Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hazelnut Cake with Sea Salt Caramel

This cake, people. This cake. It’s a hazelnut cake that would be delicious on its own, but it’s served with the greatest caramel sauce you could ever want. I used lactose-free cream, obviously, but I think in this case coconut milk would work well, too. You’ll have more caramel than you need, and leftovers are superb on ice cream or stone fruit. Or straight from the jar.

For the hazelnuts: it just so happened that I had a bag of Bob’s Red Mill hazelnut meal/flour on hand, so I looked up online how much I should be using (to substitute by weight for the whole hazelnuts), and I used 75 g. The recipe worked perfectly for me and I got to skip a whole, noisy step. You could probably get similar results with almonds.

For the cake
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used margarine)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup blanched hazelnuts (or 75 g., see note above)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. raw or granulated sugar

For the sauce and assembly
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
¾ cup lactose-free cream (see note above)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
½ Tbsp. flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease an 8”-diameter cake pan. Line with a parchment round; grease parchment. Dust pan with flour.

Pulse hazelnuts and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground; set aside 2 Tbsp. nut mixture.

Whisk baking powder, salt, 1 cup flour, and remaining nut mixture in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat ½ cup butter and remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with reserved nut mixture and raw sugar.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan before turning out.

For the sauce and assembly
Bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in butter and salt. Let cool slightly before serving with cake. (Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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