Ferrero Rocher Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut Cake

I first made the original version of this cake WAY  back in 2009. It was a recipe on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine as a Peppermint Chocolate Cake and it was perfect for a Christmas dessert. As I shared in that post, it was the start of a special relationship with Abby Dodge; a creative and talented baker, yes, but an even better friend. Funny, we’ve never met but we have talked on the phone, tweeted like crazy and I worked with Abby last year to renovate her website…there might have been some kicking and screaming involved but I see Abby now developing more and more readers and friends and managing one of my favorite blog events, her #baketogether challenges.

Inspired and led with a recipe from Abby, we can modify, eliminate, add to or renovate as our heart desires from that starting point and through the month we all share our finished creations. It does build a connection and while not quite the same as being together in one kitchen, we are virtually together, supporting each other in our endeavors and building relationships in that place some think is utter nonsense…yes, Twitter!

I’ve wanted to do this cake again ever since that first effort but as something less Christmas specific. I admit, I might have asked begged Abby a bit to consider it for #baketogether because it’s just a fabulous dessert. It has several steps but nothing about it is hard; just give yourself two days and take your time; each individual step is easy. Abby and I talked back then about combining two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and hazelnut for a sophisticated version that could be served at any time of the year. What makes the finished result so special? It’s hard to completely define. A fabulous thin layer of a perfect chocolate sponge cake is layered with baked meringues; each layer of cake is soaked with Frangelico simple syrup and all layers are spread with a fabulous milk chocolate and Frangelico ganache. You can call it ganache Abby, I think I’ll just call it fudge! For this version I topped it with toasted hazelnuts. It was just the perfect finish for a lovely dinner of ham, macaroni and cheese, a squash casserole and my virgin experience with collard greens that I shared with my friend Karen and her family on Christmas Day.

As I contemplated exactly how to pull it together, I couldn’t help but think of the lovely candy I typically only buy over the holidays, sometimes just tucking a couple into the gift baskets I make each holiday season, the fabulous Ferrero Rocher hazelnut and milk chocolate candy wrapped in gold foil. As if meant to be, I also had just recently purchased some beautiful gold sugar crystals from King Arthur Flour…large enough to really make an impact if added to cookies or a cake and I thought the glittery gold crystals would be ‘the icing on the cake’ for this dessert, making it perfect for a New Years Eve party for some special friends. Although we enjoyed this dessert on Christmas day I can see this cake on any holiday table.

It’s gorgeous, it tastes fabulous and it’s just perfect for a party. Or breakfast (oh yes I did!).

Ferrero Rocher Milk Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Layers of sponge cake, liqueur, baked meringue and a chocolate ganache produce a beautiful and delicious cake.
Serves: 8-10 Servings
Ingredients
For the Hazelnut Paste:
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • ½ large egg white
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
For the Cake:
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 ozs of Hazelnut paste
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
For the Meringue Layers:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup superfine sugar (I put regular sugar into Cuisinart for a minute)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp Frangelico
For the Frangelico Glaze:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Frangelico liqueur
For the Buttercream Frosting (if not piping decorations):
  • 24 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or milk chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ Tbsp Frangelico
  • Pinch table salt
For the Buttercream Frosting (if you want extra to pipe bottom and/or top edge:
  • 30 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 oz unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Frangelico
  • Pinch table salt
Preparation
Make the Hazelnut Paste:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until it becomes a semi smooth paste and set aside.
To Make the Cake:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
  2. Lightly butter bottom and sides of 13x9x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  3. Lightly dust sides with flour.
  4. Sift ½ cup flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
  5. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and egg yolks in another medium bowl until pale and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until mixture is thick and ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix in hazelnut paste gently.
  7. Sift flour mixture over egg mixture and gently fold in with rubber spatula just until incorporated.
  8. Transfer batter to baking pan; spread evenly to edges.
  9. Bake until top springs back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cake 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cake to loosen.
  11. Invert cake onto parchment-lined work surface; gently peel off parchment. Cool completely.
  12. Using serrated knife, cut cake in half lengthwise, each half should be 12×4-inch rectangle; trim if necessary.
Make the Meringue Layers:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 175°F. Using dark pen or pencil, trace two 12×4-inch rectangles on sheet of parchment paper; turn parchment over (rectangles will show through) and place on large rimmed baking sheet. Trace one 12×4-inch rectangle on second sheet of parchment paper; turn parchment over and place on second rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Sift powdered sugar, superfine sugar, and salt into medium bowl.
  3. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with wire whisk; beat on medium-low speed until frothy.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form.
  5. Increase speed to high; gradually add sugar mixture and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  6. Beat in vanilla and Frangelico.
  7. Divide meringue equally among prepared rectangles on parchment (about 1⅓ cups for each); spread meringue evenly within traced lines.
  8. Bake meringues until dry and crisp but not browned, about 3 hours. Turn off oven and let meringues cool completely in oven.Carefully remove meringue rectangles from parchment.
  9. Make the Buttercream:
  10. Simmer cream, butter, and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth.
  11. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, 1 hour to 1½ hours.
  12. Make the Frangelico Syrup:
  13. Heat the water and sugar until it starts to boil and the sugar is dissolved. Cool
  14. Add 1 Tbsp of Frangelico to sugar water to make Frangelico Glaze.
  15. Assemble the Cake:
  16. Transfer ½ cup buttercream to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip; reserve for piping rosettes.
  17. Brush off any crumbs from meringue layers and cake layers. Place several small dabs of buttercream down center of 15-inch-long rectangular serving platter.
  18. Place 1 meringue layer, top side up, atop buttercream on platter, anchoring to platter.
  19. Using small offset spatula, spread ⅔ cup buttercream over meringue.
  20. Top with 1 cake layer, top side down, pressing gently to adhere. Brush cake layer with ⅓ cup of the Frangelico syrup (cake layer will be very moist). Spread ½ cup buttercream over the cake layer.
  21. Top with second meringue layer, top side up. Spread ½ cup buttercream over.
  22. Sprinkle ¼ cup of toasted hazelnuts on top of buttercream.
  23. Cover with second cake layer, top side down. Brush with ⅓ cup Frangelico syrup and then spread layer with ½ cup buttercream.
  24. Top with third meringue layer, bottom flat side up. Spread thin layer of buttercream over top and sides of cake.
  25. Fill pastry bag fitted with medium star tip with remaining ganache. Pipe small rosettes around bottom and/or top of cake.
  26. Finish cake with remaining ¼ cup of toasted hazelnuts and food glitter if desired.
  27. Chill cake at least 6 hours.
Notes
I made the cake first and the meringues next so that I could put them in the oven and forget them. I turned the oven to 175 degrees and set the oven timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes and left the meringues in the oven overnight.

