Wednesday, 12 August 2009

hazelnut white chocolate cake

hazelnut white chocolate cake wedge

Dear hazelnut white chocolate cake,

You have ruined my life.

There was a time when my family appreciated the baking I did for them. They 'ooh'ed and 'ahh'ed over Daring Baker challenges, and called things 'masterpieces', and stole sneaky squares out of cake tins in the middle of the night. They gave me actual useful feedback (well, some of them did: my little sister's idea of feedback is a scale of comparison to spaghetti carbonara). They suggested ideas for future baking, and so on. They said I didn't have to do the washing up, since I'd cooked. That was my favourite bit.

And then you came along.

hazelnut white chocolate cake

At first all seemed well. 'This is the best cake you've ever made!' my mother declared, cutting herself a second wedge. I thought ruefully of the hours of multiple-stage gateaux that have filled my life thus far, but did not complain. 'You have to make this cake every week from now on', my sister ordered me, with her mouth full.

I laughed. Oh, in my innocence, I laughed.

But I cannot escape you, hazelnut white chocolate cake! Not a day goes by without your squidgy, nutty memory haunting my every step. I write 'rhubarb' and 'flaked almonds' on the shopping list: my family crosses it out and writes 'hazelnuts' and 'white chocolate'! I mention my approaching birthday: they suggest a hazelnut white chocolate birthday cake! I point out that we are celebrating me here, not cake: they point out that they love the cake more than they love me. I retort, sulkily, that it is not THAT good a cake: they beat me with spatulas and locked me in my bedroom.

You see my predicament.

cross section

Oh, I too was charmed by you initially, hazelnut white chocolate cake. I too licked cream cheese frosting from my spatula and concluded, 'that's a pretty good cake'. Your dense, blondie-esque texture certainly appealed to me - but I swear this now, I am no longer taken in! I alone can resist your siren call!

If there is but one way to free myself from your power, my cake-y nemesis, I will seize it. And there is truly only one thing to do:

Bakers, Food-Bloggers, and Hungry Passerbys.

Take this recipe for hazelnut white chocolate cake! Take it to your kitchens, your hard-drive, your culinary-minded friends! Take it far from me, from my treacherous family: bake it, frost it, lick the batter from your KitchenAid paddle (oh, don't even try to pretend it's just me who does that). Our combined force is greater than the sway of this cake! We are stronger than it is!

...And, if it comes to it, we can eat it. Take THAT!

hazelnut white chocolate cake

Hazelnut White Chocolate Cake
Adapted from BBC Good Food magazine

It is true: this cake has thoroughly usurped my place in the family. In all honesty, I was a little taken aback at what a hit it was; while I did find it delicious, my family's reaction was something else. I have to warn you: this has got some very cross reviews on the Good Food website (people with their cakes tasting funny or not cooking properly), but, as always, I can only tell you that it was a big success for me.

The original recipe had 300g of sugar: this sounded a hell of a lot to me, especially with white chocolate in the mix, so I reduced it down to 200g. It certainly didn't need to be any higher (unless you have a chronically sweet tooth), but neither would I go any lower than 200g, I think. I wasn't sure if sugar affects the blondie-like texture of a cake like this; does anyone know if it makes a difference?

250g (1c. + 1tbsp) butter , plus a little extra for greasing
(5oz) white chocolate , broken into pieces
(1 c.) milk
1 tsp vanilla
(9oz) self-raising flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
(7oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

for the frosting:
300g (10oz) full-fat cream cheese
(2/3 stick) butter , softened
(4oz) icing sugar , sifted
(2oz) hazelnuts, finely chopped

1. Heat oven to 160C. Grease a deep 9" cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Place the butter, white chocolate, milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan, then heat gently, stirring, until melted. Combine the flour, bicarb and sugar in a large bowl with a pinch of salt, then stir in the melted ingredients and eggs until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into the tin, then bake for 1 hr, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. [Because of the sugar content, the original recipe may get quite a dark crust; let it cook fully. My version is less dark as I reduced the sugar]. Cool in the tin. Once cool, the cake can be wrapped in cling film and foil, then frozen for up to 1 month.

