Chocolate, hazelnut & whiskey cakes

Photographer: Emma
Makes 15 wee cakes

This month I had decided to go decadent.  I had set my sights on a cake of extraordinary proportions, a multi-layered creation of dizzying heights, lavishly sandwiched with dark silky chocolate ganash and decorated with a deep red cherry compote and hazelnut praline.  However, when I finally got my cakes into the oven I realised that they were in fact not of the sandwiching kind.  Made from unthinkably large volumes of butter, eggs, chocolate and cream, this type of cake is undoubtedly better suited to being served in small portions with a lick of cream and splash of compote.

And so it was that my multi-layered cake became 15 individual cakes served simply with cream and compote!  In order to turn 3 large cakes into 15 individual servings I employed a bit of kiwi ingenuity and borrowed a piece of plumbing pipe from my brothers plumbing van to cut out the wee rounds.  I made this recipe again last week, dividing the mixture out into ramekins which proved far easier.  I found I was short on hazelnuts so instead used a mixture of almonds and raw cashews which was also worked really well.

I guess the cake of dizzying heights will have to wait for another month!


150g butter
150g sugar
4 eggs
200g hazelnuts (or any other nuts you might have on hand)
300g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
175g sour cream
2 tbsp whiskeys

Cherry compote
680g jar preserved cherries, syrup included (or equal weight fresh cherries plus ¼ cup water)
¼ cup sugar

Hazelnut praline
100g hazelnuts, very roughly chopped
100 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Gently whipped cream to serve.


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 10 ramekins. Place the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot rub them between a tea towel to remove as many of the skins as possible. Some of the skins are more stubborn than others and will be difficult to remove. Don’t worry too much – it will add a bit more texture to the cake. Once nuts have cooled, place in a food processor and process until fine.
2. Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
4. Add the chocolate, ground hazelnuts, sour cream and whiskey into the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
5. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and bake for approx 15-20 minutes (approx 30 minutes if you are making one large cake) or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cherry compote
1. Combine the cherries and sugar in a saucepan and boil for 15 minutes until the fruit softens. Set aside.

Hazelnut praline
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C on bake. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper and roast for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub between two tea towels to remove as much of the skins as possible.
2. Place the sugar in a saucepan and add just enough water to dissolve. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the mixture turns a light golden colour. Add the vanilla extract.
3. Pour the sugar mixture over the nuts and set aside until the praline hardens.
4. Once set place into a snap lock bag and bash with a rolling pin to break the praline up into pieces.

To serve
1. Place cakes on individual plates and spoon over the cherry compote followed by a sprinkling of hazelnut praline and a dollop of whipped cream.