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  • Writer's pictureNava

Hazelnut and Poppy Seed Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Cream

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

I don’t know how many of you remember ‘Gelato Bar’ on Campbell Parade.

You have to say ‘Gelato Bar’ with a yiddish accent, actually the whole story should be told with a yiddish accent. I remember when it first opened there was a pilgrimage; all the Jewish families, young and old, made their way to the new establishment with it’s spanking new mustard-coloured leather seats. Best of all was what they were to become famous for, the dazzling collection of Eastern European cakes in the display cabinet, that made you drool. It was the first authentic Eastern European restaurant to open in Bondi.

I’m laughing just remembering the conversations between the patrons I eavesdropped on as they were dining and critiquing their dinner: “Dis Matzo ball soup is Geshmak (tasty) but ze matzo ball is a little drrry. Oi, you should have tasted my mozerse’ Matzo ball soup, may her soul rest in peace. Dis woman could make a soup! People came from all over just to try— from all over Hungary I tell you!” For me it was all about the cakes, and there was one that I bought on a regular basis: layered Hazelnut cake. A light hazelnut cake layered with delicious chocolate cream. It was my favourite, and ever since I started learning to bake I have been searching for a recipe that is similar. I was really excited when last Friday I found one in my fancy shmancy Womans Weekly cook book. I was going to make two cakes. There are enough ingredients here to make two small ones or one large one with several layers. I decided to make a couple of small ones. As soon as the first cake came out of the oven my excitement turned to horror. Butter fingers DROPPED the cake on the counter and it just fell a part. I was soooo upset… But I still had the second one which I treated with kid gloves. I decorated it with both chocolate and vanilla cream. I was going to make one with vanilla layers and one with chocolate cream layers. It came out really YUMMMMMMMY, soooo good, I really had to be very disciplined not to have more than a spoonful. (I’m on a strict sugar-free diet) But what to do with the mashed up cake???? I HATE wasting. So… I made a chocolate sauce, mixed it with the bits of cake and made hazelnut chocolate cake balls. They were super delicious and got eaten pretty quickly just like the cake that had survived my inferior juggling skills.




  • 250 mls milk

  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups castor sugar

  • 6 eggs

  • 2 cups self-raising flour

  • 2 cups ground hazelnut

  • ¼ cup smashed hazelnut

  • 1 cup sour cream

Chocolate cream topping

  • 300mls thickened cream

  • ¾ cup of milk

  • 1 packet instant chocolate pudding by Osem

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Vanilla cream topping

  • 300mls thickened cream

  • ¾ cup of milk

  • 1 packet instant pudding vanilla by Osem

  • 1 packet vanilla sugar

  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Chocolate gnash

  • 115g chocolate of your choice. It can be dark, milk or semi sweet chocolate finally chopped

  • 240mls thickened cream




  1. Preheat oven to 160c.

  2. Line with baking paper two small cake tins or one 20cm cake tin.

  3. Soak poppy seeds in milk for 15min.

  4. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 6 minutes or until pale and fluffy.

  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

  6. Add flour, ground hazelnut, sour cream and poppy-seed mixture, beat on low speed until just combined.

  7. Spoon mixture evenly into two cake tins lined with baking paper.

  8. Bake cakes for 1¼ hours, swapping pans from the top to the bottom halfway during cooking time or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  9. Let cakes cool down for 10-15 mins before taking out of tins and placing on wire racks.

Vanilla and chocolate cream toppings

  1. In an electric mixer beat the chocolate cream topping ingredients until nice and firm.

  2. Put in fridge.

  3. In a separate bowl repeat with vanilla cream topping.

Chocolate gnash

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream almost to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes before whisking gently until smooth.


  1. Once the cakes have cooled down, cut each one into two layers.

  2. Divide chocolate sauce into four even amounts and spread over top of bottom half.

  3. I filled two piping bags with the cream toppings. One with Vanilla and the other with chocolate.

  4. Using a piping bag I covered the cake by piping chocolate cream and vanilla cream onto it.

  5. I placed the second layer of cake on top. I spread the chocolate sauce and piped the creams only around the edge the cake. I decorated the centre of the cake with smashed hazelnuts.



PS - I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!

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