Friday, September 14, 2018


Before we delve into autumn desserts, one more no-bake cake is in order. As you know, no-bake cakes, along with ice cream cakes, are among my favourite desserts. Those are lovely examples of tremendously delicious treats that are easy to make, yet absolutely delightful.
This five-layer beauty is very quick to make, and you will love it. Layer upon layer of chocolate biscuits and hazelnut cream, topped with lush whipped cream and some more roasted hazelnuts. Feel free to top the cake with chocolate fudge sauce, some more chopped hazelnuts, or even caramel, whatever suits your dessert preference.

650 ml whole milk, divided
40 grams cornflour
40 grams plain flour
100 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
200 grams roasted hazelnuts
120 grams unsalted butter, softened
300 grams cocoa biscuits (30 pieces)

To make the hazelnut cream filling, start by taking away about 150 ml of milk, and whisking it really well with sifted cornflour, sifted plain flour, and the sugar in a medium bowl, and set it aside. Pour 400 ml of milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it over medium high heat, so the milk can come up to a boil slowly. Once it starts boiling, add in the cornflour mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens up, and becomes a very rich custard, about 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and strain it through a mesh strainer, just in case there are some pieces that have not dissolved properly.
Add the ground hazelnuts directly into the piping hot custard, mix very well, cover the top of the cooked custard with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature. When the custard is ready, take a large bowl, add in the room temperature butter, and beat with an electric mixer on high, until very light and creamy, and resembling a buttercream. Whilst the mixer is running, add in the cooled custard, a spoonful at a time, until well blended.
To assemble the cake, line a small rectangular cake tin (18x18 cm), ideally with a removable bottom, with cling film, for easier removal of the cake later on. Pour the remaining milk into a wide, shallow container (for dipping in the biscuits), and start layering the dessert. Divide the biscuits into three equal parts (keep in mind that you might need to cut some of them in half so they fit snuggly), and dip the first part into the milk briefly, then line the bottom of the tin. Spread half of the hazelnut cream filling over the biscuits gently. Dip the next batch of biscuits into the milk, and lay them on the filling, then top the cake with the last remaining biscuits dipped in milk.
Cover the top with cling film, to prevent the cake from drying out, and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, when you are ready to serve the cake, remove the cling film, place the serving platter on top of the cake, and invert it - making the bottom the top now. Decorate the cake as desired, and serve with strong coffee. Yields 9 servings.