the appetizer:

Intensely Chocolate: 100 Scrumptious Recipes for True Chocolate Lovers by Carole Bloom, includes recipes like Cocoa and Chocolate Bouchons; Gianduia Brownie Cake; and Cocoa and Bittersweet Chocolate Frangipane Tart.


Gianduia Brownie Cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake

Gianduia Brownie Cake


A blend of bittersweet chocolate, dark milk chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts creates the luscious flavor of gianduia. This cake started life as a brownie recipe that I decided to bake as a round cake. It is rich and satisfying, needing only a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate or a light dusting of confectioners' sugar for garnish.

Special equipment: 9 x 2-inch round cake pan

Brownie Cake

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the inside of the cake pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper round and spray the round with the nonstick spray.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate, dark milk chocolate, and butter together in the top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. Or melt the chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl on low power in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst. Remove the top pan of the double boiler, if using, and wipe the bottom and sides very dry. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly.

Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl. Add to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly.

Place the hazelnuts and the 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the hazelnuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Stir this into the chocolate mixture, blending completely.

Over a bowl, sift together the 1/2 cup cake flour and the baking powder. Add the salt and toss to blend. Fold this mixture into the chocolate mixture thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a rack.

Place a 9-inch cardboard cake round or a serving plate over the top of the cake pan. Invert the cake pan and pull it away from the cake. Peel the parchment paper off the back of the cake. Leave the cake bottom side up.

For the garnish, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on low power in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst. Pour the melted chocolate into a parchment paper pastry cone or a plastic snack bag. Fold down or seal the top and snip off a tiny piece of the pointed end. Hold the cone about 1 inch above the surface of the cake. Starting in the center of the cake, pipe thin lines of chocolate in a spiral design, working toward the outer edges. Take a toothpick or the tip of a knife and draw it from the center outward in several places around the cake to create a spider web design. Let the chocolate set for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Cut the cake into wedges and serve at room temperature.


Store the brownie cake tightly wrapped in aluminum foil up to 3 days at room temperature. To freeze up to 4 months, wrap the cake tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Use a large piece of masking tape and an indelible marker to label and date the contents. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Making a Change

Replace the bittersweet chocolate and dark milk chocolate with an equal amount of gianduia chocolate.

An alternative to the chocolate spider web design is to lightly dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar.

Adding Style

Serve the cake with whipped cream, Salted Caramel-Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (page 203), Hot Fudge Sauce (page 202), or any ice cream of your choice.


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This page created June 2011