A little more than a week ago, we celebrated my parents 49th Anniversary. Forty-nine years together! 🙂 Wow! Both my parents have a sweet tooth (which is where I get mine) although my dad’s sugar intake needs to be monitored so he couldn’t have as much as he wanted. I baked this cake a month ago for Online Guy and my anniversary and it was a hit. I used the original recipe and my mom loved it so much that she asked me to make it again. I love my mama and would never say no to her so I decided to add a few things (of course I cleared this with mom first :)) and presented my parents with this chocolate Hazelnut Crème fraîche cake. Unbeknownst to me, I had selected a champagne, which brought back sweet memories for them, and with dear friends of ours, we drank and ate and drank, and my parents reminisced. I was so thrilled to see their faces lit up and enjoying every morsel and sip. Very glad I could make their day 🙂
And so we begin with a few things. The usual, eggs, sugar, flour..ooohh and buttermilk. Buttermilk makes everything soft and moist and yummie! Some oil, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. I used two different kinds of cocoa–you’ll see in a second. And there is one more ingredient, which you will also see in a few more seconds. Forgot to put the hazelnuts in the picture gosh darn it. Measure the buttermilk and leave out beforehand so it is at room temperature by the time you use it. Take 2 eggs and also bring to room temperature.
We start by greasing two 9″ inch pans. The recipe calls for 8 but you go with what you have. My kitchen is tiny and I don’t have the luxury of buying multiple baking pans; although it is now pretty overflowing with ‘stuff’. So, grease the bottom of the pans–I usually use baking spray with flour in it but I believe I used some good ‘ol butter here. Trace around the pan on the parchment and do some craft work to cut out two rounds. Grease the parchment. Set aside and turn your oven on to 350 (F).
I love hazelnuts so naturally I love Nutella! I used 3 cups of whole hazelnuts and had some leftovers, which are sitting in the fridge awaiting their lovely end. You can use half the amount or a little more than half. It depends on whether or not you will cover the entire cake. I only covered the sides.
Here they are after 15 minutes toasting in the oven. You have to watch these carefully so they don’t burn–I would check on them after 10 minutes and maybe rotate. Should be done in 12 but I, ahem, got distracted.
Now put on some gloves so you don’t get your hands all dirty and rub the toasted hazelnuts to get the skin off. Pop a few in your mouth while you’re at it. I offered some to my husband and he came back for more.
Throw them in the food processor (you will need to do this in batches if you have a small food processor) and chop away so you still have sort big pieces. You don’t want powder, unless that’s how you roll.
In your mixer combine 2 cups cake flour, I only used 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (see next picture), 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mix on low speed.
I used Valrhona powder and 1 tbsp black cocoa powder to make it 3/4 cups altogether. Black cocoa powder is rich and strong so you use it in combination with regular cocoa powder. It also makes your cake darker 🙂
Look at that color difference. ooohhhhhh. This is gonna be good!
Make some strong coffee. I used a French press. Measure and set aside. It should be hot when the time comes to add it.
Take a medium bowl and combine 1 cup room temperature buttermilk, 1/2 cup of oil, 2 eggs at room temperature and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Whisk it.. gently now.
Keep the mixer on low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Now add the coffee and continue mixing on low until it is just combined and looks scrumdiliumptious.
Give it a nice go with the spatula to get the parts on the bottom mixed.
Divide the batter as best you can and pour in the pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Mine takes exactly 35 minutes.
Just look at that gorgeous dark color! Oh and it smells amazing!
Don’t worry if the cake comes out uneven. You can even it out with a knife so it looks somewhat straight when you place one on top of the other. Eat the part you slice off 🙂 Let the cakes cool.
Wait until the cakes have cooled until you make the frosting. The half and half and creme fraiche should be at room temperature so when you take the cakes out of the oven, measure the creams and leave them out. I used golden syrup instead of Karo light corn syrup cause that’s the way I roll.
Heat some water in a pan on low to a simmer and place a heatproof bowl on top. Combine the 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 cup of unsalted butter and 2 tbsp of syrup. Use a spatula to stir and melt everything until it looks like….
this.. remove from heat, give it a nice whisk and add 1/2 cup of creme fraiche and 1/4 cup of half and half. Whisk gently until combined. Now the frosting will be liquidy at this stage so you can wait a few minutes and it will harden a bit. I didn’t wait 🙂 It still works but will be a bit runny, which is fine. I didn’t use all the frosting because I like a thin layer but you are welcome to use as much as you like. It is a lot of frosting so you could make half the amount. This is great frosting, not sweet and very smooth and tasty.
Grab some Frangelico or any other liquor you like. Of course you can skip this step but come on, why?! Put some Frangelico in a small bowl and brush a good amount onto the inside of one cake. Do the sides too. Do the same with the other cake.
Spoon some frosting on the cake and smooth it out. Get the sides.
Sprinkle some hazelnuts on the top. You can skip this step also but again, why?! I would recommend putting maybe less hazelnuts and adding some frosting on top of the hazelnuts. This way the cake will come together better. When I sliced mine, it was two slices instead of one but that was completely okay because it was already in my tummy. If you don’t add hazelnuts it will stick together just fine. The frosting will harden.
Put the top on and frost away. Let it run all over the sides. See how it’s a bit slanted 🙂 No worries!
Hazelnut the cake all around and if you wish, on top. You could also decorate with white or colorful sprinkles. Go crazy..maybe not too crazy.
Here it is again because I am proud of myself. It is moist and surprisingly not too rich and not very sweet. The coffee and cocoa powder really bring out the beauty in every bite. It’s perfect, trust me 🙂 Tall glass of milk to wash it down.
For me this cake was best at room temperature so leave it out for a bit before you serve and then stick it into the fridge if there is any left. As you can see, we did a pretty good job of it 🙂 You don’t need an occasion to make this. Life is short. Bake a cake.
Recipe taken and slightly adapted from