Beautiful layers of crispy and chewy meringue, decadent chocolate ganache and fluffy whipped hazelnut cream are what make this delicious chocolate hazelnut pavlova cake worth celebrating this blog’s first birthday.
I can’t believe it’s been a year already 😀
You heard me… this blog is still a baby, but deserves a special cake with something sparkling on top! Nothing healthy at all in this recipe, only pure indulgence. Okay, I might be exagerating, this cake is actually not nearly as sweet as cakes can be, it’s just fluffly and crunchy and chocolatty and nutty all at the same time. What can be better?
Before showing you the recipe, there are some words I need to say about my first year of blogging. It’s been fantastic. It started as my own personal cookbook, but it soon turned out, I love doing it, bringing you new delicious recipes every week. Well, almost every week, I’ve had some ups and downs 🙂 Meeting lots of new friends who share the passion for food and photography was absolute fun and hopefully more are coming my way 🙂
Thanks to everyone supporting me, trying my recipes, sharing love and being the most incredible community. I love y’all 🙂
The second aspect of this blog in my oppinion is the photography. It’s my way of relaxing and connecting with the food I prepare. Can be stressful from time to time, but the results are what makes it all worth it.
If you check my earlier recipes the photos are not that great. But as soon as I started blogging I realised good photos are a must, not just for all of you, but also for my own good feeling. So I made sure to improve and I still am. I’ve always been a very visual person and tried my work to look the best it can at agiven time. I believe practicing and taking some lessons and sometimes being hard on myself have really helped my food photography.
Well, I know you’re waiting for me to tell you something about this charming chocolate hazelnut pavlova and stop babbling about the sentimental crap 😛
I think the first birthday celebration needs a special cake, something I don’t make on a regular basis. In fact I’ve never made pavlova before, but always wanted to try. So there it was, the perfect opportunity. I’ve had some extra eggwhites in the fridge from making a traditional Slovenian dish called ‘mlinci’ and a full pantry of hazelnuts and crispy chocolade balls.
First attempt in making the meringue was a total disaster. It looked great when I turned off the oven, but I forgot to carefully read the recipe, which happens to me way too often. You’re supposed to leave the meringue in the oven to cool down, not take it out like a sponge cake. Ups, what a failure, the meringue totally collased and despite being delicious it wasn’t very flattering. So I did it again and succeded 🙂
Don’t be affraid of making meringue, like I was for a long time. It is very easy to make. However, if you’re awful at following direction I suggest you keep it together this one time, because every little small detail matters. There are some recomendations and warning in the notes below the recipe. Please, read it before baking, you don’t want a collapsed soggy pavlova 😉
I’m stopping the babble now. Over and out!
- 6 eggwhites, room temperature
- pinch of slat
- 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 TBSP cocoa powder
- 100g semi-sweet or dark chocolate
- 200 ml whipping cream
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 L whipping cream, chilled
- 3 TBSP hazelnut paste (can easily be made at home by mixing hazelnuts in a food processor until you get a smooth paste)
- 50 g hazelnuts, chopped
- crispy chocolate balls or any other decoration
- whole hazelnuts
- Chocolate meringue:
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Draw two 18cm circles on a baking paper and place it on a baking tray.
- Beat eggwhites and a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Then add icing sugar a tablespoon at a time. At the end add the lemon juice or vinegar and cornstarch. Beat gently until thick and glossy.
- Add cocoa powder and fold it in gently, keeping some streaks of dark brown.
- Spread the meringue evenly into the two circles.
- Move into the oven and reduce the temperature to 120°C. Bake for about 90 minutes. It should look crisp on top and feel dry, but when you press it you should feel soft in the centre.
- Turn the oven off, open the door slightly and leave in the oven to cool overnight.
- Chocolate Ganache: Heat the whipping cream over medium heat until it starts forming small bubbles on the side, but doesn't boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate and a pinch of salt. Whisk until you get a smooth cream. Let cool at room temperature, then keep in the fridge before assembling the cake.
- Whipped Hazelnut Cream: Whip the cream until it's almost stif, but not buttery, then add the hazelnut paste and gently whip just a little more.
- Assembly: Place one meringue on a cake stand, gently add half of the ganache on top, add half of the whiped hazelnut cream and half of the chopped hazelnuts.
- Continue with another layer of meringue, ganache (save a couple of tablespoons for decoration), whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts.
- Place whole hazelnuts, crispy chocolate balls and drizzle with the rest of the ganache.
- Refrigerate before serving.
- Some instrutions for the perfect meringue:
- Make sure your equipment is dry before making the meringue. Moisture stops eggwhite from aerating.
- Make pavlova on a dry day. Moisture makes pavlova sticky.
- Adding lemon juice and cornstarch will help pavlova keep its form.
- Add sugar gradually to the eggwhites and be sure to beat the eggwhites to the stiff point, but don't overbeat them, just until the sugar has dissolved. Test if the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers. You shouldn't feel any grains. When you transfer it to the baking paper the mixture should hold its shape.
- After baking keep in in the oven with dors ajar until it completely cools down to room temperature.
- It's better to overdry than underdry your meringue. If you are not sure if it is done, better dry it a little more. Soggy meringue is unusable, but a little bit too dry is not such a problem. Assemble the cake and after a day in the fridge it will become crunchy.