Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Double Nut Drenched Chocolate Cake

I am so excited about this layer cake.  This is actually the first one I have made in a long time and I was able to cut the recipe down to make a 6 inch round cake.  The size is just perfect for small gatherings.

I found the taste of this cake to be unforgettably delicious!  Between the Frangelico liqueur, hazelnuts, two flavor layers and the fudgy pecan topping, I decided that this is one of my favorites.  While I usually prefer the Bundt style cakes, the cake layers in this one are so flavorful it has changed my general thoughts in  regards to layer cakes.  This is one I will be making again.

The recipe below is as originally stated for 3 round 8 inch cake layers.  While the cake is not supposed to be frosted on the sides, but 1/3 of the topping between the layers were to much in my opinion.  I cut it back and had extra to frost the sides.  Also, the cooling time in the pan of 10 minutes was not enough.  It released better after it cooled for about 17 minutes, but my cakes were only 6 inches instead of 8.  Cooling time in the pan on an 8 inch layer cake may take more time.

Double Nut Drenched Chocolate Cake
adapted from Southern Living

1/4 cup of vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 cup hazelnut liqueur (I used frangelico)
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Dutch)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

Ingredients/Chocolate Topping
1 lb of butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 four ounce dark chocolate bars, chopped or 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Prepare 3 eight inch cake pans by greasing all the inside and line the bottom with wax paper.  Grease top side of paper and dust all of the inside with flour.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl, sift together baking soda, flour and salt.  In a second bowl, mix water and vinegar.  Place the butter in a third bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add the brown sugar to the butter in three increments, beating  30 seconds after each addition.  Beat in 1 egg until evenly distributed and add the last egg, beating again.

Fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the butter batter.  Pour in half of the vinegar water mixture and stir until all is blended into the batter.  Continue with the same process, ending with the sifted mixture.  Lastly, stir in the vanilla and hazelnuts.

Measure out batter and divide into thirds.  This process will insure that your layers will be even.  Fill 1 pan with 1/3 of the batter and smooth the top.  Fill another one, smoothing the top also.  On the last of the batter, fold in the cocoa until evenly distributed.  Then fill the last prepared cake pan with the cocoa batter and smooth the top..

Bake until tester comes out clean, which should be about 19-21 minutes.  Remove pans from the oven and let cool on rack for 15-20 minutes.  Then invert onto rack and peel wax paper off of the layers.  Let layers cool completely.

Brush the top surface of all layers with hazelnut liqueur.

To make the topping, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in chocolate until all is melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Blend in the nuts and extract until evenly distributed.  Let mixture cool and set up to frosting consistency.  This should take about 45-60 minutes.  I placed mine in the fridge and it went from runny to thick in about 20 minutes. If you do refrigerate, keep a close eye on it because you do not want it too thick for you will tear the cake while trying to frost.

To assemble, one white cake layer should be placed face down on cake round or surface.  Then frost only the center,not the sides, with 1/3 of the topping. If you find that 1/3 is too thick for your preference, cut it back some and then after you do the layers you can frost the sides with the remaining topping.  Place the chocolate layer on top and frost the surface with another 1/3 of the topping.  Then place the last layer on top and frost the surface with the last third of the topping.

Let cake set for about 3-4 hours before slicing.