Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

The Home Bakersorganised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours are baking recipes from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. Finally, after choosing a recipe from the book sometime back, its my turn to host The Home Bakers! I've chosen to bake the Dark Chocolate Almond Cake (page 127), because J and I love chocolate and nuts, so it is likely that we will both enjoy this cake very much.

And we really loved it! The chocolate and the hazelnut was a wonderful combination, although I have to say, this is a very chocolaty cake. When I measured out the dark chocolate, I was amazed by the sheer amount of chocolate this caked called for, but it was all good. The cake was delicious and the inclusion of grounded nuts gives the cake a nuttier flavour and texture. I especially loved the soft center of the cake. However, for those who prefers dense and fudgey chocolate cake, this cake is not. This cake has a rather airy and crumbly exterior, with a moist and just slightly dense middle. In fact, it could be rather dry if its over-baked  as noted by other THB members.

The cake rose beautifully in the oven as well, thanks to the beaten egg whites. However, my semi sweet dark chocolate was too sweet even after I cut down the amount of sugar, so I've skipped the icing sugar dusting.

I initially had misgivings about baking this cake, as I was experiencing a streak of unsuccessful baking and was afraid this cake might turn out badly as well. I did three bakes for Martha Stewart last month, and two of them, one bowl chocolate cake and lemon parsley gougeres, failed. My Martha's chocolate cake tasted off and the lemon parsley gougeres flattened in the oven. Needless to say, it was all rather disheartening. This cake managed to make me feel better.

Dark-Chocolate Almond Cake
by Lou Seibert Pappas

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup (1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, or rum
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely ground almonds or toasted and skinned hazelnuts
6 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 12

Baking Temperature: 350F/180C
Baking Time: 35 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate and stir to blend. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy with a whisk or an electric mixer; add the salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, then beat in the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the coffee or spirits. Stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Fold in one-third of the whites to lighten the mixture, then fold in the nuts, flour, and then the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted 1 1/2 inches from the center comes out clean (the center should still be soft). Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the pan sides.
  6. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar shaken through a sieve, and cut into wedges to serve.

Chopped semisweet dark chocolate

Stiff peak egg whites

Finely ground hazelnuts

Do check out our fellow THB's rendition of Dark-Chocolate Almond Cake as well!