Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water and cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
1/2 cup toasted husked ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter and flour 9 inch round cake pans or prepare a cupcake pan for 12 cupcakes. Melt chocolate in top of a double broiler set over simmering water or in a microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl of electric mixer and beat until pale yellow and sugar is dissolved; about 5 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Mix in hazelnuts, liqueur, chocolate mixture and espresso. Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar in a large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into yolk mixture to lighten. Spoon remaining whites on top. Sift flour and cornstarch over whites and gently but thoroughly fold mixture together. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near sides comes out clean, about 25 minutes (center may still be moist). Cool in pan on rack.
Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
Makes 3 cups
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur
Put both chocolates in a medium stainless steel bowl and place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water or place in a microwave on 30 second intervals until completely melted. Stirring after each interval. Remove the bowl from the pot or microwave and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the confeectioners' sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the cooled chocolate at low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to high and beat until slightly aerated, about 1 minute.