Brown Butter Hazelnut Marble Cake

Mar 4, 2012

Hello there! Things have been a bit busy around here (hence the lacking posts lately). But work has gotten back to normal (at least for the next two-ish days...) and the sun has finally decided it's a good idea to stay a while longer each day. It's rather tricky trying to cook and take photos all in a matter of 1.4892 hours after returning from work. So thank you, Mr. Sun

By the way! It's now March. Which means... Spring is that much closer. Yay!

Okay, I'm just rambling now. On to cake, shall we?

Have I yet mentioned the gloriousness of browned butter? I don't believe I have... Well, in case you haven't discovered it yet, I now tell you that browned butter is liquid gold. All sorts of amazing things start to happen when you simply leave the butter in the pan on the stove for a minute or two past its initial meltation. (Yes, I made that word up. I think it's a pretty useful one.)

Also, hello. Roasted hazelnuts are glorious. Any nut that's roasted takes on such a more complex, deep, nutty flavor. Simply fantastic.

And finally, there's really no need to mention the gloriousness of chocolate. That's a given.

What I'm trying to say here is this: That when you combine all of these glorious things into one large bundt pan, well, what do you expect? Glorious things happen. This is absolutely one of my very favorite cakes. Probably in the top three. Or two. It was inspired by a cake I found a couple of years ago and has morphed into this lovely you see today. I've tweeked almost all the ingredients - adding more nuts and chocolate, browning the butter, playing with the sweetener and flour combinations, increasing the overall batter amount, practicing my batter-swirling skills - all very important things to master, especially in the name of Brown Butter Hazelnut Marble Cake. 

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do. It's a beautiful every-day cake, as well as a sophisticated celebration cake. I make it whenever the fancy strikes. So basically daily. (Well... not really. That would be a little much.) It's a very fun cake to put together. There are several steps, but really, it is a pleasure to create.

Happy baking!

(Is the Mr. Sun song stuck in anyone else's head right now?)

Notes: If you want, you can use exclusively all-purpose flour in the cake. I enjoy the combination of a bit of whole grain, but the cake is quite forgiving either way. Also, I've tried this without the chocolate swirl, just not melting any chocolate for half of the batter, and it was also nice. But you know, I believe there can never be too much chocolate, so I prefer it with the swirl. On a similar note, the ganache can be totally optional. The cake is so rich and flavorful on its own that it really doesn't need the ganache. (I can't believe I just said that. No such thing as too much chocolate pour moi.) Your call.

Heavily adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Mocha-Walnut Marbled Cake in Baking: From My Home to Yours

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