07 May 2012

Working ovens and a Chocolate & Hazelnut Torta

My beloved and I have been in our own home for just over a year now; you can see a pic of her here. She's a cute little house.

But being over 80 years old comes with a certain number of ailments. She has difficulties with her joints, her plumbing and her wiring. Her laugh-lines, however, are delightful and full of character that can only be gained from 80 years of loving inhabitants.

When it comes to repairing the old girl, we are in for a marathon and not a sprint I'm afraid. Unless we win lotto (of which I've never bought a ticket), make a bucket load of cash from my blog (ha ha ha), or our puppies dig up hidden treasure in our backyard (unlikely - finding treasure that is, not the digging).

The point of this story is to talk about my oven. It is crap! Or it was crap.

Allow me to set the scene. Before we bought the old girl we were living in a brand new, 3 bedroom townhouse with a gas stove and electric oven. Tough life!

The gas stove and electric oven in our rental property
When we moved to our very own piece of paradise I inherited this:

The non-working oven and stove top
It actually doesn't look too bad in this photo. However, the two hot plates on the left don't work and the oven has a wonderful knack of burning EVERYTHING that goes into it. This is the reason why I have not blogged about anything to do with baking since moving in. I have tried multiple ways to bake in the thing: put a tray on the bottom to defuse the heat, only place your tray of goodies on the very top part (as it was always burning the bottom), keep the temperature lower/higher/medium, cook for a shorter time/longer time………yes, I have tried it all.

FINALLY my beloved and I agreed to buy an interim oven. In about five years time we are going to renovate the end of the house that the kitchen is in, but I couldn't last that long with the crap oven. So we welcomed:

My beloved installing the new oven
We bought if from eBay for a bargain AUD$311 brand new. It had a couple of dents in it making it cheap. I'm still getting used to have four working hot plates (although they are still electric) and an oven that I can finally bake in. I am still using, however, my little camper gas oven for a lot of what I do. Some of you might have noticed it in a few past posts here and here.

Now for the first time in a very long time I would like to share with you a scrummy cake recipe, that is also gluten free, and one that I could cook in my very own oven.  Enjoy!

Chocolate & hazelnut torta
by Delicious magazine, May 2012 edition
*SRKitchen note - this recipe can easily be halved or turned into two cakes. Because it is so rich you only small slices are needed, unless you have a real sweet tooth.

Chocolate & hazelnut torta
400g hazelnuts, roasted
400g good-quality dark chocolate
400g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g caster sugar
10 eggs
Good-quality cocoa powder, to dust (optional)
*I also added in a half-cup sour cherries to break up the sweetness of this cake.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 25cm spring-form cake pan with butter.

Roasted, then peeled hazelnuts
Rub roasted hazelnuts in a clean tea towel to remove skins, then coarsely grind nuts in a food processor. (SRKitchen tip - alternatively get friends/partners/children to help remove the skins from the
hazelnuts. Makes the job quicker and you get to natter while you do it).

coarsely ground hazelnuts
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water), stirring until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.

Gently melting chocolate
Using electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt until thick and pale.

Beaten butter and sugar
Add cooled chocolate and mix well until smooth and combined.

Melted chocolate added to the butter and sugar
Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time beating well after each addition, until combined.

Crack your eggs in a separate dish, just in case
you get a bad one.
Fold in the hazelnuts

Torta mixture all ready to go in cake pan
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (SRKitchen tip - I am still getting used to my oven, however I found the cake needed a longer cooking time. If this is needed with you place a piece aluminium foil (buttered) over the top of the cake to stop it from burning, something I didn't do).

Turn off the oven, open the door and leave cake to rest in the oven for a further 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with cocoa powder, slice in wedges and serve with fresh berries (or mascarpone, as I did).

My beautifully clean oven inside


  1. How very delicious! And I love your intro, too!

  2. Thanks, Lizzy. It is a dear old house.

  3. OH I feel your pain about renovating an old house! Fortunately, our stove and oven are in slightly better condition than yours was - although my oven does seem to run very hot! I just bought some hazelnuts, so I may just give this a whirl!

  4. You must give it a try, Leah, and let me know how you go :-)

  5. It’s great that you were able to get that oven for a bargain! It looks very functional. Now you can bake as many cakes as you want. Your chocolate & hazelnut torta looks particularly delicious. I’d like to have a taste of that. It made me crave for chocolate cake! I always love cake, but most especially if it is chocolate