Nuts!

Hazelnuts are seriously under appreciated. I’ve found a lot more baking recipes that use almonds instead of hazelnuts. But hazelnuts make for really delicious desserts, too. For example, as hazelnut macaroons or as a lovely nut cake. Then there all those ice cream versions that include hazelnuts – incl. gianduia – and of course best of all, Nutella. Oh Nutella, how I love thee… Btw, there are also savory recipes that include hazelnuts, such as Mario Batali‘s gnocchi in salsa di nocciole. Or they may be used as a nutty component of salads.

But really, this is supposed to be a post about my love for hazelnut cakes. You’ll find a lot of cakes containing hazelnuts in Germany. Hazelnuts are also a classic in Christmas cookies. But a good, moist nut cake is always appreciated here, especially when coated with chocolate ganache. So deliciously good!

hazelnut cake
Hazelnut cake, with chocolate. Mmmm!

This is one of my favorite cake recipes. It uses milk to make sure the cake stays moist, which is really important since nut cakes can easily become dry. If you’re not sure about the chocolate ‘icing’ – it does help to keep the cake from drying out. Here’s the recipe:

Cake:

250g butter
200g sugar
4 eggs
a pinch of salt
4 tsp of baking powder (for you Germans, that’s 1 package of Backpulver)
250g ground hazelnuts (you can substitute almonds)
1/8 liter of milk

Nusskuchen, pt 1

Chocolate ganache:

~ 350g dark chocolate
1 cup of cream

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, then add eggs and sugar until entire mix is fluffy, too. Mix flour with baking powder and sift the mix, then add to sugar-butter-egg mix. Then add hazelnuts and milk alternatingly, starting and ending with the hazelnuts. Pour the finished dough into a buttered and floured loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for approx. 60 minutes.

Let the cake cool, then glaze with chocolate ganache: Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Heat cream seperately, until it’s almost boiling. Remove chocolate from double boiler, add cream and beat mix until you have a glossy mix. Let the mix cool, then cover the cake to glaze it. Depending on how much the ganache has cooled you’ll have a thicker glaze. Once the chocolate has set completely, feel free to cut a slice and enjoy!

Nusskuchen, pt 2

The squirrel holdup design is from the Nuts! T-Shirt is from Threadless. I love their T-Shirts

Spring is green

spring is green shawlette
green on green – not my best photography idea

This gorgeous Cedar Leaf Shawlette is, I think, my fastest shawl project to date. I got the idea for a last minute gift – and it had to be ready within 5 days. While I was still busy with everyday life. And I made my own life harder by deciding to knit it up in lace instead of worsted weight, as the pattern suggests. The construction is quite nifty – you knit the main part of the shawl and shape it through short rows. Once the main part is completed, you add the leaf pattern by knitting along the side, from one end to the other.

I finished this spring shawlette in time, and quickly steamblocked it. It took just over half a skein – 282 yds – of Malabrigo lace, wow.  It was a gorgeous gift – I liked it so much, I was tempted to keep it for myself. But I know it went to a good home.

spring shawlette on a statue