Saturday, 4 October 2014

Austrian Hazelnut Ring Cake - Nusskranzkuchen

So its not that I haven't been baking recently, I've just been baking the same cake A LOT!  Last year, whilst in Vienna, I picked up a copy of 'Culinary Austria' in one of the bookshops.  Its a great little cookbook, with many favourite Austrian recipes, translated into English.  The cake I've been working on is a Nusskranzkuchen or Hazelnut Ring Cake. 

200g soft butter
200g granulated sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
200g plain flour
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
100g chopped or ground hazelnuts
100g chocolate chips
1/8tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp baking powder
2 apples.  Peeled and grated.  I used medium sized cooking apples.

It felt a bit like the technical challenge on the Great British Bake-Off.  Very basic information was offered in the book, so with a little baking knowledge I've picked up along the way, here is my interpretation.

Grease a 23-25cm ring tin or Bundt tin with butter.  Preheat your static oven to 170c.  Reduce accordingly for a fan oven.

Cream the softened butter with 100g of the granulated sugar and the vanilla sugar until blended and pale in colour.  Add the egg yolks one at a time until blended and creamy.

Add your hazelnuts (I use ground hazelnuts as it makes the cake more moist, but they are harder to find in the UK, so chopped are fine), chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate ones but the milk ones are fine also) and grated apple (leave grating your apples until you are ready to add them, otherwise they will go brown quickly) until mixed.

Add the flour, with the baking powder and ground cinnamon.  I don't bother to sift the flour, but you can if you prefer.  Just mix until blended as you don't want to overwork the batter.  It will be quite dense at this stage, but don't worry.
Now is the time to whisk your egg whites in a clean, dry bowl, until it forms soft peaks.  Add the remaining 100g of granulated sugar and whisk until blended and still retaining the soft peaks.  It should have a nice shiny gloss to it.  Don't be tempted to whisk your egg whites until you need to add them, or else they may separate.

Now gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter with a large metal spoon. Cut through the centre and fold onto itself.  The idea is to fully incorporate the egg whites (who wants white blobs of egg whites in your finished cake), but not to lose the eggs airiness and overwork the batter.


The batter will now be lighter.  Add evenly to your prepared Bundt tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean.  The skewer or knife will look moist, but that will be the apples in the batter.  If you still have batter on your skewer, bake for a bit longer until it comes out clean.  If the cake isn't baked but browning on top, pop a layer of baking paper over the top to prevent burning.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  Don't worry if it sticks a bit.  That will be the choc chips!

You can either dust with icing sugar or I like to melt about 50g of either dark or milk chocolate and drizzle over for a little decoration.  Then tuck in whilst dreaming of snow-capped mountains and lederhosen!  Its delicious. 

Happy baking!

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