Happy National Hazelnut Cake Day! (6/1)

“We don’t carry hazelnuts,” said the Publix customer service lady.  “We only carry them around the holidays.”

That’s ok, I found them anyway at the weird, fancy organic grocery store across the street.  I’ve never actually had hazelnuts, much less a hazelnut cake. Truthfully, I’d heard of hazelnuts, but never a hazelnut cake. It’s not as if they’ve ever had any representation in the cans of mixed nuts I’ve indulged.  In fact, as I scanned the bins of nuts, I realized that I didn’t even know what a hazelnut was.  My mind was apparently picturing Brazillian nuts.

After tasting one from the serve yourself bin, half a pound felt about right.  Lord knows I didn’t want extras based on that bite. They’re not delicious.  I suppose these could have been laying around since December, so they were just stale, but bleh!  Maybe they’re supposed to be salted or sweetened or something.  Either away, I was slightly alergic to them.  My throat got all itchy.  But, as Candace Bailey once said, as she broke out in hives on live TV after eating fish, “Yay Benedril!”

As I mentioned, I’ve never heard of this cake, but apparently it’s another Christmas dessert (drat you List!). I know this because of Publix not carrying them till “the holidays,” and also a friend of mine and his son were over, and the Jr. of the two said, “You made a hazelnut cake?  It’s not even Christmas.”  So, I guess everyone knows this but me.

Obviously I was going to have to make this cake since there was no chance of it being available anywhere. Actually, now that I know what I know, I feel a little stupid that I called a cake and pastry shop to ask if they had one. Looking back, I can now hear that her “no” had a definite tone more like, “No, you dumb ass.”

This is how it looks going in.

The recipe that struck me most was a flourless chocolate version. That way, if the hazelnut was a dumb idea, I could always fall back on the chocolate. This cake was a weird procedure, I can tell you sir.  It had a kind of blending, steaming, tin foiling thing that was funky.

When we all took our first bite of the cake, we had one of those great moments where we all put the fork down so that we could concentrate on exactly what was going on in our mouthes.  Here’s what I think happened. Somewhere in the ingredients that I used, perhaps it was the quarter cup of regular chocolate chips that I used because I ran out of the bitter-sweet kind, was a lot of salt!

The Secret is Throw Away the Bottom

A few gave up immediately on the slice in front of them, but a few of us persisted and found that all the salt had fallen to the bottom.  In the scheme of things, this was actually great, because it meant all we had to do was shave off the bottom half inch of the cake slices and they were delicious!

Sleepy but Delicious!

A little post script: Since the hazelnuts caused an alergic reaction, I took two Benadryls instead of one, which was a sever overdose that caused me to crash down into sleepy town.  This annoyed me for sure, but I wasn’t going to waste a Benadryl O.D., no way!  With the aid of that wonder drug, I treated myself to a box of Ranier Cherries for the first time in over twelve years.  Sleepy but delicous!

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About Jim Clark

"If it was worth doing, then it is worth writing!" -- Jim Clark -- Someone else probably said that before, and I'm sure that each semester she starts her Creative Writing 101 class by writing it on the board, but I never took that lady's class so I am taking her quote! I work in the world of advertising, but I write for a living. Here in the second decade of the '00s, we find ourselves in a culture where virtually everyone writes for a living. With all the clicking and clacking on Facebook, Twitter, emails and texts, our lives are more than ever intertwined with writing. At the same time, it's also become increasingly more important to shorten our thoughts down to as few characters as possible. So, now, more than ever, I think it's also important to hold a place in our lives for expanding and honing our thoughts through writing. This is my place for that.
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