Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gluten-free Hazelnut Cake with Cocoa Whipped Cream

One day I was at a local bulk food store called Galloway's where they were sampling a delicious hazelnut cake. Luckily, they were also offering a recipe card with the sample.

When I noticed how simple the recipe was I was determined to make it. Not only was it perfectly moist and scrumptious, it happened to be gluten-free.

I always want to tinker with recipes, but this is one recipe that didn't need much improvement.  My only "improvement", if it could be said at all, was to use the technique for cocoa whipped cream from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Cake Bible. Rose Beranbaum suggests mixing cocoa and whipped cream beforehand and sticking it in the fridge before whipping. So instead of getting flecks of dry cocoa in the whipped cream, you extract the most flavour from the cocoa by helping it dissolve or "bloom" a bit.

This cake was a bit of a revelation to me (and others who have tried it) as it seems impossible to get such an amazing cake from such few ingredients. No butter? No oil? Really?

I'm pretty sure that the cake would be perfectly delicious with a simple dusting of cocoa. But if you choose to go with the frosting, don't blame me if you suddenly develop a serious addiction to this simple hazelnut cocoa cake!

(Note: This cake takes mere minutes to pop in the oven and can easily be made for a quick dessert but it is really good the day after too!)

Hazelnut Cake with Cocoa Whipped Cream
Although you can buy pre-ground hazelnuts or hazelnut flour to save time, the flavour of fresh roasted and ground hazelnuts is far superior. Toast fresh hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Then process in food processor or high speed blender.

2 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts (or filberts) *or approximately 2 cups whole hazelnuts, toasted and ground*
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter and flour a 8 or 9" cake pan. (I like to line with parchment paper too for easier release).
3. Mix hazelnut flour, sugar and baking powder. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time- mixing well after each addition.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until tester comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
5. Let cake cool then cut into 2 layers.
6. Place one layer on cake plate, spread with half the cocoa whipped cream and then top with second layer and additional cocoa whipped cream.

Cocoa Whipped Cream
This simple frosting is perfect and could find use on cupcakes, angel food cake, or straight from the bowl...

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tbsp cane sugar
3 T cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients together in jar or bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. Beat mixture until soft peaks form.