Muddy and Crunchy…
There are some pretty good flourless cake recipes , this one here takes things a step further, by also adding some soft and sticky brown sugar to the sweet equation.
Espresso coffee enhances the antioxidant powers of this super cake, while double cream and mascarpone create a muddy still crunchy result.
As for the hazelnuts? Well, let me ask you, what would soft be without crunchy? Can yin exist without yang
Flourless Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake
375 g whole hazelnuts, without the skin
375 g chocolate, good quality, 70% unsweetened, melted
375 g butter, unsalted
200 g soft brown sugar
175 g caster sugar
1 espresso shot (small cup)
2 tablespoons double cream
1 cup (250 ml) Mascarpone (a soft and mild Italian cream cheese)
vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉). Butter and grease a 26 cm, non-stick, round or square cake pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
2. Ground hazelnut mixture: Roast the hazelnuts in the oven, for about 10 minutes — until they colour. Cool. Place the nuts in a food processor and grind until they have the consistency of breadcrumbs.
3. Chocolate-hazelnut mixture: Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (double boiler). Note: if you do not have a bain-marie, no problem. Simply boil water in a large pot and place a smaller pot in the boiling water. Put the chocolate in the smaller pot and slowly melt it. Fold the ground hazelnuts mixture into the melted chocolate.
4. Batter: In a large bowl add the butter and both sugars and whisk — using an electric mixer — until pale in colour and fluffy in texture. Add the eggs one by one, whilst whisking, alternating each egg with spoonfuls of the chocolate-hazelnut mixture.
5. Pour the batter into the greased, floured and parchment-lined cake pan. Bake for 1 hour.
The top of the cake should be set when you insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean. (The cake settles as it cools)
6. While the cake is still warm, pierce the top all over with a skewer (toothpick) and sprinkle the top with the espresso shot. Allow the cake to cool completely while in the pan.
7. In a small bowl, fold the Mascarpone into the double cream until smooth.
Serve the cake with a generous spoonful of this mascarpone cream or alternatively, with vanilla ice cream.