Truffle Cake

I just got back from my trip to Istanbul and I’m so excited to tell you all about it and share pictures of this incredible city and its even more incredible cuisine with you. But before I do, I thought I’d tempt you with this truffle cake I recently made for my husband’s birthday. He had requested “something chocolaty”, a direction I was more than happy to follow since I had been waiting for an occasion to give this cake a try.

Truffle cake (or Trüffeltorte, as it’s called in German) is one of those heavenly concoctions that you find in every pastry shop in Vienna. This particular version is not for the faint of heart – if you’re on a diet you better click the back button on your browser, because just reading the ingredient list will add five pounds to your weight. For the rest of you who are firmly convinced that life is too short to not have your cake and eat it too, there are three layers of dense, hazelnut studded chocolate cake filled with a luxurious, smooth as velvet dark chocolate ganache that is lightly spiked with rum. For a smooth finish, the entire cake is enveloped in the same dark chocolate and rum ganache and topped with tiny curls of dark chocolate. The contrast between the dense cake and the melt in your mouth ganache is sublime and worth the extra amount of work this cake takes.

For the cake:
200g butter at room temperature
80g powdered sugar
6 eggs, separated
90g sugar
200g good quality dark chocolate (65% is ideal)
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
70g flour
270g finely ground hazelnuts

1. Gently melt the chocolate in a double boiler (alternatively, put chocolate in a Pyrex cup set in a pot with barely simmering water).
2. Combine hazelnuts and flour in a bowl.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla sugar until light and creamy.
4. Add egg yolks, one at a time and mix well.
5. Mix in melted chocolate until well incorporated.
6 Beat egg whites with sugar until glossy and stiff peaks form.
7. Beat 1/3 of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate batter with the mixer running on low until well incorporated.
8. Gently fold in the rest of the stiff egg whites with a spoon, alternating with the hazelnut-flour mix.
9. Pour batter into a 24cm round cake pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 50 to 60 minutes.
10. Let cool completely before removing from cake pan.
11. If the top of the cake has risen too much and formed a “dome”, cut it off so as to level the cake.

For the ganache:
375ml heavy cream
400g good quality dark chocolate (65% is ideal)
3 tablespoons rum
extra chocolate for decoration

1. Break chocolate into large pieces and put in a bowl.
2. Bring heavy cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let stand for a minute, add rum, and then carefully stir, beginning from the center until the chocolate has completely melted and the cream is fully incorporated. Don’t stir too energetically, because you don’t want to whip the ganache.
3. Cover and refrigerate until the ganache has thickened. It should be somewhat firm, but still easily spreadable.
4. Cut cake horizontally into three equally thick layers. Spread bottom layer with ganache, top with cake layer and continue with remaining layers and ganache. Make sure to leave enough ganache to frost the top and sides of the cake.
5. Spread an even coat of ganache onto top and sides of the cake.
6. Refrigerate cake until ganache has further firmed up.
7. When ganache is still wet, sprinkle top of the cake with a layer of chocolate curls. To make the curls, run a vegetable peeler down the sides of a block of room temperature chocolate. If the ganache has firmed up too much, the curls won’t stick. You can easily soften the ganache by gently blowing on the cake with a blow dryer for a few seconds.
8. Once you have decorated the cake with the curls, refrigerate it until the ganache is firm again.
9. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before serving. The cake should not be served cold. It stays fresh at room temperature for about 2 days.


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