Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hazelnut Mocha Cake for BBQs and Sweet New Zealand

Oh summer BBQ's, how I love you.  As an affirmed eater-of-all-the-meats living with a man who has a strange aversion to the red side of things, I love any time I can have a selection of protein that didn't start off life with wings.  I'm talkin juicy steaks, lamb chops, and sausages, yum.  That's for the Kiwi BBQ at least.  I do miss the American BBQ, of which the staple is hamburgers and hotdogs.  Anything else and you're just gettin fancy.  

But you really can't beat anything grilled.  Just ask my Daddy, he has his grill set up right outside the back door, with a big umbrella opened over it for shelter from all kinds of weather.  He has grilling down to a science, a deliciously mouth-watering science.  *Homer drool*
Mmmm, ganache.  The older, more sophisticated sister to icing.
That's not what this is about though, as much as I love the meat.  It's about the plate you bring to the BBQ.  When I was a kid, our summer pool had a potluck BBQ every Sunday night - just bring something to share and something to throw on the grill for yourself, let the kids work up an appetite in the pool and drink with your friends - what could be better?  There were always the obligatory deviled eggs, potato salads, pasta salads, and green salads to share on the big table, but my Mom was famous for her fruit salad.  It was different each week - different fruits, different toppings - but always good and always gone by the end of the night.  

I am striving to be famous for my desserts, and I'd like to think I've made a good dent in that so far.  Last week I made this cake from the Donna Hay magazine, which was supposed to be iced with ganache and then rolled in crumbs for an "inside out" look, but I could not be bothered, especially after I burned the crumbs.  Cake doesn't need to be fancy to be good!!  
Attention cake: you are about to be nommed. 
This Hazelnut Mocha Cake is perfect for BBQ's - it does require a little bit of extra effort (lots of sifting and extra beating!) but it feeds a crowd and you get the glory.  Just make sure you serve it with vanilla ice cream, or cheesecake, or something equally sugary and creamy, because this is a rich dense dark cake that needs a lighter counterpart to truly shine.  

Now, when't the next BBQ so I can show off me baking skillz??
I may have made a wee bit of a mess ganaching this cake.  I didn't say I had mad ganaching skillz!
Hazelnut Mocha Cake
from Donna Hay magazine

  • 1/3 c instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups (550g) caster sugar
  • 450g butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (300g) plain all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup (100g) ground hazelnuts, sifted
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream
  • chocolate ganache
  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 300g dark (but not too dark!) chocolate, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).  Grease and line two circular 20cm cake tins.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, put coffee and hot water and mix well to form a paste.  Set aside.
  3. Grind up hazelnuts if needed and sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, hazelnuts) together into one bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, crack the eggs and beat for 1 minute using a hand-held mixer.  Trust me, you'll need your mixer later.  Add in 1/4 cup of caster sugar and beat for another 4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy(!).  Set aside.
  5. In your mixing bowl, place softened butter and vanilla and beat for a minute.  Add remaining (2 1/4 cups) caster sugar and beat for another 4 minutes.  Add in the egg mixture, dry ingredients, coffee mixture and sour cream and beat until just combined.  
  6. Divide between cake tins and bake for 1 hour (ish) or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minute in the tin before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache, put cream and chocolate into a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth.  Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temp.
  8. This is where DH gets all fancy with the crumbs, but I burned mine and made the house reek, and thus no crumbs.  Once the cakes are cooled, use a serrated knife to trim the mounded tops off, so both are flat.  DH used the excess trimmed bits for the crumbs: toast in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out, then pulse in the food processor to get crumbs.  Or just eat the extra pieces to make sure the cakes taste appropriately amazing, whatevs.
  9. Spread about 1/2 cup of ganache on top of one cake and then put the other on top of that.  Use a palette knife for spread ganache on the sides of the cake (but not the top!).  Put in the fridge for a few minutes to set, or skip this, finish of the top with more ganache and you're done.
  10. If you're going the crumb route: put down a sheet of baking paper and spread the crumbs out on it, then carefully roll your ganached cake on the crumbs to coat.  Plate the cake, spread the top with ganache and sprinkle over the rest of the crumbs.
  11. Remember to serve with ice cream or something creamy and sugary to cut the dark richness of the cake!!
Seriously, when's the next BBQ, I've got loads of cakes to make!

I'm submitting this post to Sweet New Zealand, a monthly blog round-up of sweet things posted by New Zealand food bloggers, hosted this month by the lovely Shirleen at Sugar & Spice.  Be prepared to drool!


  1. Gorgeous! Hazelnut mocha, sounds beautiful :) And I think the best cakes necessitate a little mess!

  2. Heavenly looking cake - just perfect for "bringing a plate" - love the hazelnut mocha combo.
    Sue xo

  3. Hazelnuts, coffee, chocolate.. Nom!!

  4. Love a good chocolate cake with a good ganache : ) +1 to you!

    And great entry for Sweet New Zealand!


  5. What a treat - I haven't seen the DH version but think it would be hard to improve on this little beauty, crumbs or no crumbs.

  6. Can't really beat a stellar combo like hazelnut, chocolate and coffee huh?! Your cake looks gorgeous! So moist and rich YUM! :)


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