In my opinion, there has always been a separation between a home baked cake and one from a bakery.
Sometimes that was a good thing because I was free from the dreaded glowing white shortening frosting as well as tasteless fondant decorations (which immediately got plucked from my dessert and relocated to my mother’s unsuspecting slice).
It was also sometimes a bad thing because I could never achieve that dense, but very light, crumb in my own cakes.
I have only now realized that it was because I never came across a truly wonderful sponge cake recipe.
This sponge emits a fabulous richness from its yellow appearance as a result of an indulgent 6 egg yolks. However, it also demonstrates its tenderness by not weighing a freaky amount for a measly culmination of flour and sugar (I’m looking at you carrot cake)!
The light but moist crumb is topped with the creamiest and perhaps most luxurious chocolate frosting ever. Bold, I know.
I say this because there is no one out there who can eat a giant piece of cake with American buttercream stacked an inch high and not feel a slight flush of nausea afterwards from the richness and sweetness. This frosting, however, is slathered upon the cake without regret or stopping halfway due to a fear of Grandma toppling over from sugar overload. It’s not as sweet as an American buttercream and therefore is welcomed in volumes and volumes (and volumes).
Fluffy, creamy and dreamy. That’s winning vocabulary for a frosting. Majorly.
Hazelnut Cake with Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
Decadent and smooth, this is a sponge cake dressed to the nines. Toasted hazelnuts texturize the soft sponge while also starring in a creamier form in the fluffy and satisfying frosting. The flavor is perfectly recognizable, yet not overpowering.
- 1/4 C hazelnuts, toasted
- 3/4 C sugar
- 9 T cake flour
- 6 T cornstarch
- 3 eggs
- 3 yolks
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 T vanilla
- 3/4 C vegetable oil
- Grease a 9 inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches tall. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease again. Set oven to 375F.
- Grind the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor with 1/4 C sugar until fine. Pour that mixture along with the flour and cornstarch into a sifter and sift. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla on high with a mixing machine until pale yellow. When the whisk attachment is lifted up, the mixture should hold a thick ribbon- about 7-8 minutes.
- Gently and carefully fold in the flour mixture with a spatula.
- Gently and carefully fold in the oil as you stream it slowly into the batter.
- Bake in preheated oven 25 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Invert immediately onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for one hour at room temperature.
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 C butter, softened slightly but still firm, cubed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 8 oz good quality milk chocolate, chopped fine
- 2 T dutch cocoa whisked with 2 T warm water
- 1 heaping T Nutella
- Over a double boiler, whisk egg whites, sugar and salt until warm to the touch.
- Move this mixture immediately to a stand mixer and beat until stiff peaks.
- Add butter piece by piece, waiting until one cube is incorporated until adding another. The mixture may break but it will come back if you keep beating. Add vanilla.
- Melt chocolate over double boiler. When only slightly warm, add to frosting and whisk. Then add the cocoa and finally the Nutella. Whisk everything together and frost cake. Enjoy!