I'm in the middle of nowhere at a lab in Illinois for a relatively lame conference that is causing me to miss yet another summer weekend in Colorado. On a scale of 1 to excited, I'd say I'm hovering around a -2. The security is pretty stupid and they have to escort cabs into the premises with these fancy official black escort cars. And we need to have a badge and photo id at all time. Oh, the things we do for funding. I did get to see some cool stuff though, including an electron microscope with 1/2 angstrom (10^-12) resolution and a supercomputer with 5 petabytes of disc drives and 160,000 processors. Scientists get the coolest toys.
Last week was my first week back and work. Things went really fast. The postdoc who was partly in charge of me left for good, so I spent some time frantically figuring out what she got done in the past 2 months while I was away. Colorado is still beautiful, and I got out on my bike a few times to enjoy the (somehow still green) scenery. And I can now get my puppy fix as someone with a dog moved in with my friends.
My friend E e-mailed me this recipe last week, and I was immediately convinced that we needed to make it. Soon. I had planned to go to a band concert on Monday night, but when we got an invite to T and E's for dinner, I decided to bail on the concert and make this cake instead. And what a good decision that was. E was even borrowing a super fancy Nikon from a friend, so I got to play with taking fun pictures of the cake and of everyone eating it.
It's pretty much a flourless chocolate cake topped with hazelnut and chocolate studded meringue. I don't know why I haven't though of that before. Yum.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
- 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted over double boiler
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Tbsp rum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 4 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Toast hazelnuts in oven for 10 minutes at 350 and rub when cool to remove skins. Chop the skinned nuts. Melt chocolate over boiling water in double boiler or metal bowl placed over a saucepan.
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter sides and bottom of a 9" springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper too.
- Whip butter and brown sugar in stand mixer until pale and smooth (3 minutes). Add 6 egg yolks one at a time and beat until smooth. Add melted chocolate, rum, vanilla, and salt. Beat until combined.
- Carefully clean the mixer bowl to ensure not fat particles remain. Beat the 6 egg white until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Beat egg whites on medium until frothy. Increase to high and slowly add sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form (about 4 minutes). Don't overbeat!
- Combine chopped chocolate, hazelnuts, and cornstarch in a bowl. Fold into beaten egg whites.
- Remove cake from oven. Spread meringue mixture atop warm cake, being careful not to deflate it. Bake for another 25 minutes.
- Transfer pan to cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the outside ring of the pan. Let cool another 30 minutes before cutting.