Lots has happened since the last time I posted anything. I worked on a farm all summer, returned to Berkeley, became the kitchen manager of my student housing facility... Not least of all however, I became absolutely obsessed with browned butter. Obsessed. After after any recipe I try, I can't help but think "I wonder what this would taste like with browned butter" Mmm....
This obsession has lead to a number of wondrous concoctions however. I've perfected the browned butter chocolate chip cookie recipe (thought the last one was too complicated well..this one's simpler, and better tasting!) Perhaps the best concoction however was the marvelous browned butter hazelnut cake from over at smitten kitchen.
It's like nutella met a torte and had a delicious love child...only better. It has the rich caramelized toffee flavor of browned butter pared with the earthy warmth of hazelnuts topped off with decadent dark chocolate ganache. I'm pretty sure it's destined to be my birthday cake for years to come.
Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake
Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
5 ounces (about one heaping cup) hazelnuts, blanched to remove dark skins*
1/2 pound unsalted butter plus extra for greasing the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting the cake
1/3 cups all-purpose flour
5 extra-large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 12 to 15 minutes until they're golden brown and nutty. Let them cool. (If you're not using pre-blanched hazelnuts you'll need to remove the skins, one handy way to do this is to wrap the warm nuts in a dish towel, let them steam for 5 minutes and then rub them together vigorously in the towel to remove the skins)
Cut out a circle of parchment paper 10 inches in diameter. Coat a 10 inch round cake pan with a thin layer of butter and place the circle in the bottom of the pan.
Cut the butter into chunks and place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the butter, stirring frequently, until it smells nutty and the solids in the bottom of the pan turn dark brown (5 to 10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Grind the hazelnuts and with the confectioner's sugar in a food processor until they're finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 30 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes and then run a knife along the edge of the cake and turn it out onto whatever you're serving it on. Cover it with chocolate ganache
Chocolate Ganache for a 10-inch Cake
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or finely-chopped chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
Melt the chocolate and heavy cream in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle and spread over the top of the cake (I use the back of a spoon)