This cake was one of my Christmas creations: a crown decorated with handmade pine cone. I prepared it for a friend who loves hazelnuts, which comes in various textures: moist, crunchy and airy.

I also added  a soft creamy caramel, which forms a perfect association with the hazelnut. And as the caramel was cooked properly, it was not too sweet.

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This cake is made of:

  • hazelnut moist cake
  • soft caramel
  • praliné crunch
  • gianduja mousse
  • gianduja soft frosting

Hazelnut cake

This cake is very moist and has a delicate taste of hazelnut. You can use the same recipe to make a pound cake if you wish, you just need to adjust the baking time (depending on the size of you loaf pan). You can of course prepare it in advance and keep it in the freezer in an airtight container.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 0 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 12 slices
Calories 62 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Sieve
  • Food processor equipped with the S-blade
  • Saucepan
  • Silcone mold Savarin 160 of Silikomart Lady Queen Kit (check picture below)

Ingredients
  

  • 120 g Eggs Around 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 50 g Clarified butter Check Essentials page
  • 90 g White flour Type 45
  • 7.5 g Baking powder Use precision scale
  • 50 g Hazelnut powder
  • 2 drops Natural vanilla extract Optional
  • 90 g Granulated sugar
  • 10 g Trimoline Or acacia honey
  • 50 g Grapeseeds oil
  • 1.5 g Table salt Use precision scale if possible

Instructions
 

  • Bring the eggs to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven at 145°C.
  • Melt the clarified butter.
  • Sieve the white flour and the baking powder TOGETHER.
  • Place them in the bowl of the food processor equipped with the S-blade. 
  • Add the hazelnut powder, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and trimoline. Mix until getting a nice smooth mixture.
  • Add the grapeseed oil and salt to the melted butter. Warm until 50°C.
  • Add them to the batter, gradually, and mix at the same time to realise an emulsion (like for a chocolate ganache). It's important to add the butter gradually so that the fat molecules are perfectly incorporated to the batter.
    If you have a food processor with double feed tube, you can remove the small pusher and place a funnel to facilitate this step (check picture below).
  • Pour the batter in the silicone ring an leave 1cm to the top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothbick.
  • Let the cake cool in the mold placed on a wire rack before unmolding.
Keyword Batter, Hazelnut, Sponge

Soft caramel

You can prepare this caramel in advance and store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze it for a maximum of one month. You can use it for many recipes as a sauce (with a chocolate fondant for instance) or cookies or tarts…

Print Recipe
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 1 Jar of 200g
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Thermometer
  • Stainless steel (or ceramic) container
  • Cling wrap

Ingredients
  

  • 1 g Gelatin Gold strengh (200 bloom)*
  • 17 g Glucose syrup
  • 95 g Granulated sugar
  • 95 g Whipping cream
  • 17 g Butter
  • 3 g Fleur de sel French sea salt
  • 20 g Milk chocolate Optional, if possible Bahibe 46% of Valrhona

Instructions
 

  • Soak the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
  • Boil the cream.
  • Place the glucose syrup in the saucepan and melt it over a medium heat (without boiling it).
  • Add the sugar. Let it melt and camaelize until getting a nice dark golden amber color. You can press (not stir!) the sugar with the whisk to help it melt uniformly.
  • Add the butter and the salt and stir with the whisk.
  • Add the hot cream and cook until 106°C and transfer it immediately (to stop the cooking process) in a stainless steel (or ceramic) container preferably large and not too deep.
  • Wring gently the gelatin and dissolve it in the caramel.
  • Add the chocolate pistoles and stir until they melt.
  • Cover directly to the surface with cling wrap and let it set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Notes

Please refer to the Additional comments below.
Keyword Caramel

Streusel for praliné crunch

The streusel is very simple to realize, and adds a nice texture and taste to the cakes. It can be used plain to decorate them, or mixed with chocolate to form a crunchy base, or mixed with praliné / almond butter… and spread over any moist cake. You can freeze it raw (better) or cooked (but you will need to warm it for a couple of minutes before using it.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 150 g

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Stainless steel mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 40 g Butter
  • 40 g Almond powder
  • 40 g Flour
  • 40 g Cassonade Unrefined cane brown sugar
  • 0.5 g Fleur de sel French sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring the butter cut into cubes to room temperature.
  • Combine with the almond powder, salt and cassonade sugar.
  • Add the flour and combine.
  • Break into pea size pieces and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 150/160°C until getting golden color.

Notes

  
Keyword Crunch, Streusel

Praliné crunch

This crunch is meant to be a bit harder than the usual ones I prepare, because it comes at the base of the cake. I added also some streusel in it. You can prepare it in advance and store it in the fridge, but preferably add the streusel at the last minute.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Resting Time 0 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 12 slices

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Saucepan
  • Stainless steel mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 20 g Plain hazelnut paste
  • 40 g Hazelnut and almond praline Homemade if possible*
  • 20 g Milk chocolate Jivara 40% of Valrhona
  • 15 g Streusel
  • 20 g Feuilletine flakes "Gavottes" biscuit available in supermarket**
  • 20 g Hazelnuts Chopped and roasted
  • 1 pinch Fleur de sel French sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Melt the chocolate at 45°C using double boiler or microwave (not recommended).
  • Add the hazelnut paste and praline. The hazelnut paste can be prepared at home by roasting raw hazelnuts for 15 minutes at 150°C, then peeling them mixing them (once cool) with high-speed blender until getting a smooth and creamy paste.
  • Add the feuilletine flakes, the chopped and roasted hazelnuts and the salt.

