Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nutella: The Way To Anyone's Heart

I can attribute the prolonged absence from my blogging duties to a single anathema: MOVING. Having relocated my entire existence 3 times in the past 4 months, there is no other term for the process. Nonetheless, the new place is AMAZING, and I finally have a kitchen that caters to my every baking desire. Space (finally, it's not a closet!), a gas oven/stovetop, a functional refrigerator, an enormous pantry, and more have all made the horrors of moving more than worth it.
But I imagine this information all seems irrelevant considering you read "nutella" in the title. The thought of a smooth, chocolate-hazelnut spread can render even the strongest helpless. It is one of those ingredients that cannot be duplicated (another excellent example being Bailey's). I had been studying a number of recipes that incorporate the spread in hopes of finding one whose flavor profile was contingent on the actual ingredient, rather than just using it as a complement (i.e. chocolate cake with nutella frosting, or cheesecake with nutella swirl...but the later does sound intriguing come to think of it...). It was then I came across Nigella Lawson's Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache.
I am composing this entry before my lunch break, a regrettable oversight considering I can now think of nothing else but nutella. This cake is no ordinary chocolate cake, how can it be? The recipe calls for all the usual suspects of a flourless chocolate cake: one stick of butter, eggs, and melted chocolate. But the difference lies in the absence of  sugar and the separation of the eggs (yolks versus whites). The former is obvious: why add more sugar if you have already added an entire container of nutella to the batter? The latter can be explained accordingly: the whites, having been whipped upon separation, prevent the prospects of dense, heavy cake (the reason we all love nutella on its own, though).

Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
Adapted from Nigella Lawson


  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 13-ounce container Nutellla
  • 1 tablespoon rum (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts (I omitted this)
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled


  • 4 ounces whole hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup half and half/heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Directions:For Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate. Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes (my cake only took about 35 minutes; check after 30 just to be safe). Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet, or toaster oven shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely. If hazelnuts came with skins on, put them in a towel after toasting and rub around; this will remove most of the skins.

For Glaze: Chop chocolate, and add to sauce pan with half and half and rum over medium-low heat. Once chocolate is melted and components are combined, whisk until mixture reaches desired thickness, then cool. Remove rim of cake pan and pour cooled ganache over, spreading lightly to create a smooth, shiny surface, and apply hazelnuts all over.

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