The letter for the AlphaBakes October challenge is N, a difficult one. N for Nutella or nuts, and then I had a brainwave, N for nougat!
[See more about AlphaBakes at the bottom of this post].
It's a special birthday for my younger daughter, so I'd thought to make something rather more elaborate than my usual homebakes. She loves nougat, so I hunted round, with difficulty, to find a cake which used it, and I came across this recipe in one of the 'Femme Actuelle' mags I'd brought back from France. It doesn't use nougat, but has the nougat flavours of ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites, so just what I wanted. For me it's more complicated than my usual teabreads, but it's a challenge! I liked the idea of chocolate and coffee icing.
300g ground almonds
350g icing sugar
6 large eggwhites
50g dark chocolate broken into pieces
30ml strong black coffee [I made mine with coffee left in the perculator, but instant's fine]
2 large egg yolks
double cream to pipe rosettes and a little grated chocolate [optional]
Preheat oven 180C/gas 4
Grease and line a 20cm springform tin
Sift the almonds and 300g of the icing sugar into a large bowl.
Whisk the eggwhites till stiff. Stir a quarter of the eggwhites into the almond and sugar mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Put into the tin and bake for about 55 mins. The top should be golden.Take it out and cool on a wire rack.
Topping - melt the chocolate with the coffee in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Take the bowl off the heat, cool then put in the fridge for 10 mins.
Cream the butter with the rest of the icing sugar (50g) till it turns a thick and creamy pale yellow.
Beat the egg yolks into this mixture till it's pale and creamy, then add the chilled chocolate and coffee mixture. Beat till smooth.
When the cake is completely cool, decorate it by spreading the topping over the top and sides with a palette knife. Serves 8 - 12.
As it was for a special occasion, I decided to really push the boat out and pipe some cream rosettes on top and grated some chocolate to sprinkle over. Before I took it to the table I added a few sparklers and lit them. She was delighted. The cake really does have a nougat flavour and is moist and a light texture. The icing has a lovely light texture, not as cloyingly sweet as most butter creams. An unusual cake that I'd make again.
AlphaBakes is a monthly baking challenge set alternately by Ros of The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Caroline Makes. Each month a letter is chosen randomly and this month it's N and Ros is hosting the challenge.