Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Caramelized Hazelnuts


She kicked Chaol in the ribs with a sock-covered foot. “All I’m saying is that I’d like some chocolate cake every now and then.”

He closed his eyes. “And an apple tart, and a loaf of bread, and a pot of stew, and a mountain of cookies, and a—“He chuckled as she put her foot against his face and pushed. He grabbed her foot and wouldn’t let go when she tried yanking her leg back. “It’s true, and you know it, Laena.”

“So what if it is? Haven’t I earned the right to eat as much as I want, whenever I want?” She wrenched her foot out of his grasp as the smile faded from his face.

“Yes,” he said quietly, his voice barely audible over the crackling fire. “You have.” After a few moments of silence, he stood up and walked to the door.

She sat up on her elbows. “Where are you going?”

He opened the door. “To get you chocolate cake.”

For a Crown of Midnight review, click here.

Chocolate cake makes several appearances in Crown of Midnight, my favorite being the one that Chaol and Celaena devour half of in one evening. My goal was to whip up a cake that would have had the two of them liking the crumbs off the plate.


The best part of this cake is that it’s little work with lots of wow factor. First, you’ll want to make your hazelnut brittle, recipe below.

After that, any chocolate cake recipe will do, though I would recommend this one from the blog Zoe Bakes. Zoe is a pastry chef and every recipe I’ve tried from her blog has been phenomenal. I had to double the recipe so I’ve written out the doubled recipe below. Make sure you take your 2 cups of milk, 2 sticks of butter, and 4 eggs out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you start baking. These ingredients need to be at room temperature.


After the cake has completely cooled, you’ll whip up your ganache. My ganache recipe is also below. You’ll want to give the ganache at least ten minutes to cool or it will be too thin when you pour it over your cake. Just let it sit and give it the occasional stir with your rubber spatula. Then drizzle it over the top of your cake. The leftovers (if you manage to have any) can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. Just put it back on the stove for a few minutes to melt it back down.

Finally, crush up your cooled and hardened brittle. Wrap up the candy in parchment paper and crush it with a rolling pin until you have pieces your desired size. Sprinkle on top of the cake and keep the rest for late night munching. Celaena would definitely approve.


Hazelnut Brittle Recipe


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

3/4 cup (1/2 pound) hazelnuts


  1. Prepare a cookie sheet covered with a piece of parchment. Place this near the stove.
  2. Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed pot. Place on medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixure is bubbling.
  3. Continue to cook the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes until the mixture turns light amber (dark amber =burned). Keep a close eye on it and stir occasionally. It will thicken and get more difficult to stir, but you don’t want the sugar at the bottom of the pan burning.
  4. Turn down the heat and stir in the nuts. Turn the heat back up to medium and continue to stir for one minute.
  5. Pour the mixture onto parchment paper and allow to cool.


Chocolate Cake Recipe


8 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cups cocoa powder

2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 10 1/2 inch bundt pan.
  2. Cream the butter for 2 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 2 more minutes. Lower the speed and add each egg, one at a time, blending until incorporated. Scrape bowl as needed.
  3. Mix together the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Starting with and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, in portions at a time. Scrape bowl as needed.
  5. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.


Chocolate Ganache Recipe


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula until the ingredients have melted together into a smooth mixture.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool about ten minutes before pouring over cooled cake.



6 thoughts on “Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Caramelized Hazelnuts

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