THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS EIGHT: TWO MILESTONES AND A TRIPLE GIVEAWAY!

Here I am, wrapping up my eighth year of food blogging. But, are you ready for something even more amazing than that? Today, on this exact day, with this very post, I reach ONE THOUSAND ARTICLES PUBLISHED. I can hardly believe it myself… Can you imagine the odds on that? Gives me a thrill, that’s for sure. I actually noticed that those events could coincide, so I increased up slightly the pace of posting this month, lending a little helping hand to fate. Still, it deserved a very enthusiastic version of Sally’s Personal Happy Dance.  You should be grateful that there are no videos. But, to what matters most. What is a Birthday without cake? It is an idiosyncrasy. I could not allow that to happen. So, I rolled my sleeves up, took a few yogic breaths in and out, sat down on a rug staring at a candle for a full 19 seconds, and look what I baked for this party:

A Ferrero Rocher Cake, with – obviously – eight bonbons decorating the top. One for each year, my friends!

The interesting thing is that I own a pathetically large number of cookbooks. Of those, many, I repeat, many are cake cookbooks. Is this recipe from one of them? Obviously not. Why would I take the sensible path? No, not a chance. I got this recipe from the youtube channel hosted by Chetna Makan, the wonderful contestant of  The Great British Bake Off. A couple of months ago she demonstrated this Ferrero Rocher cake, making it seem easy and doable. I could not take it out of my mind. Plus, the idea of topping it with eight bonbons… how could I not go for it on this occasion? You can see Chetna in action with a click here.  And without further ado, I share with you my transcript of her recipe.

FERRERO ROCHER CAKE
(slightly modified from Chetna Makan)

for the cake component:
250g softened butter
250g caster sugar
50g melted dark chocolate
5 eggs, roughly whisked
200g self-rising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs milk

for the ganache:
375g dark chocolate
450mL double cream (I used heavy cream)
30g unsalted butter

for the icing:
300g salted butter, softened
600g icing sugar, divided in two equal portions
2 Tbs milk
4 Tbs finely ground hazelnuts

for the pouring ganache and decoration:
50g dark chocolate
150mL double cream (I used heavy cream)
8 Ferrero Rocher bonbons

Make the sponge cake component: prepare three 9-inch round pans by greasing them with butter and placing parchment paper on the bottom. In the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer, combine the softened butter with superfine (caster) sugar. Beat until creamy, a couple of minutes. Add the melted chocolate, mix a few seconds.  Slowly add the eggs, a little at a time with the beater running in low-speed.  Still in low-speed, add sifted self-rising flour, cocoa powder and the additional teaspoon of baking powder.  Mix until combined, add the milk, and mix well. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Make the ganache: place the chocolate cut into pieces in a large bowl, add very hot –  almost to the boiling point – cream, allow it to sit for a minute, then slowly mix with a spatula. When the chocolate is dissolved, add the butter. Reserve, covered with plastic wrap.

Make the buttercream icing: Add the softened salted butter to the mixer, beat with the paddle attachment until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar in two additions, 300g each. Mix well, then add the finely ground hazelnuts. Taste a little bit and dream. Reserve.

Assemble the cake: place the first layer to a cake stand, add the cooled ganache. Spread almost to the edges. Sprinkle diced hazelnuts all over the ganache. Place the second cake layer on top, repeat the ganache/hazelnut spreading. Place the third cake on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Ice the cake with the buttercream hazelnut component. Try to make it smooth on top and sides. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

