Today is my 3 month blogiversary – or blirthday if you will! I started this blog on February 1st 2018 and it seems like just yesterday and at the same time, much longer since I started this debacle!
I’m in awe of my followers and really appreciate all of you. I am STUNNED that I’ve had over 10,000 views, 3,500 visitors and 400 followers! I don’t usually pay too much attention to the numbers because as long as I’m having fun they aren’t really relevant.
What I enjoy so much is the connections with you, the comments and silliness. I’ve had a lot of happy hours with you all and I thank you very sincerely and humbly.
Anway, on to important stuff! You know what happens on Birthdays? CAKE!!! Cake happens on birthdays!
Much as I would love to, I can’t share cake with all over you but since I’ve slaved over a hot blog for this, I AM going to share a recipe I’ve inventerated all by myself! I’m very proud of this because it turned out fantastic. I’m not a chocolate lover but even I kinda wanted a second slice.
My Ferrero Rocher Cake.
This takes (at least) two days to make. You need to make the Nutella the day before you want to assemble the cake. I made this cake on a Wednesday then transported it 753 miles on the Thursday to be eaten on the Saturday. It held together perfectly on the journey and I think it tasted even better for a couple of days with the flavours getting the chance to really meld. I’ve written it as three recipes because I will use aspects of it in different creations going forwards.
You really can’t do this without a food processor. The nuts take a long time to pulverise and I can’t imagine attempting it any other way. Don’t think this will be better if you change the oil to coconut or olive oil etc – bland is best so as not to influence the flavour. I did try it with coconut oil and it was nasty.
1 cup hazelnuts
14 ounces milk chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola
3 tbsps confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark because I didn’t have enough Bournville)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 1 tsp salt to taste
1/4 cup Frangelico (or more to taste.)
1-2 tablespoons Amaretto
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until they’re browned but not burned. You really do need to keep a close eye on this as they burn in nanoseconds.
Wrap them in a tea towel about half at a time and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible. If only this worked in tummies eh?!
You will not get all of the skin off. You’re aiming for 75%-ish – not the nutlympics.Let the nuts cool completely.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. You can also heat it in the microwave but that’s always a fail for me.
Stir the brown gloop until it’s smooth. Let it cool to lukewarm or room temp.
Get your trusty food processor, and grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. This takes ForEVVVVER!! I found that pulverising them until they looked like coarse sugar granules and then adding the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and continuing processing really helped. Keep going until the mixture is as smooth as possible – or as smooth as you like. I like it to be slightly grainy. The nuts soften the longer they are in this spread so by the time we ate it there was no graininess.
Add the oil, vanilla and frangelico, amaretto and blitz until it’s all mixed. Taste and add more alcohol if you think it’s needed.
Add the melted chocolate, blend well, and then sieve the slop to remove any big chunks of hazelnut that remain. You can skip that if you don’t mind the odd bit of nut. I honestly liked the texture so left it as it was.
Pour into jars or containers before it cools completely and sets. That will help prevent air bubbles in the containers. It will thicken considerably as it cools.
I would suggest doubling the recipe so you have some for a secret stash. Labeling it ‘homemade marmite’ will protect it from most Americans!
Whatever you do, don’t keep it in the fridge. It’ll set harder than rock. Keep it in a cupboard out of direct light and it should last for up to two weeks (yeah right!!)
For the cakes – you need to bake six cakes, so divide the ingredients according to how many cakes you can bake at once. The breakdown per cake is below. I actually created this recipe based on 9” cake tins and then decided to use bigger tins. The breakdown for bigger tins is below the recipe.
Total ingredients for 9” cakes are as follows:
12 egg whites from large eggs
12 tablespoons fine sugar
12 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups ground hazelnuts
To make the cake:
You will also need a cake board for whatever size cake you’re making.
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly grease the bottom of a 9” springform (or however many you can make at once) and line it with baking paper. You only need to line the bottom. I cut all the six liners at the same time as it just seemed easier.
Double or treble the ingredients below if you have more than one 9” pan.
For each cake you will need 2 egg whites, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tbsps flour and 1/3 cup ground hazelnuts.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until you cannot feel your lips from the rattling anymore… or until the meringue peaks – whichever happens first.
Mix the flour and ground hazelnuts together and scatter on top of the meringue. Fold in carefully using a rubber spatula. (This is like a rubber hammer but less effective for bopping people on the head.)
Spread the meringue mix evenly in the cake tin and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
While they’re cooking, Release the Kraken. Not really, just seeing who’s reading!! Get the next batch ready because as we all know, a woman’s work is never done. Carry on until all six cakes are made or you resemble Quasimodo because your bloody back hurts.
Remove the paper from each cake and leave all six cakes to cool on wire racks.
If you want to make 10” cakes multiply the recipe by 1.5
If you want to make 11” cakes double the recipe for each cake.
Crusting Chocolate Fudge Buttercream Icing
1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup Crisco All Vegetable Shortening (you can use any other hard baking fat if you can’t get this. I tried with all butter but it didn’t “crust” and was much less workable)
3 tsps pure Vanilla extract
2 lbs. (8 cups) sifted powdered sugar, divided
1 cup sifted good quality Cocoa powder
1 tbsp Meringue Powder
15 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Cream butter and fake fat, add the vanilla and cream until smooth.
Sift together powdered sugar, Hershey’s Cocoa and Meringue Powder.
Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar to the butter mix and beat in until it’s blended. You’ll need to scrape down the sides and bottom well.
Add 1/3 of the heavy cream, mixing until blended.
Add 1/3 more of the powdered sugar mixture until blended and then another third of the cream.
Add remaining powdered sugar mixture and cream and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Cover the bowl with damp cloth until ready to use. When icing a cake, allow the crumb crust at least 15 minutes in the fridge before decorating further.
To Assemble The Cake
Add a splodge, about a tablespoon to the cake board and spread it about a bit. This is to help stop the cake sliding off the board.
Add the first layer of cake and spread a thin layer of Nutella on it.
Because the buttercream is a different consistency, I decided not to layer that on top of the Nutella so I added the buttercream to the smoother side of the cake and positioned it in top of the first. I then added the Nutella (as it spreads easily) to the “up” side.
I repeated this with all cakes but did NOT add Nutella to the top cake.
I then added a thin layer of buttercream all over the cake. This was by no means perfect, it was only to provide a base for a thicker layer to adhere to. I shoved the cake in the fridge for fifteen minutes to set it quicker.
When it came out I decorated it and added Ferraro Rocher to the top. You don’t have to do that, it was just quick and easy!
You can refrigerate the cake but I would absolutely leave it out of the fridge for at least an hour to come to room temp before serving to maximise the flavours.