Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 8 servings


* 1 box chocolate cake mix


* 1 cup (about 4 1/2-ounces) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup water


* 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
* 1 cup cream
* 3/4 cup powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


* 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon orange zest

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 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 according to package instructions. Remove from the oven and let
cool on a wire rack.

For the Crunch:

Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a
parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a small
saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar mixture until
dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light
brown, about 8 minutes. Let the bubbles subside then pour the
caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the
refrigerator and let the sugar nut mixture cool until hard, about 30
minutes. When the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool, top with another
piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the
sugar nut mixture on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set

For the filling:

Put the mascarpone cheese, cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a
large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip the cream mixture to
soft peaks. Fold the Crunch mixture into the whipped cream.

For the topping:

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 on a serving plate. Top with 1-inch of the whipped cream
crunch mixture. Top with the second layer of cake and continue
frosting the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream crunch
mixture. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground
chocolate. Serve.

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