Have you heard that song from Van Morrison? Is beautiful and so simple…It makes me bob my head slowly to the beat. And it makes me smile.

The way I did when I read the name of this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I seriously almost fainted. Repeat slowly with me…Hazelnut…Brown…Butter…Cake. You have to agree it makes your heart stop for a second before jumping around with joy. And its only then when you throw Chocolate in the equation and your whole life just got better. Trust me. Mine did.

Brown Butter is liquid gold. Is what rainbows, puppies and little flowers are made of.

This combination is magical. Hazelnuts are by faaar my favorite nut, and talk about them roasted. God I could eat them for weeks and weeks straight. They’re beautiful. And with brown butter. And vanilla. And sugar. And chocolate. And heavy cream. All the things that are wrong, but oh so right and good about in this world. The only thing I wish I had had was a vanilla bean. I only had extract, is impossible to get whole beans or paste here. Anyway…if you do have one don’t hesitate on using it. it makes everything better. Like brown butter.

Right now, I can’t make cookies or blondies without browning the butter first. Seriously, once you try it, there’s no going back. I want to use it more on my savory cooking as well, but I’ve yet to do that. If you have any good savory recipes that call for brown butter I would love to hear them!

This cake is not very tall, it might not look very impressive…but just shove a spoonful of this wonder in their mouths and looks are forever forgotten. This is elegant, fancy and I imagine would be perfect for a tea party.

This is the view from my window through a chocolate bar. *Sigh* everything looks better through a chocolate bar, don’t you agree? They should make chocolate bar glasses. Okay I’m getting off track here. I chose a very dark chocolate (El Rey 70%) to contrast the sweet cake underneath it. Just a simple ganache, and I regret adding coffee granules like Deb did. I’ll do it next time (Oh, this is a cake I would definitely make again) and I think you should do it too.

Hazelnut Brown Butter Chocolate Cake.

Recipe From: Smitten Kitchen (check the original recipe here! is lovely)

5 ounces (about one heaping cup) hazelnuts, blanched to remove dark skins.

1/2 pound unsalted butter (plus 1 tablespoon melted extra for greasing the pan)

1/2 vanilla bean (I used vanilla extract since I didnt have vanilla bean)

1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

5 extra-large egg whites.

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. Let them cool.

Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and line the bottom with the paper.

Place the rest of the butter in a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center, and using a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. To make sure not to lose any of the seeds, run your vanilla-coated knife through the butter. Add the vanilla pod to the pan, and cook the butter until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Set aside to cool. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.

Grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until they’re finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture forms very stiff peaks. When you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks should hold. Transfer the whites to a large mixing bowl.

Alternate folding the dry ingredients and the brown butter into the egg whites, a third of a time. Remember to scrap the bottom of the brown butter pan with a rubber spatula to get all the little brown bits.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour**. Cool on a rack 30 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan, and invert the cake onto a plate. Peel off the paper, and turn the cake back over onto a serving platter. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar or cover with ganache.

Draping Ganache.

4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or finely-chopped chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules (I didn’t use these but I think you totally should)

Melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

That on top of the cake is a hazelnut praline gone wrong. Don’t pay attention to it. It was chewy instead of crunchy. It still tasted good, but I didn’t even follow a recipe, so if you’d like to make some I think Simply Recipes has a great one for nut pralines. Not necessary, but really good!

Thanks for everybody who reads this! I love my blog and I love that people like it and comment. Thanks for everything.

(And for forgiving me for these pictures…ugh, I just don’t like them, what was I thinking…)

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