Hazelnut caramel cake
- October 2016
- Serves 10-14
- Hands-on time 50 min, oven time 30-35 min, plus cooling
Toasted hazelnuts and golden caramel icing take this cake from an afternoon treat to a decadent dessert.
- 31.7g (18.1g saturated)
- 54.2g (40.4g sugars)
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g granulated sugar
- 2 medium free-range eggs, plus 2 yolks
- 200ml soured cream
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the caramel icing
- 300g caster sugar
- 75g unsalted butter
- 225ml double cream
- 50g hazelnuts, toasted in a medium oven and quite finely chopped
- Sea salt flakes to decorate
You’ll also need…
- 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, greased with butter and bases lined with non-stick baking paper
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolks in 2 batches, followed by the soured cream and vanilla. Fold in the flour and baking powder with a large pinch of salt using a metal spoon in a figure-of-eight motion. Once the mixture is smooth, divide it evenly between 2 x 20cm greased and lined sandwich tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- For the caramel icing, put the sugar in a large, spotlessly clean frying pan and heat very gently, without stirring, until the sugar melts and turns into brick red caramel. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the butter, being careful as it may spit. Once the butter has melted, stir in the cream, then return to the heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir for 3-4 minutes until thickened.
- Transfer the caramel to a clean bowl and cool completely, then stir in the hazelnuts. The quickest way to cool the caramel is to put the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and water. Stir it until it thickens, becomes matte and much paler, and holds its shape when the spatula is removed. Alternatively, you can leave it to cool, then chill until quite firm (this takes much longer).
- Once the caramel icing is very thick and you’ve stirred in the nuts, spread a third on top of one of the sponges. Top with the second sponge, then spread the remaining caramel all over the cake, using a palette knife to smooth the top and sides, and gradually adding more as it hardens. Scatter sea salt flakes over the top, then serve or store in an airtight container.
The completed cake will keep somewhere cool for 12 hours. If you want to make it further ahead, keep the sponges and caramel separate (leave out the nuts from the caramel). Wrap the cooled sponges in cling film and store at room temperature, and cover the caramel and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Take the caramel out of the fridge 30 minutes before icing the cake and stir in the nuts at that point. You can also freeze the sponges for 1 month, wrapped in cling film.
If you can find cobnuts, the seasonal variety of hazelnuts grown in Kent, they would work beautifully in this cake.
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