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Hazelnut Sponge Cake

Sponge cakes are foam cakes, held up by the delicate foam of beaten eggs or egg whites. Even better for lowcarbers, sponge cakes are often made with nuts and little or no starch. Unfortunately, regular nut cake recipes contain a considerable amount of sugar, which is there not just for sweetness, but for the texture of the cake. That's where ThickenThin not/Sugar thickener can play an important role in replacing the function of sugar in a nut sponge cake.

In fact, not/Sugar actually makes lowcarb sponge cakes easier to produce than high carb ones. That's because it is better at stabilizing egg foams than sugar. This cake doesn't require the careful handling of the high-carb kind. In fact, as the result of a badly-timed power failure, we found that the batter can hold for quite a while before baking, and even can go in and out of the r efrigerator without noticeable loss of volume.

This cake is so delicious and moist that it doesn't need as many yolks as high-carb sponge cakes. You are welcome to use them, but it's more work than using JustWhites plus whole eggs.

Sponge cakes are traditionally baked in an ungreased pan, to give the sides something to grip. This cake is sturdy enough that I prefer to bake it in a greased pan to avoid the I-can't-get-it-out-of-the-pan disasters I have experienced. (OTOH, I don't know how it works in an ungreased pan.)

This recipe is made with one of my favorite nuts, hazelnuts or filberts. Feel free to use other nuts and/or different extracts or even liqueurs, but you may want to add additional sweetenr for less sweet-tasting nuts like walnuts. glaze, or sauce.

Also, this recipe is not very sweet. Since there is no need to use a lot of sugar for texture, I reduced the sweetening by half, compared to traditional cakes. If you prefer it sweeter, feel free to add more sweetener, or top it with a sweet icing.

A classic trick -- for those who can afford the carbs -- is to sprinkle a tiny amount of sugar (yup, the real thing) on top to give the crust a nice crunchy texture. Coarsely chopped nuts (as opposed to ground) also give a nice crunch, but the flavor and texture would be different.

                         Recipe By     : Barbara Pollack
Serving Size  : 16   Preparation Time :0:15 plus baking

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method -------- ------------ -------------------------------- 1 cup egg whites (approximately 7 -- or use Just Whites) 4 tablespoons ThickenThin not/Sugar thickener 4 eggs (or 7 egg yolks) 4 tablespoons ThickenThin not/Sugar thickener 2/3 cup sugar equivalent 1 teaspoon vanilla 6 ounces ground hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a tube, spring form, or other large baking pan.

Beat egg whites with half the not/Sugar thickener and salt until stiff.

Beat whole eggs (or egg yolks) with the other half of the not/Sugar thickener, sweetener and vanilla until thick, creamy, and the mixture falls in ribbons. Fold in ground nuts as gently as possible. Gently transfer to baking pan.

Bake for 45 minutes at 325F, or until top is lightly browned and cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool upside down. The center hole in tube pans can often be placed over a bottle, otherwise prop on four upside-down drinking glasses.

When thoroughly cool, gently remove from pan. Keep cake under refrigeration -- it doesn't have any sugar to protect it from spoiling.

Nutrition (per Mastercook using whole eggs in the second step): 98 calories; 7.6g fat (0.8g sat); 4.1g carb (3.2g fiber); 4.4g protein