Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Hazelnut Praline Crunch Cake

I made this last night for my uncle to redeem myself after I cooked a disastrous dinner a few nights ago for him and my aunt. I halved the recipe, but had to settle with a large-size tube pan to make the génoise (hence why the cake is flatter and larger). I couldn't find corn syrup at any of the supermarkets either, and thus made praline to sprinkle on top instead. Nevertheless, the results were great. The génoise was light, fluffy and not too sweet, and I really enjoyed the hazelnuts. It felt like eating delicious caramel brittle. The trick is to beat the egg whites till they just retain stiff peaks, and to fold it into the yolk mixture carefully without over mixing. It is okay if it still retains white streaks, just fold it till just incorporated.

8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
210g caster sugar
110g caster sugar
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
160g APFlour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

2. Combine yolks with 210g sugar and beat till creamy.

3. Add dry ingredients and water, alternating between the two.

4. Add vanilla and zest.

5. In another bowl, whip whites till stiff, then add sugar a little at a time.

6. Fold whites into yolk mixture, pour into greased 10 inch (large) tube pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove and cool before removing from tube pan.


300g whipping cream

1. Whip cream until stiff, then refrigerate to chill.

Hazlenut Praline:

165g sugar
1/4 cup water
75g hazelnuts, toasted peeled and chopped roughly

1. Over low heat, stir water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Once it's dissolved, turn up to high heat and boil mixture till it browns. DO NOT STIR once you turn up the heat and begin to boil it. Once it turns amber brown (it takes about 10-15 minutes or longer so just be patient and watch it carefully, refraining from stirring it while it's boiling) mix in hazelnuts, remove from heat and beat till creamy.

2. Immediately pour onto silpat or greased wax paper, then allow to cool and harden before chopping it roughly.
3. To assemble, slice génoise horizontally into three sections. Spread whipping cream on first layer, sprinkle hazelnuts, then cover with second layer. Repeat steps, then top off with final layer. Spread cream all over top and sides of genoise, then refrigerate, preferably over night. Before serving, sprinkle remaining praline over top and sides of cake.
Serves 10-12