We were invited to some friends for dinner this past weekend, and I was responsible for dessert. It's pretty clear from my posts that baking is one of my favorite things, so I am always happy when this is delegated to me. To be completely honest, I cringe a little bit when the answer given to the "what can we bring?" question leads to an answer like salad. It's not that I don't enjoy salad......I just don't enjoy trolling Pinterest looking for new and exciting salad ideas. On this same note, it is about 99% likely that when someone asks me the "what can we bring" question, if I don't say nothing, those insistent people will be assigned salad. Luckily, one of my best friends, Alex, is a salad bringer. She loves contributing salad. We're dinner party compatible.
Anyways......I found this little delight on Pinterest: Chocolate Nutella Cake. I adapted this recipe slightly (a bit less flour, a bit more vanilla, a buttermilk substitute), so will list the recipe I used below. This cake was so simple to make, even though it was a little bit time consuming. It was a good morning project with several steps that the kids enjoyed helping with.... (errr...watching me and licking things, but whatever). It turned out to be a fairly firm and moist chocolate cake that was held together with layers of nutella, and iced with both dark and white chocolate buttercream. One note for the buttercream: Since this is a buttercream recipe with chocolate whipped in, be sure to work quickly. It firms up more quickly than plain buttercream when icing the cake, which can make it tricky to blend the two on this cake where the dark and white chocolate meet. Other than that, this cake was easy and delicious. It looks more impressive than the difficulty level really is! So here we go....
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
3/4 cup stick margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk + 1 tbsp white vinegar
2 & 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder in a small bowl and set aside. Next, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. In a measuring cup, mix the milk, white vinegar and vanilla. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
With your mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture until combined. Add 1/2 of the milk mixture and continue mixing until combined. Repeat these steps, ending with the final 1/3 of the flour mixture.
Divide into 3 greased and parchment lined 8 inch pans. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25-30 minutes (mine took 27 mins). Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks to fully cool.
White and Dark Chocolate Buttercream:
1 cup butter or margarine
4 & 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
5 tbsp whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp good quality vanilla
2 oz dark chocolate
2 oz white chocolate
Melt the dark and white chocolate (I simply microwaved each for 20 second increments until fully melted), then set aside to cool.
Cream the butter and add icing sugar approximately 1 cup at a time, adding about 1 tbsp of milk between icing sugar additions. Do this on LOW or your kitchen will look like "frozen", as my daughter puts it. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Then divide the buttercream into 2 bowls, with 1/3 and 2/3 in each, and beat in the dark chocolate to the smaller portion, and white chocolate into the larger portion.
To decorate the cake:
Level your cakes if necessary, and then place the first layer down on what you intend to serve on (this cake is heavy and hard to move). Pipe a border around the cake to create a "nutella dam", so it doesn't ooze. Put about 1/2 cup of nutella on the top of the cake and spread it to your border. Carefully place another layer on top, and then repeat this process. Top with the final layer. Chill cake for about 10 minutes to firm up and stabilize.
Then, crumb coat, and frost! I started by frosting the top and sides with the white chocolate buttercream, using a thinner layer as I went further down the cake. I then put the dark chocolate buttercream thickly on the bottom and worked up halfway. I worked too slowly here and my dark chocolate frosting firmed up quickly. This made it a bit tricky to blend the two tones as prettily as was done in my inspiration recipe, but it was still ok.
Finally, I topped with some Ferraro Rocher chocolate.... which I have been denying myself since Christmas....so it was time they were used.
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the cake when cut into slices. Like I said, we brought this to a dinner party and I didn't want to be snapping pictures like a weirdo while all the kids were chanting "cake time, cake time, cake time". But rest assured it was delightful looking.