Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake
5 ounces hazelnuts
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cups all-purpose flour
6 extra-large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. If they still have their skins, put the hot hazelnuts into a clean towel and rub them to remove the bitter skins. Allow the hazelnuts to cool completely.
3. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and line the bottom with the paper.
4. Place the rest of the butter in a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center, using a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. Add the vanilla pod to the pan, and cook the butter until the butter browns and smells nutty (this took about 8 minutes for me). Every so often, scrape the bottom of the pan with your spatula to make sure the butter browns evenly. Remove and discard the vanilla bean.
5. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners’ sugar until a fine meal forms. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.
6. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture forms very stiff peaks. When you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks should hold. Transfer the whites to a large mixing bowl.
7. Fold the dry mix and brown butter into the egg whites, a third at a time. The vanilla beans tend to sink to the bottom of the brown butter, so be sure to scrape the bottom and use it all!
8. Pour the batter into your cake pan, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check the cake for done-ness at 40 minutes and continue every five minutes until a toothpick inserted at the cake's center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes. Run a small, sharp knife around the inside edge of the pan, and invert the cake onto a plate. Peel off the paper, and turn the cake back over onto a serving platter. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
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2 days ago