When blogger friend, Cathy, Wives with Knives, added a "store" to her blog, I was excited. I knew for years that Cathy owns "The Bavarian Nut Company" in her native Oregon. Hazelnuts are in her store, so I knew I would have to have some. I have never lived where they are readily available year-round, so this was a treat.
I remember my grandmother using hazelnuts in her holiday baking, though I was not able to find any of her recipes. So I did a search, ended up combining several recipes, and came up with my own, so am giving no credit for this recipe. I will still be working on perfection, but the taste is so good, perhaps looks don't always count.
I ordered both hazelnut flour/meal and whole hazelnuts. I made two layers of cake. I halved the recipe and made one layer with whole hazelnuts that I ground and one layer using the the hazelnut meal/flour. The whole hazelnuts that I ground up made a much lighter layer. The meal/flour layer seemed a little more "sticky" and dense. I baked each batter in a 9 inch round cake pan. In retrospect, I would have used 3 cake pans instead of 2...sigh...you get the picture. Because of wanting the batter to be separate, I forged ahead.
I decided to add a layer of apricot jam to the top of each layer. I then added a spread of chocolate ganache between the layers, on top and down the sides. I had a little trouble controlling the ganache, getting it to the right consistency. It is 80 degrees today in Florida, the air conditioning is on. The cake now sits in the refrigerator. The ganache is stiffening. sigh. Still, it really does taste great. Of course, a small glass of Frangelico goes nicely with it also.
2 cups hazelnuts, ground
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons flour
Line the bottom of 3 round 9" cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans including the parchment paper on the bottoms. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
In food processor, blend the hazelnuts, sugar, flour and baking powder until the nuts are finely ground into a powder-like consistency and until everything is blended well.
Add 8 eggs and process well.
Pour into the cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove the cake layers to a cooling rack.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 pound finely chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and corn syrup to a boil over low moderate heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
After the ganache has cooled and slightly thickened, spread over the first layer of cake and continue adding the layers. Spread the frosting on top and over the sides of the cake.
In the photo above, the hazelnut meal/flour is the bottom layer and the hazelnuts that I ground are in the top layer. Either would work. I am so happy that Cathy offers such wonderful treats in her store. While shopping there, please be sure to pick up some of her Bavarian Roasted nuts. I can definitely cheer for the almonds!!!
Now here is the good news! Cathy at Wives with Knives has graciously offered a giveaway of a bag of her wonderful cinnamon almonds and a bag of hazelnut flour/meal. All you have to do is run over to her store and come back here and leave a comment and tell me what you like best from her Bavarian Nut Store, and you will be entered. This giveaway will close at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, December 14. This will give Cathy time to mail your treats before Christmas. Hurry on over now to The Bavarian Nut Company.