Make the pouring ganache: mix the chocolate in pieces with almost boiling heavy cream. Wait a minute or so, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Pour on top of the cake, allowing it to flow down its sides. Sprinkle the top with more chopped hazelnuts, decorate with Ferrero Rocher bonbons….  Place in the fridge until serving time, removing it to room temperature about 30 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I decided to take my time to make this cake. Baking the cakes on a Saturday, making the ganache and frosting the following morning, assembling the cake in the afternoon. A well-laid plan indeed. To my delight, the cakes baked beautifully, flat and smooth. I removed them from the pans as if I was born doing it. Something we all know not to be the case. Next day the ganache and buttercream preparation went flawlessly. I was radiating self-confidence and pride. Then, I confronted the hazelnuts. A portion to be coarsely chopped, a smaller portion processed more finely. Hazelnuts are kind of expensive, so I bought them whole. That was a move to regret for as long as I live. Have you ever had to peel those pesky creatures? The skin seems to be covalently bonded to the nut. If you are not into chemistry, let me explain. Covalent bonds are strong. The atoms involved are sharing electrons, and the electrons don’t intend to stop dancing together in that complex, undetermined space. I sense an essay coming:  Implications of Sub-atomic Interactions for Cake Baking.  Anyway,  it took me 90 minutes to peel the hazelnuts. On my first innocent attempt I trusted instructions to simply roast them “and the peel will come off easily by rubbing them with a paper towel.” That is not only wrong, it is cruel. In desperation, and with two fingers burned, I googled for alternatives. Found out that if you boil them for “a couple of minutes” the peel should come off with “very little effort.” When I did that, I could hear the dancing electrons laughing at me. No intention of leaving their Covalent Gala. More google action. Found yet another set of instructions, more realistic as it included a clear warning – this method won’t be easy, but it’s by far the best way.  You do boil them, but with baking soda. A lot of it, actually (3 tablespoons for 2 cups of water). The pan will look like a witches brew, as you can see on the composite photo below. 

Get a bowl of cold water ready. After 4 minutes, grab a couple of hazelnuts with a slotted spoon and throw them in the water. Rub gently with your fingers, if the peel starts to come off, you are done. If not, keep boiling them, stirring constantly in low heat, otherwise you will have a very epic mess  on your stove (no need to ask me how I know). Once you reach the point of peels starting to come out,  drain the whole batch and shock them all in cold water. Peeling them will still be a labor like no other. Messy and long-lasting. An ordeal that I do not wish on anyone. In fact, I tell you what a great concept for hell could be. A place where you spend your full day peeling hazelnuts. In the background, the song “Don’t worry, be happy” plays non-stop. Once you are done, you can go to sleep, but not before watching Titanic, beginning to end. That is hell. Hazelnuts, Bobby McFerrin & Titanic, day in, day out.

But was it worth all the trouble? Oh, yeah! I tell you one thing, the icing with the finely ground hazelnuts is to die for, some serious deliciousness in taste and texture. If you like Ferrero Rocher, this cake is the ultimate celebration of it. The creaminess of the ganache, its intense chocolate taste echoed by the sponge cake. A real winner. Now, if you watch Chetna’s video, you’ll notice that her pouring ganache ended up thicker than mine. I think it’s a matter of the ingredients used. She used double cream, easily available in the UK, I had to go with our regular whipping cream. If I knew my way around baking, I would probably adapt it, perhaps using a higher proportion of chocolate. At any rate, I am happy with the way it turned out. Also, a warning: the ganache makes more than you’ll need. Chetna baked four cakes, I went with three, slightly larger. But trust me, you can use the leftover ganache in many tasty ways. Macaron filling? Yesssss!  Stirred into the morning cappuccino? Oh, yessssss…

So here I am, at the eight year mark! According to Foodista, 8% of the blogs make it to six years, no statistics available for food blogs older than that. What matters is that I am still having fun, and intend to keep going, so if you’d like, step with me into the 9th year of adventures in our kitchen.

source Foodista

To celebrate my special double milestone, I am offering a triple giveaway!  Three cookbooks that deal with some of my passions. The Book of Buns, a delightful publication that covers all sorts of breads, from simple to more complex. Second, Les Petits Macarons, because… how could I not include this colorful obsession of mine? And finally Flavor Flours, in my opinion the best cookbook for gluten-free baking. If you follow my blog, you know I don’t have any dietary restrictions. But recipes that try to adapt classics to gluten-free alternative versions fascinate me.  I’ve made quite a few of her recipes, and they were all top-notch. Alice Medrich does her homework before coming up with a recipe.

