Going nutty over Nutella

20130825-181622.jpgNutella is a dangerous thing. A very dangerous thing. I cannot have it in the house because once that jar opens, I can’t resist eating it straight out of there. I don’t understand the appeal of putting it on toast or bread, although I do like it spread on a crepe (does rather stick your mouth together though) but directly from the jar into my mouth is the best.

So, as I can’t be trusted around Nutella I never buy it. But as Andrew’s Aunt and Uncle were coming for Sunday tea and as Kate is a complete chocoholic (I never thought they really existed until I met her), I decided to make Nigella’s Nutella cake – my first attempt at a flour-less cake, and a suitable option only because it used an entire 400g jar of Nutella so I knew there would be no leftovers in the house.

I pointed up the cake for Weightwatchers and nearly fainted when I realised it would be 21pp per slice. PER SLICE. I am only allowed 26pp per day. And that was without the toasted hazelnuts decorating the top. Gulp. I re-planned my weekend accordingly to allow one slice of cake on Sunday – which basically meant a starvation diet for the rest of the weekend – and crossed my fingers that the cake would be worth it.

20130825-181649.jpgI also had a bottle of Frangelico in the house – it’s a hazelnut liquor which I bought before Christmas for who knows what reason … probably because it was on special offer and I liked the look of the bottle. It tastes gorgeous in coffee and was another tick in the box for why I should make this cake, even though it sounded complicated and with huge potential for failure.

I had the odd mishap along the way – including accidentally eating a spoonful of Nutella before it made it into the mixture; not whisking the eggs correctly so when I tipped them into the mixture some un-whisked egg escaped into the cake mix; buying coarsely chopped hazelnuts instead of ground ones which I tried to grind in my blender but failed; and not really mixing the ingredients together correctly. I also didn’t have a clue how you tell when a flour-less cake is cooked as they are not really supposed to rise, and I didn’t know if a skewer was supposed to come out clean.

I fully expected a failure and so knocked up some rocky road to appease the chocolate fiend, and so was surprised and delighted when the cake was PERFECT! I mean, probably not what Nigella would consider perfect, but my mistakes were in my view a welcome addition to the cake (or at least they didn’t destroy it).

So, this is how I made Nigella’s Nutella cake, but if you would prefer to use the proper recipe and instructions, visit her wonderful site here.

20130825-181613.jpgNigella’s Nutella cake – serves 8 (generous slices)

For the cake: 6 separated eggs, pinch of salt, 125g butter, 400g Nutella (one large jar), a splash of Frangelico (replace with water if you don’t have it), 100g coarsely chopped hazelnuts, 100g dark chocolate (melted)

For the ganache: 125ml double cream, a good splash of Frangelico, 125g milk chocolate

First, melt the chocolate so it has time to cool a bit while you are getting on with the cake. 60 seconds in a microwave got it melted for me. Then I beat the butter and Nutella (minus a spoonful which accidentally fell into my mouth) together in the kitchen aid until well mixed, then added the Frangelico, egg yolks and hazelnuts. I did try to blend the hazelnuts first to make them less coarse – I think you should do that if you can but they did add a beautiful texture to the cake so you don’t need to grind them up too much.

Once that was ready, I whisked the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Nigella said do this until stiff not dry, but I don’t know what that means, and I consequently under-whisked them. I reckon soft peaks is a clearer description and that’s what I will aim for next time I can afford to spare the calories and make this beauty.

So, the now cooled melted chocolate can be added to the Nutella mix, and then you are supposed to fold in the egg whites. It said in Nigella’s recipe to loosen the mixture with a dollop of egg white which you can beat in as roughly as you like. I had seen this on tv before and so that was fine, but as soon as I added the rest of the egg white and tried to fold it in (not the third at a time specified by Nigella – whoops), the chocolate mixture seemed to go very oily and didn’t want to combine with the egg, so I was really worried I had mucked it up. I am now pretty sure that reaction was caused by the under-whisked watery eggs touching the melted chocolate. Ultimately it didn’t seem to make a difference to the cake, but it was a bugger to fold that egg white in, and I didn’t do it brilliantly. Next time …

Pour the cake batter into a greased and lined springform tin, and bake it for 40-50 minutes until the cake comes away from the side of the tin and it feels relatively springy to the touch. I was closer to 50 minutes baking mine and got it spot on (I think!). Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin. It really stuck to the greaseproof paper which was annoying – I don’t know how you stop that happening.

So to make the ganache you just melt the chocolate in the cream along with the Frangelico and then whisk until thick. Hmmmm, I hadn’t heard of this technique before either, and was starting to disbelieve Nigella that the mixture would ever thicken. My advice? Use an electric whisk otherwise you will be there all day. It’s lovely icing but very rich, and to be honest the cake could do without it, or you could just spread more Nutella on the top if you preferred.

Utterly delicious. Three of us had a slice each on Sunday, I kept another slice for myself (which I ended up eating that evening and as a consequence felt terribly sick for the rest of the night), one for a colleague (she said it was like fireworks going off in her mouth, which I think was a compliment), and gave the chocoholics the rest.

20130825-181639.jpgRocky road – best EVER!

200g dark chocolate, 200g milk chocolate, 175g butter, 4 tablespoons of golden syrup, a large pot of glace cherries, a bag of mini marshmallows, one or two packs of crushed shortbread biscuits, rice krispies if you have some

Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a pan and then stir in your ingredients of choice – you could also include amaretti biscuits / brazil nuts / cornflakes etc, but the above are my favourites. Spread out in a foil lined brownie tin and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into chunks. They make great gifts for people, if you can bare to give them away.

4 Replies to “Going nutty over Nutella”

  1. […] my issues with Nigella’s flourless Nutella cake, I was a bit worried that I’d struggle to bake a cake which relies almost solely on eggs as […]

  2. That chocolate cake looks gorgeous.

    1. It’s not cheap to make but it is delicious …

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