Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate



Giada gives us her take on the ideal cake!

“A lot of steps go into putting this cake together but since it starts with a boxed cake mix, none of them are very difficult. All the effort goes into the filling and the crunch topping, made from hazelnut brittle that is a delicious candy all on its own. It makes for a spectacular birthday cake.”- Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 8

1 box chocolate cake mixchocolate cake mix1
Hazelnut Crunch
1 cup (about 4 ½-ounces) hazelnuts, toasted and skinnedhazelnuts1
2/3 cup sugarsugar
For the filling
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperaturemascarpone cheese16
1 cup creamcream1
¾ cup confectioners sugarconfectioners’ sugar¾
1 teaspoon vanilla extractvanilla extract1
Topping & Finish Cake
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chipsbittersweet chocolate¼
1 tablespoon sugarsugar1
1 teaspoon orange zestorange zest1
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour 2 8-inch cake pans.

Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and bake as directed. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Hazelnut Crunch
Preheat the oven to 350˚F
Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil the mixture until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the bubbles subside, then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the nut crunch cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the nut crunch is hardened and cool, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the nut crunch on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
For the filling
Put the mascarpone cheese, cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream mixture to soft peaks. Fold the chopped nut crunch into the whipped cream.
Topping & Finish Cake
Place the chocolate, sugar and zest in a food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate is finely ground.

To assemble the cake: Put 1 cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a 1-inch layer of the whipped cream crunch mixture. Place the second layer of cake on top of the first and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream crunch mixture. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground chocolate topping. Serve.


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