Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recipe: Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

This recipe is a piece of cake – a chocolaty, crunchy and oh-so decadent piece of cake, to be exact.

Emmy Award-winning host and beloved chef Giada De Laurentiis dishes out another dessert for us to tackle in the kitchen. We got behind the stove to whip up a two-layer cake smothered with fresh mascarpone icing, toasted hazelnuts and orange peel for an unexpected bit of zest.

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate
Makes eight servings

What You’ll Need
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 (8-oz.) containers mascarpone cheese
1 cup cream
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest

What You’ll Do

STEP 1: Prepare cake mix according to package directions for two 9-inch spring foam cake pans. Let cool on a wire rack.

STEP 2: Toast hazelnuts: Place hazelnuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until fragrant and golden brown, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Tip: Place hazelnuts in a towel and rub together – this will make the skins come off easier.

STEP 3: Place toasted nuts close together in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet.

For the crunch:

STEP 4: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. Let bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over nuts.

STEP 5: Place baking sheet in refrigerator and let cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When cooled, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set aside.

For the filling / icing:

STEP 6: Using an electric mixture (on a low setting), beat mascarpone cheese, cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the crunch mixture into the whipped cream.

For the topping:

STEP 7: Finely grind chocolate chips, sugar and zest in a food processor.

To assemble:

STEP 8: Put 1 cake on a serving plate. Top with 1-inch of the whipped cream crunch mixture. Top with the second layer of cake and continue frosting with the remaining whipped cream crunch mixture. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with ground chocolate and zest.

Disclosure: I did not receive any products nor was paid for this post. I was provided info and access to images and recipe from the PR firm to share. Thanks to A Bullseye View. The expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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