Nov 10, 2008

Hazelnut Torte - Paganini

Hello, my dear foodies! Thank you for all your kind words, and support in my time of absence. I am very busy, but will be dropping by more, hopefully! Today is my daughter's B-Day, and I wanted to share with you this wonderful cake I made for her. Happy Birthday baby!

Hazelnut Torte (Paganini)

First make the two fillings.
Chocolate filling:
5 egg yolks, and 1 whole egg
50 g/1.75 oz dark chocolate
150g/ 5.25 oz sugar
250g/ about 9 oz butter or margarine, unsalted

Mix egg yolks, egg, and sugar until nicely incorporated, and then cook, with chocolate, in a double boiler. Cool down completely, and then add butter, or margarine cut into thin slices, and mix until smooth. Let it sit in the fridge until needed.

Vanilla filling:
4 egg yolks
5 Tbs corn starch
1 vanilla sugar (9g/0.32 oz)
6 Tbs sugar
0.7 l/ 3 cups milk
0.5l/2 cups whipped cream, whipped + 1 stabilizer
(I use the whipped cream powder, 3 x (40g/1.41oz) with about 1 ½ cups milk)

Mix egg yolks, vanilla sugar, sugar, and corn starch with about half cup milk (taken from the 3 cups). Let the remainder of milk boil, and when it comes to boil, pour in the mixture, and stir constantly until nice and thick. Cool down completely, and then gradually add the whipped cream, whipped with stabilizer. Vanilla cream, when cooled may be very tough to mix, and blending the whipped cream in can be a bit challenging, so add the whipped cream, mix a little, then cool again, and mix some more until smooth. If you mix it in one round, you will find that it can heat up, and become runny! Thanks to Jenn, I am making these corrections.

For the base:
10 egg whites
280g/ about 10 oz sugar
280g/ about 10 oz roasted, finely ground hazelnuts
2 Tbsp baking cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 395 F. Mix egg whites until stiff, slowly adding sugar, then hazelnuts with cocoa powder. Bake in a large spring form pan (8"), or a square 9”x13” baking pan. Either use parchment paper, or grease the dish before baking. Baking time depends on your oven, check often. As usual, it is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Cool down the cake, then poke it all over, and soak (but not to much) with milk. Put the cake on a stand of your choice, then put the spring form ring part back on (or around it, you know), and then put the fillings, that’s how you get perfect layers, and everything is kept in place, and evenly spread. When ready to serve, or giveaway (yeah, right), you just do the finishing touch. Fist top it with the chocolate filling, then vanilla, then decorate as you wish; whipped cream on the top works the best, but you can also sprinkle the top with coarse ground hazelnuts.

This cake is a true bite of heaven, prepare it to compliment a simple dinner! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Coolinarika.


Shelby said...

Medena, it is so good to see you again! Your daughter has an awesome birthday cake! Looks so delicious! Happy Birthday to her!

JA U KUHINJI... said...

Prvo srećan rođendan ćerkici a drugo ovo izgleda i više nego fenomenalno... ma savršeno u svakom pogledu...:)

Marija said...

Happy birthday to your little girl! I missed you so much! Glad you're back!

Melita said...

Thank you girls! Missed you all too!

Eunice said...

That looks SO good!!! Awesome photography and wonderful cake creation! I'm so jealous. Wish your daughter a happy birthday from me! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh...yum! That cake is simply gorgeous!

Alejandra Ramos said...

oh my gosh! That looks amazing! Amazing! And I'll bet it tasted even better...

RecipeGirl said...

Nice to see you posting! What a beautiful cake... happy bday to your daughter!

Jerry said...

Beautiful cake! Sounds fabulous. Lucky girl with a great mom to make her a cake.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to your daughter :)
Cake is beautiful !

Sweet Treats by Dani said...

i have dessert envy!

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness, now THAT is my idea of a birthday cake! this sounds absolutely irresistible, now i've just gotta find an excuse to make it :)

Maja said...

wMedena, what a wonderful cake and happy birthday to your daughter! I sometimes come to your blog just to stare at the gorgeous pictures!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Gorgeous cake! I love the distictive layers! Great photos, too!

Anonymous said...

