I notice that my blog gets a lot of hits using the search word Hazelnut. Hazelnut frosting,
hazelnut paste, hazelnut butter. Lots of hazelnut. I have written a few posts that feature
cakes frosted with hazelnut buttercream. The addition of hazelnut paste to vanilla
buttercream equals hazelnut frosting. I have divulged my recipe for the aforementioned
vanilla buttercream in previous posts. But, where does one get hazelnut paste? Well, truth
be told, I used to get it where I work when I was the pastry chef. I would order 15 pound
buckets of the stuff from one of our fancy pants purveyors. And it was pricey, but oh, so
worth it. So, now that I only make cakes when a few close friends have birthdays or a few
clients who want to give me money for a cake, my need for hazelnut paste has waned. Until a
couple of weeks ago, when my favorite client, Katie D., wanted a chocolate cake with
hazelnut frosting for her birthday. I have searched for sources on the Internet, and there
are many, for hazelnut paste. Very pricey and the shipping is ridiculous. Lots of calls to
specialty shops came up cold. Then it hit me – “We have a Champion juicer!” I used to make
peanut butter with the Champion, why not make hazelnut butter? So make hazelnut butter, I
I bought 1 and 1/2 pounds of toasted hazelnuts. You can buy raw hazelnuts and toast them
yourself; the already toasted one were available at work and I wanted to save a step. If
you want to toast them at home, set your oven at 350 degrees, spread the raw nuts out on a
heavy sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and nutty smelling.
I know, they have a dark brown skin on them, so how do you know when they are browned? Some
of them will start to shed their skin and then you will see it. Once toasted, dump them
onto a dish towel and rub vigorously to help remove the skin. Not all of it will release,
but that’s okay. You’re going to pulverize them anyway so what’s a little skin?
Now, I have no clue how you would do this if you do not have a Champion juicer. If you use
a blender or food processor I don’t think you will get a creamy nut butter. More on that in
So now I’m all proud of myself for making hazelnut butter, but I realize this stuff is not
going to work for frosting. I’ve made the error in the past by putting natural peanut
butter in buttercream and ending up with oily frosting. Not good. I really need hazelnut
paste. Back to the Internet I go and, lo and behold, I stumble upon a website called
gourmetsleuth.com where I find a recipe for Hazelnut Paste! And it is so simple!
2 cups toasted hazelnuts
2 large egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Hazelnut liqueur
Once I figured out that only hazelnut paste was going to work to make the frosting. I was on a roll. I made the vanilla butter cream and started chucking in the hazelnut paste a scoop at a time and tasting after each addition until it was just right. Not only was I making a birthday cake for a client, I had a second cake in the wings as well. We were taking our good friend Robert out to dinner on the same night as I was making Katie’s cake. We were celebrating Robert’s birthday and I could not show up to celebrate his special day without a cake from Vampire Gran’s Kitchen! A light bulb went off in my brain like in the cartoons and I created a hazelnut filling to slather between the layers of cake.
The filling was fabulous! I mixed the hazelnut frosting with a bit more hazelnut paste, added some of the hazelnut butter and a bit more of the hazelnut liqueur. It was a bit thin so I thickened it with more powdered sugar. It was perfection.
I made some chocolate curls to decorate both cakes. These were fun to make but time consuming. You have to soften the chocolate without melting it by zapping it in the microwave for like 6 seconds at a time. Once it is the right – softness (?) – I used a vegetable peeler to make the curls. Oh, you must have a chilled plate for them to land on as you’re doing this. Don’t use the same plate that you use to microwave with. It will be warm and melt your curls. Yes, I know this from experience and that is why I am telling you. Learn from my mistakes.
So, let’s review. Hazelnut frosting you need hazelnut paste, not hazelnut butter. Hazelnut butter you need a Champion juicer or a nut butter machine. Hazelnut paste is easy to make and you need a food processor. Chocolate curls – microwave and cold plate and a vegetable peeler.
I hope you enjoyed our lesson for the day. It just made me want a hazelnut butter and jam sandwich followed by a hunk of cake.