The hazelnut is a favorite amongst European chefs due to its true depth of flavor. We already know that nothing complements chocolate better. But, this recipe allows the nut to move out of the supporting role and really truly shine.
Because both elements of the cake can be easily made ahead, it is a favored dessert for entertaining.
The recipe was printed in Bon Appétit.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. raw or granulated sugar
Sauce and Assembly
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp. flaky sea salt (such as Madon)
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch diameter cake pan. Line it with parchment round; butter parchment. Dust pan lightly with flour.
Pulse hazelnuts and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground; set aside 2 Tbsp. nut mixture. Whisk baking powder, salt, 1 cup flour, and remaining nut mixture in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Scape batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with reserved nut mixture and raw sugar.
Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan before turning out.
*Cake can be baked 1 day ahead. Keep wrapped tightly at room temperature.
Sauce and Assembly: Bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in butter and salt. Let cool slightly before serving with or on the cake.
*Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring it to room temperature before serving.