I definitely want to try out this recipe that you shared! Just a quick question, for the base, you said to "soak" the cake with milk. Will you help clarify this?

Thanks again!

Melita said...

You'll love it! For the base, once it cools, you poke it with a toothpick all over. Then you warm some milk, just luke warm, and sort of drizzle over the base, to assure it's moist. Not to much, maybe 6-7 tablespoons.
Most recipes, like this one, don't call for this, but I always do it, and it's much better, makes it moist, and nicer to eat.

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

This looks gorgeous...I had the same question about the milk, thanks for the tip.
Do you think a coffee liqueur would be okay instead of the milk?

Melita said...

Cakebaker, I think coffee liqueur would be great! You don't need much, so you won't owerwhelm it, just jazz it up! Now I am thinking about other options, thanks for that question. Let me know if you try!

Anonymous said...

Medena, so nice to see you back blogging! Wow, what a great comeback - this cake looks so good! Better than any storebought!

I just saved the recipe. It looks too good to miss. One question. How do you top the fillings on top of the base layer so neatly? Do you use a springform for that?

Anonymous said...

Oh, how could I forget. Happy BIRTHDAY TO YOUR LITTLE PRINCESS! Kiss her for auntie Farida:)

Anonymous said...

How silly of me - yod did mention a springform. So, you keep the base in it and top it the 2 fillings and only after you are done you remove the sides of the springform? Is that how you did it? Please educate me:)

Melita said...

Thank you Farida for kind words and B-day wishes for my girl!

Here is the answer to your Q:
I bake the base, cool it down, transfer it from the springform onto a plate/cake stand, then put the springform ring back around it, and then do the fillings, and let it cool like that, all together.
Then you cut along the form with the knife, so it comes of easier and nicer; lift the form gently, and you get those pretty layers. Hope I made it clear :)
I know you will love this cake!

chriesi said...

Stunning! Best whishes to your daughter!

Eileen said...

Today is my husband's birthday. He would love this cake!

taste memory said...

hi Medena ~ you've been missed, but totally understand! sometimes we must just LIVE! happy birthday to your daughter - what a beautiful cake ;-)

Anonymous said...

In the process of making this for my husband's birthday tomorrow! I have the chocolate filling and cake made, and will make the vanilla filling tomorrow Did you chill the cake in between making the layers?
Any other tips??

Thanks! I hope my husband likes this :-D

Melita said...

Hi Jen! I am so glad you are making this! So, you have made the toughest parts, great! I usually make it all and assemble it as soon as everything is cool. However, it doesn’t matter. If you made the cake, and chocolate filling it should be perfectly fine to finish it off tomorrow. If you haven’t already put the chocolate filling on the cake, you can do that tonight. That way the cake part will not get dry.

Sprinkling the cake with some lukewarm milk is just an option, but you should probably do it. Oh, do remember, I should probably add this to the directions, to put the cake on a stand of your choice, then put the spring form ring part back on (or around it, you know), and then put the fillings, that’s how you get perfect layers, and everything is kept in place, and evenly spread. . Then you just take it off when ready to do the finishing touch.

I do chill the cake in between making the layers, but I usually make the fillings first, so they are cool and ready once the cake is done and chilled. In any event, I think you shouldn’t worry about anything, you did the hard part, just top it with that vanilla filling. Happy Birthday to your Husband! Mine is coming up soon…

Anonymous said...

thank you for the tips! will report back tomorrow after the cake is hopefully devoured :)

Anonymous said...

Finally I return with a full report :)

The cake was delicious, totally wonderful, and my husband was very impressed. I took a major chance in trying a new recipe on his birthday, but YAY, it paid off!

There are a few things that I would like to improve however, and hopefully you have some advice...

I used a large springform, but for me that is a 10 inch, and next time I would use my 8 inch springform. I wasn't sure how long to cook the chocolate mixture, so I cooked it until it reached 160, to make sure the eggs were safe. The vanilla pudding mixture was incredible, though I am wondering if the whipped cream powder you used has stabilizers in it? The vanilla layer was very soft with the addition of the freshly whipped cream, and when I removed the springform, the top half of the cake kind of fell off the bottom half. I was able to repair it, but it essentially would not stay atop the cake. I had chilled the cake in between the chocolate and vanilla layer and had also chilled the completed cake for several hours before attempting to remove the form.

