nutella cake

Have you heard about “The Smearing”?
No, it’s not some new horror movie.  I really don’t like horror movies.  



I mean, in the most basic of horror movies (i.e. PSAs about avoiding your basement),  the characters are so asking for it.



If I were home alone and heard screeching/whispering/scratching/bubbling coming from my basement, the absolute last thing I would do is grab a flashlight and “investigate.”  I mean why would I do that when I could just stay above ground level with Pinterest and a big mug of Bohemian Raspberry tea? What’s even worse is when they ask: “anyone there?” I mean, do you really want to know the answer to that question?  Moral of the story, avoid unnecessary confrontation.  Don’t check noises in your basement. 



Now back on topic — if it’s not a new horror movie, what is “The Smearing”

“The Smearing” was a campaign run a long time ago by the Ferrero company in Italy, where kids could bring a slice of bread to their local food store and get a free “smear” of Nutella. I’m patiently waiting for them to bring this service back.  My day will come.

Is there anything in this world better than Nutella? Free Nutella. That’s all. A jar of this smooth, spreadable, chocolate-y brown gold is sold every 2.5 seconds (a baby is born every 8 seconds… do the math).


So to honor Nutella, one of the tastiest things that comes in a jar, I created this cake.  There were no rules, just that it had to be absolutely redonkulous (because Nutella deserves that kind of respect…).

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the layers (simple, velvety, with a nice cocoa bean-y flavor).  Then things started to get scandalous.  I slathered a thick, generous layer of Nutella between the cake layers, and then covered the whole thing with this dangerous Nutella buttercream (I always make a double batch in case… you know… I get hungry).  While my first layer of frosting was chilling in the fridge, I went to the grocery store and ran up and down the aisles, just whacking every somewhat hazelnutty/chocolate-y thing I saw into my cart (ended up using the Hazelnut Ritter Sport and Ferrero Rocher).  Then I piped some snazzy little Nutella buttercream ripples on the sides, and some big, vanilla rosettes on the top (to class up this monster of a cake).  Finally, I smushed a little baby jar of Nutella in the middle.  And my creation was born. 

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
One, 2-layer batch of chocolate cake (here’s my favorite)
One jar Nutella
One batch of Nutella Buttercream
One batch of Vanilla Buttercream (this recipe without the Oreos)
Ritter Sport/Ferrero Rocher for decorating
melted chocolate for drizzling

Assembly

Place once cake layer onto a cake stand, plate, or cake board.  With an offset spatula, evenly spread a generous amount of Nutella onto the layer.  Place your second layer face down on top of the Nutella filling and place the cake in the fridge for a few moments until it firms up a bit.  Meanwhile, whip up your two buttercreams (if you’re like me and only have one stand mixer, make the vanilla one first so it doesn’t get streaked with Nutella!).

With your offset spatula, carefully smooth a bit of frosting in a thin, even layer over the entire cake (to seal in the crumbs, a.k.a a crumb coat).  Chill again until the frosting is firm (about 15-30 minutes).

Place the cake on a turntable or cake stand.  Using a clean offset spatula, spread the Nutella buttercream in a smooth, even layer over the crumb coat.  To make the “ripple effect” on the sides, fill a large pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip with Nutella buttercream.  Pipe a vertical row of 4 dots about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.  Once you have your line of dots, use a spoon to smush down one side of each dot to form a line of petals.  Keep repeating this process until you make your way all around the cake.  For a picture of this technique, click here.

Next, fill a clean piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with the vanilla buttercream.  Pipe big swirls of frosting on top of the cake. Place a Ritter Sport or Ferrero Rocher in the middle of each swirl.  Lastly, drizzle with melted chocolate and enjoy your crazy, Nutella creation!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

ferrero rocher brownies

My track coach is a very wise man.  He always pushes the point that although painful, the 200 meter dash takes up a mere 30-seconds of your life, and that sometimes, one has to suck-it-up for a little bit to reap serious rewards.




I’ve applied his wisdom to less painful pursuits than the 200-meter dash — like getting a pedicure, shopping, and baking brownies. 



My friend Emilia and I treated ourselves to pedicures last weekend.  What could be better than an entire hour devoted to pampering yourself?  I can’t think of many things I’d rather do than get a pedicure (except for maybe shopping or baking brownies… keep reading).  Every moment is pure bliss… except for those few minutes at the beginning when the lady scrubs the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone.  I am painfully ticklish, and it takes every ounce of will power to not start screaming/crying/laughing.  But once that’s done, I’ve still got another 45 minutes of bliss to go.

I love shopping for shoes, and often find myself falling head-over-heels for the latest, crazy pair.   Suddenly, there’s nothing I’d rather do than buy them on the spot, take them home with me, rip the tags off, and walk around in them for the rest of my life.  However, I’ve learned the hard way that buying shoes (and ripping the tags off) without trying them on is a recipe for blisters and tears.  Although frustrating for an impatient girl like me, waiting to try them on saves me a box of band-aids.


