I've recently been re-introduced to the wonderful flavor of hazelnuts, and so this cake is dedicated to the amazing taste that is hazelnut.
This cake has a wonderful texture, crunchy and moist. Pairs wonderfully with coffee.
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (don't be too worried about skinning the hazelnuts, they taste just fine with the skins on, but the cake isn't as pretty)
1/2 cup corn flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs separated
1 tsp. rum
juice of 1/2 lemon
Confectioners sugar for dusting
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350F.
2. Butter a 8-inch round cake pan, or a 9-inch springform pan (which I used).
3. In a food processor, combine the hazelnuts and corn flour. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
4. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. Stir in the ground nut mixture.
5. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar. Using a whisk beat vigorously until the mixture is light in color and fluffy (about 3 min).
6. Whisk in the egg yolks, and rum.
7. In a separate bowl, stir together the lemon juice and egg whites.
8. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (do not overwhisk, as this will make the cake dry).
9. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until almost incorporated.
10. Fold in 1/2 of the egg whites.
11. Fold in another 1/3 of the dry, then the other 1/2 of the eggs whites.
12. Add the remaining dry ingredients and using a light motion with the spatula fold in until the batter is smooth, and fluffy.
13. Spread the batter in the pan.
14. Bake the cake for 25-35 min. Or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
15. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 5 min. Then remove from the pan and back onto the wire rack (the same way up as you took it out of the oven).
16. Let the cake cool to room temperature with a damp tea towel placed over the top (to protect the cake from drying out as it cools).
17. In a fine sieve, place around 1-2 Tbs. of confectioners sugar and sift over the top of the cake. Serve.
Taken from Williams -Sonoma Essentials of Baking by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans and Lou Seibert Pappas, pp. 222-3.
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