A scorcher

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I made two of these cakes on the weekend – one for Donat’s birthday (happy birthday, Donat!), and the other for Bruno’s parents to sell at the local jazz festival (every year they have a fundraiser stall selling home-made cakes).

The cake is an easy-peasy flourless choccy cake (hazelnuts rather than almonds), slathered in ganache (chocolate and cream melted and then beaten together) and adorned with scorched hazelnuts.

I tried to make this cake a few weeks ago but buggered up the ganache. This time all went fine thanks to the old ‘bowl-over-a-pot-of-simmering-water’ trick.

It was pretty delicious! Very rich, though, so only small slices needed for full chocolate overload.

Scorched Hazelnut and Chocolate cake

– Make the cake.

– Scorch the hazelnuts (1 packet? depends on how many hazelnuts you want on your cake) by toasting them (medium heat) either in the oven or in a dry pan – be careful not to burn them, and make sure you turn or toss them every few minutes.

– Make the ganache:

150 ml double cream

150g dark bitter chocolate, broken into smallish pieces

1 tsp butter

1 tsp vanilla essence

– Slowly melt the ingredients together in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water.

– When all has melted together smoothly, take off the heat and whisk until it is thick and glossy.

– Leave to cool until of the required consistency for icing the cake (if you want just a thin layer, use it when it is still runny-ish; if you want a thick layer, wait until it is quite cool etc etc)

– Put it all together by smearing great spoonfuls of ganache onto the cake with a palette knife, and then pressing the nuts into the icing.

– If the day is hot, beware: you might find your ganache melting a little and your hazelnuts making a break for the underside of the cake (like mine did before I put it in the fridge for a half an hour or so). Best to keep it in a cool place or the fridge until just before you need it. Bring it out 15 or 20 mins before eating to bring it to room temperature.

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