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A Piece of (Brown Butter Hazelnut) Cake

In this episode, chef Scott Conant will show you how to bake an easy and airy brown butter hazelnut cake with an addictive nutty flavor that will have you reaching for seconds! Scott is joined by two restaurant owners from Ann Arbor, Michigan, whose inspiring vision for their sandwich business becomes a reality.


A Piece of (Brown Butter Hazelnut) Cake

DIFFICULTY:

TIME: 1 hour

SERVINGS: 12

'FOOD FOR THOUGHT' SIDE DISH: A Vision and Passion Sandwich from Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI

Brown Butter Hazelnut Cake

Recipe note: This cake, with its subtle toasted nut flavor and moist buttery texture, is one of the few things I can’t resist, especially when it’s still warm from the oven. It’s also delicious made with walnuts or almonds in place of the hazelnuts.


Ingredients

  • ½ lb. (two sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
  • 4 oz hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup egg whites (from about 8 large eggs)

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and continue to cook it until it turns brown and smells quite nutty, being careful not to let it burn, about 10-15 min. Remove it from the heat and let it cool to almost room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 10-15 min. Let the hazelnuts cool but leave the oven on.
  3. Place all of the nuts in a food processor and chop them finely, then reserve ¼ of the nuts. Grind the rest of the toasted nuts until finely ground with about a cup of the flour/powder sugar mix.
  4. Sift the flour, confectioners' sugar, and kosher salt together into a large bowl. Add the ground nuts and whisk to combine. Whip the egg whites to soft peak then add and whisk them together well with the dry ingredients. Slowly add the melted butter, whisking constantly until it is completely incorporated, and no butter is floating on top of the mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the reserved chopped nuts. Bake until the cake feels solid but still gives slightly when touched, 40-45 min. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 min before inverting it onto a serving plate. Just before serving, dust the top with some sifted confectioners' sugar.
  6. Note: If not using a convection oven, increase oven temperature by 50°F and bake for the same amount of time.

Resources


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About

Chef Scott Conant has frequently appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Rachael Ray Show among others. He has been a recurring judge on Chopped for over ten years, which is consistently one of Food Network's highest rated programs as well as host of Best Baker in America seasons 2 and 3. Most recently, Scott became the host of Food Network’s dessert-themed spinoff, Chopped Sweets that premiered this past February. Scott Conant is a humble, passionate, and award-winning chef, business owner, husband, and father. For more about Scott Conant visit scottconant.com.

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