Before I came up with the idea to make this recipe, I had already started working on a Flourless milk chocolate cake with coffee. It sounded like a brilliant idea in my head and I had finished putting down a barebones recipe of how I’d go about it. I was excited right up until I opened my larder cupboard and found that I had run out of milk chocolate actually. Now since I often bake at night in the silence of an empty kitchen (less distractions that way), I couldn’t run down and buy the slab last minute, and so instead, like any enterprising person in the kitchen would, went with what I had instead.
White chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts- everything about this cake felt right from the moment I started making it. I knew even as I was scraping the batter into the springform tin that this cake was going to be intense. I was sent some particularly sweet-tart mulberries just the week before that crowned the top of the cake beautifully once it had finished baking. When I was done un-moulding, I stepped back, took a long look at the cake before me, and cut a slice out. It was so beautifully moist, dense, delicately sticky, and a bit heavy from the nuts. Tart mulberries, sweet fudgey cake and more coffee on the side- this cake was better than I had imagined. As I sat there eating the bitter yet sweet cake happily, I was suddenly so thankful that I had run out of milk chocolate when I did.
Flourless White Chocolate With Hazelnuts
Yield 1 9-inch cake
Hazelnuts add a richness to this dense, sticky and sweet white chocolate cake. Coffee is added in to balance that sweetness, resulting in an outstanding bake that can be served with seasonal tart berries.
White chocolate 330g
Hazelnuts 200g, very lightly toasted
Vanilla essence 1 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp extract
Eggs 8, whites and yolks separated, whites brought to room temperature
Strong black coffee 40ml
Caster sugar 240g
Mulberries 200g to decorate
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a 9-inch springform tin with baking paper. Cut another long strip of baking paper to line the sides of the tin as well, so that it protrudes 1-inch above the pan.
Blitz the hazelnuts briefly to a powder taking care to not blitz it too much, otherwise it will become buttery.
In a double boiler setting (a glass or a metal bowl that fits snugly above a saucepan with simmering water underneath), add in the white chocolate and butter and let it melt slowly stirring with a spatula. Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, take it off the heat.
To this bowl, add in the egg yolks, hazelnut meal and coffee. Stir and set aside. In another bowl, put the room temperature egg whites in and begin beating using a hand mixer, or if you own a stand mixer, simply add in the egg whites and whisk on medium speed, adding the sugar gradually and turning the speed up as you go till stiff peaks form. If whisking using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites till frothy and once it begins to form floppy peaks, add in the sugar bit by bit and beat on high speed till the meringue forms stiff peaks.
Take a regular metal spoon or a slotted metal spoon and add a spoon of the meringue mixture into the white chocolate and hazelnut mixture. Stir vigorously to combine.
Now using the same metal spatula fold this aerated the chocolate mixture in thirds through the stiff-beaten egg whites gently, taking care to not deflate too much of the meringue.
Once all the white chocolate mixture has been combined well, scrape the batter into the cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 50-55 minutes, or until set with no wobble. The cake will rise quite a bit above the pan and hence we've put the baking paper around the tin as well.
Once the cake has set, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes inside the tin before opening the springform lock and letting the cake cool to room temperature.
As it cools, the cake will deflate in the centre a bit as most flourless cakes do, and you can fill this cavity with fresh mulberries before you serve.