Kiev Cake is something I had not heard of until I read a recipe for it in The Guardian, provided by Olia Hercules. It sounded like a rather scrumptious cake, with so many elements. I was a little daunted by decided to try it. With Meringue, sponge cake, a creme mousseline and a chocolate ganache all layered, and with hazelnuts too I was sure it would taste great, if it turned out ok.
There are a lot of steps to the recipe and it does take rather a long time to make it, since the the mousseling and the ganache need time to firm up before use, and the cake needs to cool as well.
But since I had lots of time on my hands, waiting for a package to be delivered I thought today was an ideal time to try it.
I am quite pleased with the result, though I made the meringue layers a little too large and had to cut them down a bit. That was due to the fact that my 23cm cake tin is slightly smaller than a 23cm pastry ring that I have. I used the pastry ring to measure out the meringue circles. But all was well as I was able to cut the meringue down without everything disintegrating.
In the recipe below I have included the instructions for creating the hazelnut spikes as suggested in the original article, but I didn’t make them for my cake. This is because I have to transport the cake across town and dont have a box deep enough to contain the spikes on top of the cake. Instead I sprinkled some roughly chopped hazelnuts on the top, it worked just as well.
For the hazelnut meringue
- 180g blanched hazelnuts
- 4 large egg whites
- 200g caster sugar
For the crème mousseline (pastry cream)
- 500ml whole milk
- Seeds from 2 vanilla pods
- 120g caster sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 40g plain flour
- 40g cornflour
- 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature – best if left out overnight)
For the chocolate ganache
- 350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 350ml whipping cream
- 20g unsalted butter
For the sponge
- 5 eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- 80g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
- 175g flour
For the hazelnut spikes
- 150g sugar
- 3 whole hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Reserve three whole hazelnuts for later and blitz the rest in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped. Spread the nuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes until they turn golden. Let them cool. Turn the oven down to 150C/300F/gas mark 2.
- Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper, draw a circle around a 23cm cake tin on both pieces, then turn them over so the marked side is facing the tray.
- To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they start to form peaks. Gradually add the sugar while whisking until the meringue is glossy and stiff.
- Carefully fold in the cooled hazelnuts with a large metal spoon and put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
- Pipe the meringue onto the circles on the lined baking sheets. Bake in the oven for an hour, until the meringues have set and you can easily peel them off the paper.
- Meanwhile, make the crème mousseline (pastry cream). Warm the milk in a pan with the vanilla seeds and half of the sugar until it begins to steam.
- While it is warming, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale, then whisk in the flour and cornflour.
- Pour half of the steaming milk into the yolks and whisk together.
- Pour all the mixture back into the remaining milk and whisk constantly on a medium to low heat until the mixture thickens and you can no longer taste flour.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool in a bowl.
- To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
- Warm the cream in a pan until it just begins to steam.
- Stir the cream into the melted chocolate gradually, then stir in the butter in chunks. Allow the ganache to sit at room temperature to firm up slightly, stirring occasionally, until needed.
- To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk for at least 5 minutes until very thick, pale and foamy.
- Trickle in the melted butter, still whisking the mixture.
- Gently fold the flour in, trying not to knock any air out.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased 23cm round springform cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Let it cool.
- Place the cooled pastry cream in a bowl and, using an electric whisk, gradually whisk the room-temperature butter into the pastry cream, about 1 tbsp at a time, until fully incorporated. The cream will now be lighter in colour, stiff and with a slightly aerated texture. It is essential that the pastry cream and the butter are both at room temperature or the mixture will split. Place the cream in a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
- Cut the sponge in half horizontally. Place one half into the cake tin without the bottom (or use a 23cm deep mousse ring if you have one) and spread with the ganache.
- Place one disc of meringue on top (cut to size if needed).
- Pipe the crème mousseline on top in even circles, about 5cm thick: leave enough room in the tin for the remaining meringue and sponge.
- Spread ganache on top of the second meringue, then top with the second half of the sponge.
- Spread or pipe the remaining ganache on top, then carefully place on top of the mousseline.
- Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, then carefully remove the tin.
- To make the spikes, slowly melt the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan. Swirl the pan occasionally, but don’t stir it. The caramel is ready when it has turned amber.
- Place paper on the floor under a kitchen surface and have a heavy pan ready. Place toothpicks into the reserved whole hazelnuts then dip them into the caramel.
- Secure the toothpick under the pan and over the paper and allow the caramel to drip off the hazelnut. Gently remove the toothpicks from the nuts and break off the caramel spike at the length you want and place them on top of the cake.