Monday, September 28, 2015

Hazelnut Cake

What to make when you have these ingredients on hand?


Maybe this?

A hazelnut chiffon cake frosted with a Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream, bordered with dark chocolate ganache and topped with whole Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Something that can possibly turn into your new favourite cake? Why not!


I think you will really like the hazelnut chiffon cake. It is as soft and fluffy as it should be! The hazelnut specks do not seem very visible but once you bite into the cake, you will know it's there for sure.


Another thing you will definitely love about this cake is the Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream. Anything with Nutella is associated with sweetness but I can assure you that this one is not because I made sure there was less sugar in the buttercream to make way for the sweetness in the Nutella.

Want to make this cake? Get all your ingredients ready and let's get baking!

FIRST, you will need to bake one hazelnut chiffon cake.

HAZELNUT CHIFFON CAKE (makes one 8x3 round cake)

{A}
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup ground hazelnuts (hazelnut meal)

{B}
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature*
¼ cup corn/canola oil
1/3 cup water
1/2 - 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract (I only used 1/2 tsp but you might want to use a little more.)

{C}
4 eggwhites*
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
6 tablespoons white sugar

*Weight of one egg is approximately 55-60g.  Labelled as LARGE in some places but XL eggs in Australia.

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well.  Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
4. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.


5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
6. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. **Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.

SECOND, you will also need two kinds of frosting.

This cake is covered in a Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream, while the borders and drizzles are dark chocolate ganache.  On the day you are to assemble the cake, it is best to make the ganache first.  Set it aside to cool down while you make the buttercream.  By the time you finish covering the cake with buttercream, the ganache will have cooled completely and be at the right consistency for drizzling.

For the Nutella SMBC, use the recipe here but lessen the sugar to 1/2 cup and replace the vanilla extract with an equal amount of hazelnut extract.  Add in 90 grams (about 6 tablespoons) of Nutella to your made up SMBC and beat until well combined.


For the dark chocolate ganache, use the same recipe in the Cookies and Cream cake (version 2).  
The ganache in this cake is used in a similar way. First, while it is still in its pourable state and second, when it has thickened enough for piping.

To assemble this cake:

1. Cut your hazelnut chiffon cake in half horizontally.  Place the top layer, cut side up on your cake board then spread a layer of Nutella buttercream.  Top with the other cake half, cut side down.

2. Crumb coat cake with a thin layer of buttercream.  Let chill in the fridge for a few minutes.

3. Cover the whole cake smoothly with more buttercream.  (Remember to leave some buttercream for the swirls on top.)  If desired, run a cake comb around the cake side.

4. To do the drizzles, you will need to use your ganache when it has cooled down but still in its liquid form.  Place some of the ganache in a piping bag.  Snip a little bit off the end.  Drizzle around the cake edge. 

 Let the remaining ganache thicken by either leaving it at room temperature or putting it in the fridge to speed up the process.  Just don't let it harden or else you will have to heat it up again!

When the ganache is ready, mix it gently with a spoon then place it in a piping bag fitted with a star tip (#18 or #21).  Pipe a shell border around the top and bottom of the cake.

5.  Place the remaining Nutella buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  (I used a French star tip.) Pipe swirls around the cake top, right inside the border.

6. Garnish the cake center with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.


Now treat yourself to a decadent but a suprisingly light cake! Enjoy!



PS. I made this cake for my dad's 89th birthday yesterday (the 27th). He's in the Philippines though. Next year, on his 90th, I hope I can make it home so I can make a cake that he can actually taste and enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Carrot Chiffon Cake


This cake is one happy discovery.  I was simply thinking of something to bake and I saw carrots in the fridge.  Voila! A new chiffon cake flavour!

I actually enjoy the normally dense carrot cake but making it in chiffon form, for me, just took the "like factor" up a notch. Instead of the carrots making the chiffon cake heavier than usual, I was actually surprised at how wonderfully soft, fluffy and moist the cake turned out to be! Initially, I thought it needed a little bit more of the spices but later found out that, as with traditional carrot cake, the flavour intensfied the day after it was baked.  

The best thing about this carrot cake is there's actually no need to decorate or fill it to be able to fully enjoy it.  A simple cream cheese frosting and some chopped walnuts on top are all it takes. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea!

CARROT CHIFFON CAKE (makes one 8x3 round cake)

{A}
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
6 tablespoons white sugar

{B}
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature* 
¼ cup corn/canola oil
1/3 cup milk

{C}
4 eggwhites*
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
6 tablespoons white sugar

{E}
100g finely grated carrots

*Weight of one egg is approximately 55-60g.  Labelled as LARGE in some places but XL eggs in Australia.

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. In three additions, gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Fold in the grated carrots along with the last addition of eggwhites.**  Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan. (I used a 9x7x3 rectangular pan.)




4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate.

** Alternatively, you can also mix in the grated carrots with {B}.