Choc-hazelnut celebration cake
serves 20 | prep 50 mins (+ cooling & chilling time) | cooking 1 hour 15 mins
500g (5 cups) hazelnut meal 500g caster sugar 12 egg whites 2 tbs cornflour 2 tsp vanilla essence 12 hazelnuts, skins removed 125g white sugar 2 tbs water
300ml thick double cream 300g dulce de leche
350g dark chocolate, chopped 350ml double cream
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan forced. Cut 4 sheets of baking paper to fit a large baking tray. Draw a 22cm and 18cm circle on each sheet. Place 2 sheets onto 2 large baking trays. 2 Combine hazelnut meal and 200g of the caster sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Use electric beaters with a whisk attachment to whisk 6 egg whites until firm peaks form. Whisk in half the remaining caster sugar, half the cornflour and half the vanilla essence. Fold in half the hazelnut meal mixture until combined. Divide among the 4 circles on 2 baking trays, spreading to fill circles. Bake for 30 minutes, swapping trays halfway through cooking. Cool on wire racks. 3 Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with the remaining eggwhites, caster sugar, cornflour, vanilla and hazelnut meal mixture to make 4 more discs (two 22cm and two 18cm). You will have 8 discs. Cool on wire racks. 4 To make filling, use electric beaters to beat the cream in a bowl until thick. Gradually beat in dulce de leche a little at a time until combined. Cover and place in the fridge to chill until required. 5 To make ganache, stir chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until thick enough to whisk. Use a balloon whisk to whisk until spreadable. 6 Meanwhile, insert a toothpick into each hazelnut. Cook white sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Simmer, without stirring, for 8 minutes or until golden. Plunge base of pan into cold water to stop cooking process. Dip each hazelnut into syrup and pull up to make long, thin ‘tails’ of caramel. Cool on baking paper until set. Remove toothpicks. 7 Sandwich the 22cm cakes together with filling. Sandwich the 18cm cakes with filling. Place small stack in the centre of the large stack. Spread ganache all over cake. Top with toffee hazelnuts.