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Author Notes: This is a fluffy, not to sweet layer cake with a perfect balance between hazelnuts and cocoa powder. The pears is soft but not mushy, which make them perfect as a filling.
Note: Cocoa hazelnut cake recipe is from My Name is Yeh(http://mynameisyeh.com...).
The original recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of sugar and 1/2 of cocoa powder. I like my cake less sweet with a stronger cocoa flavor. If you are used to "normal" cakes, I'll suggest increasing the amount of sugar called for in this recipe. I also used unsweetened hazelnut milk to intensify the hazelnut flavor, but you could definitely use normal milk or another nut milk.
NB. I know it's devastating to throw almost a whole bottle of red wine down the sink, but I talk from experience when I say that the poached liquid IS UNDRINKABLE. —Patricia Brehmer
Cocoa hazelnut cake and assembly
- 1 cup Raw unsalted hazelnuts
- 2 1/4 cups Flour
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Baking cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Unsweetened hazelnut milk
- 1/2 cup Oil
- 3/4 cup Boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350 fahrenheit(180 celsius), and cut out three circles of parchment paper to fit three 9 inch cake pans.
- Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor to fine crumbs.
- Set 1/4 cup of pulsed hazelnut aside. Mix the rest of the hazelnuts with the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another bowl whisk together the two eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. *Note* the mixture will clump together, but don't worry, it will get smooth in the end.
- Pour in the boiling water, and mix until smooth. It will look like there's small lumps of flour in the mixture, but it's just the hazelnuts. If you have larger lumps it's probably flour, then you just have to mix vigorously.
- Divide the batter between the three cake pans and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the cakes out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning them out on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cake has cooled completely and the other components are ready start to assemble the cake. If your cakes have bumpy tops level them of.
- Start by placing one of your cakes on a cake stand. Cut out three 4 inch strips, and place under the cake covering the cake stand. This will keep the cake stand clean.
- Spread half of the mascarpone creme on the cake, sprinkle one tablespoon of the hazelnuts you sat aside, and place slices of poached pear on top.
- Place the next layer of cake and repeat the previous step.
- Place the last layer of cake, give the whole cake a crumb coat with the whipped chocolate ganache, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes take the cake out the refrigerator and give the cake a final coating of ganache.
- Decorate the cake by making a fan of poached pear slices in the middle of the cake and sprinkle pulsed hazelnut on top if you have any left.
Poached pears, mascarpone cream and chocolate ganahce
- 4 Conference pears
- 600 milliliters Red wine
- 400 milliliters blueberry juice
- 250 grams Mascarpone cheese
- 300 milliliters heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 200 grams 70% dark chocolate
- 400 milliliters heavy cream
- Start with poaching the pears. Peal the pears and remove the "hairy" bottom with a melon baller.
- In a medium pot mix the wine and the juice. Place the pears in the liquid.
- Cut out one circle of parchment paper a bit bigger than the pot, cut out one 2 inch circle in the middle, and place the parchment paper over the pears. Don't press the paper down! The parchment paper will help keeping the pears submerged.
- Bring the liquid to a boil. When the liquid is boiling turn it down to a simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes check if the pears are done by sticking a wooden skewer into the thickest part of the pear. If it's easy to stick the skewer into the pear it's done. If it's still a bit raw let it cook for longer checking every 5 minutes. When the pears are done let them cool completely in the liquid.
- When the pears have cooled completely sliced them lengthwise into 0.2 inch slices.
- Next, make the chocolate ganache. Start by breaking the chocolate into small pieces in a metal bowl.
- Pour 400 milliliters of heavy cream into a pot and bring to a boil. when the cream is boiling pour it over the chocolate, and let it sit for one minute.
- After one minute mix the chocolate and cream until smooth, cover and let it sit at room temperature to cool for about four hours.
- After about four hours the ganache should've thickened having the consistency of thick honey. Whip the ganache until lighter in color and fluffy. Let it sit covered on the counter until ready to use.
- Finally, make the mascarpone cream. First, mix the mascarpone cheese until light and fluffy.
- In another bowl whip 300 milliliters of heavy cream until stiff peaks.
- Fold one third of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. When fully incorporate fold in the next third. Lastly, fold in the last third of cream along with the vanilla. Cover an refrigerator until ready to use.