Hazelnut and Candied Kumquat Layer Cake for my Dad





Here is my second birthday cake post. This cake is kind of crazy. It has kumquats in it. I actually don’t even like fresh kumquats. But, I have a personal kumquat orchard of sorts just down the street from my house. And if I can get my hands on free fruit, you betcha I’m gonna find something to do with it.

This is for sure a celebration cake. Every year my dad’s birthday rolls around and I’m never sure how to remember him. Honestly, I’m usually just really sad that he’s not around. I even still have dreams of talking to him on the phone, something we did every day. For me, his death will never really seem real. And even after 9 years, it’s still hard to talk about.

But there it is. This one’s for you dad, I love you and miss you.


Hazelnut Crunch and Candied Kumquat Cake – adapted from Bon Appetit

Hazelnut crunch

2 cups toasted hazelnuts

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Candied Kumquats

55 kumquats

1 1/2 cups prosecco

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup sugar

10 cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 cup toasted hazelnuts

2 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cup milk

5 egg whites


8 ounces mascarpone

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons brandy

For the hazelnut crunch:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Add sugar and water to saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and heat until the mixture reaches a deep amber color. Remove from heat and add hazelnuts. Pour on to prepared pan.

When cool, chop into little bits and save for later.

For the kumquats:

From the pointier end of the kumquat, cut a cross without cutting all the way through, so that if you were to open up the kumquat it would look like a flower with four petals.

Combine prosecco, sugar, honey, and cloves in a saucepan. Add cut kumquats.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the kumquats are soft.

Remove the kumquats and continue to boil the prosecco mixture until the liquid has been reduced to about 1/3 of a cup and save for later use.

Chop up 2/3 of the kumquats and reserve the other 1/3 to decorate the top of the cake.

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet or three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with flour or parchment.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, using a very clean and dry bowl, beat egg whites till stiff peaks form. Transfer egg whites to separate bowl so that you can use the stand mixer bowl for creaming the butter.

In a blender of food processor, blend hazelnuts and flour. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy (this will take a few minutes). Add egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract.

Alternate between adding milk and dry ingredients to the egg, butter, and sugar mixture.

Fold in egg whites.

Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden brown and springs bag when touched.

If using a rimmed baking sheet cut cake into thirds.

For the frosting:

Whip cold cream and mascarpone, pour in sugar and brandy. Whip till stiff peaks form.

To assemble cake: 

Place one layer of cake on a plate.

Slather on a the frosting. Drizzle on some of the kumquat jam. Sprinkle some chopped kumquats. Toss on some hazelnut crunch. Repeat for the next layer. Top with last layer. Slather on some more frosting and decorate with reserved whole kumquats and hazelnut crunch if desired.



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