Alhambra (hazelnut chocolate cake)

I have no idea why French name this cake “Alhambra” – this name should be very popular because I remember when I brought this cake from my school – Le Cordon Bleu, back to my hotel, and I gave it to the hotel’s manager, he just said in joy “Oh, Alhambra!, I love it! Merci, merci!”, but to my surprise I actually didn’t see this chocolate cake in many big patisserie stores in Paris.

Finally I got the information – the cake has been named after the Moorish fortress of Alhambra in Spain and closely related to the fabulous “Sachertorts” created by Austrian confectioner Franz Sacher for Austrian Prince’s special guests, back to 1830s. So Spain and Austria involved in this creation and I studied how to do it in Paris! Cool!


Alhambra made of hazelnut sacher and chocolate ganache. Here you go the recipe for Alhambra.

Preparation for hazelnut sacher 

  • Egg yolk   6
  • Sugar   80 – 100 gr ( by the original 100 gr, but I reduce to 80 gr or even less)
  • Ground hazelnut  60 gr
  • Butter  35 gr (melted)
  • All purpose flour  40 gr
  • Cacao powder  40 gr
  • White yolk 6
  • Sugar for white yolks  50 gr

Beat the egg yolk with sugar. Mix well all dry ingredients (ground hazelnut, cacao powder and flour). Beat the white yolk well, add the sugar gradually. First mix well the egg yolk with white, then dry ingredients and melted butter.  I baked the sacher on the rectangular tray (32 cm x 44 cm) at 180oC for around 10 minutes.


Preparation for sirup 

  • Water  100 ml
  • Sugar  40 gr
  • Rum  40 ml
  • Coffee  40 ml  ( I used Kailua – the coffee liquor instead but reduced to 20ml only)

Boil the water with sugar, wait until it’s cooling down, then add rum and coffee. As I decided to use the Silikomart mold so I need to slice the sacher into 3 slices with different sizes due to the mold. Moisten the sacher with sirup from both sides.


Preparation for ganache 

  • Whipping cream   250 ml
  • Dark chocolate  230 gr – 250 gr  (65 up to 70% cacao)

Heat up the whipping cream by bain-marie then add the chocolate, mix well until it’s smooth and shine. Add the first layer of ganache into the mold, wait a bit until it sets then put the 1st layer of sacher, then another ganache, then second layer of the hazelnut sacher, another ganache and finally the 3rd and the last layer of the cake. Check carefully if the ganache filled everywhere in the mold. Keep the mold in the freezer over the night.


Make sure that all sacher layer covered by the ganache on both sides, otherwise it’s not beautiful when we take the cake out of the mold.


As usual the cake can have some decoration as ground pistachio around the bottom and some flowers made of almond paste, I don’t have any of these two at home, so I keep my Alhambra simple, the taste is very rich with ganache, the hazelnut sacher is super moist thanks to rum sirup. In one word – Alhambra is amazing!

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