Mamma Mia – Italian Hazelnut Cake

And another cake! I’m spending huge amounts of time baking at the moment with Spring on the horizon.

I have also had a bit of luck in that I’m able to start work next Wednesday as the large multinational corporate IT giant I work for are putting me up in a hotel so that I can start despite being homeless! The week after a kind friend has offered me a floor and so on through till May which is a blessed relief! Hurrah so from Wednesday, I shan’t have as much time for all things culinary which is a shame. However, I’ll be back in a routine which I’ve missed and I’ll be busy which I adore.

I love this cake. It’s flour free so therefore gluten free if you use gluten free baking powder which can be found in most supermarkets. This is quite a dense cake and really quick to whip up for friends and family. It looks most beautiful dredged in icing sugar but one of these days, I intend to make an icing with nutella to spoon over the top. It’s more of a pudding cake than an afternoon tea cake but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be either!

Italian Hazelnut Cake

a 20cm round tin – or springform but I find if properly lined it moves away from the outside of the tin anyway.

  • 200g (7oz) hazelnuts (with skins on)
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp baking powder or gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g (31/2oz) butter, softened
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3. Butter and line the sides and base of the cake tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Grind the hazelnuts with the baking powder, dark chocolate and ground cinnamon in a food processor until fine. Add the butter and combine.

3. Place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric food mixer or use a hand-held electric beater. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture become slightly ‘moussey’ and the mix holds a trail when you lift the beater. Add the hazelnut mixture and the vanilla extract and whisk until combined.

4. Whisk the egg whites and salt together in a large, spotlessly clean bowl until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the nut mixture in three stages so as not to deflate the whites.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the surface and bake in the oven for 55-70 minutes or until the cake feels firm and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The mixture is quite delicate so don’t be tempted to open the oven until close to the end of the cooking time.

6. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then very gently ease the sides of the cake out of the tin using a palette knife. Remove the base after another 15 minutes and leave to cool before cutting into slices.

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