Hazelnut, Ginger, and Olive Oil Cake


I didn’t know what to expect from this recipe.  Interesting set of ingredients we have: almond flour (allowed substitution for the hazelnut), fine cornmeal, olive oil, butter, and fresh grated ginger.  I had no expectations of what this would taste like.  We are told it has its origins in France but also has influences from North Africa and Israel.

It was very straight forward to make, easy even.   I did note that I almost underestimated how big of a piece of ginger I needed to grate 1T…it is deceiving. I thought I had plenty and ended up right on the money.  We are told this is a weekend cake that is great on its own but also with sugared berries or ice cream.

I think this cake was really good…even plain!  It seemed like the strawberries almost over powered the cake.  You lost the unique flavor a bit.   The texture wasn’t really like cornbread, more like a loaf cake, but the flavor sure reminded  me of it…with a little ginger zing!

Surprisingly, this was not loved by all…it was about half and half and the half that didn’t love it, actually didn’t care for it at all.  That has been a rare event in this baking adventure.  I can only remember maybe one or two recipes where my tasters didn’t care for a recipe at all.

It was a unique one but I think we all would agree, we loved the experience!

Cold Chocolate Crémeux, Wine-Poached Cherries and Lots of Crumbs



The picture in our cookbook made the crémeux look like a scoop of ice cream…that is what it looks like, but it is actually harder to describe than that.  It is mousse-like, ganache-like, or more simply a pastry cream thickened with gelatin.  It did seem like the perfect dessert for this hot California summer….hottest July on record!

Few of my thoughts:

I struggled with the custard portion of the crémeux.  At least I think I struggled.  I actually made the custard twice, making a determined effort the second time to get a more silky result.  Same result both times…ugh.  Maybe my expectations weren’t correct. I was expecting a pastry cream and it just wasn’t the same consistency.  I went ahead and used the second custard I made, and it seemed just fine.   Anyone else with that problem?  Also, this was very rich…very rich.  It did seem like you were eating ganache rather than a cream and only needed a small amount.

I am not a wine fan…or a cherry fan for that matter, but interestingly the process of the wine poaching smelled really good…and the syrup tasted pretty good too.

The cocoa crumbs we have made before…and honestly those could be added on any dessert.  So simple, yet so good.

I wasn’t sure how this dessert was going to go over…pretty gourmet for my tasting crew, but this is what it is all about.  Unless we went to a French restaurant, where would we ever get to try something as grand as this??

Imagine my surprise then when I get this text:

“Hey Kim, Do you have any more of the dessert?  It was fantastic.  Mom and I think it displaced one of the top 5!!”

I was like whoa!  Who knew?!!  I told my husband and son, you need to try this because my parents loved it.  They were a little skeptical, but are always my trusted and loyal tasters. Honestly, sharing my creations is the best part of the baking.  I am always curious what others think since I am not a dessert lover.

They were not so blown away…they enjoyed it, but couldn’t quite embrace loving it.  They both kept saying it was interesting…and rich.  They are not cherry fans so I am sure that had something to do with it.  I tried a bite without the cherries and enjoyed the flavors and the crumbs.

All in all, fun as usual.  Not sure I would make this again, that is unless my parents requested it. 🙂