This cake was a team effort and a real pleasure to make. It is seriously complex to make, with multiple steps and assembly that takes a good long while. I was a bit sceptical about the flavour, as it seemed a bit simple with the ingredients. The two main worries were that the sponge will be too dry and that the buttercream will be too greasy. Not so. The sponge is beautifully moist—no wonder, considering the amount of butter it has, and the buttercream was smooth and gentle in flavour.
For the next time, I would add more baking powder to have a higher rise in cake so that we can split it in three, instead of two, layers. Also, I would attempt to make the caramel with the water-including method, as it is much easier to control.
This is a real treat for any special occasion!
The recipe is from the Women’s Weekly cookbook called “Sweet things.” I am copying the recipe here (almost) as is, even though we used the caramel method without the water.
375 g butter, softened
440 g sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 egg whites
450 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
250 ml milk
Chocolate butter cream
250 g dark chocolate
4 egg whites
220 g sugar
375 g butter
220 g sugar
80 ml water
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line three 20 cm springform pans with baking paper.
2. Beat butter and sugar in the Kitchen Aid equipped with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. beat in sifted flour and milk, in two batches.
3. Beat all the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg white into cake mixture. Spread mixture evenly into pans. Bake about 30 minutes. Stand cakes in pans 5 minutes before turning to wire racks to cool.
4. Make chocolate butter cream. Melt the chocolate and cool to room temperature. It is important that both the molten chocolate and the butter are room temperature, otherwise they will not mix with the egg whites. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Mix with an electric mixer over a pan of simmering water until sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm. Remove from heat and continue mixing until firm peaks form and the mixture is room temperature. Gradually beat in the butter and the chocolate.
5. Make caramel hazelnuts. Roast the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes at 180 Celsius. Rub off the skins. Bend the top third of toothpicks so that they snap, but do not break off. Push the nuts onto the toothpicks. Tie kitchen string between two heavy jars; place baking paper underneath. Stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat without boiling until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil and boil uncovered, without stirring, about 10 minutes or until medium golden colour. Dip the nuts into the caramel and hang on the kitchen string. Allow caramel to drip off in long spikes. When cool, remove the toothpicks.
6. Using a serrated knife, split cakes into two layers (or three, if you dare).
7. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with a few tablespoons of buttercream. Repeat with remaining cake layers and buttercream, finishing with a cake layer. Spread the remaining buttercream over top and side of cake. Refrigerate 30 min.
8. Serve the cake topped with caramel hazelnuts.