4 years old today – well, you know I’ve rebranded the blog from Jo Blogs Jo Bakes so really, Every Nook & Cranny is barely 2 months old. Whatever, let’s celebrate the 4 years of blogging that’s behind me now and the birth of a new image for my blog with a big fat slice of My Hazelnut Celebration Cake. A very special recipe to me.
Quite a number of years ago now, a colleague I worked with asked me to make a birthday cake for her little ferrero rocher obsessed girl’s birthday and despite my hands trembling with the fear of failure and disappointing a young lass on her special day, I set about creating the very first recipe I could truly call my own.
Working on a starting point of what I refer to to myself as a “200g cake” (aka 200g of eggs, butter, sugar and flour) I started practicing and after adding in ground toasted hazelnuts, I started changing proportions one at a time and experimenting with methods for creating the batter (I whisked the eggs and sugar together and even melted the butter to see what the texture would come out like). Once I’d cracked it, I made a whopper 9 inch round, two tier cake for my friend’s daughter and nervously dropped it off all the time hoping against hope I’d gotten it right for her. Luckily my fears were not realised and the little lass loved it. My confidence grew and when I saw a competition in the Tesco Food Club magazine back in 2010 to win a Kenwood stand mixer in exchange for submitting a recipe, I took another deep breath and posted my entry. The stakes were high – my best friend was having a tough time and I needed a way to bring a little sun into her life and being a
obsessive keen baker like me, but one without a stand mixer of her own, I entered for her.
And it won!
I still remember the day I found out – I had been in the gym and had an answerphone message waiting for me. Fearing, in my typically pessimistic way, bad news, I listened with trepidation but you can not believe the joy I felt when I heard the lass from Tesco calling to tell me I’d won and please could I let them know where to send the mixer. I screamed and still sweaty from the gym (sorry Moo!), ran around the corner to my friend’s flat and went supersonic as I squealed that I’d won her her own stand mixer! I had my Candy Apple KitchenAid (which is my engagement ring as I hate jewellery – Hungry Hubby knows me so well) and now Moo had her Kenwood on the way. She might not have been able to smile too much right then but I know how much it meant to her and like my Candy, her Ken graces her worktop to this day, even though her home is 200 mile away, not 200 yards any more.
As the blog has evolved, from a nervous but enthusiastic start, I’ve steadily moved away from recipe reviews to posting my own creations. If I won the Lotto tomorrow, I’d buy a big house for me and Hungry Hubby, build a test kitchen and studio and spend the rest of my days in the kitchen or behind the lens creating recipe after recipe. I’ve always preferred to live in the cloudless sky of my daydreams than the cold, harsh daylight of reality but believe firmly if you want something enough, you make it happen for yourself. Maybe one day that day dream will become my reality. Until then, at least we have cake!
Ethereal, light and fluffy sponge made with golden caster sugar and toasted then finely ground hazelnuts with a rich and luscious chocolate filling and covered with an elegant chocolate glaze. Back when this recipe was born, I used milk to get the right consistency but seeing as I have a weakness for the hazelnut liqueur Frangelico, I’ve added that into the recipe. For a sponge with such good amounts of butter and nuts, you won’t believe how light it turns out and when you take a nice big slice with the filling and glaze in one mouthful, you won’t believe just how like a ferrero rocher it is. If you wanted to decorate it with some of the Ambassador’s favourite treats to spoil his guests with, then you and I are clearly destined to be firm friends too.
Thanks for reading, baking and cooking with me over the last four years xxx
- 135g blanched hazelnuts
- 200g soft butter
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 100g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp milk
- 75g soft butter
- 150g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp (level) cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Upto 1 tbsp milk or Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
- 30-40 ml water
- 40g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 60g dark chocolate chips
- Start by toasting the nuts in a dry frying pan then when a little scorched around the edges, transfer to a food processor and blitz until you achieve the texture of ground almonds - don't go too far or it will form a paste as the oils come out of the nuts.
- Grease and line two deep 8 inch round loose bottomed cake tins.
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
- Beat the butter and sugar for the cake together until very light and fluffy - I give it a good ten minutes in my stand mixer on high.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, turning up to high as the eggs are incorporated to help prevent curdling - add a spoonful of flour if worried as you add them.
- Sift over the flour and raising agents then fold in.
- Add in the nuts and milk and fold once more - it won't look like much batter but it rises very well if the recipe is followed as stated. Divide between the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and no crumbs stick to a skewer inserted into the centre.
- Cool on a rack and make the glaze to give it time to firm up a little.
- Put the water*, caster sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, immediately take off the heat and stir in the chocolate (*= I quite like this runny so use 40 ml water but if you want it more spreadable add only 30ml). Beat until glossy with a spoon and leave to one side.
- Make the buttercream by placing everything in a food processor and blitzing until spreadable but still thick - add the liquid slowly.
- Sandwich the cakes together with buttercream and once the glaze has thickened to the texture of double cream (which can take half an hour on a hot day) pour straight from the pan in a steady stream in the centre of the cake. Allow drippage down the sides, encouraging by gently tilting the plate or cake stand if like (I do!).
- Keeps very well for several days covered with cling film, only put in the fridge if it is very hot.
- This recipe won a contest in the Tesco Food Club magazine back in 2010. I have changed the proportions to make an 8 inch two layered cake (the original was a whopping 9 inch two layer cake) but otherwise, it stands unchanged.