Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Cakes and a Party Part II

So the last time you heard from me I was preparing cakes for the birthday/anniversary party of my good friends, Liz and Ole (you can see their lovely faces near the bottom of this post).

Question: What happens when you drink one too many Cape Cods, dance like a crazy woman, and get caught up in all the merriment?  You forget to take pictures of your three cakes after they've been cut!  "Before" photos you will find, but any revealing the inner deliciousness are unfortunately absent.  Bummer.  I'm especially annoyed because the red velvet cake was just so...red...and dramatic...and lovely.  It completely negated the fact that I nicknamed it Pisa because of a certain similarity it shared with the famous Italian landmark.

The Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Torte was the first of my three cakes to disappear.  I didn't even get to try it.  It's the one recipe that I used from a cookbook; the others were borrowed from food blogs.  Therefore, I will share it with you while directing you here for the Chocolate Sheet Cake and here for the Red Velvet Cake. Do yourself a favor and make this frosting for the chocolate sheet cake.  It is incredible!

If, like me, you would like to write a message on the top of your sheet cake, remember to practice.  Some of my letters are hideous.  Edible hideousness.

From How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

for the cake:
6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1/2c unsalted butter, soft
1 regular sized jar of Nutella (14 oz.)
1T Frangelico, rum, or water (I used rum)
scant 1/2c ground hazelnuts
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted ( I used 70%)

9" springform pan, greased and lined with parchment or wax paper (I used a 9" cake pan with great results.)

for the icing:
4 oz. hazelnuts, skins removed
1/2c heavy cream
1T Frangelico, rum, or water (again, rum)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70%)


1.  Preheat the oven to 350F

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella, and then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts.

4.  Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg whites, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.

5.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.

6.  Toast the peeled hazelnuts in a dry frying pan.  Shake every other minute or so to get a nice even color.  Transfer to a plate and cool.

7.  In a saucepan, add the cream, rum, and chopped chocolate.  Once the chocolate is melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake.  (I let mine cool for 5 minutes before applying it to the cooled cake.)

8.  Unmold the cake carefully and set on a serving plate.  Ice the top with the ganache, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts.

If you read Part I of this post you will remember that it wasn't only me who contributed to the dessert buffet.  Below are pictures of a number of beautiful and delicious desserts, along with some highlights of the celebration.

And now for what you're really after:


  1. Ooh! Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL cakes, Staci, and the party looked like a fabulous time! Great pictures, and congratulations to Liz and Ole!!

    (By the way, I always got a kick out of the 12.5-year anniversary – I get it, but on the surface, it just looks like such a quirky number to celebrate.)

  2. Hi Jackie! Thanks so much! Hope all is well in CO!

  3. Three cakes! I am very impressed and they look amazing.

  4. Thanks, Gitte! It was much harder than I thought it would be (the decorating part that is...people who do it well are true artists).