Hazelnut and Chocolate Maple Cake



This cake is worthy of a Great British Bake Off showstopper accolade! It's chocolate fir tree forest sits atop three layers of delicious maple sponge which are sandwiched with a maple and hazelnut praline. As if that wasn't enough, it is also covered in a buttery maple cream - this cake is stunning in flavours and appearance, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would definitely approve.

Ingredients

Maple Cake
750ml flour
20ml baking powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
190ml maple syrup
3 eggs
5ml vanilla

Maple & Hazelnut Praline
250ml blanched hazelnuts
250ml maple syrup
30ml cocoa powder
pinch of salt
250ml unsalted butter, at room temperature

Buttery Maple Cream
375ml maple syrup
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar
375ml unsalted butter, at room temperature

Chocolate Fir Trees
115g dark chocolate, chopped
115g milk chocolate, chopped
115g white chocolate, chopped

Method

Maple Syrup Cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C and place rack in the centre
- Butter three 20cm (8") cake tins and line the bottom with parchment paper
- In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
- Mix the oil and maple together then add eggs and vanilla and mix well
- Add sifted ingredients and stir in well
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tins
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes then allow cooling for 10 minutes
- Run a thin blade around the cakes to separate them from the tin and place cakes on a wire rack to cool

Maple and Hazelnut Praline
- In a large skillet, add hazelnuts and maple syrup and cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until hazelnut coloured
- Add cocoa and salt, mix well and remove from heat
- Spread on parchment paper and let cool
- Break praline into pieces, put into a food processor and add butter
- Pulse until a granular texture
- Spread filling between cake layers

Buttery Maple Cream
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring maple syrup to a boil without stirring until temperature reads 115C (240F)
Tip: To keep syrup from bubbling up and overflowing, put a wooden spoon in the saucepan before heating
- In a bowl, use an electric mixer at medium speed to beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft
- Drizzle the hot maple syrup into beaten eggs, avoiding mixer beaters
- Beat continuously until meringue is slightly warm and stiff
- Add butter 1-2 tsp at a time, beating until very creamy
- Be sure to carefully scrape the bottom of the bowl a few times
- Put cream on cake immediately

Chocolate Fir Trees
- Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray
- Using a pencil, draw three fir trees templates of different sizes and put sheet aside
- Melt one of the chocolates on the hob
- Fill a piping bag with a small plain tip and fill bag with melted chocolate
- Draw several fir trees of different sizes on parchment paper using templates
- Repeat process with remaining two chocolates to create fir trees of different colours and sizes
- Leave chocolate fir trees to solidify in the fridge at least 15 minutes before decorating the cake

For more information and recipes on maple syrup visit welovemaple.com

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