As you can see from the Christmas decorations in the background this was a cake I made for a pre Christmas dinner we hosted. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut and try to sneak ground hazelnuts into a lot of cakes I make. This particular recipe is quite interesting as the base of the cake is meringue which is pre-baked and then topped with a chocolate cake batter before being baked again. It has the consistency and texture of a torte rather than a regular chocolate cake which elevates it into a sweet worthy of dessert. Once the cake has been topped with the chocolate expresso ganache it needs to be chilled in the fridge, so it’s a great make ahead dessert for a dinner party. The topping of fresh raspberries not only looks great but they pair brilliantly with the chocolate.
Ingredients – Serves 10-12 Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
6 large eggs, separated
330gm caster sugar
180gm hazelnut meal
20gm Dutch-process cocoa, sieved
160gm softened butter
250gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), melted
30ml espresso-strength coffee
300g raspberries for top of cake
160ml pouring cream
20ml espresso-strength coffee
180gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
20ml chocolaté liqueur, optional
Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes). Gradually add 165gm sugar, whisking until stiff and glossy (3-4 minutes), then fold in hazelnut meal and cocoa. Meanwhile, line base and sides of a buttered 25cm-diameter springform cake tin with baking paper, spoon hazelnut meringue mixture into prepared tin, smooth top and bake until a skewer inserted withdraws clean (15-20 minutes), then set aside.
Beat butter and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy (4-5 minutes), then add yolks one at a time, beating well to combine. Stir in melted chocolate and coffee, then pour onto meringue and bake until centre is firm (25-30 minutes). Refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours).
For espresso ganache, bring cream and coffee to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, remove from heat, add chocolate and liqueur, stir until smooth. Pour over cake, smooth top. Refrigerate until set (1-2 hours). To serve, remove cake from tin, remove paper and serve topped with raspberries.