Updated: Jun 9, 2021
As I was doing some spring cleaning recently, I found these nougat tins that I bought ages ago but never used them! So for this Hazelnut cake, I have decided to deflower my brand new tins that has been neglected for so long. :(
This recipe is a standard recipe that can be baked into a 180 mm x 180mm square cake tin and decorated with the ganache on top by spreading them with a palette knife. What I like about this cake is actually how moist it is. It may seem a little unconventional baking them in individual tins but feel free to use this recipe for any type of baking pans or tins.
NOTE: It is recommended that you prepare the cake and ganache a day ahead before assembling.
YIELD: 5 x (250mm x 40 mm x 30 mm) mini log cakes
110 g Almond meal /Hazelnut meal
80 g Light brown Sugar
55 g Eggs
40 g Icing Sugar
60 g Plain Flour
4 g Baking Powder
110 g Unsalted Butter
1 pinch Salt
120 g Egg white (B)
25 g Castor Sugar
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
150 g Whipping Cream 35% Fat
120 g Gianduja
90 g Hazelnut paste
30 g Madagascar Dark Chocolate 67% Cacao
Dark Chocolate Coating
500 g Dark Coverture chocolate
50 g Canola oil
50 g Toasted hazelnuts - finely chopped
Qs Toasted Hazelnuts- halved - for decoration
To assemble this cake, it is best to prepare the ganache and cake a day ahead and assemble the next day. The cake can be baked and be left in the freezer until ready to be dipped frozen. The chocolate coating can be prepared 30 minutes before assembly. If you are preparing the coating a day prior, simple heat it to the required temperature when you are ready to use it.
For the Ganache
Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a mere simmer to around 80 -85°C. Combine the Milk Gianduja chocolate, hazelnut paste and Madagascar chocolate in a separate bowl.
When the cream is ready, pour over the chocolate mixture and leave for 1 minute. Stir the ganache with a spatula until all the chocolate have fully melted. With the help of a stick blender, emulsify then place a cling film touching the surface and leave the ganache at cool place at room temperature overnight to allow the chocolate to crystalize and come to a pipeable consistency.
Note: If your kitchen is particularly hot during preparation, you can spread the ganache out on a tray and place a cling film over touching the surface of the ganache and cool in the fridge. Note that it takes roughly around 2 to 3 hours depending on the temperature of your fridge for the ganache to firm up to pipeable consistency. If you are cooling the ganache in the fridge you will need to have the baked and frozen cake ready to pipe on the cake on the same day otherwise the ganache will be too hard to pipe.
For the Cake
1. Pre line each baking loaf tin by spraying some oil then place parchment paper in the tin with both sides overhanging to allow easy release after the cake is baked.
Meanwhile pre heat the oven to 150°C at fan force.
2. Make beurre noisette/ hazelnut butter by placing the butter into a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to boil while continuously stirring gently ensuring that the bottom do not catch and burn. Once it starts to turn to a light brown in color and have a nutty aroma, remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the beurre noissette in a clean bowl and set aside to cool completely. There will be some brown residues in the butter, you can strain it out or use them for the extra flavor.
3. Place the ground almond meal, salt, brown sugar and icing sugar into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix over low speed to combine. Gradually add the egg and continue to mix until the mixture comes together into a sticky batter.
4. Add in the rest of the sifted dry ingredients (plain flour and baking powder). Mix to combine then gradually stream in the cooled beurre noisette. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are well combined and the batter is smooth. Set the batter aside and proceed to preparing the meringue.
5. Place the egg whites into a clean stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Start by whisking the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy and there are no signs of watery egg whites left. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar while whisking.
Once all the sugar have been added, increase the mixing speed to high and continue to whisk until you reach a stiff meringue.
6. Fold the meringue into the cake batter with a spatula until the mix are well incorporated. Divide the mixture in to the pre lined baking tin to 5 x 100 g.
7. Bake in the pre heated oven at 170°C for around 25 to 30 minutes or when tested with a skewer it comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let it fully cool before wrapping them with cling film and stored in the freezer overnight until ready to assemble.
Note: If you are unable to find the individual mini loaf tin, you can spread the sponge mix out on to a similar size baking tray with parchment paper and bake it as a whole cake. Once baked, let the cake cool then wrap the cake still in the tin and place it in the freezer. Once the cake is firm enough to cut, cut in to individual strips and proceed the next steps as instructed. You can also bake the sponge in an individual silicone mould. Allow the cake to fully cool before attempting to remove from the mould.
For the Dark Chocolate Coating
Melt the chocolate to 40 °C then stir in the oil and finely chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Prepare the sponge cake. Remove from the baking tin and place in the freezer to harden.
Pipe the ganache on top of the frozen sponge then insert toothpick on both ends to allow you to lift the cake and dip the bottom part of the sponge into the chocolate coating. Decorate with the toasted hazelnuts. Let cake come to temperature before serving.
Note: It is easier to dip the cake while still frozen for easy handling.