Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Iron Chef Nuts: Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with a Hazelnut Crunch Crust

For Iron Chef Nuts, I wanted to make this cake that I had once before. I believe my mother made it or maybe it was my aunt or both. But, I remember absolutely loving how good this cake was. I think what I remembered most about this cake was the 3 layers and my favorite part the rice krispie crunch on the bottom layer of the cake. This cake is perfect for a holiday especially Christmas, and you can decorate it using stencils or a doily like I did and sprinkle powder sugar over it. The only downside about this cake is that not only is it a 3 layered cake, but its 3 different layers. So, it was a bit difficult to make and it took me several hours to put it all together. Plus, you have to chill it overnight. So, it’s best to make this cake a day ahead if you have the time. I think I will always remember this hazelnut cake and how good it was. This cake was found out of Bon Appetit's magazine. However, I found it online on their website. I hope you enjoy!

• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
• 1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process; sifted, then measured)
• 4 large eggs
• 2/3 cup sugar
Hazelnut crunch
• 5 ounces imported gianduja bars (hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate, such as Callebaut), chopped
• 1 cup crisp rice cereal
• 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, finely chopped*
• 10 ounces imported gianduja bars (hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate, such as Callebaut), chopped
• 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
• 1/8 teaspoon (scant) salt
• 3 tablespoons water
• Tuaca (sweet citrus-flavored liqueur) or Frangelico (hazelnut-flavored liqueur)
• Additional unsweetened cocoa powder
• Powdered sugar

On Bon Appetit’s website, they give suggestions of where you can get the gianduja bars. However, I went to World Market and found the best deal on the hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate bars. I believe the best deal was Lindt’s or World Market’s brand. Lindt’s was 4.4 oz and World Market’s was 3.5, I believe. If your hazelnuts are not already pre-husked and toasted then you can take the hazelnuts and scatter over a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Take the warm nuts and place into a dish towel and rub together until the skin is removed. I was amazed at how well this worked. Chop up the nuts till you have enough for 1/3 of a cup.

First you want to start prepping your cake pan, by taking one 9 inch pan and insert parchment paper so that some of the paper comes out about 2 inches. Take your oven rack and move it to the bottom third of your oven and set the temperature for 350 degrees.
Now, take your butter and melt it in a saucepan over medium heat. This part was a wee bit tricky, but you need to remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a minute. Then take a spoon and gently remove the milk solids that rose to the top of the butter and discard it. Then take your spoon and dish out the yellow butter liquid into a small metal bowl. Discard the water and and milk solids. Now, add your vanilla to the butter. This is called your clarified butter. Set aside.

Now, take your flour and cocoa and sift three times into a bowl. Set aside. Take your eggs and sugar and whisk together. I used my Mixing bowl. This next part took me much longer than 2 minutes, and to be honest I thought it was kind of a pain. But, they want you to take your egg mixture and place it in a bath of simmering water. They want you to use a large skillet for the double boiler. While the bowl is in the skillet make sure you are stirring continuously. You want the egg mixture to reach a temperature about 105 degrees. Remove the bowl. Add your clarified butter into the skillet to keep warm. Beat egg mixture on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the egg mixture is cooled and tripled in volume.

Next, take your cocoa/flour mixture and spoon 1/3 of it into the egg bowl and fold with a rubber spatula. Continue two more times until cocoa mixture is incorporated. Take 1 cup of the cake mixture and incorporate with the clarified butter and stir together. Then take your clarified butter and pour that back into the mixing bowl and combine together. Pour batter mixture into your prepared pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean or until cake springs back when touched about 30 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and let cool in pan on a cooling rack. Then remove cake from pan by inverting onto the cooling rack. Remove parchment paper. Carefully, cut cake horizontally until cake stands around ¾ inch. Take a spring-form pan and use as a guide to cut the cake so it’s around the same size as a spring-form pan. I didn’t have to do much cutting at this point just enough because you are going to have to put this cake into the spring pan.

Now, take spring-form pan and line it with parchment paper. Take your skillet and make sure there’s still enough water to bring to a simmer. Take 5 oz of your chocolate bars and break up into a small metal bowl and place bowl into the skillet. Once melted; stir until smooth. Take your chopped nuts and rice krispies and incorporate into the chocolate. Pour mixture into spring-form pan and spread. Chill for an hour in the refrigerator.

Now, it’s time to make your mousse. Take the remaining of your hazelnut bars and place in a medium bowl. Take the bowl and place into a skillet with simmering water. And, let melt. Take your mixing bowl and pour the heavy cream and salt into it. Mix at medium speed until it starts to fluff but not too much. I think I over-mixed at this point, so I had to add some heavy cream into the mixture to lighten it up some. Once the chocolate is melted, take 3 tablespoons of water and mix into the chocolate. Now, pour this into your mixing bowl and fold in with the heavy cream mixture. Take your spring-form pan and place chocolate cake on top of the rice krispy mixture. Take your frangelico and brush on top of your cake. Now, pour the mousse on top of the cake. Chill the cake over-night or for several hours. Keep chilled.
Bon Appetit says to take a knife and run it in-between the cake and pan sides to loosen it. Then they say to take a hot and soaked kitchen towel; wrung out, and wrap it around the pan sides for 30 seconds. Then, you should be able to remove the pan from the cake. Smooth mousse if necessary. Now, you can take stencils or a doily and place on top of cake and sprinkle with cocoa and then powdered sugar.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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