Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vegan chocolate hazelnut cake with praline chocolate crunch

hazelnut praline chocolate mousse cake

I have this issue with ideas. Chronic mental diarrhea, I call it. It’s the constant flow of potential plots for novels and perhaps too-ambitious literary short story sequences and exotic cake flavors and song lyrics and my definitely too ambitious alternative education plan and sometimes that thing I invented a few years ago that I now possess the math skills to fully flesh out but lack the motivation to do so.

You feel me? Yeah? Any person who likes to call themselves “creative” will recognize that, if in some other form. Every day is a constant struggle of THIS PROJECT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT and THIS IS THE CREATIVE ENDEAVOR THAT WILL BE MY BREAKTHOUGH INTO FAME AND FORTUNE and so on and so forth. Lurching back and forth between ideas until I’m seasick and ready for a nap. First I tell myself that yes, I definitely have to work on my novel or I’ll never get published before I’m a sad sixty-year-old fucker dying of cancer; and then I read the paper and I am seized with the need to write a very angry editorial about how dumb it is to not vaccinate your kids, goddamit; and then my English teacher tells me that I really ought to write another short story and I find myself struggling to vomit out a tale that does not involve prolific cursing or murder or any of that. It was hard enough the first time (with “The Floating Boy”).

Then homework! Yay looks like you’ve run out of time to study your Latin because you were busy fucking around with—wait for it—ideas

I cry every time. source

And the cycle continues.

Am I alone in this? You look at people in life; they seem to have it all figured out. They know how to get their work done and then they go home or go out and hang with their friends and have fun. They don’t spend their days agonizing over the fact that they’re nearly adults and haven’t accomplished shit. They don’t have a raging case of Julius Caesar complex just because they’re normal teenagers, and by saying that I am referring to this myth, as summarized by Wikipedia:

“While [in Spain] he [Caesar] is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realized with dissatisfaction he was now at an age [31, to be specific] when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little.”
Senpai will never notice me now!

This whole “mental diarrhea” issue is kind of similar, if you can believe it—I like to believe that if I focus all my creative efforts on ONE AMAZING IDEA, I will finally find “success”, whatever that means. Publication, mostly. A sign from the world saying “I exist”. A shiny gold plaque with the words “u tried” in Comic Sans MS.

Yes, the truth may not be so simple. Success is probably a lot more complicated that just umphing your way up the motivational hill. Getting out of bed and making yourself stop moping around all the time probably helps.

But all those ideas—Jesus H. Christ, I don’t know where to begin. Real artists probably know which ones to pursue and which ones to abandon. At this time, I don’t have that filter. Or I dunno—do you have it? Does anyone have it? Do all artists waste half their lives chasing really super ambitious projects only to realize that nobody wants to read that dumb pretentious shit?

It’s too much. Really. I can’t wrap this little tangent up nice and neat because there isn’t, as of this writing, an end to it. The state of creative entropy persists.

And now—drum roll, please—let me get to this cake.

I do think I see chocolate.

I’m excited to finally share this with you, since I’ve had the original recipe bookmarked for literally a year now. Just never got around to it, you know? My variation is quite different, forgoing a rectangular cake for a good ol’ round one and tossing out the sort-of-savory nut ganache (really, it was just cream and hazelnuts and butter, which sounded gross).

The whole concept of this cake is centered around chocolate (obviously) and hazelnut praline. For that praline, you make a basic caramel and stir in hazelnuts so you get this nice tooth-busting praline—then grind the whole business up in a food processor. You use the paste in both the chocolate praline mousse and the praline chocolate crunch. I found I had lots of leftovers of each component, but that was okay with me. You can easily double the chocolate cake recipe to make two cakes. Because you’re totally going to want seconds.

Oh yes.

And if you’re wondering why these pictures are so uncannily non-shitty (or at least I think they are), you can thank the new construction paper backdrop I bought. The old one was getting really groty. It feels good to not have water stains in the background of that nice-looking cake.

Anyway. Here’s the recipe. Finally.

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Vegan chocolate hazelnut cake with praline chocolate crunch

Inspired by Bon Appetit

Makes 1 double layer 6-inch round cake

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Chocolate cake

Adapted from this chocolate cake

Ingredients

188 grams • all-purpose flour • 1 ½ cups

200 grams • granulated sugar • 1 cup

15 grams • cocoa powder • 3 tablespoons

4 grams • baking soda • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • salt • ¼ teaspoon

85 grams • coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons

14 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 tablespoon

6 grams • vanilla extract • 1 ½ teaspoons

244 grams • coffee • 1 cup

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle and add coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and coffee. Whisk until thoroughly combined—do not over-mix.

