Choc-hazelnut caramel cake | Women’s Weekly Food
This crowd-sized cake is a real showstopper and elegant enough for a special occasion like The Weekly’s 90th birthday, for which it was developed.
Test Kitchen tip
We used a dark eating chocolate with 45% cocoa solids giving a rich chocolate flavour without being too bitter.
If you don’t want to use liqueur in the cake, substitute 60ml of strong black coffee.
For the best flavour and freshness, roast the hazelnut meal and the hazelnuts in a 160°C (140°C fan-forced) oven for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Cool before using.
Love baking? Take a look at our collection of classic baking ideas.
1.Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 26cm square cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
2.Combine chocolate, liqueur and cream in a medium saucepan. Stir over very low heat until almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth; cool to room temperature.
3.Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl or onto baking paper.
4.Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks in two batches, beating well after additions.
5.On low speed gradually beat in the chocolate mixture until combined, then fold in the hazelnut meal and flour mixture.
6.In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the extra sugar, beat until combined.
7.Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until combined. Spread cake mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
8.Bake for 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn off oven. Cool cake in oven with door ajar. When completely cold, turn cake onto a serving plate or cake stand.
9.CHOCOLATE BUTTER: Place the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until almost melted. Add softened butter and stir until silky and smooth. Remove bowl from pan; cool until a soft spreadable consistency.
10.With an offset palette knife, generously spread the top and sides of cake with chocolate butter, creating lush swirls.
11.CARAMEL HAZELNUTS: Tie kitchen string between two bottles; place baking paper underneath. Repeat with the other two bottles and more string. The string must be far enough off the bench so the caramel can drip unimpeded. Bend the top third of the toothpicks over so they snap, but don’t break off. Push the hazelnuts into the tips. Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush any sugar crystals from the side of the pan back into the syrup. Bring to the boil; boil, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until a deep golden colour. Remove from heat; allow bubbles to subside and the caramel to cool and thicken. Tilting the pan, dip hazelnuts, one at a time, into the caramel, then carefully hook the end of toothpick over the string, allowing caramel to drip off into long spikes. Stand at room temperature until set.
12.Top cake with caramel hazelnuts just before serving.
Cake suitable to freeze without the caramel hazelnuts.
Store the iced cake in an airtight containers at room temperature for 3 days. In humid conditions, make the caramel hazelnuts close to serving or else the toffee will melt.