It was the last day of my holidays and having seen the lovely scones created by two of my favourite food bloggers Kath of The Ordinary Cook and MangoCheeks of Allotment 2 Kitchen, I sort of thought it would be nice to invite some friends over for tea. Scones, cake and tea, what could be better?
As I had a bit more time than usual I thought I would take the opportunity to make something a bit special for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge (as well as my friends, ahem). I poured over a few recipe books and couldn’t find anything I was happy with, so I ended up doing my own thing which was, sort of, very loosely based on the Coffee and Hazelnut Cake from Bake & Decorate. This is what I did:
- Spent a couple of hours cracking hazelnuts to produce 200g.
- Roasted in a tin for 5 mins at 180C to loosen the skins and brown the nuts a little.
- Left to cool then rubbed off the skins between my hands.
- Ground 100g to a fine(ish) consistency and set aside.
- Placed remaining 100g in a pan with 100g granulated sugar and put on a low heat until sugar had caramelised.
- Turned out onto a board and left to go cool.
- Broke of a few whole nuts and reserved for decoration, then roughly blitzed the rest and voila, my first attempt at praline was a success – phew!
- Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 225g light muscovado sugar for ages.
- Beat in 4 eggs one by one.
- Sifted in 180g flour (160g wholemeal, 20g buckwheat), 2 tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Stirred in 100g ground hazelnuts followed by 75ml Greek yogurt and finally 50ml strong coffee.
- Divided mixture between two 21cm cake thingies and baked for 25 mins at 180C.
- Left to cool.
- Creamed 50g unsalted butter with 100g icing sugar.
- Beat in 1 tbsp strong coffee until mixture was smooth.
- Stirred in 50g of praline.
- Spread this over one half of cold cake, then placed the other half on top.
- Melted 80g plain coffee chocolate (I used the 55% Coffee Affair from Chocolate and Love), 10g unsalted butter and 40g double cream in a pan over hot water.
- Stirred until smooth.
- Left to cool slightly then poured this over the cake top and spread to the sides.
- Covered this with the remaining 50g of praline and the reserved whole pralined nuts.
There is no other way to describe this cake other than lush. Different layers with their different tastes and textures made for a wonderful whole. It cut well and had a lovely moist but light texture; it tasted delicious and the crunchy caramelly nuts were irresistible. The coffee came though quite strongly with the chocolate taking a back seat, but the wonderful taste of roasted hazelnuts predominated and lingered on long after the coffee had disappeared. In the end I made cheese scones rather than fruit ones as I thought something savoury before the cake would be a better pairing. But if it hadn’t been for those fruit scones, I would never have proceeded down this route. Much as I shouldn’t preen, I was exceedingly pleased with this creation and it would make a great celebratory cake for the coffee or hazelnut lover in one’s life. CT says if the lover in your life doesn’t like coffee or hazelnuts, it may be time to throw your net further afield.