On January 8th, I celebrated one year of blogging. There was not a party, nor was there a big to-do on the blog. I simply made myself a cake, a cake just for me, filled with my favorite flavors. A bit of hazelnut, a bit of booze, some nuts, and lots & lots of chocolate.
Cakes are more work than cupcakes and not as easy to share, so I don’t make them as much. However, cakes are awesome when it comes to presentation. Nothing says celebration like a beautifully done cake.
After the photographs I sat on the couch and ate a slice of cake. It was a quiet, peaceful moment, just me and my cake. I need to embrace more of those moments. The rest of the cake was carried off to work and shared during a lunch time meeting.
The cake was well received, very well received. The chocolate cake is moist, tender, and deeply chocolate. When I say this is a chocolate cake recipe to make you give up boxed mixes forever, I mean it. Each layer of cake is further moisten and flavored with Frangelico liqueur. I know cakes in bakeries often have simple syrup or liqueur in-between layers to keep them from drying out. I knew it was going to be a few days between constructing, photographing, and consuming the cake, so I wanted to make sure the cake tasted fresh: worked like a charm.
Nutella buttercream. There is absolutely nothing but joy that can come from those words. I used my favorite swiss meringue buttercream and added a jar of nutella, the buttercream can absorb all the nutella in the world. The pale brown color pairs perfectly with the deep brown of the cake. And the sweet, delicate chocolate hazelnut flavor is outstanding.
Decorating the cake was an ease by piping stars and adding hazelnuts on top, I wanted people to know the internal flavor from the outside. I added the cigar-type cookies on the outside for flavor, texture, and effect. A little crunch on the outside of the cake is delightful for the mouth and the eyes get to appreciate the beauty of the cookies surrounding the cake.
Overall, this cake was made out of love for myself and all the work I’ve put into the blog. I hope that shows. Happy Blog-o-versary Pale Yellow!
One Year Ago: Butterlane Cupcake Class
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
Yield – 6” round cake, 8-12 servings
Adapted from Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup hot water
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 6” round pan with shortening. Cut a round piece of parchment paper and place it in the bottom. Grease the parchment paper and add a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder inside. Shake the pan to evenly distribute the cocoa powder and knock out the extra.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.
- Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
- Mix until just combined and scrape down the sides. Turn on the mixer and add the hot water slowly until well combined.
- Fill the cake pan and bake 30-35 minutes. Check the cake after 25 minutes with knife and bake until the knife comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 ounces egg whites
5 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
1 jar (13 ounces) nutella
- Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the mixing bowl in a double boiler. The pot only needs to have a thin layer of simmering water.
- Whisk the egg whites frequently while they heat. Cook until the mixture is no longer gritty.
- Attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk on high speed for 6-10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch. The egg whites should have whipped into a stiff, shiny, meringue.
- With the mixer still going on medium speed, add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. The frosting may get a little loose, but just keep beating, it will all come together and get stiff.
- Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out, add the seeds to the buttercream and beat to combine.
- Pour in the nutella, beat until well combined.
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur (a little bottle is plenty)
1 tin Dark Chocolate Pirouline Cookies
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
- Use a cake leveler to make a flat top on the cake. Eat the scraps.
- Eyeball the cake into thirds. Use the cake leveler to cut one-third of the cake. Place the first third upside down on your serving plate. Place strips of parchment paper under the edge of the cake to keep the plate clean.
- Use a pastry brush to moisten the cake layer with Frangelico. Take a generous dollop of buttercream and place it on the cake layer and spread evenly.
- Slice the remaining cake in half and carefully place a half on top of the cake.
- Again moisten the layer with Frangelico and spread an even layer of buttercream on top.
- Place the last layer of the cake upside down so the bottom of the cake is now the crumb-free top.
- Add a large scoop of frosting on top and smooth over the edges. Frost the sides. Try to make the sides a even as possible.
- Trim the cookies so they have different heights and alternate the heights along the side of the cake.
- Add the remaining frosting to a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe large stars on top.
- Add a hazelnut in the center of each star.
- Refrigerate the cake to help everything set and hold together. Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving.