Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hazelnut and Coffee Cake with Nutella Frosting

Phew! A successful cake after what seems like a stream of disappointments. It's not really that long since I baked something that I was (almost) completely happy with, but it seems like it when you're having to eat second-rate cakes!

This is my first attempt at adapting the Annie Bell recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Traybake, which I tried recently. I left out the lemon (obviously!), dissolved some coffee in the milk and substituted ground hazelnuts for some of the flour. The batter was baked in two sponge tins and then sandwiched and topped with a soft Nutella and plain chocolate frosting.

Ingredients - cake
180ml sunflower oil
270g caster sugar
3 large eggs
100ml milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee
50g chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cocoa (see note)
220g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

60g plain chocolate
30g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons milk
roughly 100g Nutella*

Pre-heat the oven to 190C, and prepare two 8"(20cm) sandwich tins.
Dissolve the coffee in the milk. Put the hazelnuts, cocoa and 20g of the flour into a food processor or mini-chopper and process until the nuts are very finely ground, but not turning greasy (the flour helps prevent this).
In a large bowl whisk the oil, sugar, milk and coffee, and eggs until emulsified. Sift in the plain flour and baking powder, then add the ground nut mixture; whisk together until just combined.
Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until done when tested.
Cool in the tins for ten minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
When cool, sandwich with half the frosting and top with the other half.

While the cakes are cooking make the frosting - melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl, over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and beat in the other ingredients. Allow to cool to a spreading consistency before using.

* I tried to add an extra 50g of Nutella and the mixture started to split. I rescued it by adding a little extra milk, but this meant that the frosting didn't set as firm as I'd hoped. If you like thicker layers of filling and frosting, I suggest increasing all the ingredients by 50% (or even more!).

note - adding a little cocoa to cakes containing nuts is a tip from Dan Lepard to increase the nuttiness of the flavour.

This was a really well-flavoured and textured cake. The coffee flavour was a little overwhemed by the Nutella frosting, but I think the amount of coffee I used was enough - any more would have been bitter. The flavour of the nuts in both the cake and the frosting was very good.

With a differently flavoured  frosting - perhaps a vanilla or coffee buttercream - this would make a good coffee and nut cake with the coffee flavour more predominant. I'm really pleased that the recipe adapted as well as I'd hoped, and will be experimenting further with this.


Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Nutella is a wonderful ingredient! No wonder you had success with it!
Your cake looks so soft and lovely.

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

well it looks damn fine, so if this is failure,keep doing what youre doing x

C said...

Looks like a gorgeous moist crumb, and the flavour combination sounds great too.

I know what you mean about a string of not-quite-successes! It's such a relief to bake something really successful isn't it! Great to hear this adapts well - look forward to seeing what other flavour combos you've got in the pipeline.

Baking Addict said...

Love the flavour combinations! So glad that the cake worked out for you. It looks absolutely amazing.

Anne said...

Oh Sue I hope you saved me a slice! I love nutella, and the cake looks sooo good with the frosting on!

Glad you had a winner at last!!

Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Congratulations on a very successful cake! Definitely a brilliant choice of flavours. I always get my coffees with some hazelnut syrup. It looks gorgeous!

celia said...

Great job Suelle! That looks sooo moist and perfectly even - my layer cakes always end up wonky! :)

Maggie said...

This is my kind of cake - nuts, coffee and chocolate! The type of cake I wish you could get in coffee shops.