Oy. I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post! Sorry kids, and thanks for your diligence in checking in on me. It’s been a whirlwind since the New Year – moving to a different neighborhood, setting up a new house (and kitchen), starting a new job, and trying to get sufficient Vitamin D so as to not go crazy in the process. So far I have found and unpacked everything from the boxes except for my steamer insert and one slipper. I figure that’s pretty good for a big move!
Truth be told, I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t had much to tell. For some reason my new abode has the world’s most sensitive smoke detectors and I’m literally scared to death of them. I’ve succeeded in setting them off, oh, at least 6 times. Seriously. Most recently at 6:15 in the morning – from heating a kettle of water on the stove for my morning coffee. Seriously. Seriously?! My next blog post will be: How to Make Friends With Your New Neighbors Against All Odds.
The kicker is, the town house has one of those fancy alarm systems where all SEVEN smoke detectors are actually linked to each other. So when one goes off, the others can’t handle being left out and start blaring as well. Unfortunately, they aren’t linked when it comes to shutting them off, and you have to go around and disarm them each individually. Harder than it sounds since the place has wonderfully high ceilings, and even with a ladder I can barely reach them! So perhaps now you understand why my cooking mojo has been hiding under the bed recently.
My first dinner party in the new pad had me whirling around the kitchen getting ready, when all of a sudden the apocalypse alarms went off. Since it was the first time, I had to find the ladder (which was still packed in a pile of junk who knows where), climb up on my tippy toes and try to shut the first one off. After about 5 minutes of screeching alarms, the doorbell rings, and I’m convinced it’s the very annoyed neighbors, the fire department, or the cops ready to arrest me for disrupting the world’s quietest neighborhood. Good Lord. Luckily it was just the (tall) dinner party guests, and they were able to help me return the house to pre-alarm status. It’s worth noting the alarms did go off TWO other times that night. I am still yelling because my hearing has been permanently damaged.
ANYWAY. Now that you’ve suffered through that terrible story, I have a delicious recipe as a reward for you. If you have a mean sweet tooth or are a chocoholic at heart, you will love this cake. I made it for my friend Kirsten’s birthday last weekend and it was heavenly. It’s a flourless hazelnut chocolate cake, and I served it up with some tangy raspberry sauce, dark chocolate sauce, and sweetened whipped cream. ¡Ay, caramba! It was seriously delicious.
There are three great things about this cake: 1. It’s not hard to make. Maybe not as easy as a box cake, but pretty close. 2. It’s seriously rich, so you can make pretty small slices and everyone will still be satiated. 3. It’s got a wonderful mousse-like texture that is a complete mystery – you’d just never believe a cake so rich could feel so light and airy.
So, make up some fake holiday or special occasion and make this cake for your chocolate-loving friends and family. They will undoubtedly love it. Enjoy!
Gianduia Mousse Cake
Click to print this recipe.
From: Gourmet Magazine, February 1998
Time to prepare: active time 15 minutes, total time 3.5 hours
Serves: 14 – 16
9 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
7 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate
1 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread
3/4 cup unsweetened hazelnut butter
6 large eggs
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 cup well-chilled heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350° F and butter a 10-inch spring form pan. Wrap bottom and side of pan with a large piece of heavy-duty foil to waterproof.
Chop chocolates into small pieces and melt in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and stir in Nutella and hazelnut butter until combined well.
In a large bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer beat eggs until frothy, about 1 minute.
Gradually add sugar, beating mixture at high speed until thick and pale and it holds a slowly dissolving ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes if using a standing mixer and about 8 minutes if using a hand-held mixer.
Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture and stir until combined well.
In a chilled bowl beat cream until it holds soft peaks and fold into batter gently but thoroughly.
Pour batter into spring form pan and put spring form pan in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up side of spring form pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let cake stand in oven 40 minutes.
Remove spring form pan from water and cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan from cake. Let cake cool completely before serving.
Serve cake with whipped cream. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Cake served at room temperature will have a texture reminiscent of mousse; chilled cake will be more fudge-like.
1 bag frozen raspberries, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons water
1 – 3 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
½ teaspoon cornstarch combined with 1 teaspoon water in a slurry.
In a sauce pan over medium low heat, heat the raspberries, water, and sugar.
Break up the berries with a fork as they defrost and warm.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, then bring to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly as it thickens.
Simmer about 10 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Beat ingredients with hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form.
Make sure to wrap your spring form pan tightly with extra wide, heavy duty foil. If you don’t have wide foil, you can use two pieces that are rolled together to try to seal the seam as best you can. If water gets into the pan the cake will be a little soggy, but not the end of the world!
Hazelnut butter is like peanut butter, but instead of using peanuts, it’s made with hazelnuts. You can find it in nicer grocery stores right next to the PB. Nutella can also be found in most grocery stores, typically also next to the PB.
This cake is seriously rich and sweet. A nice, tart raspberry sauce compliments it nicely and gives you another flavor layer. Ditto with the whipped cream. It might be too much to eat the cake by itself, so be creative with the accoutrements.
Put your chocolate sauce (I just bought a good quality chocolate sauce from the grocery store) and raspberry sauce into a small zip top bags and slice the very edge of one of the bottom corners off to drizzle the sauce on the plate like they do in the restaurants!