December 20, 2008
The Cake Slice: Chocolate-Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake
A cake tailor-made for the holiday season! The Chocolate-Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake is composed of three layers of sponge cake made from finely ground toasted hazelnuts, graham cracker crumbs and grated chocolate. The cake was moistened with Rum Syrup and filled and frosted with Creme Chantilly.
This is the first time I've seen graham cracker crumbs used in a cake. I thought it was so unusual, I usually see 'em in cheesecake crusts but not in a cake batter. I could only find cinnamon-flavored graham crackers in the market so I omitted the pumpkin pie spice.
The recipe also asked for skinned hazelnuts and I only have raw ones (with skins). So D did some research (read: Google) for me and found you can skin hazelnuts by adding them to boiling water mixed with 3 tablespoons baking soda for 3-4 minutes then drained and put in an ice-bath. The skins will then slip right off. If you do this, be sure to use a larger pot than the one i used (pictured) to avoid a mess on your stove. I didn't realize bubbles will foam up once you add the nuts in the water. The foam almost boiled over and I'm sure it would have made a big mess!
The book noted to frost the cake 6 to 8 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. So I baked the layers the night before, filled and frosted it the following morning and let it set in the fridge for the day. The cake was served at my big brother's birthday dinner and it was a hit! My cousin, who is a Ferrero Rocher fanatic, already requested this for her birthday.
One more thing, I also omitted the rum in the Rum Syrup because of my kids. Just add the rum to your coffee when you have this cake ;-). Oh, and one more thing, from now on I will start calling vanilla-scented, sweetened whipped cream "Creme Chantilly" -- sounds so much better! I doubled the recipe for Creme Chantilly because (again) of my kids. They can't get enough of this stuff!