Apr

23

2009

Let Them Eat Cake

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Seven Minute Frosting

Cakes, Pies & Tarts • Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake--The Duo Dishes

We are not as haughty as Marie Antoinette.  At least we do not think so.  We do like cake though.  That is the only connection between the Duo and the bourgeois dauphine de France, and it is a very loose one.  We’ve made a good number of cakes and sweets in our tiny corner of Los Scandalous, and this one was yet another attempt to flex the flavorful bicep of a collection of goodies in the pantry.  A while back, we bought a big ‘ol Snuggie wearing, friar shaped bottle of Frangelico for a couple of desserts, and it’s been sitting in the cabinet awaiting its next application.  When Frangelico shows up to the party, it never disappoints, and here it is again working its magic.  If little Marie told us to go eat some cake, we’d ask her to serve a slice of this one.

This cake has a slight coffee kick to it that works with the chocolate and hazelnuts.  Amir thought the coffee flavor was too pronounced, but Chrystal thought it was just right, so use that as your judgment scale if you choose to go the java route.  Love love loooooved the frosting.  It tastes like billowy marshmallows.  Note:  You’re supposed to use cream of tartar or corn syrup in the frosting, not both.  Woops.  If anyone else has made this frosting before, perhaps you can give us your feedback on which is better and why.  We also used golden syrup instead of light corn syrup in our frosting.  Just because.  Oh, and this is a cake to start making the day before if you have time, so don’t get caught under the whistle of time constraints!

We are by no means cake masters, but here are a couple of things we’ve learned about cakes from research and trial and error.  Now some of these things we did in this round, some we omitted.  A few of the ones we omitted were things that we should’ve done, but hey, this is not a Food Network Challenge.  We have room to make mistakes.  Hopefully we will use more tools and tricks of the trade as we move further into the crazy domain of cake baking. Here are a few of them in a very abbreviated format.  You can Google around and find many more specifics all over the wonderful world of net.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake slice-Duo Dishes

How to bake and frost a very awesome cake:

Don’t overfill–Pour cake batter no higher than 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the pan.  A fluffy cake is great, but cleaning up burnt cake matter in an oven is not cool.  We settled on the 2/3 level, and the height of the cake was just fine.  Use extra batter to make cupcakes. We did!

Even that baby out–Obviously you want to pour equal amounts of batter into all of your pans, but more than that, it’s important to let the batter settle before it goes in the oven.  You can buy special tools or slightly bang the cake on the counter to get the bubbles out.  We used the silicone baking pans, which is really impossible to bang on anything unless you want the thing to flip all over the place, so just do the best you can.  We didn’t do our best due to the circumstances, and one of the cakes was an asymmetrical hot mess.  Oh well.

Cold as ice–Slight exaggeration, but the colder the better when it comes to leveling the cake.  If you can, freeze the freshly baked (and completely cooled cake) before leveling or frosting.  We didn’t have time for all of that, so we popped it in the fridge overnight covered with wax paper.  The next day, it was much easier to scrape off the aforementioned asymmetrical hot mess pieces that had to go.  And cold cake scraps were on the menu for breakfast.  Yum.

A level plane–We’ve already mentioned it, but leveling the cake off prior to frosting is really important.  Having a dome on your cake is not the end of the world, but we’d all like to make at least one flat, bakery-style cake in our lifetimes, right?  Cut off the extra hump with a large serrated knife or a a cake leveler.  We had no cake leveler, so we went to town with a large bread knife and brushed the crumbs away with a pastry brush.

Keep it clean–Line your serving platter with strips of wax paper or parchment paper in a rectangle or square formation (there should be a small space in the center).  The strips should be wide enough to hang off all four sides of the platter.  That way you can slop frosting, icing, sprinkles and any other doodads all over the place while you’re decorating and keep your platter immaculate.  Just pull the strips out right before the grand presentation.

Catch the crumbs–We mentioned crumbs briefly in the leveling blurb.  Make sure you dust off surplus crumbs on the top levels of the cakes so you don’t have extra ‘debris’ should you have to layer in fillings, but that’s not as important as the crumbs that will pop up on the side of the cake.  Start the cake off with a crumb coat, so to speak, of frosting.  Swipe on a thin layer of your frosting all over the cake–top and sides–to catch all of the sneaky bits that would’ve otherwise been chillin’ in your frosting.  Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes to set.  This is good to know for dark cakes with light frostings, which is why you don’t see any crumbs chillin’ in our frosting.

Resist the urge to overstuff–Don’t put too much filling on the inside of your layers!  It could be disastrous, causing spillage on the sides, layers to slide around, an uneven appearance in the cake, etc.  Spread fillings no more than 1/2 inch from the edge of each layer and try to fill in a reasonable amount.  Despite all of this, we used a bit too much filling and it went a-sliding out the sides.  We were able to scrape some of the extra off before applying the crumb coat, but if we had heeded our own lesson, that could’ve been time saved.

