Are you craving for a coffee cake? Sonia's recipe is an impressive dessert with a perfect balance of coffee and hazelnuts, that will amaze both you and your guests! Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the Giallozafferano App (in English) itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249
The coffee cake we'll be making is a pretty rich cake: it's not difficult, but it will take some time, so be patient and it will be totally worth it. The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), after that dice the butter and let it soften; once soft, place in the bowl of a stand mixer with ½ cup (100 g) of sugar and beat until you have a fluffy, frothy mixture. Now dissolve 1 tbsp (10 g) of instant coffee in a couple of tablespoons of hot water, and let it cool; separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and, after beating the butter and sugar mixture for about 10 minutes, add the egg yolks one at a time, beating constantly, as well as the coffee in a thin stream. The mixture is smooth, creamy and with no lumps, that's because all the ingredients were at room temperature, including the eggs. Now fold in the toasted hazelnut meal, which has a strong taste and aroma: if you want something milder you can replace it with almond flour. So, incorporate the hazelnut meal, then add the sifted cornstarch, all-purpose flour and baking powder. After adding all the flours, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form, you don't need stiff peaks otherwise it will go lumpy when stirring. Now fold in only a couple of spoonfuls, and stir vigorously to soften the mixture, then add the remaining egg whites, this time stirring gently from bottom to top, to keep from deflating. After that, pour the resulting mixture into a 9-inch (24 cm) round cake pan, a springform pan is better, buttered and floured: bake for about 45 minutes. While the base of the cake is in the oven, move on to the coffee cream: first of all, soak the gelatin leaves in very cold water to soften up. Then combine the milk and the egg yolks in a small saucepan, break the egg yolks in the cold milk, then turn on the heat and, as soon as it comes to a light boil, add the sugar, the instant coffee, and let dissolve. Now add the gelatin, that has been softened and squeezed, let it melt, then add the diced butter. When the butter has melted, let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat. Now transfer the coffee cream to a large shallow container (now it's liquid, but it will set while cooling in the fridge) and cover with cling film, making sure it's in direct contact with the cream: this will prevent the formation of a hard thin layer on the surface, that is difficult to remove once cold. Keep the filling in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours; you can even make the coffee cream the day before, so you won't have to wait for hours. Prepare the coffee soaking syrup by pouring less than ½ cup (100 ml) of water into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then add 1 tbsp of instant coffee, let it dissolve, and add the sugar, 1 or 2 tbsp, according to your taste. Once dissolved, let it cool completely. After several hours in the fridge, the coffee cream may look like this, hard and gelatinous: don't worry, just put the cream in a food processor with blades, and mix, it will be as soft as before. Now whip 2 cups (500 ml) of heavy cream with the powdered sugar, don't forget to sift it to avoid lumps, and add to the coffee cream; whip until creamy, but not too stiff. So gently blend the 2 mixtures together, then cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour. The base is cooked, how do I know? After 45 minutes test for doneness with a toothpick: if it comes out dry and clean, the cake is ready so you can take it out of the oven and let it cool; if, on the contrary, the toothpick comes out wet and sticky, it's better to bake the cake for 5-10 minutes more. Now unlock the pan and let it cool down. When the base of the cake, the soaking syrup and the filling are cold, we can assemble our cake: so, cut the base in half, and soak with half of the soaking syrup. Now, add a spoonful of filling in the middle. Spread it evenly, sandwich with the other half of the cake and soak with the remaining syrup. Now cover the whole cake with the coffee cream using a spatula, including the sides. If you see any lumps, strain it through a sieve. After covering the whole cake, create a border on the bottom edge with chopped hazelnuts and decorate with the remaining coffee cream on top or garnish as you like. As a final touch, add some chocolate coffee beans. Our coffee cake is ready! If you want to store it for a few days, keep it covered in the fridge so it doesn't absorb the smells, then slice and serve!