Sunday, June 14, 2009

Richard asked me to make Roger's 50th birthday cake. Roger is the best cook I know, so making his cake was a bit scary. He asked me to incorporate chocolate and hazelnut flavors.

I made a practice cake two weekends ago and practice cupcakes last Monday night (the people at the dig enjoyed those). Each time I tweaked the recipe for the cake and frosting slightly.

The Cake.

I made a basic chocolate mayonnaise cake (adding a half batch so I could have three layers) and added about four tablespoons hazelnut oil to the batter. In the end you couldn't taste the hazelnut much but the extra oil made the cake very moist. This is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever made.

I made a middle filling layer from one and a half packages of cream cheese, one cup powdered sugar, a teaspoon vanilla, and liberal amounts of hazelnut oil and Frangelico liquor. The frosting was three and a half packages of cream cheese, about three cups powdered sugar, three cups or so of Nutella, and more hazelnut oil and Frangelico. It makes a very soft frosting that is easy to spread and has a light mouth-feel, although I am sure it is wicked in terms of calories.

Chocolate leaves and roasted hazelnut flowers.

I assembled the cake by placing the bottom layer, covered that with the chocolate frosting, second cake layer, white filling, top layer, and covered that with chocolate frosting. It went into the freezer to set for about an hour. Then I brought it out and frosted the sides.

I had made the chocolate leaves early in the morning- melted bittersweet chocolate chips, picked and washed a variety of orange leaves from my tree in the frontyard, and dipped the back side of the leaves into the chocolate (so you get the nice leaf veining) and onto a parchment lined pan and then into the freezer to get hard. When you remove them from the freezer you have to let them sit for a minute or two before you peel the leaves off, and only about a third come out successfully. I was good and didn't eat the rest (I tried one and they have a faint orange taste from the leaves). I roasted some hazelnuts in the oven and rubbed them to remove their skins. I sort of randomly placed the hazelnuts on and then arranged the leaves. It looks very pretty and everyone thinks it is hard, but it isn't.

Roger cut thin slices and visually it was very nice with the lighter brown chocolate frosting and the creamy white middle layer. And how did it taste? It was awesome, Roger loved it and everyone said it was delicious. I am very happy to have made a special cake for a special man.

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