Monday, January 30, 2012

Lower East Side Nut Cake

This recipe is one that I have had for quite some time and just now got around to making it.  The two things that drew me to it was the inclusion of matzo meal as well as the raspberry filling.

Before I made this, I wanted to be sure I did everything to insure that this was a success. I got a buttercream icing recipe and scaled it down to make the crumb crust, I did not want this thing tearing as it was iced.  However, it needed very little crumb coating since the cake was only  1 1/2 inch in height and had a layer of raspberry on top underneath the icing.  Also, instead of just purchasing raspberry jam, I got raspberry filling (I used Solo brand) and I used the whole can instead of 1/4 cup as stated in the recipe.

I really did like how it turned out.  It was a dainty, nutty cake and the raspberry was a great pairing of flavor.  The only issues I had was that I should have ground the hazelnuts more and the chocolate ganache frosting took a long time to set up.  Next time, I may use chocolate instead of chocolate chips, which may help with the consistency. Also, note that this recipe recommends using two 9 inch square baking pans.

Lower East Side Nut Cake
adapted from Food Network

1/4 cup cream
2 tbs hazelnut liqueur
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, separated
1 cup finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt and one pinch for egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup raspberry cake filling or seedless jam (see note above)

Ingredients/Ganache Frosting
4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
chocolate buttercream crumb coat (optional)
1 pint raspberries for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare pans by spraying with non stick coating.  Then line the inside bottom of each pan with parchment paper.

Place flour, salt, baking powder and 1/2 cup of sugar in a sifter and sift all into a large bowl. Then sift again for 2 more times.  Then whisk in the chopped nuts and the matzo meal.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add egg yolks, oil, liqueur, cream and butter.  Stir with a wooden spoon until all is blended.

In a separate bowl add egg whites, salt and cream of tartar.  Beat with electric mixer until foamy and just starting to form peaks.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat for 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form.

Stir in 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk batter.  Then fold in the rest of the whites until no white streaks remain.  Divide batter evenly and pour into each pan, spreading until even.  My batter was a little over 2 cups for each pan.

Bake cakes until lightly tan on top and top springs back when lightly touched.  This should take about 20 minutes.  Remove pans and place on cooling racks until completely cool.  Cake should pull away from edges while cooling.  Once cool invert pans and let layer release from pan.  Then place one layer on a cake plate, parchment side up.

Remove parchment and trim top to level if needed.  Then spread with half of the raspberry mixture.  Remove parchment on other layer of cake and flip over on top of the other layer.  Trim to level if needed. Spread the remaining raspberry on top of the cake, leaving a small border to insure raspberry does not drip down sides.  If using a crumb coat, smooth it on the exposed sides of the cake and the top edge then place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.  If no crumb coat, still place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make frosting, place chopped chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. Then pour cream into a small sauce pan and place over medium high heat.  Once it reaches scalding, remove and pour cream over chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Let cool for 30 minutes or until it is thick enough to spread.

Remove cake from fridge, frost the sides and top of the cake with the ganache frosting.  Then place raspberries on top for decoration.  Place in fridge for another 30 minutes to have it all completely set.  Then run a knife under hot water, wipe off and cut cake into pieces for serving.