Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hazelnut & Cocoa Nib Pound Cake

This cake was born after an afternoon spent looking through cookbooks, recipe binders, pins, and links, and not finding something that precisely matched the vague idea I had in my head.  I usually hate when that happens, but this time I'm so glad it did because it made me come up with this - this cake that was exactly what I wanted.  It's soft and dense, not overly sweet or fussy, nutty, and gently chocolatey - but with a fantastic sharp crunch from the cocoa nibs.  It was great with whipped cream, but would be outstanding with coffee ice cream, I think.  I wish I'd had time to get some before the cake was all gone!

Hazelnut & Cocoa Nib Pound Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 12-14

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups cocoa nibs

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan (I'm a big fan of the cooking spray with flour in it, like Baker's Joy, for Bundt pans.  Saves a ton of work and gets better coverage than I do with butter!)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, with an electric mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth.  Add both of the sugars, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and very fluffy, at least five minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after every 2-3 eggs.  Add the vanilla and almond and stir briefly.  Add the flour, salt, and nutmeg all at once.  Beat until just incorporated.  Fold in the hazelnuts and cocoa nibs.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, shaking a little to smooth out the top and get rid of big air bubbles.  Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the cake is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

4. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove cake from the pan and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.


Alex February 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM  

I think this would be perfect with coffee ice cream! great idea!

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