Friday, October 1, 2010

A Welcoming-Back Cake: Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse Cake


We're on a transition from Summer to Fall currently, and believe it or not, with this unpredictable weather (there is another heatwave now here in SJ, and a cold week last week), my life or my routine has been affected a bit. For example, my sleep. Sometimes, it is super hot in the afternoon but cold i in the morning and at night. A lot of time too I had to sleep with my window open at night because it was too hot and I find myself waking up in the middle of the night feeling really cold. I blame the weather, the bed, and the comforter too on this one :)

This is the time when I would dream for a new comfortable bed sets, modern and comfy. You see, for these past few years, I've been sleeping in an open futon with a really comfortable foam mattress next to a window. Not that I have too much complaint about it as it serves me pretty well, especially when it is not my own house, but I would really love to have one of this when I finally have a house of my own.

Anyways, just for some background information, I volunteered to order the food for my weekly lunch team meeting from the catering company for our company, mostly because no one didn't seem to want to doit and also so that I can choose the food I like :) (this is probably weigh more that the first reason). From doing so every week for more than a year, I somewhat knew the people I interact with, and although we can't be considered good friends (yet), but we have a good relationship.


There's this one lady that I used to see almost everyday down at the cafeteria, but I hadn't seen her for quite a while. I found out from the other lady later on that she just had a brain tumor surgery recently and needed a month to recover. She also asked me if I would bake her a cake to welcome her back in the workplace after so long and to celebrate her healthy comeback, and how can I say no to that?


This cake wasn't in my original schedule of cake making, but it was all well worth spending all the times and effort to make it for that very special joyous moment. It didn't take me too long to decide what cake I wanted to make for her. After a few questions of what she likes and doesn't like, I decided to make something with chocolate (yes, two chocolate cake in a row, during summer time! very unusual), more specifically a chocolate and hazelnut cake.

Do you remember this? It was the time when I would try so hard to recreate the flavor and the crunch of ferrero rocher in a cake. I would say it was very successful at that time, based on all of the feedback and request for the same cake from my friends. I used nutella and also some rice krispies in the cake, which was great, but maybe you would remember too that I lost the notes where I scribbled down all of the measurement I used. I've been wanting to recreate the cake ever since and this time, I also wanted to make it with the "correct" ingredients, for example, gianduja paste/hazelnut paste instead of nutella, feuilletine instead of rice krispies, and perfected the component layer that goes inside the cake.


I ordered all of the ingredients from one of my favorite sites a few months ago and they've been sitting in the box for quite a while now. After much thinking of what a "perfect chocolate and hazelnut cake" consist of, to me, I came up with this:
- Hazelnut dacquoise with scattered hazelnut on top
- Hazelnut paillete feuilletine with milk chocolate and hazelnut praline
- Gianduja mousse
- Dark chocolate sponge
- Brandy
- More gianduja mousse
- Thin milk chocolate plate (in between the mousse)
- Milk chocolate cream
- Dark chocolate glaze
- Chocolate Macarons and gold leaf decoration

It sounded like a lot of components and complicated but if you spend a couple of days making some component, it is not impossible. I usually avoid using dacquoise when making cakes, mostly because it is so sweet, but wanting to have that textural balance, I tried reducing the sugar by a lot!

There are a lot of ingredients that are new to me such as the gianduja paste, hazelnut praline, feuilletine, and I was scared to mess it up at first but thankfully it turned out fine. I LOVE the hazelnut praline, it tasted like the outer shell of ferrero rocher with that bits of hazelnut in it, so good.

I did try a slice of this cake just to see what improvement I need to make, if any and to my surprise, I think I've found what I've been looking for in a chocolate and hazelnut cake. If I can say it myself, it tasted very very similar to ferrero rocher, only better!! There's definitely lots of crunch when you bite into a spoonful of it and the different texture provides the perfect balance. I still need to work on my glazing technique, it is still very poor :(, but practice makes perfect? The most important thing is that the lady who came back from the surgery LOVES it, and that's all that matters to me.


This cake is a little bit involved than many of the cakes I made and I realized that the ingredients are not things that you could find in a grocery store or even whole foods, but some substitution can be made. I guess I need to make two versions of this, the complicated one and the simpler one, just like the first ferrero rocher I made before, using rice krispies instead of feuilletine, and nutella instead of gianduja paste. The amount and the recipe is definitely different but you can get the same textural balance and same great taste. I still need to work on the "simpler" recipe as I lost it when I made it last year, but I'll try to post the recipe whenever I make another one (and not losing it) :). The "complicated" version is still on my scratch paper somewhere, with little notes here and there, no direction even. I don't have the picture of the inside and forgot to take a quick snap on my slice, so this is all I got. I realize there's not much variation on the pictures, but I was lucky to at least got a few minutes to take pictures :)

Let's move on to the giveaway now. I did a giveaway for CSN store just a few months ago and they kindly offered me another giveaway for $45 that you can spend on their 200++ online stores. It won't be enough to get that bed set I was eyeing on, but I'll dream about it :). The rules are simple:
- Leave a comment on this post anytime between now to October 10, 2010. I will draw a winner randomly using random.org and announce it on the next post when the giveaway has ended.
- No multiple entries
- For anonymous (preferably none), leave your email address and where you're located at
- If you disable your profile view, please do the same as item #3. I won't be able to email you or find out where you are if I can't view anything.
- This giveaway only opens for US and Canada residents only.

