“I’ve been making this brown butter cake for a really long time,” Karen Hatfield says, “and I keep going back to it again and again. It’s super-versatile; you can make it individually as petits fours, in a cake pan, tart pan, mold, whatever. You can make the batter in advance. I’ve made it with pear and hazelnuts, roasted apples, figs. It has a lot of depth.” When the cake pan is filled almost completely, the cake will puff and get “crispy-chewy on the outside. Sometimes that’s the best part.”
Brown the butter: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat and cook until the butter melts and browns, taking on a nutty aroma, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the butter will burn. Remove from heat and cool to warm before using.
While the butter is cooling, prepare the pan: Grease a decorative 10-inch cake or tart pan with butter and flour, or line with parchment. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar with the almond flour, cake flour and salt. With the mixer running, or using a hand mixer, add the egg whites in a steady stream. Once combined, quickly add the hazelnut oil, then the butter, and mix just until combined; be careful not to overmix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, filling the pan three-fourths of the way full. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts, as well as the granulated sugar. Bake until the torte is puffed and medium brown on top, about 35 minutes. Cool before serving.
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