I think we are now at a stage in our relationship where it's time to come clean about a few things...
I eat an apple whole, like a horse.
I cannot sleep if any one of my limbs is touching any of my other limbs.
When shopping I, if at all possible, always select the second item from the front.
I like the milk in my cup first when making tea.
I don't really like chocolate cake.
That's right, I'm not a great lover of chocolate cake. There, I've said it. I know many, if not all of you may be crying lunacy at this point and I am aware that for one so completely obsessed with cakes to dislike possibly the most popular cake of all seems somewhat deranged, even for me. I can't help it though, I just find it a little uninspiring.
Now, before you dust off your pitchforks and torches, please let me clarify. Although I am at best indifferent to chocolate cake, I absolutely ADORE chocolate as an ingredient. In all its forms chocolate is about the most dynamic and versatile baking component in the bakers arsenal. Using chocolate can transform a recipe into something spectacular and even when used sparingly it can glorify anything from breads and tarts to cookies and of course, cakes. Which is just what I've done with this recipe.
On its own this hazelnut cappuccino cake is thoroughly lovely, with a toasty biscuity flavour and tender crumb. However the addition of a little finely chopped dark chocolate elevates the cake to something that could be described as heavenly, if it wasn't so downright naughty. Beautifully bittersweet, rich and full of character it's a perfect treat to serve to friends or demolish yourself.
Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 45 Mins
175g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
175g Soft Light Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Ground Hazelnuts
2tbsp Strong Black Coffee (Cold)
100g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
100g Dark Chocolate (Finely Chopped)
For the icing
75g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
150g Icing Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Cocoa Powder (For dusting)
You can find ground hazelnuts in some supermarkets now, particularly the one beginning with an 'S' and in my humble opinion they are definitely worth the investment.
Preheat the oven 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a deep 20cm loose bottomed tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract. Fold through the ground almonds, followed by the coffee. Sift in the flour and the baking powder, then mix to a smooth batter. Fold through the chopped chocolate, then spoon into your prepared tin and even to the edges. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 45 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you're happy the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the cake has cooled you can start on the icing. Cream the butter until smooth, add the vanilla extract, then sift in the icing sugar and mix together until combined. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and dust with a little cocoa powder. All that's left is the slicing and devouring.