Chocolate Hazelnut Cake in Torino

Not as glitzy as Milan, but not as touristy as Rome and Florence, Torino quickly became one of my favourite cities in Italy. With beautiful mountain-scapes in the distance and the faint smell of coffee and chocolate in the air, this city had my heart the moment I got off the train. If you’re into coffee culture, this is the place to be. Actually, if you’re into coffee and chocolate this will be your new paradise. Every cafe here serves a creamy chocolatey espresso concoction called bicerin and trust me, you’ll be wanting a sip every moment of every day.

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While the coffee and chocolate flavour combination is a classic, Torino is famous for one more that to me, is the epitome of good taste and ranks right up there with peanut butter and jelly. That combination would be chocolate and hazelnut. With both being abundant in the region, Torino has taken this flavour pairing and made it a part of their own identity. Gianduja, a hazelnut chocolate bar, that can be eaten plain or melted into a variety of desserts and Nutella, possibly the world’s most famous spread, both originate from Torino. My favourite way to combine these flavours though is with a light and airy Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. Perfect for any occasion, it’s quick and easy to make and maximizes both flavours intensely.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Makes 1 x 9″ round cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250g whole toasted hazelnuts
  • 200g butter, cubed
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 6 medium eggs, separated
  • 200g sugar
  • 3 tbsp frangelico or hazelnut liquor (optional)
Topping
    • 200g Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread

Method

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Coarsely chop a handful of toasted hazelnuts and set aside. Pulse the rest in a food processor until they look like breadcrumbs. You will have some chunkier pieces left, which just enhances the texture of your cake
  3. Break dark chocolate up into smaller pieces with cubed butter in a bowl and place over barely simmering water to melt. Remove from heat.
  4. Add ground hazelnuts and stir to combine. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Whip egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer until pale, creamy and you can lift the whisk from the bowl and the batter leaves a ribbon trail that doesn’t collapse. Whisk in chocolate and liquor until combined
  6. Clean whisk and whip egg whites until stiff peak
  7. Fold in 1/3 of the batter vigorously into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased and parchment lined 9″ springform or cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Remove from pan and peel off parchment. Leave to cool completely.
  10. Gently warm the chocolate hazelnut spread so that it is easily spreadable on the cake. Sprinkle with remaining chopped hazelnuts.

gianduja cake

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