Desserts Recipes

Hazelnut & caramel crunchy cake for Christmas

December 18, 2017
croquant noisettes caramel

Last week I was invited by Auféminin to attend a pastry class with Yann Brys, Master in Culinary Arts in Patisserie. He had prepared a beautiful recipe for us to remake at home for Christmas: a hazelnut & caramel crunchy cake. The kitchen was bustling as we were quite a big group but it was a great moment of fun and sharing. Yann was very good at giving us all the tips so we could practice after his demo.

I had a blast and the cake was so yummy and light. So I wanted to do it again over the weekend. It took me a bit (way!) more time than what he advised as I was not so well organized… anyway I am sharing with you his recipe (which is not for a beginner by the way), but if you feel up for it, you will be sure to impress your family and guests!

croquant noisettes caramel

croquant noisettes caramel

Cake stand by Laurette Broll


Prep time: 1 hour / baking time: 15 min / resting time: 2 hours to overnight

Ingredients (for 2 cakes or 12 servings)

Crunchy base

40g puffed rice
90g chopped toasted hazelnuts
50g pailleté feuilletine (lacy crêpes), crushed (if you can’t find any you can make your own here or replace by another puffed cereal)
60g milk gianduja
60g milk chocolate (suggestion Bahibe by Valrhona)
1g sea salt

Hazelnut sponge

30g egg white (about 1 egg)
22g sugar
35g almond meal
35g hazelnut meal
40g icing sugar
8g corn flour
30g egg white (about 1 egg)
50g unsalted butter
6g honey (about 1 tsp.)

Hazelnut cream

300g liquid cream
1 vanilla pod
23g sugar
4g gelatine powder
28g water
60g milk chocolate (suggestion Jivara by Valrhona)
90g hazelnut butter
90g ground hazelnut praline

Whipped caramel ganache

(I have reduced the measurements to 2/3 of the original ones as I ended up with far too much ganache)
70g full fat milk
47g liquid cream
34g sugar
112g white chocolate (suggestion Dulcey by Valrhona)
157g liquid cream
24g mascarpone


Mini meringues, toasted hazelnuts and thin chocolate chunks



Step 1: hazelnut cream (10 min prepping + 30 min to overnight rest)

Hydrate the gelatine with water and allow to set.

Pour the liquid cream into a sauce pan with the vanilla pod cut lengthwise and seeds scraped. Warm up the mixture on medium heat. Remove from the heat and add in the hazelnut butter. 

Strain into a bowl containing the hydrated gelatine, milk chocolate and hazelnut praline.

Stir well until combined and mix for a few seconds with an electric hand mixer to smoothen the liquid mixture. Allow to set in the fridge for minimum 30 min to overnight.


Step 2: whipped caramel ganache (10-15 min prepping + 2 hours to overnight rest)

Bring to simmer the milk and liquid cream in a sauce pan.

In another sauce pan, make a caramel with the sugar (to a light brown colour) and stop the cooking by adding the warm liquid to get a nice caramel sauce.

Pour over the white chocolate in a separate bowl and stir. Add the other liquid cream with mascarpone and stir until well combined. Mix for a few seconds with an electric hand mixer to smoothen the liquid mixture. All to cool in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight.


Step 3: hazelnut sponge (15-20 min prepping + 15 min baking)

Pre-heat your oven at 165°C / 330°F

Melt the butter until you get a brown coloration. Strain and add in the honey. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Mix almond and hazelnut meals, icing sugar and corn flour. Pour in the first egg white and stir well to combine.

Whisk the second egg white and add sugar. Fold into the first mixture and then add the melted butter.

Spread into the two 14-cm circles placed on an oven tray covered with a silicone baking sheet and bake for about 15 min. Allow to cool before removing the circles.


Step 4: crunchy base (10 min prepping + 10 min rest)

Mix the hazelnuts, pailleté feuilletine, puffed rice and salt. 

Melt the milk chocolate with milk gianduja and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well until coated.

Spread into two the 14-cm circles and allow to set in the fridge for 10 min. 


Step 5 putting up all together at last! (about 10 min)

Place the crunchy base on your serving plate and pipe the hazelnut cream to cover it.

Top up gently with the hazelnut sponge.

Whisk the caramel ganache and pipe with two fluted tips different in size.

Decorate with caramelized hazelnuts, mini meringues as I did for this version.



You can do steps 1 & 2 the day before and step 3 in the morning to allow to cool before assembling.

All decoration items can be store brought.

croquant noisettes caramel


Here are other sweet ideas on my list for this festive season, not sure I will have time to make them all but I love the inspiration!


Raspberry swirl pavlova wreath by Donna Hay
Christmas Pavlova, Black forrest style by A table for two
Chocolite family wreath by MissMaggiesKitchen
Chocolate-cherry marquise by Gourmet Traveller

Cookies, biscuits, meringues

Chocolate Cookies Christmas tree by Donna Hay
Meringue mushrooms by Food 52
Cinnamon star biscuitsmini ginger breads and jam star biscuits in my blog archives.


Thank you again to the Auféminin, Marmiton teams for organizing such a great event and Yann Brys for sharing some of his knowledge.

You can find more about Laurette’s work here.

Good luck to all of you with the last preparations until Christmas. Enjoy the festive season with your families and closest ones. See you back in the New Year!

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  • Reply Daphné December 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Beautiful pictures and the cake looks really yummy!

    • Reply Sandrine December 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Merci Daphné! So worth the effort!

  • Reply Carlota Fariña December 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Definitely a delicious cake! Yum!

    • Reply Sandrine December 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Yes I love it! Worth the effort! Xx

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