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RECIPE: Hazelnut Crunch Cake

June 1st National Hazelnut Cake Day (see all of the food holidays). We used to make one every year with a delicious, but alas discontinued, white chocolate hazelnut cake mix from The King’s Cupboard (which still makes some of the best chocolate and caramel sauces, including organic and sugar-free varieties).

So we had to search for a recipe, and found this stunner by Ashlae of Oh, Lady Cakes, which is dairy free and vegan.

Ashlae also does a great job with cookies and other desserts. Take a look at her Facebook photos and decide what you want to bake.

We are not handy with frosting, so we shy away from cakes that require the skill.

But while this cake is a beauty, it requires only a “naked cake” frosting—a slick of frosting we applied with a spatula.

You don’t have to make the hazelnut truffles on top of the cake, either: A sprinkle of hazelnuts will do. (Or, if it’s a party, assign the truffles to someone else.)

For the truffle recipe, and more delicious photos, see the original recipe.

As they say on The Great British Baking Show: Ready, set, bake!

RECIPE: HAZELNUT CRUNCH CAKE

Ingredients

For The Hazelnut Cake

  • 3 cups (395g) unbleached cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) roasted hazelnut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups (305g) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) hazelnut liqueur
  • 2 cups (420g) hazelnut creamer
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (optional)
  •  
    Vanilla Bean Frosting Option 1

  • 3 cups (330g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 3/4 cup (150g) refined coconut oil, melted but not hot
  •  
    Vanilla Bean Frosting Option 2

  • 1 cup (180g) non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1-2 tablespoons (14-28g) unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 cups (330g) powdered can sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  •  
    Plus

  • 1/2 batch salted chocolate truffles (see notes above)
  • Toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of three round 6″ cake pans with parchment paper; then spray with oil and coat with sifted flour; set aside.

    2. SIFT together in a small mixing bowl the flour, baking powder and sea salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract.

     

    Hazelnut Layer Cake Recipe

    Hazelnut Layer Cake

    Hazelnuts In Bowl

    Shelled Hazelnuts

    [1] and [2] A beautiful layer cake topped with chocolate hazelnut truffles, from Ashlae of Oh, Lady Cakes. [3] Hazelnuts in the shell (photo courtesy Loacker USA). [4] Shelled and ready to toast or eat (photo courtesy Better Herbal Health).

     
    Alternate between adding the creamer and the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mixing after each addition; add one third of the creamer followed by half of the flour and repeat the process ending with the creamer. Whisk batter just until combined (don’t whisk too much or else you’ll overwork the gluten and your cake will be rubbery); then fold in the toasted hazelnuts.

    3. POUR the batter into the prepared cake pans, level with the back of a spoon, then tap the pans on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake at 350°F for 36-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. While the cake layers are cooling…

    4. PREPARE the vanilla bean frosting. Ashlae prefers the coconut oil recipe but cautions that it does dry out pretty quickly and is somewhat unstable: It melts if the room temperature is higher than 80°F. Option #2, with shortening, stays soft for a while.

  • For the coconut oil frosting (option 1): Sift the powdered sugar and the vanilla bean powder into a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the coconut oil until smooth.
  • For the shortening frosting (option 2), add the shortening and almond milk to a large mixing bowl and, using a hand mixer on high speed, beat just until combined. Sift the powdered sugar and vanilla bean powder over top then beat until smooth and creamy.
  •  
    Alternatively, you can use vanilla buttercream.

    5. ASSEMBLE the cake: Level the layers, then place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Add a generous portion of frosting with a wide spatula. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting. Using an offset spatula, smooth the frosting around the cake. Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and truffles. Serve, adding one of the remaining truffles to slices that didn’t get one of the garnish truffles..

    The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to three days. Ashlae cleverly uses a large pot topped off with a silicone lid.

      




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