29 years of imagining, and then converting into one of my hobbies... I hope you'll enjoy it... (^.^)/ , by Marina

February 19, 2013

Chocolate, Almonds and Hazelnuts Cake: Nuts for this one!

In the last two years I made quite a number of different birthday cakes, over 30 of them, with all kinds of ingredients and recipes. Among all of them there was one that topped them all, gone before i could turn around :). The cake came out as a derivation from the middle layer of the Aikido Birthday Cake, which was the most praised layer in that project, and was meant for Sensei's birthday. It might not be the easiest and fastest I've done, but was for sure worth it! Try it out and let me know how long it was on the plate (^.^).

The pastry is rather easy, made out of nuts and egg whites, while the cream are blend of vanilla or chocolate, nuts and creamy yogurt for a special aroma.



Total time: 2h (30' preparation, 1h30' cooking)
Serves: 10-12
Difficulty: Moderate
Calories: ~ 300 kcal / person
Baking needed at 200°C, 8'
Here used with a round 26cm radius cake tray


Ingredients:
Pastry
- 100 gr almonds, baked and finely grounded
- 100 gr hazelnuts, baked and finely grounded
- 8 egg whites
- 1/4 ts vanilla powder
- 10 tbs light muscovado sugar
- pinch of salt
Chocolate cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 100 gr hazelnuts, baked and finely grounded
- 100 gr dark chocolate, at least 50%
- 3 tbs light muscovado sugar
- 3 tbs dark muscovado sugar
- 5 tbs heavy cream yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt
- 1/2 ts vanilla powder

Vanilla cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 500 ml fresh milk
- 100 gr almonds, baked and finely grounded
- 2 tbs light muscovado sugar
- 50 gr corn starch
- 6 tbs heavy cream yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt

Butter cream
- 180 gr butter
- 5 tbs heavy cream yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt

For the ganache
- 100 gr dark chocolate, at least 50%

    Preparations
  1. First of all spread your nuts on a baking tray, dividing the almonds and hazelnuts. Bake them for 10 min on 150°C. Careful not to burn them :).
  2. Once baked, ground them finely, until you stop feeling chunks when squeezed under your fingers. For that purpose i use two different grinders, one is a regular multipractic to ground them coarsely, and then a coffee grinder to bring it to a fine powder/cream.
    Prepare all the nuts here, for both the batter and cream, just make sure to divide them in two different bowls - do not mix hazelnuts and almonds in the same bowl.
  3. Pastry
  4. Beat the egg whites with with a pinch of salt, till a soft foam forms. Add in the sugar till the foam becomes a nice and firm snow.
  5. Divide half the snow into a separate bowl and mix with the grounded almonds, slowly with a wooden spoon just until well combined. Do the same for the other half with the grounded hazelnuts.
  6. Spread it on the tray which was previously covered with a baking paper, and bake it at 200°C (without fan) for 8 minutes. Repeat for the other half.
  7. Vanilla Cream
  8. While the pastry is baking you can start with the vanilla cream. Put the milk in a pan and start heating on medium heat. Mix in the vanilla powder.
  9. Mix the egg yolks with a whisker, add in the corn starch and sugar until well combined.
  10. When the milk is near boiling, take a few spoons out and mix it well in the egg yolks, until you dilute the mixture to a homogeneous liquid form.
  11. Slowly add the mixture to the milk while stirring with a wooden spatula until well combined. Now mix constantly on higher heat until the cream is nice and thick.
  12. Let it cool down to room temperature. (Prepare the chocolate cream in the meantime)
  13. Once cooled down, add in the almonds and mix well. Finally add spoon per spoon the yogurt and the cream is ready.
  14. Butter Cream
  15. Beat the butter in a bowl for a few minutes. Once a soft cream forms, place it in the fridge to cool down for a few minutes.
  16. Beat it again for 5 minutes. Once nice and creamy, add one spoon of yogurt and beat in again till well combined. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.
  17. Repeat till all the yogurt is gone, and you get a smooth cream out of it.
  18. Chocolate Cream
  19. For this one you'll need two pots. One that will hold the boiling water, the other, smaller one, to be placed in the first one and used to make the cream. Make sure both are heat proof, and be very careful with this step to avoid burns.
  20. Pour in the first one some water, just enough to cover 1/3 of the height of the second pot, once inserted in the first one. Make sure no water spills in the second pot. Bring the water to boil.
  21. Place the eggs and the sugar in the second pot, and start whisking. Once a soft peak forms, place the pot in the first one and continue whisking the eggs. Lower the heat on the water.
  22. Continue this until you notice that the eggs are sponge like. Careful not to overcook it and get a frittata instead of a cream :).
  23. Take the pot off the fire and while the cream is still warm/hot, add in the chocolate in chunks/pieces. Mix well until all the chocolate melted and combined in the cream.
  24. Add the hazelnuts, and once cooled down the yogurt as well. Spoon per spoon.
  25. Fold in last 4 spoons of the butter cream.
  26. Assembling
  27. Place the hazelnut pastry on the bottom. Cover with half the chocolate cream.
  28. Cover with the vanilla cream, and top it with the almond pastry.
  29. Spread the rest of the chocolate cream on top.
  30. Melt the chocolate for the ganache in a non sticking pan. Once melted, wait for a minute or two, and then fold in the remaining butter cream until well combined.
  31. Cover the cake with the ganache and let it cool down for a couple of hours at least
  32. Was it worth the work? (^.^)/***


    TIPS:
  • When baking nuts, be careful not to burn them. You know they are ready when the skin starts crisping upwards, and the inside gets a slightly darker - honeylike - color. What you wish to achieve is a slightly baked aroma, not burned one :).
  • If you burned a bit the nuts, don't worry. You can still use them, but you have to get rid of the burned skin from the hazelnuts. Place the baked nuts on a kitchen cloth or kitchen paper. Close the cloth and start stirring and rolling them on the inside of the cloth. In that way you will detach the skin from the nuts, and you can then use the skinless nuts, leaving the burned skin behind.
  • If you use a coffee grinder, like me, to ground the nuts to a fine powder/cream, make sure you don't use whole nuts there. The coffee grinder wouldn't stand it. Chop them before that, ground them coarsely with a food processor, or anything else that would decrease the size of the pieces.
    There is one more point here, the nuts are quite fatty, greasy, which will make your grinding a bit heavier. To ease this part, and avoid them sticking to the grinders surface, you can use some sugar. Add one or half a teaspoon of sugar when grinding to help the process. But keep in mind to use the same amount of sugar for both almonds and hazelnuts, and decrease the taken amount from the recipe ofc ;).
  • If you wish to be faster with the egg whites, then ground the sugar in the coffee grinder too, it mill make the snow firmer.
  • You can avoid cooking the eggs in the chocolate cream if it appears too difficult, however you will have then to reverse the process. Melt the chocolate and whisk in the melted chocolate the beaten eggs. Just make sure the eggs are fairy beaten in a firm foam before that, otherwise you will loose in the volume of this cream.

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Thank you! (^.^)/***