36 comments:

Hari said...

You should definitely think of making a cake small business with your twin sister. I'll be your financial manager.

Fenny CK said...

I don't want giveaway, just make me the "indo cheesecake"..:P

vteng said...

and i volunteer to be your PR& Marketing =) eniweiii would love to try that cake berrr... especially my hubby, he loves ferrero rocher =D

Linda said...

delicious pic :) I also think you should get your own store.

Kiki said...

I have been dreaming of your delicious ispahan cake lately yummm....

suburban prep said...

The picture makes me wish it were right here at my house.

nlhing@gmail.com said...

(ahem ahem) I haven't had any of your delicious cakes lately Bertha! When o when...

Kathy said...

i want indonesian cheesecake too.. yum yum..

Christine said...

What a beautiful cake! You inspire me to be a better baker! :)

Hengky said...

oh wow... what a coincidence my bday is coming in about a month.... I would love to have a ferrero rocher cake ... *hint* *hint*

Anonymous said...

I'm sure looking forward to the "simple version" of the recipe for this gorgeous cake! Your glazing is stunningly smooth - I don't think you need more practice :)

dreambeyondnow@hotmail.com, Calif.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

This looks soo good. Waiting for the simpler version!

lynne said...

Wow! that cake looks amazing!!!
milkncookiezzz[at]yahoo[dot]com

Kita said...

The photos of this cake are amazing but I think my favorite is the whisk photo. Its simple and really pretty. How do you get photos like that? I can only get 'finished product' photos and have been really wanting to expand on that.

Meryl said...

What a beautiful looking cake!

Kristen616 said...

wow - this is a truly impressive cake! looks amazing!

annette said...

Ferrero Rocher Cake sound really really yummy!! Do you put real hazelnuts too on your cake for crunch? When will I be able to taste that cake? :)

Lauren: said...

That cake looks fantastic! Thank's for sharing!

Space Monkey 1138 said...

Wow, looks amazing!

Klee said...

I love how comprehensive this post is! I am all over this cake.

CarinE said...

You really should open a cake store. your cakes look sooo amazing ! I Bet it tastes great...(I love chocolate with hazelnut praline...OHHHH~HAZELNUT PRALINE...)

Adriana said...

Wow, your cake is a work of art!

(ibakebittersweet@gmail.com)

Katie said...

Looks delicious!

katherinealaina@gmail.com

woofbug said...

that cake looks absolutely delicious! The macarons are a lovely touch to the decorations.

woofbug said...

that cake looks absolutely delicious! The macarons are a lovely touch to the decorations.

girl paraphernalia said...

I'm a new reader and found you while looking for a matcha cake recipe via google!

What's not to love about hazelnut!!! This cake looks absolutely DELISH, my taste-buds are screaming "give me SOME", and me eyes are salivating.

stellula said...

If this cake tastes even half as good as it looks, I would probably swoon. Thanks for sharing!

wita said...

This cake is making me drooling, but I can only imagine what the taste like. I bet it's super yummy. I want a piece, great job!
nonakuki@yahoo.com

d-La said...

The previous version is already really good. This one must be SUPER DUPER good. Can I have it for my bday, pleeaseeeeee.......

CienSau said...

Greatt pictures, but i'm sure it looks better (and taste better) in person =9

MommyBee said...

great picture- look forward to more in the future!

Angie
mommybee17@gmail.com

Tracy said...

It really does sound yummy.
I totally adore Ferrero Rocher.
And I totally agree with Hari that you should open up a cake business.

Thanks for the giveaway
lovelyistracy (@) yahoo dot com
Texas

Lambie's Family said...

beautiful chocolate and hazelnut mousse cake! so nice of you make a special welcome back cake.

Jacelyn said...

Hi Bertha,

a yummylicious looking cake you have there. How do you get your chocolate glaze to coat the sides so nicely? Mine tends to thin over the sides when I poured the glaze over the cake.

Bertha said...

Jacelyn: Thanks! I froze my cake before glazing and my glaze has gelatin in it, so it thickens when it comes in contact with the cake and adhere to ir. The glaze can't be too hot or it will melt the cake, and not too cold that the gelling agent solidifies immediately

Eva said...

This cake looks YUMMY!