Notes

Please refer to the Montage section below.
* Please refer to the Essentials page.
** Please refer to the Ingredients page.
Keyword Crunch, Hazelnut, Praline

Gianduja mousse

Gianduja is made of roasted hazelnuts, blended with icing sugar, milk (or dark) chocolate until getting a smooth paste. I like to prepare my own gianduja (you can check the Essentials page), and I use much less sugar than the original recipe.

This mousse made with crème anglaise is very creamy and offers a nice and delicate hazelnut taste. It’s important to respect the temperatures when realizing this mousse. In general I start whipping the cream (at medium speed) just before adding the crème anglaise to the chocolate/gianduja. And after mixing the crémeux with the blender, I place the bowl on a freezer pack and stir to cool it quickly. If the whipping cream is ready before the crémeux is cold enough, place it in the refrigerator. If the crémeux is too cool, reheat it in the double boiler. 

Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Resting Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 25 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 12 slices

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Stand mixer equipped with the whip
  • Mixing bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Strainer
  • Hand blender
  • Spatula
  • Round silicone mold 18cm (check picture below)

Ingredients
  

  • 3 g Gelatin Gold strength (200 bloom)*
  • 105 g Full fat milk Fresh if possible
  • g Whipping cream 35% millk fat
  • 150 g Gianduja Valrhona or homemade (check Essentials page)
  • 48 g Egg yolk Less than 3 yolks
  • 12 g White sugar
  • 150 g Whipping cream To be whipped, well chilled

Instructions
 

  • Place the bowl and the whip of the stand mixer in the freezer.
  • Melt the gianduja using a double boiler (Bain-Marie) or microwave (not recommeded). The temperature of the chocolate must not exceed 50°C.
  • Heat the milk (without boiling it).
  • Mix the egg yolk and sugar. Add the hot milk.
  • Preapre a "crème anglaise": pour the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer over low heat. It should thicken slightly and coat the back of a spoon*. The temperature should not exceed 83°C.
  • Strain the crème anglaise.
  • Add it gradually to the melted gianduja (in 3 steps). Take the time at each step to stir energetically using the spatula with small circular movements in the very center. This will insure the perfect and homogeneous incorporation of the liquid into the chocolate (make an emulsion)*
  • Wring gently the gelatin and dissolve it in the mixture.
  • Mix with the hand blender to smoothen the crémeux.
  • Place the whipping cream in the cold bowl of the stand mixer.
  • Whip it until until it's just lightly whipped and gets a mousse texture (check picture below). Do not over whip it.
  • When the gianduja crémeux reaches 35°C, fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Gently fold in the remaining cream using a spatula.
  • Use immediately.

Notes

Please refer to the Montage section below.
*Please refer to Essentials page.
Keyword Gianduja, Mousse

Gianduja soft frosting

Since I discovered this recipe of frosting, using the Valrhona Absolu Cristal, I stopped considering any other recipes of frostings. Besides being very shiny and tasty, it has a very smooth texture, and one can do some touch-ups without damaging it.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 300 g

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Mixing bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Hand blender
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 50 g Gianduja Valrhona or homemade
  • 80 g Milk chocolate Bahibe 46% of Valrhona
  • 75 g Whipping cream 35% millk fat
  • 195 g Absolu Cristal Neutral Glaze A special neutral glaze developed by Valrhona
  • 20 g Mineral water

Instructions
 

  • Melt the gianduja and the chocolate pistoles using a double boiler (Bain-Marie) or microwave (not recommeded). The temperature of the chocolate must not exceed 55°C.
  • Heat the cream and pour it immediately on the melted chocolate.
  • Mix with a hand blender to make a perfect emulsion.
  • Simmer the Absolu Cristal with the water on low heat (just to melt it).
  • Add it gradually to the chocolate and mix after each addition.
  • Use at 30/40°C.

Notes

Please refer to the Montage section below.
*Please refer to Essentials page.
Keyword Chocolate, Frosting, Gianduja

Montage

I used the Silikomart Lady Queen kit: it comes with 2 savarins molds

– one with 180mm diameter, 60mm diameter (for the “hole”), 50mm height

– one with 160mm diameter, 80mm diameter (for the “hole”), 40mm height

Once the hazelnut cake is cooled, leave it in the mold and trim it and remove the bumped part, such that it has exactly the height of the mold (4cm).

Cut out a “tunnel” 2cm wide and 2cm deep, and poor the caramel inside (1.5cm thickness). Let it set in the freezer for at least one hour. Once set, add a thin layer of praliné crunch (approx. 0.5cm thick) and place it in the freezer.

Pour the gianduja mousse in the second mold. Place the hazelnut cake stuffed with caramel and praliné crunch. Press it such that its top reaches the top of the mold.

Let it set in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

When ready, reheat the soft gianduja frosting at 30/40°C and glaze the frozen cake with it. Before glazing my cakes, I always place them on a bowl of a smaller diameter placed itself on a baking tray. This allows the frosting to flow properly on the sides of the cake. 

Decorate with chocolate leaves if available or any other chocolate decor. Let it defreeze in the refrigerator for at lease 6 hours.

Bon appétit!