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This decadent, Italian-influenced layer cake from Miranda Gore Browne combines the flavours of coffee, hazelnut and Marsala to make a truly irresistible bake and ideal tea-time treat.

From the book


Roasted hazelnut cakes are drizzled with hot coffee and Marsala, and layered with mascarpone cream.
Pour the warmchocolate over the top and let it drip temptingly down the side.

Making time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

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200g hazelnuts
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated orange zest
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
200g self-raising flour
For the mascarpone cream:
185ml double cream
250g mascarpone
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp Marsala
For the chocolate topping:
150g good-quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
25g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the coffee soak:
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp Marsala
grated plain chocolate, toasted hazelnuts or crushed coffee beans, to decorate

Essential kit

You will need two 20-cm round loose-bottomed cake tins.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line two 20-cm round loose-bottomed cake tins with non-stick baking paper or use cake tin liners.

Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven as it preheats to toast them for about 8 minutes. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then roughly chop about a quarter of the nuts and set aside. Whizz the remaining nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.

Put the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk together at a high speed for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk again to combine. Fold in the flour and ground hazelnuts and once this is combined, fold in the chopped hazelnuts and milk. Spoon into the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until springy to the touch.

While the cakes are baking, make the mascarpone cream.Whisk the cream then fold in the mascarpone, icing sugar and Marsala. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate for the topping in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and, once melted, stir in the butter and salt.

Mix the coffee, sugar and Marsala with 2 tablespoons of boiling water and pour over the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out, or leave to cool
completely in the tin if you prefer.

Just before serving, sandwich the cakes together with mascarpone cream, put another thick layer of the mascarpone cream on the top and then drizzle with the chocolate topping. Decorate with grated plain chocolate or sprinkle with a toasted hazelnuts and crushed coffee beans.


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From the book: Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can

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