Hazelnut nougatine and honey buttercream sponge cake

26 January 2011
by Phuoc

Hi guys!

I know I haven’t been updating lately; I think I’ve come down with a case of writer’s block. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll get over it soon enough.

Recently I caught up with my uni girls for a session of gossiping and DIY high tea. As we were planning on what we were making, I noticed that the girls were going overboard with the desserts; there was only 1 savoury item out of about half a dozen items. I mean, in a fantasy world, eating a lot of desserts may sound like a brilliant idea until the sugar coma hits and you’re left asking “What was I thinking?” I decided to ditch my idea of making desserts and ended up making mushroom and cheese puff pastries instead which came as a saviour when we all started feeling the sugar.

There were macarons from Sweet Petite Treats (I bought these along for the girls because Julieann was donating all money raised from gift packs of 16 macarons towards The Queensland Foods Appeal – which I urge you all to do if you haven’t done so already), various cupcakes (not pictured), egg tarts, berry pavlova, pecan and butterscotch tart, Heston’s popping chocolate cake, scones and jam (that weren’t touched throughout the afternoon *sad face*), homemade chicken and mushroom pies, and mushroom and cheese puff pastries. Now that was a massive sugar rush!

That evening we had our friend’s birthday party so I decided to turn the petits fours I was going to make for the high tea party into a birthday cake.

Airy sponge cake. Honey buttercream. Crushed hazelnut nougatine. Sure that all sounds simple enough… All but the last component! This recipe almost killed my food processor! This was probably the first time that I had made nougatine or any form of hard caramel/toffee so I didn’t know that you had to roll the hot sugary mixture out thinly. Mine ended up about 1cm thick and when you try to to whiz this up in a little domestic food processor (or two)… It doesn’t like it that much. I only processed a few shards of thick nougatine in fear that my food processor was going to blow up and I’ll have blades flying at me! Lucky I am still here to tell the story hey?

And as for the cake.. Was it worth all that trouble? Well it was in the fridge for sometime prior to serving so I think it moistened up a bit and became somewhat denser than what I had imagined it to be, I found the buttercream to be a tad too sweet (maybe due to my sweet taste buds being over sensitised that afternoon) but I loved the delicate honey flavour of the buttercream and crunchy textures of the crushed nougatine and additional hazelnuts. Just don’t have this after a mega sugar feasting please; learn from my mistake. Enjoy guys!

By the way, Happy Australia Day guys!


Adapted from Indulgence Petits Fours

Makes a 20cm square cake


1 cup (125g) plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup (55g) almond meal

1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (230g) caster sugar

4 egss, separated

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup (170mL) milk

Honey buttercream

100g unsalted butter, softened

40g honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g  icing sugar, sifted (original recipe called for 200g but I found it too sweet; if 100g is not enough then add another 50g)

Hazelnut nougatine

30g sugar

30mL liquid glucose (light corn syrup)

60g roasted hazelnuts, chopped

The original recipe also called for equal amounts of butter as well but I found that after I made it, alot of oil was leaking out of the nougatine (ewww) and had to be drained away. I had a look online and it seems like most recipes don’t use butter so I decided to exclude it from this recipe.

For the sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and almond meal into a small bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and 2/3 cups (145g) sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla amd milk until well combined.
  5. Fold in the sifted flour mixture until just combined.
  6. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until foamy. Add the remaining sugar and beat until soft peaks.
  7. Stir in a tablespoonful of egg whites into the sponge mixture, then gently fold in the rest.
  8. Pour into cake tin and bake for 30mins or until firm to touch.
  9. Allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

For the honey buttercream

  1. Beat the butter, honey and vanilla until pale and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar (the amount is dependant on your personal taste) and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Store in fridge until required.

For the nougatine (a nice pictorial could be found here)

  1. Combine the sugar and glucose in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Boil until sugar starts to caramelise in colour.
  3. Add 30g of chopped hazelnuts and shake to coat.
  4. Working quickly, pour nougatine onto a baking tray and spread mixture out very thinnly. Cool.
  5. Break the hardened nougatine into shards and transfer to a food processor, and process until coarsely chopped (or before your food processor dies). (If you don’t have a food processor, you could place the shards into a plastic bag and beat it with a rolling pin until it is coarsely crushed.)

For the assembly

  1. Slice the sponge cake into 2 horizontal layers.
  2. Place bottom layer on serving plate and spread with half the buttercream mixture.
  3. Top with the other layer of sponge cake and buttercream.
  4. Sprinkle chopped nougatine and hazelnuts on top; pressing the mixture into the buttercream.
  5. Serve

Print this recipe


  1. chocolatesuze

    you had me at honey. and nougatine. oh baby.

  2. kristy @ ksayerphotography

    High tea definitely screams sugar hit to me! Desserts just pull off the cutesy vibe 😛

  3. joey@FoodiePop

    DIY high tea sounds fab! Look at all those sweets …. Mmmm.

  4. Wendy

    Always more sweet than savory , we have learnt that in the food blogger Xmas picnic, oh glad u didn’t get hurt hope the food processor is still working …

  5. mademoiselle délicieuse

    I haven’t dared come close to making toffee/caramel/praline yet…Eek, the fear of burning sugar! But I’ll happily eat it if given to me =D

  6. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    High tea, how fun! Although I don’t think I have enough self-restraint to bet let loose around that much sugar. The cake sounds really good, I’m sorry making it almost broke your processor, nougatine is pretty hard stuff isn’t it? I like to make nougatine and dip it in chocolate too.

  7. Simon @ the heart of food

    Wow, that must have been some nougatine to have put your food processor under that much stress!

    Love it when soft and crispy bits are paired well 🙂

  8. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul

    Ooh! You’re killing me here Phuoc! I did chuckle at your food processor adventure…glad it worked out in the end!

  9. FFichiban

    Sooooo when is the next High Tea at your place XD?!

  10. Helen (grabyourfork)

    lol glad your food processor survived. much like you – a tough cookie, i expect 🙂

  11. Sarah @ For the Love of Food

    Love the photo montage! What a spread. I hear you with scary food processor story – I feel that way whenever I rashly try to crush ice from large ice cubes in mine.

  12. Phuoc

    Chocolatesuze: Someone should make honey nougatine for you (if that works)!

    Kristy: Oh and don’t forget the cute and delicate cake tiers!

    Joey: I love DIY high teas but unfortunately don’t get to hold them as much 🙁 I just love the idea of everyone bringing in something along to share over a gossip session.

    Wendy: Food processor is still working, thank goodness (it was a birthday present from Ant)

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: I think the key is to keep the heat very low so there’s no chance of burning sugar. Come on! Be brave!

    Sylvie: You would think so hey? But omg the sugar coma you get from it will stop you from eating more.. I had the same thought of dipping these nougatine in choc but they will break someone’s teeth if I gave it to them!

    Simon: YEAH! Definitely! Would would have thought to roll it out? I hope others can learn from my mistake

    Peter: Glad to be of some amusement 😛

    FFichiban: HA! When I get my own place perhaps?

    Helen: Hehehe.. Who was it that said “nothing soft comes out of the west!”? But so true! 😛

    Sarah: Crushing large hard items is a no no for our little domestic appliances.

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