Prep time includes time to assemble the cake.


Comments

    • Creative Culinary says

      So do I Jenni; makes them super decadent yet still light; perfect in my book! Do you know Abby Dodge? This is my revision of her recipe I made before I knew her. Small world huh?

  1. Rabab says

    hello
    if i want to make this cake in a round cake ? which size would be fine for all Ingredients you have pointed?
    thanks in advance

    • Creative Culinary says

      That’s pretty hard to configure since it’s made in a large pan and then the pieces are cut to create the rectangle. I would just go with a smallish size like 8″ or 9″ round and then you’ll have to bake each unit individually. Make your pattern for meringues using the bottom diameter of your pan to create the circles. Let me know how it works out!

  2. Mari says

    OMG….this looks like something from heaven (st. Louis) now I have to have a fabulous dinner party and serve this! What a combination of textures and flavors , I can’t wait. M

    • Creative Culinary says

      It was FABULOUS! I love meringues in the first place but making them the crunchy part of this cake. Oh. My. GOODNESS! Hi from one St. Louisian to another…born and raised there but in Colorado now.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I only decorated the cake with them; the flavors of the cake are chocolate and hazelnut but did not include any of the candy actually.

  3. Wong says

    this is a very lovely recipe, i want to bake this for my friend’s birthday! The fact tat you make the steps so simple it made a novice baker like me want to challenge this!
    However, i need advice abt the measurements of the ingredients for a 8 x 8 inches square pan. i would really appreciate your help! yeap, i am that inexperience. Sorry!

    Would you advise against skipping the meringue entirely? i am afraid that i cant pull it off (this will be harder if i cant convert the measurements needed)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Sorry summer but I don’t make cakes for others; I simply post the results and recipes for others to try after I make something I love.

  4. Vijay Deshpande says

    kindly send me the reparation of Fer Roc chocolates with hazelnuts etc.Not the cakes but only Chocolates please !!!
    Thanks !!!

  5. Samantha says

    Hello,
    I am going to try and attempt to make this for my friends birthday..
    It looks Amaaaazing!
    I cannot wait to try it (first before the birthday boy I might add, I’ll get first slice!)

    Will let you know how it goes!

    Thank you for the recipe..

    • Creative Culinary says

      You won’t regret it Samantha; it was to die for. My only bit of advice? Take your time. I stretch out the preparation so one day is not totally overwhelmed. At the very least make your meringues the day ahead…you won’t regret it, promise. Please do let me know how it goes for you…take a photo for me too?

      • Samantha says

        Of course I will let you know… along with a photo or two!
        I cannot wait… I am going to plan it all in advance, it does seem a challange for me but who wouldnt go through a challange to taste this at the end!

        Will make it next week 24th!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Just give yourself two days and break it down Danielle; because none of the individual steps are really hard but you don’t want to push yourself timewise. Good luck; and please let me know if you do make it.

  6. says

    Simply perfection, Barbara! I can’t recall if I commented already, but I sure meant to. This cake rocks my cake-loving world. You did an absolutely stunning work of it, and it’s filled with such incredibly decadent components! I love a cake with complexity, and this is a show-stopper. Happiest 2012 to you! xo
    Rosie @ Sweetapolita Most Recent Post: The Year Flew by in an Instagram

  7. Cat says

    Barb,

    I made the cake last week for NYE and it turned out amazing! Everyone loved it and I will be making it again for my mom’s bday tomorrow. I will post pictures soon. Thanks for this brilliant recipe!