If you’d like to enter this giveaway, just leave a comment, and I’ll draw the winner on June 30th, announcing it the day after. I intend to give the books either as real hard copies (for those living in the USA), or as Kindle copies to those anywhere else in the world. Of course, if you live in the US but rather have the virtual versions, let me know.

 

Grab a pin to celebrate!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

TWO YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

THREE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

SIX YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

Save

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

67 thoughts on “THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS EIGHT: TWO MILESTONES AND A TRIPLE GIVEAWAY!

  1. Absolutely brilliant!!!! A brilliant post with an amazing cake to celebrate a brilliant blogger 😄😄😄😄 I love it all!
    1000 posts and 8 years shows a love and consistency that many don’t manage, as your pie chart shows. You are my blogging superstar 😘😘
    But next time….buy peeled hazelnuts! OMG! What a palaver trying to peel them!
    One of the best bits of your post for me was…’took a few yogic breaths in and out, sat down on a rug staring at a candle for a full 19 seconds’…a FULL 19 seconds! 😂😂😂😂 You do make me laugh, for all the right reasons xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 🎈🎉🇧🇷🇱🇷🌻🌺🍾🍾🥂🎂🌷🌺🇱🇷🇧🇷🎉🎈.
    HAPPY 💚💛❤️💙💜💚💛
    Thanks for 1000 precious times of aha inspiration, laughter, oh no’s, oh yes’s, happy dances, wonder, real life ups and down’s , kitchen magic moments!

    Here’s to another 8 to the 8th together!

    Cheers,
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday Sally – happy anniversary Sally’s blog – 8 years – well done. Hope we will see you for many more years. Cake looks incredible, cant bake so will not make, BUT……..the bonbons I love, if I only could buy them here 🙂 🙂 🙂 Still chuckling from reading your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I simply love your blog, it’a a treat every time. Your posts are so real and sincere, and every recipe has a story so skillfully presented. So, I wish you many more posts, as long as it is fun for you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • what a wonderful comment to read! Yes, fun is important. I can see how some people might get tired and bored by the experience, but I am definitely not feeling loss of drive yet

      Like

    • great, five years! Amazing how time goes by quickly… I sometimes read my old posts and honestly read them as if it’s new to me (let’s not elaborate too much on that, ok?) 😉

      Like

  5. Congratulations and enjoy the anniversary comme-il-faut! You inspire readers like me in so many ways. You should be very proud of yourself! Keep the posts coming. Enjoy the day and beijos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Well, your cakes are incredible masterpieces, I wish I could develop my cake baking skills a little faster and better. But still, it is fun to try something new. I am mesmerized by your recent chocolate leaves… wow!

      Like

  6. What an accomplishment from a hard working scientist and mom of doggies, and wife to a foodie guy too. You do all very well. Congrats Sally, always enjoy your blogs and recipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are braver than I am! That looks amazing. PS– Thank you for posting the Brazilian cheese bread made with tapioca flour so long ago. We loved it so much the first time I made it that I actually broke two blenders making it– on the same day– and went out to buy another one so that we could have more for dinner! Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! Two blenders broken on the same day! That sounds like something that could happen to me! (knock on wood)

      but those brazilian concoctions are worth it…. definitely!

      Like

  8. Sweet Sally, congratulations! i remember when you started – and asked me about the name. 🙂
    i love love love reading your blog, and should comment more often.
    also, you CAN buy hazelnuts without the peel. they are more expensive, but after what you went through, i’d say it’s worth a few more dollars, yes? this is my source for all things nut-like.
    https://nuts.com/nuts/hazelnuts/blanched.html

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations, Sally! What a milestone! Don’t include me in your drawing. I don’t bake much any more though I do enjoy reading about your baking. I have started using a mallet on nuts and chocolate instead of chopping. Enclosing them in a zip bag contains the mess, which is especially great with chocolate, by the way. I wonder if this would make hazelnut skins easier to remove?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ok, will not include you…

      you know, I think if you bang the nuts the skins will glue to them no matter what. They have this amazing tendency to stick – even if they come out, they will still bond with the nuts in tiny little fragments of skin. It is truly nightmarish!

