Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

So Last tuesday was P2's birthday and we celebrated in the Dominican Republic. It ended up not being a great day. He was under the weather and it was raining. We made the best of it, but knew that this weekend was going to be our NYC re-du with friends and better food!!
One thing I knew I needed to do (mostly because of the gentle hints) was get a birthday cake. And that was my first thought... GET a birthday cake! I was going to go down to Chelsea Market and visit one of the great bakeries there.. no way I could go wrong.... Right???

Then it hit me..... I cannot BUY my husband a cake!! I have been to culinary school for f*#!k sake!

Let me just say I am an AWFUL baker. I hate it. I pride myslef on not ever using a recipe. Baking is not my steez!
However... I had all afternoon.. and I figured why not try something new... even if it came out bad I could blog about it. So I hit the food network website and found something I thought would give me a little challenge, and would still be something P2 would like. I did have a couple challenges along the way, like mindlessly sticking my finger in melted sugar(I burnt myself worse than ever before!) and I had to re-do my frosting because I over whipped it, but I wanted challenges so I got them. In the end it came out perfect. I also added my own twists here and there so I made it my own version. So here is my cake and Giada De Laurentiis' recipe:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix

Crunch:

  • 1 cup (about 4 1/2-ounces) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Filling:

  • 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

For the cake:

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) cake pans. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and bake according to package instructions. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

For the Crunch:

Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. Let the bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the sugar nut mixture cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the sugar nut mixture on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set aside.

For the filling:

Put the mascarpone cheese, cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip the cream mixture to soft peaks. Fold the Crunch mixture into the whipped cream.

For the topping:

Place the chocolate, sugar and zest in a food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate is finely ground.

To assemble the cake:

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 the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream crunch mixture. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground chocolate. Serve.




Enjoy it!
XOXO
-P

Comments

Tara said…
Paulette, baking cakes are easy! I do it all the time. Of course you have to follow a recipe, baking prides itself on being precise, but if you can read you can bake! We have a bunch of cakes that we make at work that are SO good and easy to do. Most of them being vegan. Next time you're in CT come to Bloodroot, you will dig it. What kind of chocolate did you use? Valhrona is the best I've come across.
Terance, baking is NOT as easy as you would like me to think. I will give you that a cake might not be rocket science, but once you get into the different pastry doughs and thing like that, it does get a bit tough. I mean if your kitchen is too humid and you live in aspen, you might not be able to bake the same things as a vegan chick in CT. There is so much to think about when baking I get frustrated too fast for my own good!
I don't like to have to think past my taste buds!!
SIRPAUL said…
Hey hey HEY! You are a big fat liar!!! You are an EXCELLENT BAKER!!! That was an AMAZING BIRTHDAY CAKE with SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH LOVE in it!!!
Deeeeeeee-licious, deee-lovely, deee-lectable, deee-vine!
Love you!!!
Xoxo

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