Chocolate hazelnut tor te
A lot of people ask me the difference between a cake and a torte. Tortes are made with ground nuts, eggs and little or no flour. Leave the ganache off if you like – it will still be lovely. Just scatter whole hazelnuts over the batter before it goes in the oven. SERVES 10-12
250g good-quality dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
200g roasted hazelnuts, skins removed
50g hazelnut or almond meal 225g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster suar 6 eggs, separated
150g good quality dark chocolate
150ml sour cream 60g whole hazelnuts
1 Preheat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced). Line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper or do it the old-fashioned way and butter and flour the tin.
2 Prepare the chocolate and hazelnuts by chopping them separately in a food processor. They should be as fine as possible (like powder). Combine them in a bowl with the hazelnut or almond meal and set aside.
3 Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and two-thirds of the sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. While continuing to beat, add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Now add the finely chopped hazelnut and chocolate and mix on low speed for about 1 minute until combined.
4 Wash your mixer bowl so it is scrupulously clean for the egg whites and fit the whisk attachment. Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk on medium speed until soft ribbons form. Start adding the remaining sugar gradually, and continue adding a little at a time over a 2-minute period, whisking until the meringue is thick and glossy.
5 Fold the meringue through the hazelnut mixture, one-third at a time. Ordinarily I would say leave a few streaks of egg white remaining in the batter for lightness, but this cake turns out better if the egg whites are almost whipped back into the butter mixture. Because of the natural oils in the hazelnuts the batter will try to separate (like when a mixture curdles) but a swift whip when adding the egg whites will help emulsify everything nicely. This is why we add the nut meal; we are, in effect, introducing a flour to absorb the oils and allow the butter to meld with the nuts and chocolate.
6 Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with a spoon. Bake for 1 hour or until the centre of the cake bounces back when pressed with your finger. Add another 15 minutes if you are baking the larger size. This cake cannot be tested with a skewer because the centre is so molten with chocolate it will give a false indicator to readiness. I would highly recommend baking this cake on the bare racks of your oven (no tray underneath) to maximise the heat reaching the base of the cake tin. This heat will caramelise the bottom of the cake and add to the cake’s texture.
7 Leave the torte to cool in the tin for a few hours or overnight, then invert the tin to “tap” the cake out and place it right-side up on your serving platter. It will most likely sink a little in the middle as it cools. Don’t panic. Just press down the outside edges before spreading the ganache.
8 CHOCOLATE GANACHE Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until it is quite hot. Give the sour cream a little mix and then remove the chocolate from the pan and fold through the sour cream. The ganache will set immediately, enabling you to pipe it evenly over the top of the cake. Using a piping bag fitted with a 11mm plain nozzle, pipe a circle of the ganache neatly around the circumference of the top of the cake then spiral your way into the centre until the top is evenly covered. Alternatively, you can use an offset palette knife and spread the ganache over the top.
TO DECORATE Scatter the whole hazelnuts over the top to decorate.
Nadine’s tip: This cake is a keeper! It’s good for 4-5 days at room temperature. Just be sure to cover it so it doesn’t dry out around the outside.
EXTRACTED FROMFLOUR AND STONE BY NADINE INGRAM, PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER AUSTRALIA, RRP $55, OR NZ$65.