This cake is a real pleasure for the senses: delicious hazelnut base combined with sweet and sour dried cranberries and rich stracciatella frosting! You can prepare it for any kind of celebration or even without an occasion: surely it will make your friends and relatives very happy!
Bubolinkata says that each one of her cakes has a story behind it. I can certainly say that statement is also valid for my cakes. Even when a cake is baked for no reason, there is always a story. Well, I guess that’s because every cake is special and the fact that we have a cake already starts a story…
The idea for this Hazelnut Cake with Stracciatella Frosting and Dried Cranberries came to my mind between my office worries and house chores. It all started with the discovery that our son is literally addicted to dried cranberries: once he starts eating them, he doesn’t stop. This made me consider that dried cranberries are great for desserts. I even remembered that years ago in some restaurant I had tried a cake with dried cranberries and chocolate, and possibly also with hazelnuts… As much as I was trying to recall more details, I wasn’t able. But actually the fact that I didn’t remember was probably good because it gave me the opportunity to fill my memory gaps with some culinary fiction. Somehow at that point the word “stracciatella” appeared in my head.
And so I got started. I decided to make hazelnut cake base. The recipe for it is inspired by the walnut cake my grandma baked for me many years ago (some day I will definitely present it here but I still have some doubts regarding the recipe). I made the stracciatella frosting following just my inner feeling. Nevertheless it came up quite successful, as per my better half’s expert opinion (he is the most severe stracciatella critic I know as he very rarely approves any of the stracciatella ice creams on the market).
When the cake base and the frosting were prepared, the cake was assembled, decorated and refrigerated, it was time for me to have a piece of it.
It is hard to describe the taste explosion that each bite of this cake brings. That’s one of the most incredibly delicious combinations that you could ever imagine! While each piece melts in the mouth its flavours merge together into a lovely sensation. Like the Lemon Pistachio Cake with Apricot Frosting, this cake is another delicious melody of tastes!
If you want to prepare an incredibly good dessert with natural flavours and rich textures, try this Hazelnut Cake with Stracciatella Frosting and Dried Cranberries. The feeling of joy that each bite will bring you is totally worth it!
Hazelnut Cake with Stracciatella Frosting and Dried Cranberries
For the hazelnut layers:
- 150 g raw hazelnuts
- 180 g brown sugar
- 80 g butter , melted
- 2 eggs
- 160 g full fat plain yogurt
- 120 g cake flour
- 10 g baking powder (2 teaspoons)
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Line the bottom of a 17-18 cm cake pan with a circle of baking paper. Grease well the inside of the pan, including the paper.
- In a medium bowl combine cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until fine crumbs form: about 1 minute. It is ok to have few bigger chunks.
- In a large bowl beat together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Gradually add eggs, vanilla and yogurt and beat at a lower speed until homogeneous. Little by little add the flour mixture, mixing with a rubber spatula until just combined. At the end fold in the ground hazelnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Let the cake base cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool until room temperature, before assembling the cake.
- Line a large baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Pour the melted chocolate over the baking paper. Using a kitchen brush or a metal spatula, spread the chocolate evenly into the paper so that it forms a thin layer.
- Let the pan sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- In a large bowl beat together mascarpone, vanilla and powdered sugar until fluffy.
- In another bowl whip the heavy cream until very thick.
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
- Remove the pan with the chocolate from the fridge. With your hands crumble the sheet of paper so that the chocolate breaks into small pieces. Try not to touch the chocolate so that it doesn’t melt. Pour the chocolate pieces into the mascarpone cream. Mix gently with a spatula until the chocolate pieces are evenly distributed in the frosting.
Assemble the cake:
- Using a serrated knife cut horizontally the cake base in three equal layers. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread on top 1/3 of the dried cranberries. Cover with frosting. Place another layer on top and continue the same process. After the third layer and the last part of dried cranberries are placed, cover all the cake with the remaining frosting.
- Decorate with dried cranberries, whole and/ or ground hazelnuts and chocolate sprinkles.