Nutella cake

Nutella cake

I was shelving some books in the boys’ room (their preferred method of storing books is heaping them in a giant pile on the floor, as if in preparation for a bonfire) when I came across a book from my childhood. My Learn to Ride Book. It was from the period in my life that I saved up every penny to buy myself a horse. Looking at the pictures – clean line drawings and simple colors, I recalled vividly what a keen pleasure the book had been for me. I can’t really explain why that would be. There was something so hopeful about it, maybe…the book goes from choosing a horse to jumping over giant hurdles on your horse in about twenty pages. It makes it all seem possible. I never did buy that horse.

Somebody asked me to bake a cake! For an occasion! I felt so honored. I decided to make a nutella cake – everybody likes nutella, right? So I added dark cocoa and ground hazelnuts to the batter, I put a thick layer of nutella in the middle, and I coated the whole thing with bittersweet ganache, just for kicks. While I was making it, I thought about a picture from My Learn to Ride Book. The picture shows the kind of horse you should avoid at all costs. The poor thing has so many problems, one of which is a sway back. Well…my cake didn’t get all puffy and round on top. It wasn’t meant to, I tell you! It was meant to have a dense but tender, cakey-brownie-like texture, with little crunchy hazelnut accents. It was all carefully calculated! But the people at the event might not know that! They might think my cake looked like an undesirable old horse! Sigh. I made myself a tiny version of the cake to be sure that it was edible, and let me tell you, people, it was delicious!! Firm on the outside, light and soft on the inside, with lovely lovely hazelnut taste and crunch. You really can’t go wrong with nutella!

This might seem like sort of an odd connection, but here’s Big Boi’s The Rooster. It was the PTA that asked me to bake the cake, and he talks about going to a PTA meeting on this track, which just kills me, somehow. I love this song!

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder (the darker the better!)
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and finely ground

Nutella for the middle
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for the top

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream the butter with the sugars until everything is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add all of the dry ingredients, and beat well till everything is mixed together.

Butter and flour 2 9-inch pans. Pour the batter in, and cook for about 45 minutes, till the tip springs back when you touch it gently. I moved them from the bottom rack to a higher one about half way through.

When they’re cool, spread a generous layer of nutella on the bottom cake. Put the top one on top.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Pour/spread the chocolate over the cake. Allow it to set before you eat.


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