Hazelnut latte cake

Prep: 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 25 mins plus cooling and chilling

A challenge

Serves 16

Give coffee cake the ultimate upgrade - layer with chocolate hazelnut frosting, add a creamy topping and sprinkle with crushed nuts

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced sponges only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal544
  • fat36g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs45g
  • sugars33g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.3g
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Ingredients

    For the cakes

    • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 100g bag chopped toasted hazelnuts
    • 300g light brown soft sugar
      Sugar

      Sugar

      shuh-ga

      Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

    • 6 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tsp fine instant coffee powder (see tip)
    • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 2 tbsp cornflour
    • 175g plain flour

    For the coffee syrup

    • 50g light brown soft sugar
      Sugar

      Sugar

      shuh-ga

      Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

    • 1 tsp fine instant coffee powder
    • 1 tbsp Frangelico (hazelnut) liqueur, or use Kahlua or Tia Maria

    For the frosting and nuts

    • 400g mascarpone
    • 300g hazelnut chocolate spread (Nutella has the best texture for this)
    • 1 tbsp fine instant coffee powder
    • 50g chopped toasted hazelnuts

    For the latte topping

    • 150ml pot double cream
    • 4 tsp icing sugar
    • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tbsp fine instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water

    Method

    1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Generously butter two 20cm sandwich tins (ideally about 4.5cm deep or deeper) and line the bases with baking parchment. Put the hazelnuts into a food processor with 2 tbsp of the sugar, then pulse until finely chopped. Don’t expect them to go as fine as ground almonds and avoid over-processing, as this can make the nuts greasy.

    2. Put the butter, milk and coffee powder into a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Set aside.

    3. Now start the sponge. Crack the eggs into the bowl of a tabletop mixer, add the rest of the sugar and beat for 5-10 mins (or beat with an electric hand mixer in a large deep bowl for 15-20 mins) or until thick and billowy, and the mixture leaves a trail that holds for a couple of seconds. It is really important that the mixture has thickened, almost doubling in size, in order to achieve a light sponge.

    4. Mix the cornflour, plain flour and 1/2 tsp salt, and sift onto the whisked mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold in very carefully. Sprinkle in the ground nuts, then fold these in too. Pour the warm milk mix around the edge of the bowl, and fold this in. Don’t rush the folding, and continue with a light lifting and cutting motion until ribbons of liquid stop appearing. Divide the batter between the tins, then bake for 25 mins until risen to the middle and a burnished gold.

    5. Loosen the sides of the cakes with a palette knife, then cool in the tins on a rack for 20 mins (the cakes will level off, and possibly go a bit wrinkly, but that’s normal). Carefully remove from the tins and cool, paper-side down.

    6. Make the syrup and the frosting while you wait. Put the sugar and 4 tbsp water into a small pan. Bring to the boil and leave for 1 min then take off the heat. Stir in the coffee and alcohol. Beat the mascarpone, hazelnut chocolate spread and coffee together with a wooden spoon, until silky and even.

    7. To assemble, cut the cold cakes horizontally across the middle, using a long serrated knife. With a pastry brush, dampen the cut surfaces all over with the syrup. Use it all. Put one cake layer onto a plate or stand, cut-side up. Spoon on 3 generous dollops of the frosting, then spread to the edges with a palette knife. The frosting should be about 5mm deep. Repeat with the next two layers. When you come to the final layer, place it cut-side down, so that the top of the cake is smooth. Paddle the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. The layer on the top can be thin. Clean the knife then use it to press a neat ring of nuts into the frosting on the side of the cake. Brush any excess away.

    8. For the topping, put 3 tbsp of the cream, 1 tsp icing sugar and 1 tbsp milk into a small bowl. Put the rest of the cream, milk and sugar, plus most of the dissolved coffee into a larger bowl. Whip the white cream, then the coffee cream, until they look like soft cappuccino froth, thick but still able to flow from a spoon. Pour most of the coffee cream onto the cake and push it out to cover the top. Whisk a little more coffee into what is left, so that it turns a few shades darker.

