After my last post, I darted over to the ever-busy Whole Foods in Raleigh. Upon entering the store, I realized why I hate going there. The place was a zoo. Every department was crammed full of people; each check-out line was 5 people deep. They did have hazelnuts and instant espresso, two things which I needed for the Bearded Giant's birthday cake.
As most of you know, I'm slightly obsessed with Smitten Kitchen. A huge part of the reason is that in addition to making amazing food and having recipes right there on her site, I really love being able to see what the end result can look like. Regular cookbooks are fine, but if there aren't any pictures, sometimes I just can't be bothered to delve in and imagine what the baked goods will look like. I spent a good amount of time coming up with a good birthday type cake, and a back-up just in case I couldn't find the most important, non-substitutable ingredients.
I ended up choosing the Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake off Smitten Kitchen. It was a fun recipe to tackle, although I don't think I'll be up for de-skinning hazelnuts again anytime soon. The recipe has very little flour in it which I thought was interesting. I also got my first foray into using a vanilla been. The seeds in it are a little bit creepy, to be honest. It was light and moist, which would be hard NOT to accomplish with the amount of egg whites in the cake. :) Topped with ganache! So tasty!
Thanks again, Smitten Kitchen for such a great recipe. I can't wait to try a couple tarts this coming weekend!