Baci Cake With Drunken Cherry Sauce
Many Italian desserts are nut based and I love the combination of hazelnuts and dark chocolate as found in the famous Perugina Baci candies. I created this cake using finely chopped hazelnuts and chopped dark chocolate and although I loved the flavor of the cake on it’s own, it was a very simple nut cake and a slice would be great with your morning cappuccino or later in the day as a snack. Being made with chopped nuts, it isn’t a light and fluffy cake but is a little more dense and rich in flavor. I wanted something a little more elegant to serve guests though, so I added a sauce made from frozen cherries that I slowly cooked in a red wine syrup. To serve, simply top a slice of the cake with a spoonful of the delicious cherries and a dollop of sweetened whip cream. The combination of “drunken” cherries worked really well with the flavors of the chocolate and hazelnuts. In Italy, I could buy hazelnut or almond flour or meal which were simply very finely chopped nuts. You can simply weigh the appropriate amount of whole, skinned, lightly toasted hazelnuts and grind them very finely in your food processor.
Serves 8 to 10
by Deborah Mele
For The Cake:
150 Grams (5 Ounces) Butter At Room Temperature
200 Grams (7 Ounces) Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
200 Grams (7 Ounces) Cake Flour
200 Grams ( 7 Ounces) Finely Chopped Hazelnuts
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate
Drunken Cherry Sauce (Recipe Below)
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. (180 Degrees C.) Lightly butter a 9 inch spring-form pan. In a bowl, mix together the ground hazelnuts, flour, and baking powder. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and olive oil. Add the flour mixture to the other bowl and stir just until combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
Serve slices of the cake with a good sized spoonful of cherry sauce on top, and then garnish with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Drunken Cherry Sauce
2 Cups Frozen Pitted Cherries
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Red Wine
Place the cherries, sugar, and wine in a small saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook over low heat until the syrup has thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature