Delicious Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

Apr 22

Delicious Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake


Now that I am unemployed I have time to do things that I haven’t had time to do for a while.

High up on my list was to get back to doing some baking.

My love of chocolate and hazelnuts (nutella) and my ongoing search for a cake recipe that brings those flavours together in unison meant I decided I wanted to make a hazelnut sponge.

After browsing a few recipes most of which had either coffee in them (I hate coffee) or had chocolate in the sponge mix which I felt would over power the hazelnut.

Eventually I decide on the following recipe and made the alterations as shown in brackets.

Here is a link to the original recipe I found on google



For the cake

  1. 135g blanched hazelnuts (used shop bought ground hazelnuts)
  2. 200g soft butter
  3. 200g golden caster sugar
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 100g self raising flour
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1 tsp vanilla (1tsp hazelnut extract)
  9. 3 tbsp milk (3tbsp hazelnut milk)

For the buttercream filling

  1. 75g soft butter (50g soft butter)
  2. 150g icing sugar (100g icing sugar)
  3. 3 tbsp (level) cocoa powder (4 tbsp nutella)
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not use)
  5. Upto 1 tbsp milk or Frangelico  (not used)

For the glaze

  1. 30-40 ml water
  2. 40g caster sugar
  3. 2 tbsp golden syrup
  4. 60g dark chocolate chips (green and blacks dark chocolate)


  1. Start by toasting the nuts in a dry frying pan then when a little scorched around the edges, transfer to a food processor and blitz until you achieve the texture of ground almonds – don’t go too far or it will form a paste as the oils come out of the nuts.
  2. Grease and line two deep 8 inch round loose bottomed cake tins.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar for the cake together until very light and fluffy – I give it a good ten minutes in my stand mixer on high.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, turning up to high as the eggs are incorporated to help prevent curdling – add a spoonful of flour if worried as you add them.
  6. Sift over the flour and raising agents then fold in.
  7. Add in the nuts and milk and fold once more – it won’t look like much batter but it rises very well if the recipe is followed as stated. Divide between the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and no crumbs stick to a skewer inserted into the centre.
  8. Cool on a rack and make the glaze to give it time to firm up a little.
  9. Put the water*, caster sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, immediately take off the heat and stir in the chocolate (*= I quite like this runny so use 40 ml water but if you want it more spreadable add only 30ml). Beat until glossy with a spoon and leave to one side.
  10. Make the buttercream by placing everything in a food processor and blitzing until spreadable but still thick – add the liquid slowly.
  11. Sandwich the cakes together with buttercream and once the glaze has thickened to the texture of double cream (which can take half an hour on a hot day) pour straight from the pan in a steady stream in the centre of the cake. Allow drippage down the sides, encouraging by gently tilting the plate or cake stand if like (I do!).
  12. Keeps very well for several days covered with cling film, only put in the fridge if it is very hot.

Here are pictures showing how the cake came together. For decoration I had my first go at doing some sugar work, making some hazelnuts dipped in caramel.


I was very pleased with the end result and couldn’t wait to have a taste.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, the cake was delicious and went down well with my husband and family.

It is definitely going into my list of favourites, to be made again soon !!!




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Garden office the story so far

Apr 19

Garden office the story so far


You may remember back in August 2015 in my week 2 post about the Project Woodlands house renovations, there were pictures of concrete being poured for a concrete base for a garden room.

As if we don’t have enough on our plates with the house we have been slowly working on a garden office / shed at the bottom of the garden.

With the main building works done on the house for now, and after being made redundant from my full time job, the provision for a home office is all the more pressing.

Here is an update in pictures of what we have done so far.


August 2015

October 2015 – 19/04/2016

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March Madness

Apr 06

March Madness

March Madness (06/04/16)

Having gone to the director of the rendering to complain about how our project was being handled, I found he wasn’t much better and didn’t address / answer many of my points raised.  I ended up back dealing with the same person managing the project  but we did eventually get the rendering work completed, the scaffolding down and the rubbish cleared away before the end of March.

We can now finally see the front elevation in all its glory and driving up to it each time feels a little strange,  as though its not our house, I found myself thinking ‘did we really achieve this’.

