Nigella Lawson. I tune in to her cooking shows just to look at her and to listen to her talk. And of course for whatever dishes that she cooks or bakes. When you have a face like that, speak like that and cook and bake like that, what can I say except to agree that you are a domestic goddess. Nigella is not only gorgeous but she is oh so articulate. Just listen to her, how can you not pay attention? And she makes cooking and baking seem so simple, a blitz here and a plonk there and out comes this bedazzling dish. Haih! I am so impressed.
Ever since my love affair with Nutella began, I have been searching for more things to do with it other than taking clandestine scoops when no one is looking. I have found Nutella Cheesecake, Nutella Cookies and of course the delectable Nigella's Nutella Cake. I printed the recipe from nigella.com for the longest time but as is customary with me, I sat on it.
|A very thin slice for the cook to sample. The cake passed the test and my guests were duly served.|
My parents came for a one week holiday and I hosted a family dinner at home last weekend. My beloved auntie is also back on holiday. So Phong Hong Bakes springs to action. I mean, got to maintain my reputation, mah! Or else my auntie will give me no peace. "She got food blog but we got nothing to eat!". Besides, I promised my auntie to bake some of the cakes I posted for her to sample.
Nigella says that this cake "Not only is one of the easiest cakes to make, it happens - joyously - to be one of the most delicious". Nutella and Nigella, I was sold! Besides, I still had 3/4 of a big jar of Nutella which wasn't moving. You know and I know how the 1/4 went missing :)
This cake is basically a flourless cake and uses ground hazelnuts. No sugar is added as Nutella is already sweet. The only hassle is egg separation. Nigella's recipe uses Frangelico which can be substituted with water or rum. I happen to have a bottle of rum on hand and that's what I used.
When mixing the batter, I was reminded of an earlier cake I attempted, Chocolatissimo. All went well except that when the cake was in the oven, the sides were done much faster than the middle. I baked the cake for 50 minutes, 10 minutes longer than recommended. The middle was nicely done but the sides seemed hard and dry. I was worried. Maybe the next time, I ought to adjust the oven temperature and baking time.
This cake was meant for dessert and if I messed up, it would be a disappointment. I had baked an Ogura Cheesecake early in the morning for my auntie and the cake tanked. It was 4:30 am and I read the recipe wrongly. Instead of 50ml of oil, I added 120ml (that was the milk!) and of course my cake came out extra moist! What a bummer!
In between shopping, cooking and cleaning (I was up since 4:00am and was on my feet non-stop till midnight) I baked 3 cakes (one of which was a disaster) and cooked 2 dishes and a salad. Three cakes and 2 dishes sound very doable on paper but in real life, it takes up a lot of time especially when you have other stuff to take care of.
Anyway, after a while, the hard parts of the cake softened a little and after applying the chocolate icing and topping with the roasted hazelnuts, I was very hopeful. The cake looked very presentable but I had to cut a slice to taste before the guests arrived. And I did just that. The cake would not look so nice with a slice missing but this is family and they wouldn't mind. And what a relief that the cake tasted very good. It was moist and the combination of freshly roasted hazelnuts with the thick chocolate ganache was simply heavenly!
The cake was very well received with rave reviews from my mum. Thank you mummy! And my very sweet young nephew gave me a score of 100% for the cake. My little niece however, gave it a 99% percent score because she doesn't like nuts. Cute, huh?
Recipe source : nigella.com
(My notes and adaptations in red)
For the cake :
- 5 large eggs (separated)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 125 grams soft unsalted butter
- 400 grams Nutella (1 large jar)
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico (or rum or water)
- 100 grams ground hazelnuts
- 100 grams dark chocolate (melted)
For the icing
- 100 grams hazelnuts (peeled weight)
- 125 ml double cream (I used whipping cream)
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico (or rum or water)(I used rum)
- 125 grams chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 180C (I used 160C)
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. (I prepared the egg yolk batter first before whisking the egg whites)
3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together and then add Frangelico (or water or whatever you are using), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.
4. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.
5. Pour into a 23cm/9 inch round greased and lined springform tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack. (I baked the cake for 50 minutes)
6. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden brown in parts : keep shaking the pan so that they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. (I roasted the hazelnuts by baking them in the oven without preheating at 180C for 15 minutes and left them in the oven for another 15 minutes to bake on residual heat)
7. Transfer to a plate to cool. This is imperative : if they go on the ganache while hot, it'll turn oily.
8. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. (I put cream, rum and chocolate into a stainless steel bowl and used the double boiler method)
9. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it would be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece. (My cake was hard in the beginning and I was able to get it off the base to remove the baking paper on the base of the cake)
10. Ice the top with the chocolate icing and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts. If you have used Frangelico, put shot glasses on the table and serve it with the cake.
I'm linking this post to Cook Like a Star, an event organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and co-hosted this month by Anuja of Simple Baking and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours. The featured chef for the month is Nigella Lawson.