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Make chocolate ganache first; let it cool while you bake the cake. It all can be made a day ahead, just make sure you have a candy thermometer. Found this in Sunset, Nov. 2002. I didn't include any of the cooling times because they all vary. The cake is awesome and worth the time put into it.
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs or 3 tablespoons cake crumbs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups bittersweet chocolate or 1 1⁄2 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- CHOCOLATE GANACHE:.
- In a 2-3 quart pan over low heat, stir 1-1/2 cups chopped chocolate and 1 cup whipping cream until melted and smoothly blended, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache no longer flows when pan is tilted, about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven 350ºF.
- Place nuts in a 10x15-inch baking pan; roast, shaking pan occasionally, until golden beneath skins, about 10-12 minutes.
- Pour nuts into towel and rub to remove loose skins.
- Let cool at least 15 minutes.
- Set aside 8 completely skinned nuts.
- Whirl remaining nuts in food processor until finely ground.
- In a bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar, scraping bowl occasionally, until very thick and light colored, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in ground nuts, bread or cake crumbs, and vanilla extract.
- In a large bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until they hold soft peaks.
- Gradually, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until egg whites hold short, distinct peaks, about 3 minutes total.
- Add half the whites to nut mixture and stir to blend well.
- Gently fold in remaining whites, spread batter level in buttered and floured 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim.
- Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back in the center when lightly pressed, 25-30 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife between cake and pan rim.
- Lat cake cool on a rack about 45 minutes.
- With a long serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally.
- Gently slide a baking sheet under top cake layer and lift it off.
- Spread bottom cake layer evenly with chocolate ganache, slide top layer, cut side down, back in place over ganache.
- CARAMEL CLOAK:.
- In a 3-4 quart pan, combine 1 cup each firmly packed brown sugar, light corn syrup and whipping cream; 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until mixture reaches 240ºF, 12-14 minutes.
- Pour into a 1 qt glass measure and stir occasionally until mixture cools to 150ºF, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Pour over cake immediately.
- Set cake on rack in a 12x17-inch pan.
- Pour about1-1/2 cups warm caramel cloak over cake--enough to coat it--starting at the center and spiraling to edges, letting caramel drip down sides to cover completely.
- Arrange reserved hazelnuts evenly around top edge of cake.
- Let stand until caramel stops dripping and it is firm enough to cut, about 30 minutes.
- Scrape caramel drips from pan back into the measuring cup containing caramel cloak.
- Cook, uncovered in microwave at 30% power, stirring occasionally, until warm and fluid, about 2 minutes.
- Pour into a nice gravy boat for serving.
- Place cake on plate.
- Cut into wedges with a sharp knife.
- Offer remaining caramel cloak to spoon over portions.
- ENJOY, YOU'VE EARNED IT!