Friends – as beautiful as extra sprinkles on the cake of life.
I’ve met so many like-minded people since I’ve started this blog. Of course I consider you readers my friends - you put up with my occasionally inane ramblings, listen to my corny puns, then leave the loveliest comments.
A bit like my friends outside of blogland, the folks who keep me sane and add a bit of sparkle to my days. Catching up over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is a much anticipated treat. We eat (but of course), chat, share a laugh and the occasional tear.
Friends are the sort of people who aren’t afraid to call it as it is. Take the following “boobie cake”. Yup, try as I might, I could not get this cake to look elegant or pretty, instead, I ended up decorating it with what looked like lots and lots of ..er…nipples (according to my friend S).
Luckily, it tasted much, much better than it looked. Plus it’s gluten free to boot.
And because friends share things, like cake, I’ll share the recipe with you.
Hazelnut meringue cake with choc-cinnamon mousse
(adapted from a recipe published in the ABC Delicious magazine. Original recipe from Cucina Nueva by Jane Lawson)
6 large eggwhites
2/3 cup (145g caster sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g icing sugar sifted
290 g hazelnut meal (or finely ground toasted and skinned hazelnuts)
5 g tapioca flour
15g glutinous rice flour
10g corn flour
(OR use 30g plain flour. I’m not that familiar with gluten free baking but I figured that the minimal amount of flour would let me get away with it.)
600ml thickened cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I definitely added more)
300g good quality dark chocolate, finely grated
40g icing sugar
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
First make the mousse. Sprinkle the cinnamon over 1 cup (250ml) cream in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Scald the cream, then remove from heat and set aside to infuse for about 10 minutes. Strain into a clean pan, add the chocolate and stir until melted (reheat very gently if needed). Allow to cool to room temperature. Whip remaining cream until soft peaks form, then fold the chocolate cream mixture through – I used a spatula. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread (about 2 hours or so).
Preheat the oven to 140˚C and line three trays with baking paper. I used flat trays (cookie sheets) and drew circles on the reverse side of the baking paper, using the base of a springform pan as a template.
Beat eggwhites until soft peaks form (best to use electric beaters). Add the caster sugar and vanilla extract, a little at a time, and keep beating until stiff. In a separate bowl, mix the icing sugar, hazelnut meal and flours. Add about 2 tablespoons of the beaten eggwhite and fold until well combined (I may have added a bit more because 2 tablespoons didn’t quite seem enough). Carefully tip this nut mixture back into the stiff egg whites, and fold very carefully to incorporate. Do not beat out the air.
Divide the mixture evenly between the three trays, smoothing out with a spatula to form a circle (in the original recipe, it is made as a rectangle). Bake for about an hour until dry on top. Let the meringue cool on the tray then very carefully peel off the baking paper. Careful, it cracks very easily.
Place one meringue layer on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round, then top with half the mousse. Cover with another meringue circle and the rest of the mousse. Finish off with a meringue circle. Wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. I really recommend leaving it for at least 6 to 8 hours because the flavours develop beautifully. We ate the cake about 5 hours after assembly, but the slice I saved for the next day had a much stronger flavour, and the texture felt a lot moister.
To serve, mix the topping ingredients well and sift over cake.
Store uneaten caek in the refrigerator, in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap.
Try not to mar the cake surface with the addition of nipple-like decorations.
Enjoy with friends.