I am in love with this Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake with rum raisins and rosemary sugar by Nigel Slater. The flavours are rich and dense, with a crumbly texture inside and crunchy crust outside.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband asked if I could bake a cake for a charity bake sale held in his office. Ok, strike that. He kindly informed me that I had to bake, because he had already told everyone at work that he would bring something and of course he couldn’t bake anything himself! ;) I didn’t mind of course, and I was happy to have an excuse to bake.
I found this Nigel Slater recipe for chocolate and hazelnut on Observer Food Monthly magazine last month which looked so tasty and delicious.
I decided to double the doses and make two cakes: one for the bake sale and one to take to a Creating for Good meeting the next day.
It is not a quick cake to make as there are several steps to follow, including separating the egg yolks and whites, which need to be whipped into soft peaks. Also, if you use whole hazelnuts with the skin on, you are going to need some time to toast and skin them.
It’s all worth it in the end. The cake is absolutely wonderful!
Note: the chocolate and hazelnut cake was very crumbly. As I cut a slice, pieces of cake fell all over the plate. To take some of the cake to my friend’s house, I had to double wrap it in cling film and foil to make sure it wouldn’t completely break into pieces on the way. Perhaps a little more butter or less hazelnuts would have helped with this. Or maybe I over-mixed the cake batter… Any ideas?
- 90g raisins or sultanas
- 6oml dry sherry or rum
- 175g skinned hazelnuts
- 20g plain flour
- 10g cocoa powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 300g dark chocolate
- 6 eggs, separate
For the rosemary sugar
- 2g rosemary leaves
- 2tbsp caster sugar
Put the raisins in a small bowl, pour in the sherry or rum, set aside for two hours, stirring occasionally.
Line the base of a 24-cm spring-form cake tin with a disc of baking paper. Set the oven to 160°C fan.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry, shallow pan until golden brown. Take 20g of hazelnuts out, roughly chop them and set aside for later (they will be used as cake topping). Tip the rest into a food processor and grind to fine crumbs.
In a small bowl, mix with the flour and cocoa powder together.
Using a food mixer, beat the caster sugar and butter together till light and fluffy. Put a small pan of water on to boil, place a small dish on top of it, break the chocolate into the dish and let it melt over the simmering water, without stirring.
Slowly introduce the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, beating constantly. Whisk the egg whites until almost stiff. Mix the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar, then carefully fold in the ground hazelnuts, drained raisins and flour-cocoa mix.
Lastly, fold in the beaten egg whites, making certain there are no lumps. Scrape the mixture into the lined cake tin.
Process the rosemary and sugar to a coarse powder and scatter over the cake mixture, together with roughly chopped hazelnuts.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until lightly firm, the top slightly cracked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before carefully removing from the tin.
Store in an airtight container.