4. To make the frosting, beat together the creamy cheese, butter and icing sugar until smooth. Fold in most of the nuts, spread over the cake, then scatter over the remaining nuts to finish.

hazelnut white chocolate cake


morgana said...

Oh, my. Since the first time a baked "whities" (white chocolate browniws) I think I understand you very well.

I always thought hazelnuts went better with black chocolate but maybe I must give white its opportunity too.

However, I'll keep in mind your warnings, of course.

PastryPal said...

Now that it's unleashed, I say it's better to just roll with it. ;)

I see why you'd reduce the sugar, as I hate overly sweet stuff too, but it does affect the rise and texture of baked goods. If you used the full amount, the cake might be airier and more tender, but it already sounds like this version's got you by the jugular.

grace said...

you are just too amusing, indigo. this has been the most enjoyable blog post--thanks for that. what i don't thank you for is introducing me to what will surely become an obsession. :)

maybelle's mom said...

great post. and, i do think it could be worse--they might have wanted opera cake for every birthday. (some of the tasters at work dream of more opera cake.)

Sam@BingeNYC said...

Oh my goodness. Such a pretty cake, and I'm not even a white chocolate fan. Looks delicious.

Liz said...

This post made me laugh! I love hazelnuts but have never had them with white chocolate--have to give it a try.

Maria♥ said...

Haha, your hilarious Indigo!

I love the sound and look of this cake and it does look very moreish.


Ingrid_3Bs said...

Oh, yes, I want to be taken over by this cake! Sounds divine! Seriously blondies rein supreme in my house. With this cake I will be put on a pedestal if at least for however long the cake lasts. :)

Thanks for sharing!
~ingrid said...

I loved the way you wrote this post!

The cake looks delicious! A great recipe to try to start off the weekend!

Poorni Pillai said...

Hahaha, that's the funniest plea I've a cake! Cute! I just made a white chocolate tart- what a coincidence! I know how delicious the flavor is, so I can't blame your family for torturing you with this ;)

Adam said...

And such is the life of an awesome baker, huh? It's just terrible to be great at making cakes :)

Thanks for the heads up though, I'm going to be avoiding this cake, especially around any females. I don't want them to get too attached :)

Abitofafoodie said...

It looks amazing. Absolutely amazing. I daren't bake it. It sounds dangerous...

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Noted. Have taken on board. Funny how something so unexpected can be a hit. But there are soooo many delicious new things to bake. You can't just stop at one!!

Kerstin said...

I love the hazelnuts right in the frosting! It does look amazing, but now I'm scared to try it after your warning... lol :)

Tres Jolie Studios said...

Really cute post. That cake does look mighty good. Unfortunately my partner does not eat sweets so I would be eating the whole thing and it sounds just way too dangerous!

peasepudding said...

I don't dare bake it even though it looks so delicious! Ever since I had my Blog I have annoyed everyone with my comment "oh no I can't bake something twice'! Maybe I could bake it and delete your blog address from my 'favourites' but then I would miss your humorous bloging so the recipe will have to stay in the ether a little longer!

Sarah said...

Wow. I made this cake and it was delicious!! I actually served it warm and it just made the flavors pop. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Lori said...

That sure does look mega-delicious. I am a fool for hazelnut.

Marisa said...

Oh my goodness - I think this is the first time I laughed out loud while reading a recipe! I LOVE your blog and your writing style & I'm sure I'll LOVE your evil hazelnut white chocolate cake.

To cake!

Leslie said...

I would love to dive into that cake!

Anonymous said...

Made this recently, it was TO DIE FOR. Best cake I have ever made. I added more sugar into the frosting (no exact measurement, just added it to taste) because the cake seemed a little less sweet than I would like. That being said, I would do it the same way again because I think the icing having most of the sweetness worked well.

Picture here:

smith said...
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smith said...
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matheli said...

I like this cake and i hope some other people agree with me.
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