Although she studied Political Science and French, Sylwia Grodzka-Haba is totally dedicated to pastry. For the past five years, she has run a small pastry shop in Poland where she offers modern pastry, especially individual cakes, and is the author of the book Desery koncepcyjne, in which she shows step-by-step and tips for making her desserts. Her story, she says, “inspires people and gives a lot of motivation. It shows how we are able to succeed without a pastry environment support, without connections and background only thanks to our strength and love for making pastry”.
To make this individual cake, she was inspired by autumn. “As we have a lot of seasonal cakes in our display, we would like to create something that is strongly connected to four seasons. Thus, we have for example a coconut for summer, a snowman for winter, a flower for spring. We have a beautiful Apple for autumn as well”, she explains.
Acorns and chestnuts are very popular in Poland: children use them to make small animals, just for fun. “I wanted children to find the acorns not only under the tree. Since I can’t imagine the taste of acorns, I decided to make a very hazelnut cake – a flavor which is also connected with autumn”, she continues.
“I love different textures and flavors in cake. That’s why I combined the aerated caramel mousse with the hazelnut praliné (a little bit sour and very strong) with the creamy hazelnut namelaka (very soft and delicate). As I always look for something crispy, it is all enclosed in a chocolate shell, with some roasted hazelnuts inside as well as with the cocoa sablée as an acorn’s cap”
Cake Acorn with caramel mousse and the hazelnut praline
Making chocolate hemispheres
Temper the dark chocolate. Fill the silicone molds Silikomart SF004 with it. What we need is the chocolate shell so you have to remove the excess of the chocolate.
Important notice: For every cake you will need two chocolate shells.
Hazelnut praliné (for the 1st chocolate hemisphere)
- 500 g hazelnuts
- 350 g sugar
- 100 g water
- 250 g 100% hazelnut paste
Cook the sugar with water till 117ºC. Add the hazelnuts at once, previously heated a little bit in the oven at 90-100ºC. Mix everything very carefully. Caramelize the sugar with hazelnuts stirring constantly. Do not worry when the hazelnuts become white because of crystallizing sugar. Continue the caramelizing process. When the sugar is completely melted and caramelized, cool everything down by putting on the silpat. Then mix everything in the robot coupé or another standing mixer. You should obtain the liquid praliné. At the end, add the hazelnut paste and mix everything together.
Important notice: For every cake, you will fill one chocolate hemisphere with the praliné.
Milk crispy crumb (for the 2nd chocolate hemisphere)
- 100 g milk chocolate
- 100 g cornflakes
- 50 g grape seed oil
Grind the cornflakes, add melted chocolate with the oil and mix together. Put approximately one teaspoon of milk crispy crumb to the second chocolate hemisphere.
Milk chocolate with roasted hazelnut (for the 2nd chocolate hemisphere)
- 250 g milk chocolate
- 75 g grape seed oil
- 250 g roasted hazelnuts
Melt chocolate, add oil and the roasted, chopped hazelnuts. Mix everything, put it on the silpat and leave to crystallize. Break into small pieces. Put a few pieces of chocolate into the second chocolate hemisphere – this one with milk crispy crumb. Leave it to crystallize – pieces of chocolate should stick well to the crunchy layer.
- 345 g heavy cream
- 315 g caramel chocolate
- 5 u leaves of gelatine 200 bloom
- 700 g semi whipped cream
Pour the cream into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Put it into chocolate. Let the chocolate melt under the heat of cream. Add the gelatine soaked in water and mix everything very gently. At the end, add the semi whipped heavy cream and mix everything to the right consistency of a mousse.
Cake assembly for frosting
Use the Silikomart 3D Egg Mold.
Fill the first, white part of the mold with caramel mousse. Insert the first chocolate hemisphere and almost fill it with the hazelnut praliné. Then, put the second chocolate hemisphere, filled already with a crunchy layer and milk chocolate, on the top. Cover it all with the second, transparent part of the mold. Fill the gaps with the caramel mousse if necessary. Freeze.
Chocolate sablee for the acorn cap
- 180 g butter
- 100 g icing sugar
- 60 g cocoa
- 45 g almond powder
- 335 g all purpose flour
- 60 g egg
Put all the ingredients except the egg in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix them to the right consistency of sand. Then add the egg and continue mixing to the consistency of an elastic, homogeneous dough. Roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 2 mm between two sheets of baking paper. Cut the circles in dough using the round shape Ø 7-8cm. Put the circles on the silicone mold Silikomart SF004 (same as for chocolate hemispheres), make some irregular structures with a fork and bake for about 12-15 minutes at 150ºC. Use a small quantity of the dough for making the acorn peduncle. Bake them together with the cups. Let the cakes cool down. Stick the peduncle to the cap using dark melted chocolate and the spray freezer (use the same method in order to stick the cap to the cake/see below).
Chocolate dip for the acorn shell
- 100 g cocoa butter
- 200 g milk chocolate
Melt everything together in the microwave and dip the unmolded cake in. The dip temperature should not exceed 40ºC. Before the dip is completely crystallized on the cake, use a paintbrush to make some small marks and structures in the shell surface. You can even use a dip made from the dark chocolate (same proportion) to have two different colors on the acorn shell. Just dip a paintbrush in the darker dip and make some marks on the shell surface. Once the unmolded cake is covered with the chocolate dip, stick the sablee acorn cup using a dark melted chocolate and spray freezer.