Friday, 20 April 2012

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake.

You know that time when you want to bake and have a quick look through the shelves and cupboards to suss the options available. Well this is where this baby was conceived. Right up to when I decided I wanted to try to replicate some awesome looking caramel hazelnuts I'd seen on Pinterest, when a shopping trip was needed for whole hazelnuts. After making daft looking cakes like Oxford Rocks with it's leopard spot sponge, and before that the Valentines cake I wanted to pull things back a bit towards the basic tasty and good looking cake that takes about a tenth of the hours to make. I was quite happy with the Easter pimped Honey cake but even that had decoration un-relating to the actual cake, so with this one, I actually managed to keep the decoration chocolate and hazelnut based. I even felt a bit bad for veering off into the world of caramel lol.

1st May - Chocolate Celebration Cake version added below the choc/hazelnut. :)


  • 250g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 130g Unsalted Butter (Room temp)
  • 2 Free range medium eggs
  • 30ml Sunflower oil
  • 80ml Milk
  • 2 TBSP Nutella
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 40g Cocoa powder
  • 30g Ground Almonds
Filling and sides:
  • 150g Unsalted butter (Room temp)
  • 2 TBSP Nutella
  • 1 TBSP Milk
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 60g Double cream
  • 120g Dark chocolate
  • 15g Unsalted butter
  • 3 Hazelnuts
  • 50g Hazelnut bits
  • 30g Granulated sugar

  • Turn the oven on to 170c
  • Prep two 7" or 8" tins, either by greasing and lining with baking paper or spraying with cake release spray.
  • Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together.
  • Keep mixing. Add one egg at a time.
  • Add the oil
  • Add the milk.
  • Add the Nutella.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa into a bowl and add gradually to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the ground almonds.
  • Mix until just fully combined.
  • Split evenly between the tins and bake for about 25 mins.
  • Check they're cooked with a cocktail stick or knife which should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the sponges.
  • Allow to cool in the tins for 15 mins, then tip out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter and Nutella together for a couple of minutes.
  • Sift the icing sugar and cocoa, and add to the butter mix a bit at a time.
  • Add the milk and mix for at least 5 mins.
  • Spread on one sponge and then place the other sponge on top so that the 2nd sponge's flat base is facing upwards.
  • Apply buttercream to the sides of the cake with a palette knife. You can do this properly by applying a thin crumb layer first, which traps any loose crumbs, and then another layer. 
  • Press crushed hazelnuts into the sides of the cake in whatever style takes your fancy. I poured some out at the base and then pushed up into place with a palette knife. 
  • For the topping, pour the cream into a saucepan and heat until bubbles start to form at the sides.
  • Turn the heat off and add the chocolate. Stir gently until melted.
  • Add the butter and stir until melted.
  • Allow to cool for 5 mins.
  • Using a teaspoon, dribble some of the choc mix down the sides of the cake.
  • Then spread the rest over the top of the cake.
  • Decorate with chopped hazelnuts as required.
  • To make my not-quite-what-they-were-meant-to-be caramel hazelnuts, I melted 30g of granulated sugar in a small saucepan, just gently moving it with a spatula as it melts. I then arrange 5 hazelnuts on manipulated paper clips sandwiched between 2 cartons of fruit juice and two tins of beans. I then sprayed a baking tray with cake release spray and placed it underneath the nuts, the hazelnuts. I then dribbled the melted sugar over the hazelnuts. What I was looking for was a long, sleek, single pointy caramel finger, like the T-1000's finger in Terminator :) I think that involves dunking the nuts in the caramel or allowing it to cool a bit because when I dribbled the caramel over the nuts it tended to fall off before it got right round to the underside. Also 2 flat juice cartons weren't quite high enough and the strands backed up on themselves and contorted or snapped off. I'll find out next time :)
  • Allow to cool and place on the cake. You can also string some of the caramel and use that as decoration.
  • Eat cake :)

I'm submitting this production into May's Alphabakes. Alphabakes is run monthly, alternately by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker, and this month's by Caroline at Caroline Makes... This months letter is 'H', and what letter does hazelnut begin with children? That's right! :)

Chocolate Celebration Cake.

I contemplated giving this fella his own page, and might do, but for now he's so linked to the cake above I think I'll tag him down here...and also the photos were a bit pants :)

Same recipe as above but:

No Hazelnuts.
No Nutella.
All over buttercream with 250g butter, 250g icing sugar, 1 TBSP milk and 2 heaped TBSP cocoa powder.
A sprinkling of cocoa powder.
2 flakes, crushed.
2 bags of maltesers.
1 bag choc buttons.
Melt dark and white choc onto baking paper or a sheet of acetate, then chill, for the shards, and also to drizzle over the wired maltesers.
I was going to decorate with milk and white choc curls as well, done with a peeler, but they didn't come out nice enough so I ended up just putting a few right in the centre where the wires go in.

Tunage courtesy of course from Hazelnut O'Connor - Eighth Day

Rabbit action! Watership Down featured a rabbit called Hazelnut! (Are you sure? - ed.) Written by Mike Batt of the Wombles fame, Art Garfunkel - Bright Eyes.

Talking of Terminator fingers, a Tuuuuuuuune! from T2 - Guns and Roses - You Could Be Mine

...and finally, random gorgeous tune of the day. One of the best from Elastica - Never Here.

What's that? You want to see Julianne Regan lipsyncing on Japanese TV? Why certainly! Here's All About Eve - Every Angel.


  1. This is actually epic, there are no words

    Nom! X

    1. Thank you dahling! As we couldn't trust the postie to deliver some directly to your mouth, you'll just have to believe me when I say it tasted bloomin gorgeous like! :)

  2. very well designed cake!

    1. Hi & thanks Emine :) I quite like the curves and contrast on it. Something like this will probably appear in another flavour form in the future :)

  3. You have surpassed yourself - this looks amazing! - I love the hazlenuts as I have been wantingto try them for a while - since I saw them on Laura's blog. The decorations - wow!

    1. Thanks cb :) I've a feeling that I'll come up with all sorts of random spike before I get get to a single smooth finger of gloriousness. All part of the fun :)

  4. omg this is amazing!!! Thank you so much for entering AlphaBakes. I love the chocolate and hazelnut combination. Both cakes look absolutely stunning. I wish I could have a slice each :)

    1. Thanks :) Choc and hazelnut was lovely. Sadly I never got to try the choc one. Will try and add another hazelnut production for Alphabakes, and looking forwards to the end of month round-up :)

  5. Those photographs are amazing! I will have to try that maltesers on wire thingy (I'm sure there's a more elegant name for it than that). Looks gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Caroline :) I was going to go with 'Wavy balls' but thought better of it. I was thinking of giving maltesers on wires a rest for a while, but sadly I found awesome coloured wires in a cake bits shop yesterday! :D

  6. OMG you are an artist. These are really awesome creations. BTW I liked "wavy balls". really naughty :D
    Totally going to follow from now.