By now you know my crazy love for peanut butter. It's always been my go-to spread, dip, add-on, add-in... you get the point. For decades now, nothing has been able to compete with peanut butter in my mind. It wasn't until I lived in Switzerland a few years ago, where my beloved Skippy peanut butter was nowhere to be found at the Coop or Migros markets, that I expanded my horizons and grew to love another nut spread ... Nutella.
Of course, I knew about Nutella and had tasted it prior to our time abroad, but I never really appreciated it like I do now. (I know what you're thinking, 'How is that possible? It's nuts and chocolate in one creamy spread!'. I must have been so blinded by love of peanut butter that I never opened up my heart to anything else that could potentially replace it.) The good news is that I now fully know the goodness of Nutella. In fact, one of my favorite indulgences is fresh baked white bread with a huge slab of Nutella on it. To me, that's comfort food at its best!
Having already done a peanut butter cake a while back, it was clearly time for a Nutella cake. For this one, I used Sweetapolita's dark chocolate cake (because why stray from perfection), and added a layer of pure Nutella, Nutella frosting, and strawberries.
I think next time, I'll add even more strawberries. With all the richness of chocolate and Nutella, you can't go wrong with a few more strawberries. Also, this Chef'n Strawberry Slicer is awesome for quick and pretty strawberry slices. A friend got this for me a few years ago from Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City. I use it ALL the time. You can also find it here from William Sonoma and here from Amazon. For $15, it's a great time saving investment.
With this cake, I also decided to play around with some new frosting tools and techniques. I need a little more practice, but it was fun to do something a little different.
Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake
Yield: 3 layer, 6-inch cake
For the Chocolate Cake (recipe source: Sweetapolita.com)
1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups (275 g) sugar
1/2 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
1/2 cup (140 ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (140 ml) espresso or hot brewed coffee (or water)
1/4 cup (75 ml) vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the Nutella Frosting
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/4 cup full fat sour cream
For the Chocolate Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter or spray, parchment paper and flour or cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, add all remaining wet ingredients and mix briefly. Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed for two minutes.
4. Divide batter among cake pans, using a scale to weigh each pan for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Cool on wire racks for 15-20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
For the Nutella Frosting
1. Combine the butter and Nutella and beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the sifted confectioners' sugar, a little at a time until incorporated. Beat for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients and beat for another two minutes, until light and fluffy. Best used right away.
1. Using chilled cakes, level each cake layer.
2. Place the first cake layer on a cake plate or stand, right side up. Spread three tablespoons of Nutella across the top of the cake. Then pipe about 1/2-3/4 cup of the Nutella frosting on top of the Nutella. Place strawberry slices on top of the frosting and push down slightly so the strawberries are secure.
3. Repeat step #2 for another layer.
4. Place final cake layer on top of the second layer of strawberries, bottom side up.
5. Frost the cake with a crumb coating and let chill for 15 minutes.
6. Continue to decorate with remaining frosting. If the remaining frosting is a little stiff at this point, add another tablespoon of sour cream or heavy cream and beat again for two minutes.