For the gianduja cake batter,
Combine the hazelnuts and
Beat the remaining butter with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and soft, about 2 minutes. Beat in the cooled hazelnut paste until smooth, then the cooled chocolate. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, continuing to beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Stir in the flour. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites, using a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, until the egg whites are white, opaque, and beginning to hold their shape. Increase the speed to maximum and whip in the remaining
For the filling, cut the chocolate finely and set aside. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate and allow to stand about 2 minutes so that the chocolate melts. Add the butter, whisk smooth, scrape into a bowl, and cool at room temperature until set and thickened, about 2 hours. Just before assembling the cake, beat the filling with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute, until the filling is light in color and texture.
To assemble the cake, trim the top of the layer so it is even and slice into 2 layers. Place one layer on a cardboard disk and moisten with some of the brandy or rum. Spread half the chocolate filling on the layer. Top with the other layer and moisten with more brandy. Use half the remaining filling to cover the top and sides of the cake, reserving the remainder to decorate the cake later on. Refrigerate the cake but leave the reserved filling at room temperature.
For the chocolate glaze, cut the chocolate finely and set aside. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and allow to stand 3 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Whisk until smooth and cool to room temperature.
Place the chilled cake on a rack set over a jelly roll pan and pour the cooled glaze through a strainer onto the cake. Cover the entire cake, using a spatula to touch up the bare spots. Chill the cake for 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set.
To decorate the cake, place the reserved filling in a small pastry bag fitted with a
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.