Monday, October 29, 2012

Holy Pietmontese Hazelnut Cake!

Mummy just sent me the cookbook "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook" and after lustily flipping through the book, we/she decided to make a Pietmontese Hazelnut Cake. The results were beyond delicious, so if you've got some spare time on your hands (trapped inside due to a hurricane, for instance...) this is an excellent and rewarding pastime. Planning to eat another slice for dessert tonight, come hell or high water! (Sorry- I couldn't resist.)

Mummy served the hazelnut cake with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato, and it was truly a slice of happiness... Highly recommended! 

Piedmontese Hazelnut Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake

7 T unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
¼ C semolina, plus more for the plan
2 C hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and cooled
½ C cake flour
1 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1C packed brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 T pure vanilla extract
2 T olive oil
Powdered sugar as needed for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 F.  
  • Butter a 9-inch cake pan. Line with a 9 inch round of parchment paper. Butter the paper. Dust the pan with the extra semolina, shaking out excess. Put the pan in the fridge to set the coating while you’re making the batter. 
  • Put toasted, skinned hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the cake flour, remaining semolina, baking powder and salt. 
  • Put the remaining butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream together for a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly before adding the next egg. Scrape down the bowl. Add the hazelnuts and beat briefly to combine.
  • Remove bowl from mixer then add dry ingredients, folding together gently with rubber spatula.  Fold in vanilla extract and olive oil, then scrape into prepared cake pan.

Bake cake until top is browned... 30 – 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool on rack for about 15 minutes. To unmold, run a small knife around the cake. Turn out on to a plate or a piece of cardboard. Turn right side up on to another plate. When completely cool, sift powdered sugar on to the top of the cake.

Slice and serve.

This is a European-style cake, so it’s not as moist as an American cake.  A slice of this cake calls for a glass of Vin Santo or Moscato d’Asti.

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