Wipe it down–Starting from the top to bottom, apply frosting on a completely cooled (or chilled) cake from the top down the sides using an offset spatula.  They come in a couple of sizes, so you can easily frost any cake–large or small. Plus, the offset formation keeps your hand from accidentally bumping into the cake.  We picked up one, but it was flat.  Bummer.  We had no hand-to-cake mishaps, but it could happen if you make a wee slip.  Just lick it off if you do.

Now go forth and make awesome cakes!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Seven Minute Frosting – Serves 12 to 14

Cake (two 9-inch cakes)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons coffee

Filling
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Frosting
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1  1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
7 1/2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Starting with cake, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.

2. Pour into chocolate and mix well.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk.

4. Stir coffee into boiling water until combined, then pour into cake batter and stir until smooth.

5. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with floured baking spray. Dust with cocoa. Evenly spread cake batter between both pans.  Bang lightly on the counter to settle batter.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Let cakes cool on a rack for at least an hour.

7. As cakes cool, move on to hazelnut pastry cream. Pour whipping cream in a sauce pan and scald (heat just before boiling).

8. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. Add flour and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.

9. Use a ladle to scoop about a cup of the hot cream into the eggy sugar. Whisk immediately and quickly to combine.

10. Pour remaining cream in with eggs and keep stirring. Return warm mixture to sauce pan.

11. Continue to cook, whisking all the while, until thick.

12. Pour into a heat safe bowl and whisk in vanilla and Frangelico until smooth and creamy. Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the cream so a film will not form. Let the cream sit until it’s reached room temperature. Cool completely in fridge.*  Stir hazelnuts into cream once cold.

14. Level off both cooled cakes and slice each one in half, so there are four layers.

15. Lay down one cake layer and smooth about a third of the hazelnut cream on top, spreading to about 1/2 inch from edge. Repeat with next two layers and top with last layer.  Place cake in fridge to set while you make the frosting.

16.  For the frosting, whisk all of the ingredients in a medium sized heat resistant bowl. Place bowl on top of a slightly larger pot with 1-2 inches of hot, simmering water.  (Do not let water level reach the bottom part of the bowl.)

17.  With an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture for six minutes.  Remove from heat and continue beating for another minute while adding the vanilla.

18.  Allow frosting to cool slightly (we put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes) before frosting cake.  Top with extra hazelnuts.

*You can make the pastry cream 1-2 days ahead of time, which is exactly what we did.  Do not stir in the hazelnuts until right before you plan to use it.

Click HERE for printable recipe.

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Comments

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  1. That’s like a volcano of frosting there! I need to be swept away with a piece of that. ;)

    Reply

  2. Oh man. That looks unbelievably good. I want some right now! I’ve never tried that frosting before, but it sounds fantastic.

    Reply

  3. Wow, that is a major cake! It looks scrumptious, Duo. I especially enjoyed your opening paragraph and those cake tips. Love your posts!

    Reply

  4. Triple layer cake with all that frosting!!! I’m coming over for a slice!!!

    Those are very good tips to know for anyone making a cake.

    jenn

    Reply

  5. That looks amazing, I am practically licking my screen!

    Reply

  6. Thanks for all the awesome cake tips!! This cake looks completely unbelievable, and I love how you included Frangelico!

    Reply

  7. that is one gorgeous frosting. so the egg whites are actually somewhat cooked then?

    Reply

  8. Oh yummy! Even though I have been avoiding them for the past two months, I couldn’t say no to this delicious cake. The flavors sound just amazing :D

    Reply

  9. Thanks for all of those excellent tips, but let’s get right to the point – that cake looks and sounds amazing! Wow! So good!

    Reply

  10. I love the baking tips that came with this post :)

    And I love that someone thought the coffee taste was too strong, because that means I would LOVE it :)

    Reply

  11. She would have saved her head if this was the “cake” she was serving! Cake scraps from leveling can be frozen and used as an addition to bread puddings when the time comes…

    Reply

  12. Chocolate hazelnut!! yummmm :)
    Marie Antoinette may have been extravagant and haughty, but the movie sure captured some beautiful details in her wardrobe choices and decor.. The colors in the movie with Kirsten Dunst were so amazing!!

    Reply

  13. Hi, you left out the butter in the ingredients list for the cake? Amount?

    Reply

    • Sheryll: Wup wup! Looks like you were right. 1/2 cup unsalted butter. Added!

      Reply

  14. First – hubba, hubba, hubba. That is some serious food porn there!

    Second – LOVE the addition of Frangelico.

    Third – I’m definitely going to be sending this recipe (and those helpful instructions) to my mom for the next time she attempts to do a layer cake. No more Earthquake Cake for us! ;)

    Reply

  15. That frosting looks amazing, so pretty!

    The frosting is my favorite part of the cake.

