Friday, September 14, 2012

Hazelnut Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Oregonians love hazelnuts. The nuts, also known as filberts, are a major crop in Oregon and, while they are expensive in other areas, that is not a problem for those of us who live here. We are close to the orchards where they are grown and manage to avoid the transportation cost that are factored into their market price. I've come to love hazelnuts and use them a great deal in my cooking. Their flavor is more subtle than that of a walnut or pecan and that makes them wonderful to use in desserts and sweet breads. I am always open to new recipes that use them and the one for this cake grabbed my attention when I stumbled on it. I found the recipe in an dog-eared copy of Food Editors' Hometown Favorites Cookbook and decided to give it a try. Before I get into particulars, I must tell you that while I think the cake is lovely, I found the frosting in this recipe to be cloyingly sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, I suspect you'll love it. If your tastes are more like mine, I think you'll find a less sweet icing more to your liking. The cake is light and fragrant and has a lovely crumb. The hazelnuts give it remarkable flavor that is heightened by using hazelnut, rather than vanilla, extract. This is not an easy cake to make and I would not attempt it without the assistance of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Is it worth the time and effort? The cake is nice, but I would take a pass on the icing. Speaking of which, the base recipe produces a cream colored frosting. I added some cocoa powder to it to make it more photogenic. When I first began this blog, I posted a recipe for a much simpler hazelnut cake that was finished with a nutella glaze. You can find that cake, here. I actually prefer it to the one I'm featuring tonight, but I'll let you be the judge.  Here's how the cake is made.

Hazelnut Cake
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Food Editor's Hometown Favorites Cookbook

2 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup regular or butter flavored shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon hazelnut or vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup coconut (more if desired)
1 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
Cream Cheese Icing
12 ounces  cream cheese, softened
6 ounces  butter, room temperature
6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons hazelnut or  vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray. If using dark cake pans, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Combine already-sifted flour with baking soda and sift again. Stir in salt and set aside.
3) Beat egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff. Set aside.
4) Cream butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and beat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add hazelnut or vanilla extract, then add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5) Turn mixer speed to low. Add flour and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with flour. When batter is uniform, fold in the egg whites in three parts (this helps keep the batter airy). Stir in the coconut and hazelnuts.
6) Divide batter among all three pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in cakes comes out clean. Cakes will not dome. That is not a problem.
7) Prepare icing. Stir cream cheese, butter and some of the sugar together, then beat until smooth. Slowly add remaining sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla. Spread icing between cake layers and on top of cake. Yield: 10 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Lemon Glazed Walnut Bars

Two Years Ago Today: Corn Soup a la Patricia Wells

Three Years Ago Today: Indian Dosas


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Hi there Mary,

Firstly, thanks for your comments on my journey to Kuantan posts - they are much appreciated!

Secondly, I do have a sweet tooth but I can't take the cloying tastes any more!

Top Cuisine avec Lavi said...

The cake looks delicious! Greetings from Roumania!

Katarina said...

What a lovely and tasty cake! Have a great day!

Dr.Sameena said...

wow...that looks soooo divine...:)yummmm...:)


Banana Wonder said...

obsessed with the H nut! Love this cake... will have to make it for a special occasion - maybe for my husband's bday since we'll be out of state by then.

Veronica Miller said...

Oh wow, this sounds incredible! And bring on the sweet-the only thing too sweet for me is straight sugar. lol!

Daisy Roshan said...

.......for a sinful indulgence!

Alessandra said...

I love hazelnuts, I must visit Oregon!! Lovely cake Mary, have a good weekend



I like things sweet, but I like frosting to be really thinly spread.

I love hearing about Oregon.


Amy (Savory Moments) said...

Oh my, your cake looks so pretty and I bet it is absolutely delicious! Yum.

Kim said...

Hazelnuts are one of my favorites (with pecans and almonds) because these are very fragrant! This cake looks lovely, I would put less icing!!!!

Jeanne said...

Happy Friday
Much love and many blessings.........
Thanks for all your wonderful postings
Love Jeanne

Angie's Recipes said...

We love NUTS too. The layered cake looks fabulous!

Ana Regalado said...

Hazelnuts are expensive here ! :P :D Lovely cake and less sweet icing would be nice :)

pam said...

I have hazelnuts in the freezer, haven't been sure what to do with them. This sounds good, or maybe the other one?

What's Baking?? said...

Hi Mary, that is one gorgeous cake. I love hazelnut cake. yumyum..hope you have a wonderful day.

SImple and Serene Living said...

This really sounds delicious, Mary.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love hazelnuts too - this looks really good (although if the frosting is that sweet I might look for another way to fill it).

Diane said...

We have masses of hazel nuts this year so this will be a great way to use some of them up. Thanks. Have a great weekend Diane

teresa said...

oh how i love the flavor of hazelnuts! what a gorgeous cake!

Carole said...

that cake looks simply amazing. Have a lovely weekend. Cheers

chow and chatter said...

wow lovely cake and my Granddad grows them in England

Sue/the view from great island said...

The minute I saw this cake I realized it's almost a dead ringer for my wedding cake! We had a small simple family wedding and our cake, from our favorite bakery at the time, was a chocolate frosted hazelnut cake. It had whole toasted hazelnuts in a ring around the top. I haven't thought about it in years. I'll have to make this for my husband, thanks for posting it, Mary. And the other one looks pretty good, too, I guess I'll have to try both!

Ellen Whyte said...

Love hazelnut! And this looks delish.

Red Nomad OZ said...

I'm trying to imagine it with pale icing - but that would be FAR less successful!! Hazelnuts are not so common downunder - not fresh ones, anyway. So I'll just enjoy this sweet vicariously!!

Have a great weekend!

mia xara said...

Hi Mary, your hazelnut cake sounds and looks delicious!A very hard to resist dessert!Have a great weekend, XO

Kathy said...

Mary, Such a delicious looking cake!! Absolutely heavenly!

Bakericious said...

this is kind of chocolate cake I love, looks really delicious.

Diane said...

I made this yesterday and although it is very yummy, it is really too rich for us. I should have cut back on the icing a bit I think. It also took much longer to cook then the 25 mins. I am hoping that we will get some visitors over the weekend to help us eat it, quite a lot for only two! Diane

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