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Serves 12

INGREDIENTS:

6 oz. icing sugar, sifted
2 oz. unsweetened cocoa
4 fl.oz. boiling water
8 oz. hazelnuts, ground
6 egg whites
4 oz. soft brown sugar
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
10 fl.oz. whipped cream, soft peaks
8 oz. white chocolate chips
4 oz. almond paste or almond butter

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Fry hazelnuts dry until browned. Combine cocoa, icing sugar and boiling water. Add hazelnuts.

Using a food processor, beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Add sugar and beat. Remove and fold egg white mixture into cocoa mixture. Mix well. Using two 8 inch non-stick, deep springform pans, pour in an even amount of cake mixture into both. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Cool in pans and then on a wire rack.

Melt 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate with 3 fl.oz. whipped cream. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool. Sandwich cakes together with this mixture. Melt white chocolate chips and spread across a non-stick cookie sheet. Allow to cool and set aside. Using remaining whipped cream, spread over top and sides of cake.

Use a knife to draw across the white chocolate on an angle. This will make curls. Use these to decorate the top and sides of the cake.

Use almond paste to make mushroom lids, mushroom stems and leaves. Use half for the mushrooms and half for the leaves. Dip the mushrooms lids in the remaining melted bittersweet chocolate. Allow to set. Put decorations on cake to resemble a forest floor. Serve cold with hot coffee or tea -great for a birthday.