Hazelnut Praline Cake with Coffee Buttercream

WARNING: Not suitable for a low fat diet….hehehe

Hazelnut sponge cake filled with coffee buttercream, covered in chocolate ganache and topped with praline pieces.

For the cake: (adapted from Martha Stewart)
35g whole hazelnuts
150g hazelnuts, crushed in a food processor
170g caster sugar
100g plain flour
110g corn flour
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
180ml vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease an 8 inch round baking tin and line the bottom with baking paper or a silicone sheet.

  1. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor with 60g caster sugar. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cornflour and hazelnut mixture. Set aside for later.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, yolks, the remaining 110g of sugar, salt and vanilla essence on a high speed until thick and pale in colour and the mixture holds a thick ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl (this will take 7-8 minutes).
  3. Then quickly fold in the flour, gradually adding the oil whilst folding.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and turn out immediately onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least one hour.

For the coffee butter cream:
160g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coffee granules
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water

  1. Cream the butter and mix with icing sugar.
  2. Dissolve coffee granules with water and stir into the butter mixture.
  3. Mix vigorously until smooth.

For the chocolate ganache: (adapted from Epicurious)
225g semi-sweet chocolate
120ml double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
60g unsalted butter

  1. In a saucepan, bring double cream, sugar and golden syrup to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Finally, stir in the butter and allow to cool until spreadable.

For the praline:
60g whole hazelnuts
80g caster sugar
20ml water

  1. Place water and sugar into a pot and heat over a medium flame.
  2. When mixture begins to bubble add the hazelnuts and stir to coat.
  3. Continue heating until the sugar caramelises.
  4. When the sugar turns a rich golden colour pour onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
  5. Break into small pieces using a rolling pin or food processor.

To assemble:

  1. With a serrated knife, level the top of the cake and then carefully cut into half.
  2. Place bottom half onto a serving plate and spread with buttercream.
  3. Sandwich with second half.
  4. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate ganache and press crushed hazelnuts around the sides.
  5. Garnish the top with praline pieces.

Tips:

  • after adding the buttercream press down gently on the two layers of cake to close the gap between the two layers, this will make the icing of the cake easier.
  • to obtain a smooth finish on the chocolate ganache use a palette knife dipped in hot water and dried.
  • keep serving plate clean whilst icing and adding the crushed hazelnuts by using strips of parchment paper, wide enough to partially go under the cake and also to cover the plate.
  • for the crushed hazelnuts and the praline it is nicer to remove the skin of the hazelnut. To do this, toast in the oven at 200c for 15-20 minutes until the skins are dried and flaking off, then rub in a damp cloth to remove the skins.

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