Time for a serious confession: I’m a sucker for Christmas! I look forward to it every year , I can’t wait to put up the tree (here in the Netherlands, because another old, white-bearded fella is supposedly still in the country, you can only buy trees from December 5th!! The cruelty of it all!!), I can’t help but smile when I hear the first Christmas song of the season and I’m a bit sad when the season is over. One of the highlights has always been the Christmas dinner. My mom always makes a big feast out of it and in the last couple of years I’ve been doing the same in my own home. So it was only fitting that I would, at some point, come up with my own Christmas cake recipe. That wasn’t a straight forward process. When it gets to Christmas cakes, I’m all about the bûche de Noël (yule log) in all variations of course. And then I had the idea for this cake, I made it and I fell in love! With each bite you feel all warm, happy and gay! Just sheer delight! One very important note: put some love into this cake, don’t rush it, take your time because it oh, so worth it! Get set, BAKE!
- 220 gr egg
- 80 gr yolk
- 220 gr finely ground hazelnut
- 175 gr fine sugar
- 125 gr egg white
- 100 gr fine sugar
- 100 gr flour
- 100 ml kirsch
- 200 ml water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 40 ml water
- 100 gr fine sugar
- 70 gr egg white
- 25 g fine sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 240 gr fine sugar
- 100 ml water
- 360 gr butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 170 gr dark chocolate
- 120 ml milk
- 40 ml double cream
- 20 gr butter, softened
- Start with the cake. Preheat the oven at 200ºC. Place the egg, yolks, ground hazelnut and 175 gr fine sugar in a stad mixer or food processor and whisk for at high speed.
- Whisk the egg white until firm and gradually add 100 gr fine sugar.
- Carefully fold in the egg white mixture with the hazelnut batter. Add the flour and mix nice and easy.
- Divide the batter over 3 round 22 cm cake tins, lined with baking parchment and greased. Bake each for 12 minutes. If you’re baking them all together and on different levels in the oven, switch places half way through the baking.
- Allow to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, finely chop the chocolate with a knife or in a food processor.
- Bring the milk and cream to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the chocolate and then add the softened butter. Whisk everything well and set aside.
- Make the butter cream. Start with an Italian meringue. Bring 100 ml water and 100 gr sugar to a boil on low heat until it reaches 118ºC.
- Whisk the egg white with 25 gr sugar until it starts to form peaks. While whisking slowly incorporate the sugar syrup. Keep whisking for 10 minutes at medium speed. Leave to cool.
- Whisk the egg yolks at high speed. Bring 240 gr of sugar and 100 ml of water to a boil until it reaches 118ºC. While whisking slowly incorporate the sugar syrup. Keep whisking at high speed until the mixture turns pale.
- Mix the butter and cream into a soft cream. Add it to the egg yolks and whisk at medium speed.
- Add the Italian meringue and whisk at slow speed. We are looking for a light cream.
- To build up the cake, make sure the cake layers and ganache are completely cooled down. Heat the kirsch, water and sugar to make the syrup. Drizzle the syrup on the cakes, but don’t get them too wet.
- Divide the ganache between the three layers and spread it evenly. Set in the fridge until the ganache has become a bit firm.
- Use a springform or ring. Place the first layer and spread one quarter of the butter cream evenly opt op. Place the second layer and cover with a quarter of the cream and repeat for the last layer.
- Use the last quarter of the cream to cover the sides. Try to spread the cream as evenly as possible.
- For the decoration, you can go as wild as you’d like:
- Cover the top with cocoa powder and place multicoloured chocolate stars over it. Cover the sides with chocolate sprinkles.
- Using a Christmas stencil and cocoa powder create a nice pattern on the top. Cover the sides with crushed hazelnut.
- Cover the whole cake with white and dark chocolate shavings.
- Arrange biscuit or chocolate tubes on the sides and bind them with a red ribbon. Decorate the top with cocoa powder stripes.
- If you’re good with marzipan of sugar glazing, you can create cute figurines or cover the whole cake with red marzipan or sugar glazing.