Hazelnut Cake with Fresh Mint Chocolate Pudding and a Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream

Lets be honest here. We can do that right? In the last 3 weeks I have developed this unhealthy (yet very practical) obsession with online shopping. I think I've exhausted all of the furniture/house/interior decorating options here in Seattle, each time leaving empty handed, and a little more indecisive than when I started this whole buying furniture for a house thing. The thought of getting into the car, driving across town in rush hour, just to be disappointed that most of the furniture, while esthetically pleasing, lacks comfort and functionality. What ever happened to those big lazy boy reclining chairs? Do they still exist? because if so, I think I need two. So I've turned to the Internet. I've purchased a whole variety of things (some important, some less so) including some art for the house, 8 patio chairs, 4 bar stools, an area rug, safe-for-humans-and-pets fungicide for the garden, and a fit bit. The fancy bracelet one. As I sit here and type away, I am simultaneously browsing for hallways sconces and an aero press, eating hazelnut cake, and texting. Multi-tasking at its finest.

When I'm not online shopping, I'm in the kitchen trying to recreate this hazelnut cake with berries and chocolate mint mousse that I ate at Bar Sajor last Thursday night, which I can not stop thinking about because it was life-changing. The cake, moist and so hazel-nutty, the whipped mousse, silky and light, with berries on the side, this dish was perfection. Before I ordered I was a little hesitant. I wasn't a hundred percent sold on the flavor combinations, but I am never one to turn down a dessert with chocolate mousse, or cake, or berries. Who am I kidding? This dish was meant for me. This was my first time dining at Bar Sajor, and I was so impressed with the food, the service, the bartender's skills. As with all of  Matt Dillon's restaurants, ah-mazing. He is a culinary genius.

For the cake, I adapted a recipe that I found at the Pastry Studio. A light moist cake, with a tender crumb. The hazelnuts are ground down with the flour, creating more of a fine hazelnut crumb rather than pieces of hazelnuts dispersed throughout. The addition of orange zest is what really through it over the top for me. I am pretty content eating this cake on it's own for breakfast, or classing it up with chocolate pudding and whipped cream for dessert. I found a recipe for chocolate pudding and a whipped creme fraiche at CHOW. I changed the pudding recipe slightly, adding some fresh mint from my garden. You could substitute with some mint extract if you don't have any fresh mint handy. You could also substitute chocolate mousse for pudding. I like them both, so just let me know when you are making it, and I'll be right over.



makes 1 - 8 inch cake

adapted from the Pastry Studio

notes: I used a chocolate pudding and creme fraiche recipe from Chow. The only change that I made was the addition of 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves to the milk in the pudding recipe. The mint leaves were then strained out through the fine mesh sieve.

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup hazelnuts

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp orange zest

1/4 cup whole milk

mint chocolate pudding

whipped creme fraiche


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, and hazelnuts, until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, fully incorporating, and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg white and combine.

Add the vanilla and orange zest and combine.

Add the flour to the batter in three parts, alternating with the milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Tap on the counter to remove any bubbles.

Place into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to let cool. Prepare the pudding and whipped creme fraiche using the following recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/30475-deep-dark-chocolate-pudding. (The pudding is so rich and creamy and the creme fraiche is light and fluffy with a bit of sour). Why mess with a good thing.

Cut and serve the cake with a scoop of mint chocolate pudding, a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries. Cake can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.