*sniff* I'm slowly recovering from a killer cold that knocked me out for most of last week. (I'm betting I got a nasty virus on the plane home from Paris - air travels seem to do that to me, no wonder with all that bad air. Eww.) However, I managed to have my brother and sister, with significant others, over for a small birthday celebration, since I was away for my actual birthday. I decided to bake something very simple, but I wanted to try something new, too. When my other sister called and said that she and her boyfriend wouldn't be able to make it, I instantly knew what to make. See, her boyfriend is allergic to nuts, all kinds, so I had been calculating on making something nut-free. But, when I have free realm, I much prefer things with nuts. So, a nutty cake it would be. And I knew just which one to choose.
Despite having been a bit upset with Nigella lately, her recipes are generally wonderful. They're tasty and very dependable. I decided to give her another chance, and finally try out the amazing-sounding Nutella cake from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. The results were smashing - we were just six people and we finished off pretty much the whole cake, leaving one tiny sliver. It's not as sweet nor as rich as it sounds, the eggwhites really lighten the whole affair.
A few notes - I used chopped hazelnuts to decorate, simply because you can't find peeled hazelnuts in the stores here. I find it too much of a bother to peel them manually, so I just roasted them and rubbed them in a towel to get rid of some of the skin, and then chopped them up. And I used water instead of Frangelico, even though I had it at home - and it was still great. Oh, and my store was OUT OF UNSALTED BUTTER. So I used regular - and I actually think that improved it. Salt goes so well with chocolate, it really brings out another dimension. But next time, I think I'll add a little less cream to the ganache topping - it didn't thicken quite as much as I would have liked. (But it tasted heavenly.)
Nigella Lawson: How to be a Domestic Goddess
for the cake
6 large eggs -- separated
1 pinch salt
115 g soft butter
1 jar of Nutella (400 g) (Yes, an entire jar.)
1 tablespoon Frangelico or water
100 g finely ground hazelnuts
120 g dark chocolate, melted
for the icing
125 ml double cream
1 tablespoon Frangelico or water
125 g dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. (350 F).
Prepare a 9-inch springform pan: grease and line with parchment or wax paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, then add Frangelico (or what you're using), egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a 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. Pour into the prepared pan and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on rack.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upward and the nuts are golden brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. If you use unpeeled nuts, transfer them to a kitchen towel, and rub, rub, rub. Most of the skins should come off. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Leave them whole or chop them up, depending on how much skin you actually managed to get off.
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, add the cream, liquer 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 just the top of the cake. Unmold the cooled cake carefully. Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and decorate with the hazelnuts. Serve with a lightly sweetened whipped cream.