    Cat

    • Creative Culinary says

      So happy it worked out so well for you. I love having readers have the same success I do and love a recipe. One thing that is great is that it really is capable of modifications; the first one I made was peppermint and dark chocolate (I can’t deny…I loved this better). Please do let me see some photos!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Jen, I figure it would also make a fabulous cake for Valentines Day; maybe with a raspberry finish? Um, yes it would!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Daisy. If you break this cake down into step and give yourself 2-3 days to make it, I promise you…it is not hard at all. Or really complicated…it’s just a cake and some frosting with the addition of some meringue layers! If I can help…let me know.

  8. Cat says

    This looks absolutely amazing! I’m planning on making this first thing in the morning for my NYE dinner. I was curious… The recipe for making the cake calls for 2 ounces of hazelnut paste. Are you referring to the hazelnut paste that is provided in the recipe? Or something like Nutella or a hazelnut spread?

    • Creative Culinary says

      You have hit the nail on the head Candy…nothing about any step is hard and though a long list of directions, nothing really takes all that long. I find it works better for me to do the meringues first and just leave them in the over overnight and do the cake the next day with assembly. The end result is so worth it. Heck, getting a photo was more difficult than any step of the production!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Oh you must tell if you do…but mix it up even if you don’t have the candy. I’m thinking I have to do something caramelish next time.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thank you for visiting Karen…and I can not deny; the cake truly is decadent. I had to give what was left over away…well after I had a slice for breakfast first. :)

  9. says

    Oooo, I just promised myself no more baking but you’re tempting with this beauty! I know what you mean about people thinking twitter is nonsense but if I look at how many people I met (both virtually and in person) because of twitter then I just say; they do not know what they’re missing!
    Simone Most Recent Post: Turkey adventures

    • Creative Culinary says

      Isn’t that true about Twitter…many of us have made valuable relationships so let the naysayers keep their heads in the sand because you are right…they don’t know what they are missing!

      The cake is…to coin a phrase…’the bomb’ – save it for an occasion; it won’t disappoint.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ll make it when you plan to visit Denver, I’ll promise you that but you could sure GF it by changing up the cake layers…if you ever do, you know I’ll be watching!

    • Creative Culinary says

      What I love about the cake is how easy it is to modify the flavors for your own tastes. I’ve now done both a peppermint one and now a hazelnut one and they were both wonderful even if light years apart in flavor.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thank you Carolyn; I know…neither low carb or gluten free…although changing the cake layer would do GF but low carb. Not this one. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Sylvie and now heading over to check out your popcorn. Ever since buying a very cool stovetop popcorn popper and making GOOD popcorn, I’m having fun trying new recipes for the humble popcorn.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Then you would most definitely love this cake. Someone asked if it had to be milk chocolate. Well, of course not…but then it’s also not Ferrrero Rocher!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Kim…it was something I’ve been thinking about for TWO years so have to admit some joy it turned out well.

      You are so sweet…my hope for you are the same and yes, Cheers to a great 2012!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks much Zee. As much as I love this cake, any kind comments on my photography are even more appreciated; it’s been a long process to move from being an experienced cook to taking photos worthy of publishing them. I have some doozies in the archives!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I love making things like this and used to make cakes for everyone’s birthday…but now limit myself to just special occasions. This was one and it was perfect I think.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Wish I could share with you Kate. While you sit around and watch soaps all day. (You know I’m kidding right?)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Oh no…really? Chocolate? If you come up with your own version; be sure to let me know; can’t wait to see a spin you would put on it Chris.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Gwen…you have to keep me apprised of your plans too. Hope you try this one; is is so definitely perfect for a holiday.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Now that is a problem isn’t it…but if you would stop messing around with MIL’s and houses, you COULD come visit. I would make one just for you :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      I thought it the only choice with hazelnuts but that’s probably because I had those gorgeous candies in mind; it was a ‘must do.’ I only wish we could share a slice; yours sounds divine too!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Nothing quite like a real testimony so thank you my friend and I knew I should have left more for you. You’re doing yours today? Hoorah!!

  10. says

    Oh Barb, absolutely gorgeous!! And I love the flavors you have selected! You are a star baker! And as the year rolls to a close, I am just thrilled that I had the chance to become such good friends with both you and Abby! Tremendous, when you think about it! Hoping that 2012 beings us all good things, good health, abundance and much happiness and, most of all, special friends. xoxo
    Jamie Most Recent Post: ORANGE GLAZED APPLE LATTICE COFFEE CAKE

    • Creative Culinary says

      Coming from you I take that as high praise indeed. I love to bake and love the effort of a grand dessert but don’t do them often as I need help eating them and with the kids gone I just know three meals a day of cake would probably not be best. Or would it?

      I too am glad we’ve become friends; I love the both of you and my wish is just like yours; that we all have a wonderful 2012!

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