Celebrate in Style

Celebrate in Style


When you're a bit chuffed with the cake you've just made...
and you really want to show someone that you love them, make a little extra effort...

Simply add fresh flowers from the garden and place your cake on a really pretty plate. You'll have a bit of a show stopper, and a lot of brownie points.

                                     Here's the Recipe for Nigel Slater's 

Chocolate chip hazelnut cake with chocolate cinnamon butter cream.

Enough for 10-12 servings

Butter 250g
golden caster sugar 250g
shelled hazelnuts 75g
dark chocolate 120g
large eggs 4
self raising flour 125g
ground cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
strong espresso 4 teaspoons
for the spiced chocolate butter cream
dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids) 250g
butter 125g

ground cinnamon - a knifepoint


Set the oven at 180C/Gas 4.  Line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed, deep cake tin with baking parchment.  Cut the butter into small chunks and put it with the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer, then beat till white and fluffy.  Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a moderate heat, then rub them in a tea towel until most of the skins have flaked off.  There is really no need to be too pernickety about this, you just want most of the skins removed.  Grind the nuts to a coarse powder, less fine than ground almonds but finer than they would be if you chopped them by hand.  Chop the chocolate into what looks like coarse gravel.
Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them gently.  Slowly add them to the butter and sugar mixture, beating all the time. - it may curdle slightly but it doesn't matter.  Stop the machine, Tip in half the ground nuts and half the flour, beat briefly and at a slow speed, stop the machine again, then add the rest, together with the chopped chocolate and cinnamon, and mix briefly.  Gently fold in the espresso, taking care not to knock the air from the mixture, then scoop into the lined cake tin. 
Smooth the top and bake for thirty-five minutes, covering the cake with foil for the last ten minutes if it is colouring too quickly.  Remove the cake from the oven and test with a skewer - you want it to come out moist but clean, without any uncooked cake mixture clinging to it.  Leave the cake to cool a little in its tin before turning out onto a cooling rack and peeling off the paper from its bottom.
To make the chocolate butter cream, snap the chocolate into small pieces and let it melt in a small bowl balanced over a pan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl).  Leave it to melt, with little or no stirring, then add the butter, cut into small pieces, and add the spice. 
Stir till the butter has melted.  Leave to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread.  (I sometimes impatiently put mine in the fridge for about fifteen minutes.) Spread the chocolate cream over the top of the cake, decorate as the whim takes you and leave for an hour or so before cutting.


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