19 September 2011

special guest post from victoria!

In just a few days my boyfriend Joey and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary.  When I think back to when we first started dating, it's a joy to remember the newness and excitement and sweet and fun times we shared, but there's one thing that went terribly wrong.  It was the Nutella Flourless Chocolate Cake.

During the beginning stages of getting to know one another, I was very eager to show Joey what an excellent (and sexy! and fun!) baker I am, so I offered to bake him a cake with nutella, a food we had exalted as heavenly.  Being the gentleman that he is, Joey offered to buy all the ingredients and help me in the kitchen, and although I usually work best alone, I decided to take him up on this offer so that we could spend more time together.  He scoured all of Brooklyn searching for hazelnuts but managed to bring all of the necessary goods, and I got to serious work on the cake.  In the end, the distraction of my crush proved greater than my baking abilities, because I thoughtlessly doubled the butter and completely ruined the cake.  I've since wondered a bit about what I was missing, and so I decided to try the same recipe once again.

Yeah, this cake requires a WHOLE JAR of Nutella. Oh. Yes.
nutella chocolate cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13oz contaiter of Nutella
1 tbs water
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts*
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp espresso
4oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  (I somehow don't have a springform but with the help of parchment and baking Pam, I was able to remove and flip the cake easily after it had cooled for a few minutes).
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the water, egg yolks, cinnamon, espresso powder, and ground hazelnuts one at a time until mixed. Fold in melted chocolate.  
2. In another large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. 
3. Introduce a large tablespoon 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.
4. Pour into the pan  and bake for 35-40 minutes. 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. (My cake was done in 35 minutes). Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.  
*If your hazelnuts still have their skins, I recommend the Julia Child method of removal over the previous year's roasting/dishtowel method: Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups boiling water. Add the nuts and boil for about 3 minutes. Slip a test nut into a bowl of ice water. If the skin doesn’t come off easily, boil the nuts a little longer. When a test skin rubs right off, add the rest of the nuts to the ice water and peel with incredible ease. Dry the nuts or let them dry on their own and toast them in the oven.

Since I now know Joey is not the biggest fan of rich dessert toppings, rather than Nigella's ganache, I opted for whipping a small carton of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla.  I then sprinkled ground hazelnuts on the whipped cream topping.  

Truth be told, I did not discover that I had ruined my cake last year until the following day, because we actually didn't even cut a slice that night.  While waiting for the cake to cool, we started watching a move and ended up making out until we realized how late it was and said our goodbyes.  This year, Joey worked intently in his office next to the kitchen until the moment the cake was done, and eagerly grabbed the first slice.  If we leave out the sudden tears and frustration and mound of dishes that come every time I'm in the kitchen, I'd say this time it turned out pretty good.  And that's just perfect.

P.S. Be sure to keep up with Victoria's awesome baking adventures, fashion tips, metal love and anything else she happens to have on her mind by following her on tumblr at A sun that never sets burns on.  Thanks again, girl & a very happy anniversary to you both!


  1. Mmm... a whole jar of Nutella?! That sounds like the most amazing cake ever! This is a really cute story :) Happy almost-anniversary, Victoria!

  2. made this last night, next time i will make nutella blobs smaller as they sunk to the bottom, but didn't burn just made a nice chocolate crust on the bottom of the cake. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.