This is one of my all time favourite cakes. It’s not difficult to make but looks impressive and freezes well. Just slice it, separate the slices with parchment paper, place on a tray and pop the tray into the freezer. Once frozen, put the slices into a freezer box or bag and return to the freezer. It will keep for about 3 months.
Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake
For the sponge
4 large eggs
2 tbsp water
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g ground, roasted hazelnuts
1 ½ tsp baking powder
For the filling
150g ground, roasted hazelnuts
500ml double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
4 tbsp Nutella, slightly warmed to soften
For the decoration
100g chopped, roasted hazelnuts
12-16 whole hazelnuts, roasted
150 ml double cream
2 tsp caster sugar
1 – 1½ tsp cocoa powder
Line and grease a 26cm springform. Preheat the oven to 160Cfan/180C.
Place the eggs, water, sugar and vanilla essence into a mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. You could also do this in a large bowl with handheld electric beaters.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder and mix in the hazelnuts.
Carefully fold the flour and hazelnut blend into the egg mixture, trying to keep as much of the air in as possible.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Cut the cake into three equal layers.
Beat the cream, sugar and cocoa powder until stiff but still spreadable. Fold in the hazelnuts.
Sandwich the first two cake layers together with a layer of hazelnut cream, followed by a layer of Nutella. Cover with the third sponge and cover the top and sides of the cake with hazelnut cream.
Cover the sides of the cake with the roasted chopped hazelnuts.
For the decoration, beat together the cream, sugar and cocoa powder until stiff but still soft enough to pipe. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe on swirls onto the top of the cake and top with a whole hazelnut.
The cake is best eaten at room temperature but can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.