I know you’re probably thinking “hmph, that cake looks good , but I’ve seen better.” To which I say… you don’t know! And that this cake is very, very good. Out of everything I bake, this is the one cake my family always asks for again and again; it is the standard by which other cakes are all held. It’s deliciously moist, morish and for all of you who worry about that sort of thing, yes it’s gluten free. And have I mentioned that you can pull the batter together in less time than it takes to preheat the oven to bake it? As I type, I can almost hear the pieces of it that have survived the night, sitting in the cake stand, calling my name. They want me to eat them… but I cannot. Sadly, food has turned against me in the last few days and eating anything other than steamed vegetables, wholegrain rice and steamed fish leads to horrible, crippling pain that makes me want to have a little cry. So while I wait for an ultrasound, I just make cake for others and watch them eat them. Which is sort of my idea of hell?
At this point… I suppose you are wondering what flavour it is, right? Well… imagine nutella in cake form. Hazelnut cake with dark chocolate frangelico ganache. Just typing that makes my mouth water a little bit. This cake is so rich and moist that you only need a very small slice (though lets be honest… you’re welcome to have a big slice if you want one. And with this cake; you want one), and there’s no need for cream or anything along those lines. As a bonus this little baby will stay moist and morish for days, unlike a lot of cakes that I find tend to dry out overnight.
The ganache as well is a bit of a miracle. I don’t know why I had never before considered adding frangelico to dark chocolate ganache – it all makes sense. Grown up, alcoholic nutella that you can put on top of a cake? It’s all there, smugly grinning at you as if to say ‘girl, what took you so long? I am delicious and I have been waiting for you.’ If… for some reason you don’t like the idea of chocolate and frangelico on your hazelnut cake, you could instead top the cake with cinnamon poached apples (which by the way make a delicious accompaniment in any fashion to almost all foods), but I think if you’re going to eat what is basically nutella cake… well then really commit to it.
As a wee bonus for you all, here is what my life has become all about. Steamed eggplant and mushrooms with wholegrain rice. Theoretically tasty… but in all honesty it turns out that steamed vegetables rely pretty heavily on an ability to season them with salt, pepper, garlic… really anything.
Gluten Free Hazelnut Cake with Frangelico Ganache
150g hazelnut meal
150g almond meal
1 1/2 cups of muscovado/ dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence/ 1 tsp vanilla paste
250g softened butter
100g dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 shots of frangelico
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Combine the hazelnut meal, almond meal and sugar in a bowl. In a mixer, beat the eggs and vanilla together, and then add the butter. Beat for three minutes and then add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat for five minutes. Pour into a greased 20cm rount cake tine and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is pulling away from the sides. After 20-30 minutes of baking you will want to cover the top of the cake with silver foil to stop it from getting too dark.
Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and heat cream to just below boiling. Pour cream and frangelico over the chopped chocolate in a bowl and stir until incorporated and a ganache forms. Let the ganache cool for two to three minutes before adding to the cake. Let the cake cool completely before attempting to ice the cake with the ganache, otherwise the ganache will simply drip off.