Friday, 27 September 2013

Hazelnut Meringue Cloud Cake






Another friend another birthday. I realized that I had never made a cake for this friend even though we’ve been friends for years. Well it was about time!



She loves hazelnuts and Nutella, so I knew I had to incorporate them into the cake somehow.  I was thinking of a light sponge cake with a hazelnut meringue layer inside.  I’ve never made a sponge cake before, so it was a bit of a risk.  Turns out sponge cakes have very few ingredients.  Some recipes have butter, while others don’t – I went with one with just egg whites, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla.



The cake would consist of 5 parts:

Sponge cake layers

Hazelnut meringue disk

Piped hazelnut meringue pieces

Swiss meringue buttercream

Nutella


Check out the verdict at the end of the post!


Hazelnut Meringue (disk and pieces)

Adapted from here



Ingredients

½ cup hazelnuts

3 egg whites, at room temperature

½ cup + 2 Tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla



Directions

1.  Place hazelnuts in a pan over medium heat and toast until golden.

2.  Gather the hazelnuts in a tea towel and rub together to take off skins.

3.  Blitz in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

4.  In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy.

5.  Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, and beat until thick and glossy.

6.  Add vanilla, and beat.

7.  Fold in hazelnuts with a spatula.

To make the disk, fill a piping bag with ¾’s of the meringue. Trace a 6-inch circle on parchment paper. Flip over onto a baking sheet and pipe the meringue tracing over the circle. Build it into a tall disk using.

To make the meringue pieces, line one side of the piping bag with Nutella. Fill the bag with the remaining meringue and pipe pieces onto a baking sheet.

8.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F., and bake for 1.5 hours.  Turn off oven and let the meringue cool in the oven for 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

Ground hazelnuts
About to fold in hazelnuts.


Before baking.
After baking.
Sponge Cake

Adapted from here


Ingredients

3 egg, separated, and brought to room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

90g sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

105g all purpose flour, sifted 2 times



Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 355 degrees F.  Line 2 6-inch baking pans with parchment.  Grease and flour the sides.

2.  In a standmixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites with salt until frothy.

3.  While beating, add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until fairly stiff and very glossy.

4.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each. Add vanilla.

5.  Sift flour onto egg mixture and fold in with a spatula.

6.  Divide into baking pans and bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

7.  Turn off oven and allow cake to sit and cool with the door open for 30 minutes.


Before baking.
After baking.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Adapted from here



Ingredients

2.5 (75g) egg whites

½ cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla



Directions

1.  Wipe down bowl of stand mixer and whisk attachment with vinegar using a paper towel.

2.  Combine egg white and sugar in the bowl and place over simmering water.  Whisk continuously by hand until the temperature reaches 140 degrees F.

3.  Place the bowl in the stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form and the meringue has cooled.

4.  Switch to a paddle attachment and add cubes of butter one at a time while beating.  Beat until smooth and silky.

5.  Add salt and vanilla and beat to combine.



Assembly

1.  Place a sponge layer on the cake plate. Spread a healthy amount of Nutella.

2.  Top with meringue disk. Spread more Nutella onto the meringue, and top with the second sponge layer.

3.  Use the Nutella to fill in the gap between the meringue and sponge layers (see photo).

4.  Spread a crumb coat of Swiss meringue buttercream over the entire cake.

5.  Line a piping bag with Nutella. Add the remaining Swiss meringue buttercream and pipe around the sides of the cake.  Don’t worry if there’s not enough to cover the entire side.

6.  Use a spatula or spoon to make swirls and spread to cover the sides.

7.  Top with meringue pieces.














Verdict: OMG, awesome cake, if I do say so myself! I don’t even really like hazelnuts but this cake was amazing. The sponge cake was super fluffy, which is requirement for any good cake and the combination of the cake layers, Nutella, and crunchy meringue, not to mention the fluffy and not too sweet Swiss meringue buttercream was perfectly balanced.  I can’t wait to experiment with the sponge cake recipe. Oh yeah, and the birthday girl was super surprised and really liked the cake!


3 comments:

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  2. Oh wow this recipe looks delicious, love anything hazelnut. Thanks for sharing.

    simon

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Simon! After all these years of baking, it's the one cake that I think back about because I was surprised by how much I liked it!

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