These Baci cakes are, as I like to call them, cupcake killers. One bite of this light as air cake and you'll forget all about those twee, ultra sweet cupcakes.
Unlike cupcakes these have excellent keeping ability, that's if you can stop people from gorging on them! Even three days later they are as soft as the day you made them.
Obviously by the name Baci, the main flavourings are chocolate and hazelnut, in the form of hazelnut meal. If you use a gluten-free chocolate, you'll also find this a treat you can share with those that suffer from gluten intolerance.
I have slightly modified the recipe for these cakes which come from Phillippa Grogan from Phillippa's here in Melbourne.
125 grams dark chocolate ( I use Lindt 70%)
100 grams caster sugar
100 grams softened butter
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon Frangelico
100 grams hazelnut meal
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water and then allow it to cool.
Whisk the egg whites until light and fluffy and then set it aside.
Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until creamy and the sugar has dissolved.
Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring it has incorporated before adding the next.
With the beaters still going, drizzle in the cooled, melted chocolate along with the Frangelico - you can substitute coffee or another liquor or a combination of these instead of the Frangelico.
Sprinkle in the the hazelnut meal and stir this through with a spatula.
Give the egg whites a quick burst with the beater and then take a spoonful and add it to the chocolate mixture. Stir this in well to slacken the mixture.
Tumble in the rest of the egg whites and fold it through, being careful not to deflate the mixture.
I've used silicon muffin cases to make it easier to unmould the cakes once they are cooked. If you use normal cases or pans please make sure they have been well buttered and floured.
Use enough batter to 3/4 fill each case.
Bake in a preheated 160ºC/320ºF oven until risen and cooked through - it should take somewhere between 15-30 minutes depending on case size.
Let them cool slightly before unmoulding. You might find it useful to run a palette knife around the edge of the case before you attempt it.
Let the cakes sit, top side down on a wire rack to cool.
Decorate each with a rough swirl of chocolate ganache.
I consider these to be a cross between soufflé and cake - by the lovely aerated interior you just know it will be so soft and delicate to eat. If you don't like hazelnuts I've had great success using almond meal which might be easier to find.