    Reply

  16. WOW, looks so yummie…such a temptation!

    Reply

  17. Glorious! I love layer cakes!

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  18. what a gorgeous dessert! and the layers looks so prime nad proper :)

    Reply

  19. The coffee and hazelnut combination sounds fantastic, and I love this kind of boiled frosting!

    Reply

  20. I am more into frosting than cake, so I LOVE the look of this one with all the frosting coming down the sides!

    Reply

  21. Oh, let me eat it too, because it looks so irresistible!
    Cheers,
    elra

    Reply

  22. That is just one tower of Gorgeousness.

    Reply

  23. Where to start, where to start. I guess with the fact that I LOVE frangelico :) This cake look amazing. From the cake to the frosting, I literally want to pull a two-year-old-at-a-birthday-party move and stick my face in the cake. Great job!!!

    Reply

  24. Gorgeous cake – I love your presentation picture. The frosting sounds excellent!

    Reply

  25. Mmmm that cake looks scrumptious. I love Frangelico. I use to drizzle some over my vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

    Reply

  26. Hehe. I always tend to overfill… just because I have spare batter and nowhere else for it to go. :P
    Thanks for the tips~

    Reply

  27. Three layers of heaven! This looks divine!

    Reply

  28. That looks so luscious and I have to agree with your tips on making layer cakes. They’re fiddly but oh so worth it!

    Reply

  29. There is something so happy about the word cake! This was yet again another FUN post of yours to read. :) Marie Antoniette would most definitely want a slice.

    Reply

  30. What a gorgeous cake! Irresisitble and so scrumptious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply

  31. How decadent and pretty! You guys really take the cake!

    Reply

  32. Nice cake! Love your tips- all good ones. I’ve never tried that infamous 7-minute frosting recipe, but it looks to be smooth and easy!

    Reply

  33. Hey, good tips! Looks like you’ve got it all figured out.

    That icing… mmm, looks awesome.

    Reply

  34. Oh how I would love a slice (or two) of that beautiful cake right now. Nicely done.

    Reply

  35. great frosting tutorial! cake looks yummy!

    Reply

  36. That looked great! I’m more of a cook than a baker, so I appreciate someone who can bake!

    Reply

  37. Amazing-looking cake, and great cake-making tips, too. I’m afraid that if I had one slice of that, I’d keep nibbling on the rest of the cake until nothing but crumbs were left…and all in one sitting.

    Reply

  38. This looks absolutely delectable and the tips are priceless. I love the tip for freezing the cake to cut better, terrific!

    Reply

  39. Have I just found my birthday cake? I do believe so . . .! Thanks for the great tips – anything for a spectacular cake like this.

    Reply

  40. I adore coffee in such cakes and this one looks perfect with three layers. Thanks for the tips, really helpful.

    Reply

  41. This is a great looking cake!

    Reply

  42. That cake looks really good!

    Reply

  43. Waw, that filled cake looks divine!!!!!
    Perfection!!

    Reply

  44. This cake looks so perfect. I love the fact that you took a picture of a slice of the cake and shared with us how the filling looks like. I’m staring at my screen!! It looks awesome.

    Reply

  45. Wow! A masterpiece!
    I really like your photos too.
    LL

    Reply

  46. Let me eat cake. Please!

    Reply

  47. Your cake looks amazing. I just want to reach through the monitor and stick my finger in the frosting.

    Reply

  48. Oh I’ll have me a slice or two of that, it looks seriously good! Also love your caking tips (especially for someone who rarely engages in cake frosting and filling activities aka me). Also, if you’re looking for sometime else to do with that frangelico, try it in coffee with a topping of whipped cream…

    Reply

  49. WOW, you guys outdid yourselves…this is weeping with icing – I love it!

    Reply

  50. found you again and this cake was worth the look …really delicious and tasty. well done sweetie :) xx
    Rico-Recipes

    Reply

  51. This cake looks scrumptious!!! Wow, my mouth is watering.

    Reply

  52. Love your cake. I would like to taste it.

    Reply

  53. Caaaaake…….*making the guttural sounds Homer makes*

    Love the oozy white filling and topping of the cake!

    Reply

  54. Wow that is one droolworthy cake!

    Reply

  55. Great tips for cake making.

    Reply

  56. LOVE the helpful cake tips and your cake looks so delish!

    Reply

  57. Frangelico! A splash of scotch, and a few holes poked before the icing was added and you would have to call it ‘A Nutty Irishman’ (sweet cocktail I love)…uhhhhh, you forgot one last instruction on in the instructions on this delish looking goodie that reminds me of childhood holidays and lots of love- how to get it through the screen at 2 AM my time!

    Reply

  58. Two of my favorite things- chocolate and hazelnut! Wow, your recipes and your entire site just looks incredible. Thanks for visiting me on mine- now I know you’re here!!

    Reply

  59. Love the cake and the new Duo logo.

    Reply

  60. [...] to its height. If you missed our last cake leveling and frosting run through, you can check it out here for a little [...]

    Reply

  61. [...] out a little background on cake leveling and frosting if you want to make this a multi-layer [...]

    Reply

  62. [...] to its height. If you missed our last cake leveling and frosting run through, you can check it out here for a little [...]

    Reply

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