Towering Hazelnut Praline Cake + Cupcakes


Hazelnut Praline Cake

These days (everyday) I'm dreaming of Sydney and imagining how wonderful the weather must be now. I'm reminiscing about Taipei and it's endless rainy winter days and their amazing hot pot buffet with free flow ice cream.

It's getting way too hot here. I'm talking hot like spending 5 minutes outdoors and the back of your hands are perspiring, showering 5 times a day, all you want to do is stay home hot.

Staying at home means that I lay in bed reading on my kindle, or sit in front of my computer watching hours and hours of CSI and Supernatural. At some point, I get my lazy ass off my very comfortable bed/ chair, put on my imaginary apron and bake something.

You know how sometimes you spend so much time making all the components of a cake and by the time you are done baking, you don't even feel like doing a proper frosting job? I mean, the cake is going to taste the same even if you just cut it into chunks and slather the frosting on top, right? Right, but we can at least do it in an artful way that is worthy of a picture. That was how this naked cake came about, it looks great (if I do say so myself), and it tastes great, no thanks to the heat.

Hazelnut Praline Cupcakes

Second attempt - cupcakes, just as delicious.

I know the recipe looks really long, but the hazelnut praline, ganache and swiss meringue buttercream can be made in advance so put on your big girl aprons and start baking!

Towering Hazelnut Praline Cake/ Cupcakes

Yields: 1 6-inch cake or 16 large cupcakes
For the Hazelnut Praline:
200g blanched hazelnuts
200g sugar

For the Cupcakes:
150g plain flour
70g golden caster sugar
70g light muscovado sugar
50g hazenut praline, processed to a fine powder
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and at room temp
2 medium eggs
100ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla paste (i used Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
1 tsp coffee extract

For the Hazelnut Praline Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
75g (2½ large) egg whites
100g golden caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold*
1 tsp vanilla paste/ extract
1 tsp coffee extract or very strong coffee, cooled
8 tbsp hazelnut praline (to taste)

For the Chocolate Ganache
100g heavy cream
200g dark chocolate couvertures

Print this recipe
For the Hazelnut Praline:
Preheat oven to 150°C.

Put the hazelnuts in a baking tray and toast for about 5 minutes. Line a baking tray with silpat or baking paper (or grease baking tray with any flavorless oil).

Put the sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stir gently on medium heat for about 5 - 8 minutes until it melts and turn a lovely golden brown. Add the hazelnuts and stir until they are completely covered. When the caramel turns a deep amber colour, pour the praline into the prepared baking tray.

Let it cool completely, then break into pieces. Process half of the praline to a fine powder in a food processor - this will be used in the sponge and frosting. Larger pieces can be used to decorate the cake/ cupcakes.

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of 2 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. If making cupcakes, put your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.

Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk or fork, making sure there are no lumps. Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the eggs and mix on medium to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, coffee extract and mix on high for 2 - 3 minutes. The batter should be quite thick.

Pour mixture into prepared pans. If possible, weigh pans for even layers. If making cupcakes, fill the cupcake cases halfway up. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs/ clean. Cool completely.

For the Hazelnut Praline Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 71°C (160°F), or if you don't have a candy thermometer, whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot*.

With the whisk attachment of your mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If the mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla, coffee extract and powered hazelnut praline, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

For the Chocolate Ganache:
Heat the heavy cream over medium heat just until small bubbles begin to form. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk gently until fully melted and combined. Let cool until it is of spreadable consistency.
If you are not using blanched hazelnuts, wrap the hazelnuts in a clean dish towel and let them steam for about 10 minutes after toasting. After steaming, use the dish towel to remove hazelnut skins.

(Bake & Bait // Adapted from Supergolden Bakes)

Here, have a slice on me!


  1. That is a gorgeous cake! Love every part of it and can only imagine how it tastes all together.

    1. Thank you Jennifer! The pictures on your blog are so beautiful I couldn't stop looking at them.

  2. This looks so beautiful and delicious as well

  3. god, this sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing this.