chocolate and hazelnut cake

1 February 2010

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I brought some ground hazelnuts back from a recent trip to Paris and was keen to use them in my baking before they found their way to the back of the cupboard and started to gather dust. I was tempted by Nigella’s Nutella cake, but eventually eschewed the prospect of that chocolate-spread-smeared beauty in favour of Tamasin Day-Lewis’s hazelnut and chocolate cake. I have always been pleased with the results of her recipes, especially the Somerset apple cake, so I thought this one was worth trying. I altered the quantities very slightly (mainly for convenience – the hazelnut powder came in a 125g pack), and was delighted with the end product.

She advises eating it whilst still warm, and it was probably marginally better that way, but it’s still incredibly moreish when cold.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake, adapted from Tamasin’s Weekend Food

170g unsalted butter
170g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
170g wholemeal flour, sifted
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
200g best bitter chocolate, chopped into smallish pieces
125g ground hazelnuts
30g whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line an 18cm round cake tin, ideally springform so you can cool the cake without having to turn it upside down.

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in the milk, sifted flour and baking powder, mixing them thoroughly. Add about two-thirds of the chopped chocolate, together with the ground hazelnuts, and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and the remaining chocolate over the top and bake in the middle of the oven for about 1.5 hours, or until the centre of the cake is springy when lightly touched. After the first hour, cover the cake with a sheet of greaseproof paper to prevent the nuts from burning.

Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then carefully release the springform clip and transfer the cake to a wire rack.

Lovely for dessert with a dollop of cream.

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