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Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with a Dark Rum Ganache

Posted Jan 20 2012 3:14pm
When mother nature decides to deal some crappy weather, it is important to eat chocolate in order to keep your spirits high. For me, chocolate is an everyday food. I like to eat a square or two daily. I find it mentally soothing. When mother nature dumps on me, I need something more than a piece of chocolate to lift my spirits. I need something a bit more complicated, with a chocolate factor of at least 9. Chocolate hazelnut cake with a dark rum ganache totally fits into this category. 

It has been snowing in Seattle since Saturday. That's seven whole days of mother nature's wrath. If I was back home this amount of snow would be considered piddly, but because I live in Seattle, it's a big deal. I've been trapped in my house since Saturday, because there are no plows to plow the side streets, no shovels to clear the side walks. There's been a nice mixture of snow and rain, which combined with frigid temperatures has left a thick layer of ice on top of snow on top of ice. Today it is raining, and the temperature has risen. Now all the snow is melting and turning into slush. Rain boots are a necessity.

On Monday, the snow was light and fluffy and beautiful. People were clearing their steps with leaf blowers. Passerby's were wearing spring coats and ski goggles. Others were carrying umbrellas. People were cross country skiing down the streets while others rode their bicycles. Today I saw a man wearing a winter coat and a pair of Hawaiian shorts. Mother nature brings out the bonkers in people.

This week, I haven't really left my apartment. I stayed inside the warm and toasty confines of my living space and ate chocolate hazelnut cake for dinner. Mother nature has also given me a reason to not workout. For that, I love her.

Before I bid adieu, I have to tell you a few important things about this cake. This cake is made up of four parts. A devils food cake made with a hint of coffee, a whipped hazelnut ganache filling, a thick layer of chopped hazelnuts, and a dark rum ganache outer layer. This cake is the cake of all cakes. It's sexy and divine.

(recipe makes two 9 inch cakes)
recipe adapted from  Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 30 - 35 minutes

Chocolate Cake Ingredients
2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted3/4 cup dutched cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups superfine or caster sugar1 tsp salt1 1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda2 large eggs, room temperature1/2 cup canola oil1 cup whole milk1 cup coffee, hot
Dark Chocolate Ganache Ingredients8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp dark rum
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup hazelnut spread
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut out two circles using parchment paper and Line the bottom of two 9 inch round cake pans. Spray  the parchment paper and sides of the pans with a non-stick cooking spray. 
3. In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder. Next add the sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir with a wire whisk until all of the ingredients have been combined. Set to the side.

4. In a small french press, steep 8 ounce of coffee (any variety).

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on low speed (4), for 20 seconds. Add the oil and beat for one minutes. Then, add the milk and beat for one more minute. Increase the speed to medium (6) and beat for two more minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add one cup of coffee. Mix until combined.

6. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until moistened. Do not over-mix.
7. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. The cake is finished when it has peeled back from the edges of the pan, springs back when touched, and a toothpick is inserted and removed clean.

8. Remove the cake pans from the oven and let cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and gently lift out with a spatula or cake lifter. Let cool on a wire rack.
9. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Cut 8 ounces of chocolate into pieces and place into a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a whisk. Add the hazelnut spread and whisk until combined. Put the bowl in an ice bath for 5 minutes to cool the chocolate. Next, beat the chocolate and cream until you have a whipped ganache with a similar consistency to butter cream icing.

10. Place one of the cake layers onto a circular piece of cardboard cut into the same shape of the cake. Spread 1/2 of the whipped ganache onto the bottom layer and then smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and then place the other cake layer on top.

11. Cover the top and the sides with the rest of the whipped ganache icing. Smooth it out with a spatula and then place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

12.  In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Cut 8 ounces of chocolate into pieces and place into a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, add the rum, and then stir with a whisk. Let cool for 5 minutes in an ice bath.

13. Place the cake onto a cooling rack that has been placed over top of a baking pan. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake making sure to cover the sides. The excess chocolate should drip into the baking pan below the rack. Decorate with whole hazelnuts and let the cake set for 10 minutes.

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