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Hazelnut Mocha Torte

This dessert is reminiscent of fine European cakes. I recently made it for my mother, who is German, and it brought back fond memories for her.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Bake: 25 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    16 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ground hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • MOCHA GANACHE:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • BUTTERCREAM:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Additional ground hazelnuts
  • Whole hazelnuts and chocolate leaves

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Combine hazelnuts and flour; fold into batter, 1/4 cup at a time. Spoon into two greased 9-in. round baking pans lined with waxed paper.
  • Bake at 300° for 25-30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
  • In a small heavy saucepan, combine the ganache ingredients; cook and stir over low heat until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from the heat. Set saucepan in ice; stir for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from ice and set aside.
  • For buttercream, combine sugar and water in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add a small amount of hot mixture to egg yolks; return all to pan. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in cooked sugar mixture. Beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. If necessary, refrigerate until buttercream reaches spreading consistency.
  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with half of ganache to within 1/4 in. of edges. Top with second cake layer and remaining ganache. Freeze for 5 minutes. Spread hazelnuts into sides of cake. Garnish with whole hazelnuts and chocolate leaves. Refrigerate.

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