Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Recipe

Chocolate hazelnut cake (torta alla nocciola)

  • serves 6
  • Easy

This recipe for chocolate hazelnut cake celebrates a classic combination and is deliciously indulgent. It makes for a great dinner party dessert. The recipe comes from Sharing Puglia: Simple, Delicious Food From Italy's Undiscovered Coast (£25, Hardie Grant)

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Ingredients

  • hazelnuts 250g
  • caster sugar 250g
  • dark chocolate 200g
  • butter 200g
  • eggs 6, separated
  • Frangelico 2 tbsp (optional)

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • dark chocolate 120g, chopped
  • whipping cream 200ml

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a tea towel and rub to slip off their skins.

  • Step 2

    Heat 100g of the sugar in a frying pan over medium–low heat, until it has melted. Add the hazelnuts, stirring to coat the nuts with the caramelised sugar. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, shaking the pan until the hazelnuts are completely coated with the caramelised sugar. Pour the hazelnuts back onto the baking tray and allow to cool completely. Crush them coarsely in a food processor and set aside 3 tbsp for decorating the top of the cake. Continue to process the remaining hazelnuts until they are finely ground.

  • Step 3

    Turn the oven up to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water until smooth, then stir in the ground hazelnuts. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

  • Step 4

    In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale and doubled in size. Fold in the cooled chocolate and hazelnut mixture.

  • Step 5

    Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the chocolate and hazelnut mixture. Stir in the Frangelico (if using). Pour the mixture into a 20cm round cake tin lined with baking paper and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cover the cake with tinfoil if the top gets too dark.

  • Step 6

    Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, then gently remove it from the tin and allow to cool completely while you make the ganache. Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium–low heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and pour on top of the chocolate. Leave to melt for a few minutes and then stir until shiny.

  • Step 7

    When the cake is cool, spread the chocolate ganache over the top and sprinkle with the hazelnut praline. Store in an airtight container for 3–5 days.

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