The Newest Kitchen Chick: Sydney Anderson
Today, we’d like to introduce you to a fellow Kitchen Chick, Sydney Anderson. Sydney is from Texas and currently studies at Le Cordon Bleu. She is a fabulous baker and can make ANYTHING taste delicious. (Trust us! We’ve had her pecan pie and it’s to die for!) As head baker for a dallas-area bakery, Sydney has perfected her process down to a literal science, so when she presented the idea of baking for Kitchen Chicks, we JUMPED on the opportunity. How could we not?
“I asked one of my mentors, Chef Choe, for the best dessert recipe in the Bleu Ribbon Kitchen files and he suggested the Italian Hazelnut Cake,” said Sydney during one of our kitchen chats. Chef Choe was right! You guys are going to LOVE this recipe. This cake is delightful and comes with a simple syrup topping that was perfect! We ate the entire pan in one sitting. Feeling fat later was totally worth it for this warm and comforting cake. Not only is the taste perfectly balanced, the difficulty level is not advanced. Anyone with a bit of experience should be able to make this cake and love the outcome.
NOTE: If you’re interested in making this recipe at Le Cordon Bleu, make sure to check out the school’s Italian Series Workshops.
A little bit of info on the hazelnuts in this recipe
Something to remember about this recipe is that you will need toasted hazelnuts to make this work. You can toast the hazelnuts in the oven (which takes a bit longer) or in a pan. The shells should start to crack a bit and the color will be a slightly darker brown. Then, add them to the flour according the recipe.
“When they start to smell toasty, they’re toasted” – Sydney
The Bleu Ribbone Kitchen Italian Hazelnut Cake Recipe
Ingredients for the cake:
- 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, divided
- 8 Tbs butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup whole milk
How to Make the Cake
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour an 8 x 2.5 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. (We used a bread pan and the result was still great!)
STEP 2: Place the flour, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor; pulse the machine a few times to begin grinding the nuts and then run it until the hazelnuts are finely ground into the flour (about 30 – 45 seconds). Set aside. It should look something like this:
Step 3: Finely chop the remaining 1/4 cup of toasted hazelnuts and set aside.
Step 4: Using a stand mixer with a peddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar (You can use a hand mixer and a bowl if you do not have a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier). Mix on medium speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy (or about 3 – 4 minutes).
Step 5: Reduce the speed to low and start to incorporate the eggs, and the egg yolk, one at a time ensuring that they are completely incorporated into the mixture between each addition. You may need to scrap the sides of the bowl to make this happen, chicks. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix to combine. (Never zested an orange? See below).
Step 6: With the mixer set on low, add in the flour and hazelnut mixture in three parts, and the milk in two parts, alternating with the milk, and beginning and ending with the flour. (In other words: flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Mix until the batter is just combined, then stir in the remaining chopped hazelnuts (from step 3).
Step 7: Pour your batter into the prepared cake pan, and baked for about 30 minutes. The cake should set and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the middle.
Step 8: While the cake is baking, prepare the simple syrup. Add simple syrup to the top of the warm cake.
Step 9: Once the cake cools, remove it from pan and set on a serving dish (if you can wait that long. We couldn’t!)
Ingredients for the simple syrup
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs of water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs orange liqueur (we used orange extract and it worked just fine)
How to make the simple syrup
Step 1: Place a small pot over medium-high heat with the and sugar. Bring up to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the liqueur or extract. Leave to cool.
Step 3: Once the cake comes out of the oven, brush the simple syrup on top while the cake is still warm. Set the cake aside and let it cool completely
Optional (but recommended because it was awesome)
After the cake cools, dust the top with powder sugar to your likely and then EAT!