I know everyone is gearing up for the Super Bowl and I should be blogging fat laden appetizers and snacks. To be honest with you my mind just doesn't go there. I'm just not a Super Bowl fan or football for that matter. I'm ok with that.
At this time of year my mind is thinking chocolate. I'm thinking about rich and chocolate for Valentines. Not that I allow myself to indulge. I just can't. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy a few bites every now and then.
I love chocolate and hazelnut together. I have made cute little baby cakes and iced them with a rich hazelnut buttercream. This recipe has been handed down to me from my Grandmother. She always called this "Devil's food cake". It's a fabulous recipe. It can easily be baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan as well as two 9-inch rounds. The recipe will make 2 dozen cupcakes. I love it and it is a "never fail" cake recipe for my altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level.
I purchased these little cake papers from Sur La Table. They were .25 each.
Place the baking cups on a parchment lined baking sheet.
For the cake you will need: butter, eggs, sugar, cocoa, flour, salt, baking soda and vanilla.
Whoops! Almost forgot the sour cream and boiling water.
Put softened butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add the sugar and...
cocoa. I love dutch processed, you can use your favorite.
Cream the butter, sugar and cocoa.
Add the eggs.
Mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
Add the sour cream.
Add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
Sift together. I just give it a whisk.
Add the flour to the sugar/butter mixture and mix just until blended. If you over mix, the cake could be tough.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
The batter should be smooth.
Add the 1 cup of boiling water.
Mix on low speed so the water doesn't splash all over you and your kitchen.
Add the vanilla.
Mix in the vanilla and the batter is now complete.
Piece of cake!
I am using a 1/2 cup scoop to measure the batter into the cups. The batter will fill 13 cups.
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
When the cakes have cooked. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
Cool completely before icing.
Before you begin to make the buttercream, read over the directions at least 3 times. Allow yourself 45 minutes of uninterrupted time. Seriously! Buttercream takes serious concentration. Turn your phone off and don't answer the door!
You will need hazelnut paste or hazelnut praline. I purchase my hazelnut paste through Hauser Chocolatier in Rhode Island. Yes! I have it shipped. It's the cheapest I have found.
I store the hazelnut paste in the freezer and pull it out as I need it.
Many times when you purchase hazelnut paste, it separates and oil floats to the top. Make sure you stir it very well. Sometimes this takes a little muscle and some patience.
To make the buttercream you will need: BUTTER (a whopping 4 1/2 cubes) that has been cut into 1 tablespoon slices, sugar, egg yolks, water and hazelnut paste.
In the bowl of a mixer add the egg yolks. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are light yellow and a thicken. This will take about 5 minutes on high speed.
The eggs will ribbon off of the beater when they are whipped enough.
Meanwhile, Add the sugar into a medium saucepan.
Add the water to the sugar.
Place the pan over medium-high heat. Mix only until the sugar dissolves. After the sugar dissolves DO NOT stir the mixture any longer.
Attach a candy thermometer to the pan if you have one. You will need to cook the syrup to a soft ball stage or 234-240 degrees.
Let the syrup boil like crazy.
Once the temperature reaches 234 it will start to cook fast. By the time I realized it was 234 the temperature shot up to 236, which is just fine.
This is the hard part...well for me it is. You have to add the sugar syrup VERY slowly to the beaten egg yolks. If you add the syrup too fast, you will have cooked egg yolks. The hard part is pouring the syrup between the beaters and the side of the bowl. The key is not too hit the beaters. If you do, the syrup will fling all over the sides of the bowl. It happens! Oh well. I do my best.
You can see how I failed at not letting the syrup fling to the sides of the bowl. Oh well. Now at this point you must continue to beat the mixture until the bottom of the bowl feels completely cool. This will take about 10 minutes or so.
If you don't let the mixture cool enough, it will melt the butter. You don't want that to happen. BE PATIENT! That's why I told you to block off 45 minutes. Trust me this buttercream is so worth the time.
Your egg mixture has beaten for a while on high speed and the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch.
Beat in the butter ONE TABLESPOON at a time. Once the butter has incorporated add another tablespoon. Continue until all of the butter has been beaten in.
Oh my! Take a look at that creamy goodness/FAT. Heaven.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix one more time to blend well.
I have spooned in about 1/3 cup hazelnut paste.
Beat in the hazelnut paste or your favorite flavoring.
The buttercream should be smooth and fluffy. No lumps or grains. If you don't like the beater, I'll be so disappointed in you.
This is how the buttercream should look.
I am going to pipe the buttercream onto my cakes. I find it much easier to pipe the spread with a spatula.
I am going to use this hazelnut syrup as a soaking solution on each cake. I love to chop these little gold delights (Ferrero Roche) to top the cakes with. They are a hazelnut chocolate candy.
Remove the candy from the wrappers.
Pour 1/3 cup of the hazelnut syrup into a bowl.
Brush the tops of the cakes with the syrup. I always use a soaking solution for my cakes. I think it makes the moist and adds another layer of flavor.
Continue to glaze each cake until the syrup soaks into the cake.
Spoon the buttercream into the pastry bag.
After the syrup has completely soaked in, begin to pipe the buttercream on the top of the cakes.
Sprinkle the tops with the chopped candy pieces.
Almost too pretty to eat.
I said ALMOST too pretty to eat.
I want you to know that I only took three bites. The husband that never reads this blog snarfed down the rest.
I really, really wanted the entire cake!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
In a alrge mixing bowl cream butter, cocoa and sugar for approximately 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat until smooth and creamy. Add sour cream and mix until smooth. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Slowly add boiling water and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes if making cupcakes, 25-30 for a 9 x 13-inch or 2 9-inch rounds.
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, room temp.
1/3 cup Hazelnut paste or Hazelnut praline
Using electric mixer, beat yolks in bowl until pale yellow and slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, 5 minutes
Meanwhile, stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until candy thermometer set in syrup registers 234 - 240 degrees (soft-ball stage)
Beat to syrup into egg yolks in slow steady stream. Continue beating until thick and cool, about 10 minutes. Gradually beat butter into yolk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. When butter has been beaten in, mix in Hazelnut paste.
Cakes should be refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving or the buttercream will be hard.
Enjoy again and again.