Chocolate hazelnut cake
Every cook should have a dependable chocolate cake recipe. Mine is this moist chocolate and hazelnut cake that never fails to please. I serve it with strawberries dusted in castor sugar and roasted in the oven at 170C until they soften slightly, which takes about 15 minutes. As they cool, they let out an incredible juice that, mixed with the melted sugar, creates a lovely strawberry sauce.
Everyone needs an easy chocolate cake in their repertoire: This one has nuts and mascarpone in the mix. Photo: Marcel Aucar
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150g hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
100g ground almonds
*100g dried breadcrumbs (you can source from most bakeries)
300g couverture chocolate
165g butter, softened
150g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g mascarpone cheese
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 24-centimetre spring-form pan with baking paper.
Whiz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are finely and evenly ground, then add the ground almonds and breadcrumbs and pulse the processor a few times to mix. Remove from the processor and reserve in a bowl.
Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, place over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and stir until melted. Whiz the butter and sugar in the food processor until well mixed, then add the eggs while the motor is running.
Switch off to add the vanilla, ground nuts, chocolate and mascarpone and process again to mix together well. Pour into the spring-form pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes (the surface of the cake usually cracks in a ring).
Cool slightly before serving.
To serve, put a wedge of cake on a plate, top with a spoonful of strawberries and some sauce, add a big dollop of whipped cream, dust it all in icing sugar and dig in!