Aside from it not exactly standing upright, it was perfect! We also had to freeze some of it, and it has frozen very well. I will definitely make this again soon.

Thank you!

Melita said...


Thank you so much for your report! I am glad you liked it, and consider making it again. You have no idea how much I appreciate your comments, and based on them I need to make minor corrections which can make a big difference : )

Like for the vanilla cream, I use the powdered whipped cream, and I bet it had stabilizers in it, and I didn’t think of mentioning that if you use whipping cream, you would need stabilizer also. I’m correcting that.
Also, you have to completely chill the vanilla cream, and then add whipping cream (with stabilizer, now we know: ). Perhaps, use additional tablespoon of corn starch next time, it can’t do any harm, it will just make it thicker. But cooling it completely is the key. Also, don’t over mix it, as mixing with a mixer can produce heat. Maybe mix for a while, and let it cool again, and then mix some more to make it smooth.
Based on this I need to correct another recipe, in regards to stabilizer. Thanks!

For the spring form pan, there was no size on it, but I bet mine is 8’, (I’m still locked into metrics, and can’t get used to inches and such) so I’m going to put that in the recipe.
I can’t help with baking time, that really depends on many elements. But, with this cake it is OK to open the door, and check with the toothpick. I would think usually 30-40 minutes…
I am happy you liked the taste, and hope you make it again. Please let me know if you do, and what were the outcomes!


Anonymous said...

Oh I am definitely making this again! Most likely around Christmas, unless my husband requests it sooner. You should have seen the gigantic piece he had today from the freezer--and he is the one who doesn't typically like sweets.

Anyway, I appreciate your tips...I forgot to say that I decorated the top with powdered cocoa, drizzled dark chocolate, and whipped cream frosting piped into swirls. The whipped cream frosting I made by whipping heavy cream with confectioners sugar. I wonder if I used that instead of the pure whipped cream for the vanilla layer, but I'd probably want to cut down on the sugar in the pudding then.

Seriously, the combination of flavors and sweetness in this dessert is perfect!

The cake portion worked out well, and pouring a few tablespoons of milk over it after it had cooled was brilliant. I loved the texture.

Now I am on to look at your other recipes...That corn bread looks like it might be next on the list.

Ill let you know when I make the cake again!

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing!!! Yumm!!

Alanvla said...

Sutra svom sinu za punih mjesec dana pravim baš ovu tortu koju već dugo mjerkam.Jedva čekam da je isprobam. Javljam kako je ispalo!

Anonymous said...

I really love your recipes, however they are not easy to follow. I realize that many things are added in the comments below, however, while cooking it gets complicated. It would be great if you said how long to cook things, such as the chocolate mixture or the base part (even just if approximate). Or even what texture something should be, such as the vanilla mixture. What temperature do you heat the milk at... do you add the egg mixture all at once? I'm assuming you stir constantly. I found this recipe lacking some of the detail necessary to properly cook this. This turned out so so for me, but a little more guidance could have made it great. A little more detail would keep us all from guessing.

Melita said...

Anonymous - I'm so sorry, I guess it just comes with experience, and I agree that many of the recipes I post are perhaps hard to follow, and a lot of creams can turn out wrong, but I get recipes from many different sources, and they are even less descriptive in original form many times.
Few tips you can save forever:
- Any creams that are cooked in a double boiler (pan over pan) are cooked until they start to thicken, time varies, and then when you cool them completely, they can be really thick, and hard to incorporate butter into, but those are the best tasting creams in my opinion.
For cake bases I just watch the progress with oven light on, and I just know when they're done, and most of them,unless recipe forbids, you can open the oven door and poke the cake base with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, it's done.
If you ever have any questions please email me, I'll be happy to answer, and if you want to try another recipe I'll describe it in more detail, I really have no time right now to redo all the recipes, but I'll try my best to be more detailed in future.
Cheers! Happy upcoming Holidays! :)

Yvonne Randall said...

This is one really delicious looking dessert. I have friends coming for dinner next week and you've made me decide to cook them this. I'm sure that they will be most impressed. I'll let you know.

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