Monday, September 16, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Mousse

It was was about 1986, it was my birthday and my boyfriend (actually he was my fiancé at the time), took me to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  At the end of the meal our fortune cookies came.
Mine said, "Your luck will soon change."

On the ride home this boy I was madly in love with said, "I'm getting married in two months and not to you.  And, I want the ring back."

Yep, I'd say that was a change in luck...and I'm still trying to figure out if my luck changed for the better or for the worse?

I make it a rule never to eat chines and get fortune cookies on my birthday.

We had a friend over for her birthday.  It was a big one, the kind with a 0 at the end.  We grilled steaks and opened a great bottle of wine (or two) and I made chocolate-hazelnut cake with Nutella Mousse.  It was a special way to top off the evening, no fortunes required.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Mousse
Cook like a Rock Star, Anne Burrell

For the Cake:
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut paste (I couldn't find this in Fairbanks, so I ground hazelnuts into butter and used that)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Butter and flour a 9 inch square pan.

In food processor pulse the hazelnuts until coarsely chopped.  Reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, hazelnuts paste, and vanilla.  Using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Add baking powder, salt, and cocoa, beat until combined.

Gradually add the flour, stopping the beater when it is just combined.  Fold 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts into the batter, reserving the rest for garnish.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, remove cake from pan and let cool completely.

For the Mousse:

1 1/2 cups Nutella
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Nutella and mascarpone.

In another large bowl, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, use an electric mixer, trust me.

Add a spoonful of whipped cream to the Nutella mixture and stir until you don't see any streaks.
Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the remaining whipped cream into the Nutella mixture.  Lift the mixture gently from underneath, bring the spatula up, turn it over and fold the mixture over as you rotate the bowl slowly.  You want to keep this fluffy and not squish all the air out of the whipped cream.  Repeat two more times with the remaining whipped cream.

To Assemble the Cakes:
Cut the cakes into 3" rounds and slice each round in half horizontally.

Pipe or spread Nutella mousse on the bottom half of the cake, where you cut it, sprinkle a few chopped hazelnuts, top with top half of cake, pipe or spread Nutella mousse on top, sprinkle with more hazelnuts.  Serve immediately.

September 16, 2013    Daylight: 12 hours, 54 minutes, 57 seconds   Temp: H 52/ L 28ºF

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