A while back, I read Sweet Artichoke's take on Nigella Lawson's Nutella Cake. First of all, I have mixed feelings about Nigella. I started out really liking Nigella, a beautiful woman making simple recipes. Then, with Nigella Express, encouraging the use scissors instead of chopping with a knife, it seemed she was bringing oversimplification to a ridiculous level. Having said all of this, this recipe really appealed to me because 1) it involves Nutella (I'm a sucker for Nutella and I always look forward to spending time with the empty container making sure it's really clean...) and 2) it's simple! Not only that, but it was a big hit with my friends!
Nigella's Nutella Cake - Serves 8
Adapted from Nigella Lawson.
Since I made the recipe a while ago, I'm not sure changes I made were deliberate or not, such as dipping the hazelnuts in the ganache first (I think deliberate) and using 10% cream instead of whipping cream (that was definitely not deliberate and caused my icing not to be as thick as it should have been).
For the cake:
* 6 large eggs, separated (at room temperature)
* pinch of salt
* 125g (½ cup or 1 stick) soft unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
* 400g Nutella (1 jar)
* 1 Tbsp Frangelico, rum or water
* 100g ground hazelnuts (I ground them myself, skin on because I couldn't find them skinless)
* 100g dark chocolate, melted (microwaved or over simmering water)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico, egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.
Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.
Line a 9" springform pan with parchment paper.
Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.
Making the batter: (1) mixing the Nutella and butter, (2) adding the egg yolks and ground nuts, (3) adding the egg whites and (4) in the springform pan, ready to bake.
For the icing:
* 100g hazelnuts (I couldn't find skinless ones and it was too much effort to peel)
* ½ cup 35% cream
* 1 Tbsp Frangelico, rum or water
* 125g dark chocolate
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others.
Transfer to a plate and let cool. (This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it'll turn oily.)
Over a simmering pot of water, add the cream, liqueur and chopped chocolate in a bowl, and heat gently.
Once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake.
Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece.
Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts (I dipped them in the ganache first and also iced the sides).
If you love hazelnuts or Nutella (they go hand in hand, don't they?), this is the cake for you. I liked the added texture of the ground hazelnuts. It is a flourless cake, so it is dense and very moist. It's definitely a recipe I will repeat (maybe with shortening for my mom).
Before icing the cake and a slice of cake (I didn't take pics when we cut the cake so that's a leftover piece...).
For other hazelnut related recipes:
* Lemon Hazelnut Tiramisu
* Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
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