{twd} chocolate caramel hazelnut cake


I went to the very edge of CAKE FAIL, but made it out on the other side with HEAVEN ON A PLATE.

Yes, my cake might not look like much. It doesn’t look like the elegant picture in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours. I overcame a lot of obstacles to make it, but it was worth it–so worth it.

  • This week’s Tuesdays with DorieChocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake–calls for jarred chestnuts. Week after week I would walk down the baking aisle at my local gourmet grocery store and see the jarred chestnuts thinking, “one day I will buy you for a recipe”. Of course, because this is the way things happen, this week the store didn’t have them. I also didn’t have the required sweetened vanilla chestnut spread. I did find and buy unsweetend chestnut puree which I figured I could sweeten myself  the next time I make the cake (and there will be a next time).
  • Not having enough time to drive all the way to Whole Foods/Los Angeles, I made the cake with toasted hazelnuts, Nutella, and instead of brandy–I used Frangelico.


  • I made 1/4 of the cake batter recipe, 1/3 of the ganache, 1/8 of the syrup, and 1/8 of the glaze. In retrospect, I should have  made more glaze.
  • I baked the cake in my 4″ round pan. I should have used two pans. I knew I should have used it. I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like prepping the second pan. The cake rose like crazy and overflowed like one of those constantly erupting volcanoes in Hawaii. Luckily, once I scraped away the overflow parts I was able to salvage two 1/2″ layers.


  • I made the ganache a couple days ahead and it was too hard to spread directly on the cake. I had to wait for it soften a bit.
  • My glaze wasn’t smooth. I blame this on not making enough and having to play with it a lot to coat the cake.

In the end, all of that doesn’t matter because this cake was good. Thank you to Katya of Second Dinner for hosting this week. If you would like the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.

Oh, I almost forgot. I had extra ganache, so I made truffles by rolling balls and dusting with cocoa powder.



48 thoughts on “{twd} chocolate caramel hazelnut cake

  1. Ciao !! I made everything yesterday but collapsed with a flu before putting everything together !! I hope I’ll make for today. yours looks delicious !!I’ll keep in mind the truffles idea !

  2. why, why is the grocery store always suddenly out of the one essential thing you need to complete a recipe? this happens to me constantly. i’m sure your cake was heaven on a plate, though…you can never go wrong with chocolate, caramel and hazel!

  3. Using nutella was very creative.

    Here in the deep south I don’t think they can spell chestnut let alone carry it in the stores, so I will go the hazelnut route as well.

    Your failure/heaven on a plate looks so delicious.

  4. It is amazing to me that you were able to save the cake and have it look so stunningly wonderful. I am planning on the hazelnut version as well as the guys don’t like chestnuts at all. Yours looks wonderful and the recommendation on the taste convinces me that I need to make this one this month. I had previously talked myself out of it.

  5. I was thinking about skipping this cake altogether, but since you subbed nutella and hazelnuts, I am pretty sure this cake is in our near future.
    looks heavenly. I like the volcano one too.

  6. I find the concept of ‘afraid of chestnuts’ mildly hilarious. But I’m glad that those living in fear can find comfort in hazelnuts. That ganache would have made such good truffles. I’m inclined to scrape what’s left off of the cake and go for it. Great idea.

  7. I am so impressed that you overcame all of those obstacles and still ended up with a delicious and beautiful cake!! I am doing mine out of order this month (molasses cookies and holiday bundt are delicious!!) but I’ve been secretly scared of making the chestnut cake- now I think you have inspired me to try it out!

  8. I also made chocolate cake this week for TWD!

    I *almost* had the same issue with the ganache, but I just put it over boiling water to soften and it worked great.

    Instead of chestnuts, I just used rum. 🙂

    Yours look lovely, my dear. A slice, please!

  9. I made the bundt cake this week. Am not, or should I say, wasn’t going to make this cake at all, although hazelnuts would be my choice for chestnut replacements as well. Looks great. I was going to save it until the end of the month and probably skip it, but after a revew like this……I just might make it! Mmmm!

  10. Your little cake looks great! I’m glad you were able to save it after the big eruption. Thanks for posting the near-disaster photo – that was too funny.

  11. I love the hazelnuts, having made it with chestnuts I’ll say it was good but I’m only lukewarm about the chestnuts. I add the same though about ganache = truffles, alas I didn’t have any extra.

  12. Oh, my…those truffles!! What a great idea. Honestly, I was leaning towards not making this cake, but I think this post has totally swayed me in the other directions. I’ll probably do hazelnuts and nutella, too. Chocolate Caramel ganache…here I come!

  13. You certainly had an eventful cake-baking session! And in the end a beautiful cake and a favorite one to boot – not a bad day’s work. I’m looking forward to making this one in two weeks. Well, I’m looking forward to eating a delicious cake and only hope that I can make it successfully.

  14. I just love that picture of the overflowing cake. =) I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much. I’ll have to start looking now for chestnut stuff.

  15. Oh! I’m so anxious to make that one… hopefully people around here will stop being sick by the time I get around that one for my mom’s birthday, for it seems pretty delicate to make… but you succeeded very, very well! Bravo!

  16. Um, were you in my kitchen? Same exact experience, right down to the Frangelico. Mine’s in the fridge, hope to take pics tomorrow morning. Darn fall back is messing with my photo schedule.

  17. I’m so glad you were able to salvage the cake! If I hadn’t seen your overflowing cake photo on Twitter (and here) I never would have known you’d had a problem. I’m sort of avoiding this recipe because I don’t have a number of ingredients I need, but everyone who has made it seems to rave about it so I’m starting to think I should give it a shot!

  18. You did such an amazing job salvaging the cake. I’m still not sure if I’m up for this cake since it’s so hard to find the chestnut spread. I may have to use chestnut puree like you did. I’m glad you enjoyed this!!

  19. Oooh, bonus truffles too! Your cake does sound good, sorry it was such a bugger to make.

    I’m really looking forward to this now that I’ve heard so many good reviews. At first I was like, “chestnuts? huh?”

    Anyway, way to recover 🙂

  20. So glad it worked with hazelnuts because I have a big bag of hazelnuts in my apt that I was thinking of subbing in for the chestnuts. I’m so glad it tasted great and was worth all of that hard work!!!

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