I was going to go with an apple cake i've made a couple of times which usually turns out pretty well but there was an apple cake the week before for someone's birthday and and since i've been trying to get a good chocolate cake under my belt for a while I thought i'd risk it - if it failed i'd just leave it at home. I have been hoeing through some mixed raw nuts lately and the pack included hazelnuts - which are pretty foul raw - so i'd been saving them up wondering what to do with them and it seemed like an obvious match. I couldn't find quite the type of recipe I was after (either they were all about gluten free-ness, making super-heavy cakes or some kids-birthday Nutella-based thing) so I tried adjusting one I had for another chocolate cake and it worked rather well ...
- 125g butter
- 155g brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 125g self-raising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 45g cocoa powder
- 125g roasted and blended hazelnuts (aka meal)
- 190ml milk
- 125g dark chocolate (I used 40% solids)
- about 1 short black of strong espresso coffee (I use a 4-cup stove-top espresso maker and half-filled the water with a full load of grounds)
- Pre-heat oven to 160C.
- Melt the chocolate with the coffee using a steam bath and while it's cooling ...
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Blend in eggs one at a time until fully mixed.
- Mix in flour, bicarb, cocoa powder, hazelnuts, milk, and melted chocolate until just combined.
- Pour into greased/lined 22-24cm spring-form cake tin and level off.
- Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes 'or until done'.
From the original recipe I replaced 30g of plain flour with all the hazelnuts I had, added the coffee when melting the chocolate to make it easier to mix in (doesn't just go hard/curdle, and it just tastes better), and adjusted a couple of other things slightly to suit what I had on hand. Although my oven works really well for everything else i've had a lot of trouble with cakes not cooking enough but this time I tried turning off the fan-forced fan and it was right on the money (perhaps slightly over, but not enough to matter).
It managed to survive the ride in my pannier bags and generally impressed. Probably the best cake i've ever made actually, although the bar has been until this point, rather low.