Divide batter evenly between baking pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

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Hazelnut praline paste

Ingredients

300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ½ cups

80 grams • water • 1/3 cup

202 grams • peeled and toasted hazelnuts • 1 ½ cups

4 grams • vegetable oil • 1 teaspoon

Directions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Combine granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until amber in color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts. Place caramel-coated hazelnuts on baking sheet; let cool completely.

Once cooled, stick hazelnuts in a food processor with vegetable oil and grind it turns into a smooth paste.

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Praline mousse

Ingredients

100 grams • nondairy chocolate chips • 3 ½ ounces

222 grams • hazelnut praline paste (see above) • 1 cup

70 grams • coconut oil • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon

180 grams • coconut milk, full fat • ¾ cup

226 grams • nondairy yogurt • 1 cup

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine chocolate chips, hazelnut praline paste, and coconut oil. Place coconut milk in a small saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour over chocolate and let sit for a minute. Start whisking slowly, then increase speed and whisk until completely smooth. Let cool completely. Whisk in yogurt until smooth.

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Praline chocolate crunch

Ingredients

42 grams • hazelnut praline paste (see above) • 3 tablespoons

226 grams • nondairy chocolate chips • 8 ounces

1 gram • kosher salt • ¼ teaspoon

50 grams • puffed rice cereal • 1 ¾ cups

Directions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Combine praline paste, chocolate chips, and kosher salt in a medium saucepan and melt together over very low heat, stirring consistently. Once melted, stir in rice cereal. Spread mixture in an even layer on baking sheet. Freeze until firm. Break into pieces for decorations on the cake (you will have a lot of extras, but that’s okay).

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Assembly

Ingredients

Chocolate cake

Praline mousse


Praline chocolate crunch

Directions

Place chocolate cake on a cutting board or other work surface. Level off each layer with a serrated knife. Spread some of the praline mousse on top of one layer; top off with the other. Frost the entire cake with the remaining mousse. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top. Decorate the cake with praline chocolate crunch.

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Lopsided but eh it still tastes good.

If you’re a fan of hazelnut and chocolate (or any nut with chocolate, for that matter), here are some other recipes on this site you may enjoy.

Gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cake. Super rich and fudgy. You’ll never guess it’s made with quinoa, I swear.

Chocolate hazelnut babka with streusel. Vegan Nutella to the rescue!

Chocolate peanut butter swirl bread. Toast was never the same!


But seriously, try this first.

15 comments:

  1. Wow, June! This looks so delicious. Someone who puts such thought and care into her recipes is definitely a superstar in my book. Mental diarrhea is a problem for me as well. I don't think it's curable in people with creative minds. It seems as though it's working in your favor though. :D

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    1. Aw, thanks so much! I'm glad you can relate :)

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  2. Praline! <3
    This cake looks flippin' gorgeous!
    Ever since I was little, my mother and dear grandmother would always make round cakes, well, the cakes that were my favourites were usually round anyway :) Carrot cake, mum's chocolate cake, aaaand a Pineapple orange jelly sponge cake (granny's signature cake, according to yours truly...). And I cannot believe this is vegan as well *jaw drop* Well done girl!

    Also, when it comes to creativity, I totally understand what you're getting at. When you like creating things in different ways, media and so on, it can get a little overwhelming. I seemed to be able to be in the zone up until the age of 20, then it all got all muddled up. Last year was good though, and I got a surprisingly good amount done that I had procrastinated or simply put on hold.
    I reckon, the best thing is to just take the full day (procrastibaking included, but it has to be simple things, so you can get back into focus afterwards!) and focus on one thing. Then you can maybe do something else the next day and so on and so forth. Or maybe jump from doing one of the things for a couple of hours, and once your eyes get tired, you can do something else? It is tricky, but just prioritise it according to what it is you want most in life (adios home work....). And keep pinning them cakes and writing short stories :D x

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    1. Thanks so much! It wasn't hard to veganize, even the mousse--since I skipped the whole whipping process in favor of just using cultured soy milk :) Makes it nice and thick! And I'm glad you can relate--I wish I could spend my days on different projects, maybe even make a schedule..perhaps sometime! I'm working on it, definitely. Wishing you luck with this too :D

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  3. This has my name on it….love the moist texture !

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  4. Wow, this looks like the ultimate cake! Love the chocolate, hazelnut and praline combo!

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    1. It sure tastes like the ultimate cake too! :)

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  5. this sounds super delicious, love hazelnut. thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Simon

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  6. This looks amazing June! It takes me days to figure out what I want to add to the blog and then often it never see the light of day since I find another recipe that seems more important. Lol. And I did notice the new background, try poster board it's the most durable and pretty reasonable too. Can't wait to feature this in Saturday Night Fever!

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    1. Yep, recipes too--they just pile up, it's awful... I'll have to check out poster board, having more backdrops can never hurt! Thanks for stopping by :)

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