chocolate hazlenut cake

Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate

sherry chocolate cake
WINE: PX Sherry
WITH: Chocolate nutella cake
WHY? Sweet foods need sweet wine

There is cake. There is ice cream. And then there is the best combination known to man ever – but more on that later.

Firstly let’s talk about the cake. Delicately nutty, intensely chocolatey, dense but not heavy – in short it’s glorious. An added bonus? It’s also gluten free.

The ice cream is not homemade – mainly because I can’t currently fit my bowl attachment into my tiny freezer. But it’s deliciously simple Haagen Dazs vanilla.

With it I have paired a PX sherry. Yes, you read that correctly: sherry. I know it has somewhat of a bad rep, but there’s sherry and there’s SHERRY. PX stands for Pedro Ximenez – the grape variety from which it’s made. It is absolutely no exaggeration that this is the most lusciously sweet, jet black liquor of the gods.

My wine was the Sainsbury’s Taste the difference 12 year old Pedro Ximenez RRP £7.99. Trust me – it is worth every single penny.

And I am going to suggest something slightly unorthodox…

Rather than pour your sherry into a glass, just pour it straight onto the cake and ice cream and dig in. It’s indulgent I know, but just try it. This is one hell of a food and wine pairing combination that will not disappoint.

nutella cake px sherry

Chocolate nutella cake

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

For the cake (I halved the recipe below, hence my teeny tiny cake)

6 large eggs (separated)
1 pinch of salt
125 grams soft unsalted butter
400 grams Nutella (1 large jar)
1 tablespoon Frangelico (or rum or water)
100 grams ground hazelnut(s)
100 grams dark chocolate (melted)

For the icing (I skipped this as I ran out of chocolate!)
100 grams hazelnuts (peeled weight)
125 ml double cream
1 tablespoon Frangelico (or rum or water)
125 grams dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you’re using), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.

2. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.

3. Pour into a 23cm/9 inch round greased and lined springform tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake’s beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.

4. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don’t burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. Transfer to a plate and let cool. This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it’ll turn oily.

5. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate’s melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece.

6. Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts.

chocolate hazlenut cake

11 thoughts on “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate

  1. sounds divine! I have never really “got” the dry red wine with chocolate that so many seem to love. All it does is make the wine taste thin and tannic (often). PX sherry is a great idea and can stand up to sweetest of puddings! Nice work – I wish I could taste it!

    • Very much agree with Wine Wrangler.
      In my opinion, chocolate pairs much better with fortified wine than with “regular” red wine.
      I’d love to try that pairing :)

    • Oh – me either!! Dry wine with sweet food is the equivalent of brushing your teeth and drinking orange juice! For me it just makes the wine pale in comparison to the sugar.

      I have only ever once in my life had a dry red wine with chocolate which worked well & that was Amadei with a Cali Zin (unfortunately I forgot which!)

  2. I can buy most things here in Dubai but not PX. Writing myself a huge note to remember to bring some back from UK this year. Frangelico I have….and love, in fact have to hide away from Nutella loving teens.

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