There is still a lot to do; cladding, interiors, phase 2, driveway and the garden to be done and with the surprise news that I was being made redundant from my job, its certainly not going to be easy or soon before its all finished and we can fully enjoy it.

For now any significant spending has been halted and we are doing jobs ourselves that don’t cost very much.

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Frustrating February

Mar 06

Frustrating February

Frustrating February (06.03.16)

After January ended with the high of the windows being fitted unfortunately February has been full of frustration.

The insulation and render should have begun straight away but the materials weren’t delivered until the 11th. The scaffolding then went up on the 12th and we thought work would begin on the 15th but despite many attempts to speak to my contact at the company doing it, calls weren’t returned and work didn’t get under way and a start date wasn’t provided. Fed up with it all we spoke to the office twice on Monday the 21st and the work men then arrived that day to begin work.  Two days later and the two side elevations were insulated and the base coat of render applied. Then after a visit by the manufacturer’s technical guy on Wednesday it became apparent the front facade couldn’t be done as planned and it needed the whole elevation to be render boarded. The boarding was ordered and arrived on the Friday and it was arranged for the work men to return on the Saturday to board and base coat the front and to do our window box. We discovered our contact had neglected to order any fixings to fit the boards so in the interest of trying to get things resolved quickly I agreed to get the fixings.  We were advised which screws to get which necessitated us visiting three different screw fix stores to get enough screws.  Then on Saturday the installers did a test and discovered the screws didn’t hold into the blocks which meant we had to return to the three branches of Screw Fix he visited the previous day to exchange the screws for different ones.

In addition to this the box surrounding the front window which has been discussed on numerous occasions with the installation company and I had been assured wouldn’t pose a problem hadn’t been thought through properly and the installers recommended that it should be made of wood and then clad in render board, necessitating yet another trip to get materials.

Despite all of the above the workmen completed the boarding and window box and got it base coated on the Saturday. They did a great job and it really did transform the front elevation. It was arranged they would return on the Monday to apply the primer and top coat, and all finally seemed to be coming together.

Having finally had time to absorb what had gone on during the week, I had become a little suspicious of the top coat product we had. The technical guy had been pointed out it shouldn’t be kept outside in freezing temperatures, something it had been doing since delivery on the 11th and I had been told a winter formula render was being used due to the time of year and the weather conditions.

I decided to look into this further to discover the product we had been sent wasn’t the winter formula at all. Armed with this info I called my contact first thing on Monday to discuss this, he said it was too cold to do the top coat today for either products but maintained we had the right product, when I pointed out it should have a different name and be in yellow tubs not white and he said he would look into it and come back to me. Shortly after this the workmen arrived and I informed them of my conversation they then called the guy and the message came back to me he was going to order the correct product and they would return to complete the work later in the week once it had been delivered. The workmen painted on the primer whilst here and left for the day.

Of course my contact didn’t call me back and after anticipating delivery would happen by Wednesday and nothing arrived I called the workmen to tell them it hadn’t arrived yet. I was then told he had heard from my contact and he was saying it is the correct product again.

This was the final straw and we finally felt we had no choice but to contact the company director with a complaint about the way our installation was being managed and gave them 24 hours to respond. I did get an initial response quickly however I was told it was going to be looked at by another director and had to chase again the following day before hearing from him.

The current state of play is that he is going to speak to the person we were dealing with and look into all the issues raised and come back to me tomorrow.

It remains to be seen if he will rectify things quickly so that the rendering can be completed.




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Windows at last

Jan 27

Windows at last


On Monday the day finally arrived for our windows to arrive and be installed.

We couldn’t help but feel both excited and anxious as we really needed everything to go well and for there to be no major problems due to the approaching deadline for our insulation and render installation.

Yesterday the window installation was completed and we are very pleased with the results and relieved all has gone well. The fact that we have single sashes gives us loads more light and makes the window openings seem so much bigger

I am now trying to coordinate some electrics, plumbing and plastering to be done before the render guys start work. My biggest frustration is that trades don’t seem to appreciate you need to arrange in advance time off work for when they are coming or that you need to know when they are coming so that you can arrange other things around this.

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