    9. To decorate with a characteristic latte ‘tree’ shape, load a pointy teaspoon with a little of the white cream. Start at the base of the tree, just right of the centre of the cake. Push the spoon into the coffee cream and let the white cream flow slowly. As it flows, drag the spoon then pull it gently away, to make a leaf-like shape. Repeat with more white cream on the left to make another leaf, then repeat 3-4 times, working up the cake top graduating from large to small leaves. Use the same technique to sweep a couple of arc shapes around the edge of the pattern.

    10. Use the dark cream to add detail to each leaf – you can paint this on with the tip of a teaspoon or a clean cocktail stick. Use a cocktail stick to drag the points of each leaf up and outwards. Draw a line down from the top of the ‘tree’ to the bottom to finish. The cake will keep for up to 2 days. Loosely cover any cut edges but avoid covering the cake directly as you could damage the decoration. Serve from the fridge or at cool room temperature.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Comments (7)

    cherub-rock25's picture
    5

    I only made the cakes and Nutella filling so I cannot comment on the 'soak' or 'latte topping' but what a fantastic recipe! My cakes were light and airy and rose to perfection - the trick is definitely whipping the eggs and sugar for a good 20 minutes, no skimping!

    I made my Nutella frosting with mascarpone, cream cheese and a touch of creme fraiche (making 1.5 times the amount in the recipe) and it filled my cakes beautifully.

    It went down an absolute storm! Will definitely be making this one again.

    Sandra2202's picture
    5

    I made this for my daughters birthday. It was totally amazing. Everyone was very impressed with it. Fantastic flavours and textures. If I could I'd put a photo on this comment.

    mbennett's picture
    2.5

    Made this last night, not difficult but very time consuming and expensive. I used half the quantities and baked in a single 18cm cake tin with very satisfactory results - the cake's total height was 2-3" and perfectly adequate. The latte topping was, for me, totally superfluous and far too fiddly at this stage of cake assembly (Getting a bit fed up with it by now). Also my printout wasn't very clear and I wasn't sure what the end' latte tree' result was supposed to look like - having revisited this site all has become clear. Would I make it again? Probably not, despite its impressive look, it was too bland tasting for me. Give me a carrot cake any day.

    sophiaprice's picture

    Followed this recipe to the point, but have very thick flat cakes... what went wrong?!

    maryambakes's picture
    5

    An amazing recipe, easy to follow and the outcome is so impressive. Definitely one of the best cakes I have made

    liinabachmann's picture
    3.75

    Made this last night and let it set overnight and it tasted divine! However a few tips: the biscuits take longer that 25 mins, I baked them for almost 40 mins. I made them in two batches since I had only one 20cm tin (divided the components in two and made the dough for the second one while the first one was in the oven). Also I doubled the syrup cos the amount the recipe suggested was not enough to dampen all 4 surfaces. I decorated it a bit differently as well - used the mascarpone-nutella mixture on the top and the whipped cream-sugar-coffee cream to decorate the edges. Overall not a terribly difficult cake to make,just takes quite a lot of time and the biscuit dough needs a lot of mixing (the eggs+sugar part) and careful folding, for the biscuits to come out fluffy and nice + attention when in over not to under or overbake them.

    mbennett's picture
    2.5

    For UK readers: for dough read batter; for biscuits read cakes - must be a foreign contributor

    Questions (2)

    emmajanelek's picture

    I am planning to make this cake next week but I do not understand the finishing decorating technique, is it possible to make a video for us? It would be much appreciated.

    goodfoodteam's picture

    Hi emmajanelek, thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear you're having difficulties with this recipe. We don't have a video for this technique but we may be able to provide you with some additional step by step photos. If you would like to contact us by email enquiries@bbcgoodfoodmagazine.com and we'll do our best to send you some additional info. 

    Tips (2)

    cherub-rock25's picture
    5

    Whip the eggs and sugar for 20+ mins if you can and make double the filling if you want to ice the outside of the cake with the Nutella frosting (I didn't have enough!)

    maryambakes's picture
    5

    I needed double the amount of the coffee syrup