As part of my goal to make good bread without a recipe, I've made two sourdough starters. I started them September 29th, so they're fairly well-established now, though I haven't made as many loaves off them as I should like. One is white flour, and named Scully, and the other is a wheat flour starter named Mulder. (When I get around to making other starters with rye, grape skins, or beer, they will also be named after characters from The X-Files.)
Because I hadn't had my recipe set for my mother's birthday cake, I ended up buying extra ingredients, just in case something went wrong, or I had another idea. I also ended up buying way too many hazelnuts, which, incidentally, are only sold here as 'filberts' in 2oz bags. Not too convenient or frugal when you're buying a pound of them. So, I found myself with an excess of good quality chocolate, ground hazelnuts, and some hazelnut buttercream frosting. I also had a meeting of the Madison Japanese Association to attend, and needed to bring a dish to pass.
I've been working at improving my baking and cooking skills since I got back from France, so about a week before my mom's birthday in September, she asked me to make her birthday dessert.
And so I spent a couple of days looking at recipes, trying to decide what kind of chocolate hazelnut cake I would make. I knew I wanted the richest, most fantastically chocolate cake with a layer of hazelnut inside that would be both crunchy and a little bit gooey, and hazelnut buttercream frosting. My mother was expecting a normal chocolate cake with hazelnut frosting, so I wanted to go all out and make a fancy layer cake. The only problem was that, while Epicurious provided a nice cake recipe, and the frosting was easy enough to figure out, I couldn't find any idea of how to make the filling I wanted. I ended up winging it the day of.