Ultimate chocolate and hazelnut birthday cake

Ultimate chocolate and hazelnut birthday cake

Lamingtons & lemon tart
Patricia Niven

This is a cake that will be remembered for years to come – hopefully it will become your family’s favourite birthday cake. It delivers in both taste and presentation. After glazing you can finish the cake as you please. I’ve kept the exterior simple but you can go nuts.

All of the component recipes are bang on in their own right and can be used independently, but together they make something very special.


Quantity Ingredient

Chocolate and hazelnut sponge

Quantity Ingredient
4 eggs, at room temperature
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
4 egg whites, at room temperature
30g caster sugar
150g icing sugar
40g plain flour
40g cornflour
80g dutch cocoa powder
160g ground hazelnuts
pinch salt

Orange syrup

Quantity Ingredient
150g caster sugar
1 orange, finely grated zest

Milk chocolate cream

Quantity Ingredient
350g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
550ml thickened cream

Dark chocolate cream

Quantity Ingredient
340g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened
375ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon liquid glucose

Dark chocolate glaze

Quantity Ingredient
180g caster sugar
60g dutch cocoa powder
100ml thickened cream
5 gold-strength gelatine leaves, soaked and drained


Quantity Ingredient
Apricot and vanilla jam
or Raspberry jam
white chocolate shavings, (See Sweet essentials chapter), to garnish


  1. For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22.5 cm non-stick springform cake tin with canola oil and baking paper.
  2. Place the eggs, yolks and liquid glucose in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer and whisk on medium speed for 15 minutes or until thick. Transfer the mixture to another larger bowl.
  3. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and add the egg whites. Whisk on medium speed until frothy, then gradually add the caster sugar and whisk to a stiff meringue. Fold this gently into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Sift the icing sugar, plain flour, cornflour and cocoa powder into a bowl and add the hazelnuts and salt. Gently fold this into the eggs using a spatula until all is incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the inside edge to loosen the cake from the tin. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool for 40 minutes on a wire rack.
  7. To make the syrup, place 200 ml water with the sugar and orange zest in a saucepan over medium–low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir to ensure the sugar has dissolved before removing the pan from the heat.
  8. For the milk chocolate cream, put the chocolate in a bowl.
  9. Heat 200 ml of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate.
  10. Add the remaining cream and again mix well. Store the cream in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
  11. For the dark chocolate cream, put the chocolate and butter in a bowl.
  12. Place the cream and glucose in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate and butter. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate into a smooth, shiny cream. Leave to cool at room temperature until thick enough to spread with a palette knife.
  13. To make the dark chocolate glaze, place the sugar in a large bowl and sift in the cocoa powder to ensure any lumps are removed. Add 140 ml water, stirring to make a paste. Put this paste with the cream in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to the boil. Stir and boil for 1 minute before removing from the heat. Add the gelatine to the pan, stirring until it is dissolved.
  14. Strain the glaze through a fine sieve into a jug and leave to cool. Bubbles may appear on the surface of the glaze. Wait until the glaze has cooled down before skimming the surface well with a spoon. Store the glaze in covered plastic containers in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  15. To assemble, cut the sponge into three layers horizontally, using a serrated knife.
  16. The top piece will be the base so invert it with the exposed baked piece side down, onto a cake board. The inverted base of the cake will be used for the top, as it is flat. The other piece of sponge, cut on both sides, will be in the middle.
  17. Reheat the orange syrup and dab it onto the sponge pieces using a pastry brush, to moisten each layer on both sides.
  18. Spread the jam liberally on the bottom layer and middle layer sponges.
  19. Place the milk chocolate cream in a freestanding electric mixer and whisk on medium–high speed to a thick consistency.
  20. Spread about 120 g of the milk chocolate cream onto the jam on the bottom layer of sponge. Spoon the cream into the middle and push with a spatula to the edges of the sponge leaving a gap of 1 cm around the edge.
  21. Place the middle sponge on top of the milk chocolate cream ensuring the jam is facing upwards. Repeat the milk chocolate cream step and place the top layer of sponge on top of the cream. Push down gently to flatten it evenly.
  22. Place the cake in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to set.
  23. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and, using a spatula or palette knife, smear and smooth the dark chocolate cream over the top and side of the cake. Be fairly generous with the cream using around two-thirds of the total amount and try to smooth the side as best you can.
  24. Place the cake back in the refrigerator for an hour to set. Remove from the refrigerator and repeat with the remaining dark chocolate cream. Place the cake back in the refrigerator.
  25. Melt the dark chocolate glaze in the microwave, stirring gently, until it is liquid again. Do not use a whisk, as you do not want air bubbles. Ensure the glaze is heated evenly before setting it aside to cool. Use a sugar or digital thermometer to check the temperature of the glaze. If the glaze is too hot it will melt the cake but too cold will not be neat. When the glaze reaches a temperature of 40°C it is ready to use. Use a sugar or digital thermometer for accuracy.
  26. To glaze the cake, place it on a wire rack placed over a shallow tray. Pour the glaze onto the centre of the cake in one motion and try to ensure the glaze runs evenly over the top of the cake and runs to cover the entire surface of the cake and down the side. Then leave the glaze to stop dripping and set before trimming the bottom of the cake with a small palette knife.
  27. Place the cake on a serving plate or cake stand. Finish the cake with a few white chocolate shavings then serve.
darren purchese
burch and purchese
sweet studio
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