Tree Nut Cake

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Tree Nut Cake
5 eggs 5 Tbs. sugar 1⅓ cups walnuts, ground 5 Tbs. flour, sifted 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 cups milk 16 pecan halves 2 cups pecans, chopped 1 cup sugar 1 qt. heavy whipping cream 4 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar, sifted 3 Tbs. Nutella 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup brandy
Sponge Cake Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottoms of two nine-inch pans. Separate egg whites and yolks. Whip egg whites, and add sugar. Add yolks, stirring lightly. Stir in nuts with a spatula. In a bowl, mix flour and baking powder, then add to egg mixture, folding in gently with a spatula. Pour into pans and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. (Don’t open the oven early because the cakes may collapse.) Allow to cool slightly for 15 minutes, and gently lift cakes from pans. Cream Filling In a saucepan, boil milk. Add pecan halves and chopped pecans and remove from heat. Let soak for 10 minutes, then strain nuts. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix pecan halves with sugar to coat, then arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast for about six minutes (watch closely, because pecans burn easily); allow to cool. Using a mixer, whip cream with confectioners’ sugar on high until light and fluffy. Reserve half the cream to ice the cake. Separate the remainder of the cream in half, mixing one portion with Nutella, and folding in one and one-third cups of chopped pecans into the second portion. Syrup Prepare simple syrup by heating sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add brandy and stir. Cut each cake into two layers. Drizzle each layer with simple syrup. Stacking the cakes, spread half the pecan cream on the first layer; the hazelnut mixture on the second; pecan cream on the third; and top with the fourth layer of cake. Using a spatula, ice cake with plain whipped cream. Press remaining sugared pecans onto side of cake; decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.