that adventurous, I haven't paired chocolate with very many of those ingredients. I made a toblerone mouse once which was chocolate and hazelnut with an amazing amount of alcohol but that is about it.

    Your cake looks absoultely delicious. Nigella has a way of making something decedant to the extreme, and you have certainly done her proud!

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  5. An entire jar of Nutella. Awesome. I think you should serve this next to the empty jar ;)

    Also, love Frangelico and have a bottle on my fridge so I think I must at least make the icing!

    Also have to vote longingly for the chilli & chocolate combo, it's a winner.

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  7. Wow! That is one gorgeous Nutella cake. Found you thru another blogger, and I'm glad I did. Also love the photo of the cake, as well.
    Your amazingly beautiful photos of your holiday getaway just "blew me away"...all I can say is...amazing!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I have a deep abiding affection for nutella so I am going to have to make this one & the fact its combined with my other love frangellico..... well then, its a must. Now I know the only thing that could make nutella better is boozy nutella. Excellent idea.... thanks for sharing ;)

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  9. Hi I have just nominated you for a game of blogger tag, have a look and if you are so inclined, please play along :)

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  10. At the moment I'm loving the combo of dark chocolate and sea salt, ala Lindt blocks. i can't get enough of it! :)

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  11. ohgawd ive been dying to make this cake but i never have a full nutella jar in my house!

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  12. Hi Shellie - Do it!!! :D

    Hi JCG - And I'm pleased to say it tastes equally amazing (but naughty too!)

    Hi Tammy - I am yet to give chilli and chocolate a go.. must do that some time soon.

    Hi InTolerant Chef - I know, the tomato/chocolate combo raised an eyebrow with me too.. but it stirs the curiosity, doesn't it!

    Hi Gourmet Getaway - I do adore toblerone... and a mousse using it as a key ingredient sounds extremely decadent, wow :)

    Hi Conor - Oh yes, good idea!

    HI Elisabeth - thank you for your kind words, and thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Anna - I hope you get to give it a try - it rocks!

    Hi Jen - yes I've heard great things about that chocolate - must get around to trying it one of these days...

    Hi Suze - do it, do it, do it - you know you want to!

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  13. I would eat it even if it was made with two jars of Nutella, it looks that good and moist.

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