Did you know that September is the biggest birthday month of year?
I had no idea until just recently, but with my birthday on September 30, I thought this was pretty interesting. (Yes, I probably need to get out more, lol.)
I looked into it and as it turns out, it’s true! (I found this info on a ton of websites, including Disney’s Baby Zone and HuffPost.) What’s more is that the most common birthday in all of September is September 16, and if you’re curious like I was, the least common is February 29 with the second least common being December 25.
So anyway, enough of my rambling about birthdays. Except for the fact that I want to tell you this cake makes a gorgeous celebration cake, and with birthdays being a pretty great reason to celebrate, by extension it makes an absolutely fabulous birthday cake. When Bahlsen invited me to take part in their “Let the Good Times Roll” birthday cake contest in celebration of their 125th birthday, I immediately knew I wanted to participate and that I wanted my cake to feature chocolate. Serious chocolate.
I don’t know about you, but personally I always feel like I was cheated if my birthday cake doesn’t include chocolate of some kind, whether it’s the cake, frosting, filling, or topping. This deep, rich flourless chocolate cake is dense and almost fudgy; it also boasts a velvety chocolate ganache and dark chocolate Bahlsen Waffeleten cookies on top. It’s a chocolate-lovers paradise.
The flavor of hazelnut is a classic (but wonderful) accent to chocolate here, and I also used pear butter for a hint of warm spices. Bahlsen Waffeletten cookies play a double role in this recipe; half a box is crumbled into powder with the hazelnut meal, and the other half is coarsely chopped and used as garnish on top.
This cake is really impressive too; it looks like something straight from a bakery, but is actually quite easy to make. There are no hard techniques to master or tricks needed, but bring this cake to a birthday celebration and you’ll be a rock star…especially with chocolate lovers. ;)
So happy birthday to all my fellow September babies!
- ¾ cup (85 g) hazelnut meal
- ¼ cup (20 g) cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ (3½ oz/100 g) box Bahlsen Waffeletten (Dark) cookies
- ¾ lb (340 g) semisweet (60% cacao) chocolate, broken into pieces
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- ½ cup (70 g) smooth pear butter
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
- 6 large eggs
- ¾ cup (162 g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ lb (115 g) semisweet (60% cacao) chocolate, broken into pieces
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- ½ (3½ oz/100 g) box Bahlsen Waffeletten (Dark) cookies, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper; set aside.
- Add the hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, sea salt, cream of tartar, and ½ box Bahlsen Waffeletten cookies to a food processor and pulse until the cookies are completely crumbled; set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave or double boiler. Stir in the pear butter, vanilla extract, and hazelnut extract. Mix in the hazelnut meal mixture.
- Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the eggs and brown sugar together in a large bowl until they’re pale golden, light and fluffy, and nearly doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.
- Stir ⅓ of the fluffy egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Once incorporated, fold in another ⅓ of the egg mixture until nearly completely incorporated, and then fold in the remaining ⅓ of the egg mixture. Be careful not to over-mix or deflate the eggs completely; a few streaks of egg in the batter is fine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake until the cake is set and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with just a couple crumbs (do not bake until a wooden pick comes out clean because the cake will be overcooked), about 55 to 60 minutes.
- Straight out of the oven, transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, cover the cake and transfer it to the fridge to chill for 4 hours or overnight. Once chilled, run a knife along the edge of the cake to help loosen it from the pan, and then invert the cake onto a cake platter and peel off the parchment paper.
- For the ganache, melt the chocolate and heavy cream together in a microwave or double boiler just until the chocolate is melted (being careful not to overheat), and gently stir to combine. Let the ganache cool a couple minutes, and then starting in the center, spread it across the top of the inverted cake, letting it drip down the sides. Add the toppings decoratively to the top.
- Chill the cake until the ganache sets (about 1 hour) before slicing and serving; store any leftovers wrapped in the fridge.
Disclosure: I received the Bahlsen product used in this recipe and a Tiffany cake plate for free; as always, opinions stated are my own. This recipe is my entry for the Bahlsen USA “Let the Good Times Roll” Waffeletten Recipe Contest.