      Like

  10. Happy 8th Birthday and 1000th post to Bewitching Kitchen! That is quite an accomplishment. Your cake looks lovely, and way too much work and effort for me – and that doesn’t even count the hazelnuts. But as long as you’re having fun… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sally–Felicitations! I thought I’d found heaven when I discovered the soda & boiling water trick for peeling hazelnuts, but then I found them whole & unpeeled and decided it was well worth the price to order on-line. lol! Your cake is a work of art. What great height and you’ve done a superlative icing and drizzling job! My heartfelt wishes for another 8 years of food blogging–and then some! I always enjoy reading your entries and have made several of your recipes. Your photography is also stellar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci, merci, merci bien! Another eight years… wow… that would be something, wouldn’t it?

      I am stepping on year nine, and feel pretty good about it… one never knows 😉

      Like

  12. Congratulations Sally on eight years. No one tells a story like you do. I have been there with the hazelnuts and know your frustration. I first tried the roasting and peeling, which didn’t work very well, and then found Alice Medrich’s and Julia Child’s video of the boiling with baking soda method. Still, so time consuming!!!

    I’m so happy Bogey didn’t steel your perfectly flat cake layers. When I saw them on FB, I was blown away.

    Congratulations again for 8 years, wow. Those statistics are pretty fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeah, the statistics are interesting. I wish I had other sources to confirm it, but it’s hard sometimes to find exactly what you are looking for. Still, I am sure it’s reasonably accurate…

      Like

  13. Cheers to you! I so appreciate that you make the time to do this blog. I only check a few sites with any frequency: Bewitching Kitchen, NYT, Food 52, Food and Wine, Serious Eats. Yours I check and use more than the rest. Hope you have many more fine years with Bewitching Kitchen — as you can see I am counting on it!

    Those hazel nuts are expensive for good reason. My Dad was Italian and they are big Hazel Nut users. As kids he would take us out to pick them (northern Minnesota had them growing wild and my Dad knew where all the bushes were). They grow inside of a thick green, sticky, prickly covering. So picking them was not fun. Then he would spread them on a tarp to dry in the sun until the pod things turned brown and we could peel them off. Another icky job. We’d end up with jars of the little nuts — many of which were empty or rotten inside once you cracked them. Yes they were spectacularly good but man, what a job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ok, now I am feeling on top of the world! To be listed next to all that royalty of sites, gave me intense thrill, and a smile that won’t come out of my face easily

      Like

  14. I SO love your blog. You make me laugh and you inspire me from far away up in Canada. I honestly can’t remember at what point I discovered you. OH!! The bread challenge!! Loved that series and have done many of the breads myself. If we were living side by each as French Canadians say, we’d be great neighbours! I adore dogs, have a Portuguese Water Dog that does not seem to want to share the fish she catches in the family cottage lake after hours of pacing the shore. Congratulations on all you have achieved!!

    Best wishes, Jennifer

    On Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 1:02 AM, Bewitching Kitchen wrote:

    > sallybr posted: “Here I am, wrapping up my eight year of food blogging. > But, are you ready for something even more amazing than that? Today, on > this exact day, with this very post, I reach ONE THOUSAND ARTICLES > PUBLISHED. I can hardly believe it myself… Can you imagine ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi, Sally–

    I only found your blog about two months ago but am I glad I did! You’re so funny and I love your adventuresome personality. I’m not even home but when I get there – hopefully in a couple of months – I’m going to try this cake. I too love Ferrero Rocher and I love to bake. Besides, that brand new 6-quart KitchenAid mixer I bought is just begging me to break it in on a recipe like this. I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

    Like

  16. Happy Anniversary–just recently discovered your blog after searching for macaron recipes! You have truly inspired me to become more adventurous with my baking and now I also have an air fryer on my wish list.

    Like

Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s