On occasion, I get the temptation for something utterly tantalizing and decadent. Actually, who am I kidding? I constantly find myself battling the temptation to indulge. In Paris, this battle proves to be most difficult and constant since there are an endless amount of patisseries lined up along the cobblestone streets of the city, featuring gorgeous cakes, tarts, and confectionaries. While indulgence can come in the form of a butter cake, such as the creme brulee cake I made last week, I find that nothing beats an intensely rich and moist chocolate cake. This hazelnut chocolate cake is the kind of cake that commands you to close your eyes and release a sigh of pure contentment. And if that wasn’t enough, I paired this cake with my favorite no-churn, caramel marshmallow ice cream for ultra decadence.
I have to point out that the caramel sauce I used in my ice cream was homemade. I say this because the inspiration behind this ice cream (and hazelnut chocolate cake) came from a dessert I enjoyed in Paris during one of my trips. I had been served a scrumptious chocolate cake with caramel sauce, and the caramel sauce was everything a girl could ask for. Unlike the sickly sweet caramel sauces you find in the U.S., the French create caramel sauce that’s almost nutty in flavor and has just the slightest hint of bitterness. This is because the French cook the caramel sauce until the sugar is almost a reddish, dark copper color rather than the brownish-amber color many American caramel recipes dictate. The caramel sauce, along with some toasted marshmallows, get stirred into a bowl of sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream, then chilled in the freezer until firm.
You can make this hazelnut chocolate cake and ice cream as directed and serve it to 12+ people, or you can halve the ingredients and make this dessert for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with an incredibly moist chocolate cake that carries the essence of sweet, buttery hazelnuts. I like serving the hazelnut chocolate cake warm with a couple scoops of the cold, caramel ice cream. The ice cream acts much like a glass of milk would and helps wash down the rich cake. The enigmatic flavor of the hazelnut and chocolate is a match made in heaven with the nutty, sweet ice cream.
P.S. This week my blog was featured on Red Valentino, the contemporary child of fashion brand Valentino. If you’re interested in reading the short interview and viewing the feature, check out the site here.
- 1.75 c all-purpose flour
- 2 c granulated sugar
- 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c brewed coffee
- 1/2 c hazelnut syrup
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla ice cream
- 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
- 6-8 marshmallows, toasted
- 2 - 3 tbsp caramel sauce (homemade recipe below, or store-bought)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2.5 tbsp heavy cream
- Start by making the caramel sauce. If you’re using store-bought, skip the next couple of steps. Otherwise, to a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, add 2 tbsp of water and the granulated sugar. Give this a stir to combine, then set the saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not stir this mixture anymore. Just let the mixture come to a boil and continue to simmer until it becomes a reddish, dark amber color and starts to smoke - about 7 to 9 minutes. Keep your eye on the caramel the entire time as it can turn from ready to burnt very quickly!
- Once the caramel has reached the dark amber color and is starting to smoke, remove the saucepan from the heat. Carefully add in the heavy cream, leaving space between you and the pan as the mixture will bubble violently. Stir the cream and caramel together until it’s completely smooth. Pour the caramel into a bowl to cool.
- Create the ice cream by first whipping the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and the cream looks like frosting. Add in the vanilla extract and give it another whisk to combine. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the condensed milk into the cream to combine.
- Stir in the toasted marshmallows and 2 tbsp of the prepared caramel sauce into the ice cream. Pour the entire mixture into a 1.5 lb. loaf pan, then cover directly with a sheet of plastic wrap. Freeze the ice cream until firm - about 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a large bundt pan with softened butter. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients in the bowl of dry ingredients; whisk to combine.
- Add the coffee and hazelnut syrup, and again whisk to combine everything together until a smooth batter has formed. Pour this batter into the prepared bundt pan.
- Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then flip the cake out onto a wire cooling rack that’s been lined with wax paper or parchment paper.
- Once the cake is just slightly warm, serve with a couple of scoops of the caramel marshmallow ice cream.
- ice cream recipe adapted from A Happy Food Dance