Searching for a next-level festive showstopper to wow the family with this year? Look no further than this festive Ferrero Rocher showstopper recipe from the iconic London bakery, Crumbs & Doilies. Move over sticky toffee pudding!
With eight layers of chocolate and hazelnut sponge, filled with smooth buttercream, lashings of Nutella and hazelnut, and iced with decadent chocolate ganache, gold splattered meringues and more hazelnuts, you’ll be the family favourite quicker than you can say son of a nutcracker with this pudd up your sleeve.
Keep reading for the recipe of dreams and be sure to snap up the first recipe book from Cupcake Jemma and the Crumbs & Doilies team. With over 90 mouth-watering bakes to try, it’s the perfect gift-to-self or a foodie friend this Christmas.
Now, let’s bake!
FOR THE HAZELNUT BUTTER
Spread the nuts over one or two baking trays and roast them in the oven for 5–8 minutes, then remove.
You’ll want to remove the skin as much as you can before you put them in the blender. The best way to do this is to tip the warm nuts into the middle of a clean tea towel, gather up the corners to create a little bag, then use your other hand to rub and squish the nuts against each other. The skins will come away from the nuts and stop the nut butter from taking on their bitter flavour.
Let the nuts cool so that they’re slightly warm, then tip them into a food processor and blitz for 10–15 minutes. The change the nuts go through is really interesting. Everything starts off really dry, then clumpy and crumbly, then as more of the oils are released it almost liquefies, becoming a smooth, sometimes runny, paste that you can use wherever a recipe asks for a nut butter or paste.
Add salt or even sugar if you like, to season. Nut butter will keep for up to 4 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, or up to 1 week at room temperature.
FOR THE HAZELNUT BUTTERCREAM
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and salt together on a high speed for at least 5 minutes until the butter has turned a very pale yellow and the texture is smooth and whippy.
Add half of the icing sugar and bring together on a slow speed to avoid plumes of sugar jumping out of the bowl, then beat vigorously for a few minutes before repeating with the remaining icing sugar. Beat until you have a pale, almost white, fluffy mixture. You’re looking for a smooth, whippy buttercream that has a spreadable consistency and holds its shape.
FOR THE MERINGUE POOPS
I’m afraid you’re going to be reading a lot about poops in this recipe. We have always called meringue kisses ‘poops’ at C&D and it’s one of those labels that has stuck, so apologies in advance if you aren’t into the whole ‘poop’ thing!
This is a really straightforward recipe that results in crispy, slightly chewy meringues that you can use in loads of ways. Whipping the egg whites can take up to 15 minutes or more, so having a stand mixer will make your life a whole lot easier.
You always want twice the weight of sugar to egg whites, so the recipe below is just a guide, based on 2 large egg whites.
Preheat your oven to 120°C (100°C fan) and line one or two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Firstly, make sure all of your equipment is clean and free from grease by rubbing it all with a little vinegar or lemon juice. Grease is the killer of fluffy, voluminous meringues.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment or a mixing bowl. Get it mixing on a low–medium speed. Once big bubbles start to form, you can add the cream of tartar and turn the mixer up to a medium– high speed.
Within a couple of minutes, the bubbles should be a lot smaller and tighter and if you were to pull the whisk out, the peaks would be soft and a bit floppy. Keep the mixer going on the same speed and begin to add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
When all of the sugar has been added, keep whisking until you can no longer feel grains of sugar when you rub some of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger. This can take 10–15 minutes, sometimes more if you’re making a big batch. Towards the end, add the salt and vanilla and whisk to combine.
When you have a white, glossy, grain-free meringue mixture, dab a few spots of it under each corner of the greaseproof paper to stop it flapping about in the oven and ruining the shape of your meringues.
Once the baking time is up, turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.
Make the Hazelnut Butter, Hazelnut Buttercream and Meringue Poops, and set aside.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE SPONGE
Preheat your oven to 190°C (170°C fan) and grease four 20cm/8in round sandwich tins.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, cooled coffee, buttermilk and oil until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and whisk to combine completely.
Divide the batter between two of the prepared tins and bake for 24–30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of each sponge comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 15–20 minutes before removing from the tins and allowing to cool completely.
FOR THE HAZELNUT SPONGE
Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a mixing bowl, beat the sugar, butter, oil and salt on a medium speed for a couple of minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Sift the flour directly into the bowl and begin folding on the lowest speed of the stand mixer or using a large metal spoon or a spatula. When there is still some flour left to be incorporated, add the milk and hazelnut butter and fold gently to combine everything.
Divide the batter between the two remaining tins, levelling the tops with a palette knife.
Bake for 22–24 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 15–20 minutes before removing from the tins and allowing to cool completely.
TO DECORATE THE MERINGUE POOPS
Melt the chocolate chips. Get a wide, shallow bowl of chopped hazelnuts ready. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or greaseproof paper.
Dip each meringue into the melted chocolate so that it reaches about a third of the way up the sides. Remove the chocolate from the bottoms by wiping it on the edge of the bowl. Cover the chocolate-covered sides of the poops in chopped hazelnuts. Try to avoid getting the nuts on the underside of the poops, so that they can be placed level on top of the cake. Leave to set on the baking sheet. Keep the remaining hazelnuts for decorating.
As an extra touch, spray or splatter the poops with some edible gold lustre.
FOR THE BUTTERY GANACHE
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a small bowl, either over a bain-marie or in the microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring in between. Remove from the heat and pour in the cream, stirring with a spatula until combined. Leave to cool at room temperature, stirring every 10 minutes until it is a spreadable consistency. It is now ready to be spread all over your cake. You can also use it to crumb-coat your cake first, for maximum smoothness.
Start by making the Buttery Ganache Icing as directed above, to give it time to set to a spreadable consistency.
Level and trim the sponges and use a cake leveller, or a long serrated bread knife, to split each layer through the middle so that you have 8 thin layers in total. These will be fragile so handle them very carefully. Stick a layer of chocolate sponge onto a cake board or a large, flat plate using a small blob of buttercream. Top with a generous even layer of the hazelnut buttercream and sprinkle all over with some of the chopped hazelnuts.
Next, place a layer of hazelnut sponge on top and apply a thick layer of hazelnut buttercream. Using a palette knife, remove some of the buttercream to create a shallow divot in the middle, about 2.5cm/1in from the edge, then fill the gap with Nutella (warming it a little makes it easier to spread).
Repeat the two previous steps, alternating the sponges and the fillings as you build the cake up. To see how we do it, head to the QR codes on page 210. Finish with the final layer upside down for a neat top, then chill for 20 minutes.
Neaten up the chilled cake by cutting any lumps and bumps off the edges with a serrated knife. Use the buttery ganache to crumb-coat the trimmed cake (see page 210), then chill the cake again for at least 30 minutes, or until the ganache has set.
Give the chilled cake a final top coat of the buttery ganache, and use a palette knife to add some texture to the sides. Using your hands, scoop up the remaining chopped hazelnuts and gently press them into the sides around the bottom half of the cake to create a band of nutty nibs.
FOR THE DRIP GANACHE
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a low–medium heat until it is steaming but not boiling, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit without stirring for about 1 minute. After this time, the cream will have melted the chocolate and you will be able to stir the two together to become one smooth, silky ganache.
Once cooled ,transfer to a piping bag. Pipe a drip around the edges. Fill in the middle with the remaining ganache and spread it over the top of the cake with a palette knife. Chill for 15 minutes until set.
Put the remaining buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe rosettes all around the top of the cake, about 1cm/1⁄2in apart.
Place the jazzy meringue poops on top of each rosette, pressing down a little, to complete the cake!