I have times when I crave a coffee cake. I usually turn to the classic coffee and walnut in such times of need. But I have also been coveting the notion of an Italian Hazelnut Cake. I think it was Rachel’s blog where I first saw this, or it may have been Michele’s, or even Tracy’s. That is the trouble when you read so many wonderful blogs, it can cause no end of trouble when you try to find a recipe that you loved.
Fortunately for me Rachel Allen does an Italian Hazelnut Cake in her book, Bake, and so with a bit of tweaking I had the perfect Coffee and Hazelnut Cake, and because it’s me I couldn’t resist adding some chocolate and turning it into a Mocha Hazelnut Cake.
I urge you to try this, it manages to be incredibly light and incredibly moist at the same time. The coffee shines through but doesn’t diminish the wonderful hazelnut flavour and the chocolate adds a wonderful depth. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
As I have added both coffee and hazelnuts to the original recipe, it can’t really be called an Italian Hazelnut Cake, but it can be called a Shropshire Mocha Hazelnut Cake.
200g hazelnuts, with their skins still on preferably
50g good quality chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp instant coffee powder, mixed with 2 tsp of hot water
100g softened butter
5 eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
pinch of salt
Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Place the hazelnuts, chocolate and baking powder in a food processor and whizz into fine crumbs. Add the butter and whizz again until just mixed.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until the mixture has the texture of a mousse and the whisk leaves a trail when lifted out.
Add the coffee and the hazelnut mixture and beat until combined.
In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and the pinch of salt together until stiff. Then add one-third of the egg whites to the other ingredients and stir well to combine and lighten the mixture. Add the remaining egg whites in two batches, folding in carefully to retain as much air in the mixture as possible.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170°c, gas mark 3, or with the oven rack on the lowest set of runners in the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 1 hour or until the cake is firm on top and a skewer will come out clean when it is inserted into the cake.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.