Just like enduring the pumice stone and waiting to try on shoes, these knock-your-socks-off brownies require a bit of will power as well.  I had to unwrap not one, but two boxes of Ferrero Rochers to put in these brownies, and couldn’t even eat one.  However, after struggling through, and waiting for these to (almost) cool, I got to stuff three of these super fudgy bad boys in my face. Totally worth it. 

With love, 
Erica

P.S. I think I’ve found my new go-to brownie recipe! Tartine’s brownies are the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy, with a beautiful, crinkly crust! 


Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs (the original recipe calls for five eggs, but I don’t like tall brownies)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
In
a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat
and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully
melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and
stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift
the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing
bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted
with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture
thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide
ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4
to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into
the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with
the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been
incorporated into the eggs.

Pour
the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drop the Rocher candies evenly throughout the brownie batter (4 rows and 5 columns).  Make sure you cover each Rocher with a bit of brownie batter so their tops don’t get burned while baking. Bake
until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch,
about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Using
a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies
will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Adapted From Tartine and Mrs. Renaissance

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

coffee battenberg

Remember how much my family loved the mocha marble cake? This cake has the same, milky coffee flavor and is frosted with my famous coffee buttercream.

Battenberg is a traditional English sponge cake with a gorgeous checkered pattern on the inside. The cake was originally created to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg — the four cake panels panels symbolize the four princes of Battenberg. I thought this irresistibly festive cake would be the perfect way to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee across the pond.

Traditionally this cake is filled with jam or fruit preserves, and coated with marzipan; but since Nutella is awesome and my family is quite opposed to marzipan, I filled mine with Nutella and frosted it with my famous coffee buttercream. 
What’s your favorite traditional British dessert?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tsp instant coffee (I used one pack of Starbucks’ VIA)
2 tbsp  milk (divided)
1/2 cup Nutella

Method
Spray an 8 inch square cake tin. Divide the tin in half by making a crease, the height of the tin, in the center of a piece of foil. Use the foil to base-line the tin, sliding a piece of cardboard inside the crease to support it. Whisk the butter and sugar together in a bowl and gradually beat in the eggs. Lightly beat in the flour, baking powder and salt. Divide the mixture in half and fold the instant coffee and and a tablespoon of milk into one portion and the remaining tablespoon of milk into the other.
Spoon one flavor into each side of the tin and bake in the oven at 375°F  for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Trim each piece of cake and divide in half lengthwise. Sandwich together alternately with the Nutella.
Frost with coffee buttercream and decorate as desired.
Adapted from Cook it Simply 

best cake I ever ate {mocha marble cake}

It was around 1 in the morning, and the pantry was a bit sparse: a box of instant coffee, half a bag of chocolate chips, and a tin full of Pirouette cookie crumbs. My friend Veda and I decided to bake a cake – and that’s how this mocha marble cake was born.  This was not just any old cake, this was the best cake I’ve ever eaten.

Not that it’s surprising, as I love coffee in my desserts almost as much as I love cinnamon (tiramisu, affogato, coffee milkshakes… I could go on and on!).  But something about the combination of sleep deprivation, Nestle coffee granules, and a tin full of cookie crumbs made this cake absolutely magical. It is a buttery marble cake, with beautiful, billowing swirls of mocha (as opposed to traditional chocolate) slathered in a rich, fluffy icing with rich notes of both chocolate and coffee, and coated with crushed up Pirouette cookies (those delicate, pastry cookies filled with hazelnut crème). Everything from the moist, rich, buttery crumb, to the creamy, coffee-infused frosting is pure perfection.
So tell me, what is the best cake you’ve ever eaten?
With love,
Erica

erica’s mocha marble cake with pirouette cookies:

cake:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup boiling water + 3 tsp instant coffee granules (or 1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips

mocha icing:
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
4-4 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp cocoa powder
Optional: Hazelnut Pirouette cookies to decorate

cake:
Preheat oven 350°F, grease and line the base of two 18cm round cake tins with baking paper (I used mini cake tins and altered the baking time). Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and use a whisk to combine, set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Place 1/3 of the mixture in a separate bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, instant coffee granules and 1/4 cup of boiling water, whisking until it is smooth add the chocolate chips (it’s OK if they don’t entirely dissolve). Gently mix into the separated bowl of cake batter until combined. Spoon half the vanilla batter and half the mocha batter into the prepared cake tin, and the other half of each batter into the other prepared tin, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and mocha to simulate a checkerboard. Run a table knife through the batter in each tin to create a swirl effect. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack. They can be made the night before assembly, wrapped in plastic and put in the fridge

frosting:
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the coffee granules, cocoa powder, milk and vinegar. With the mixer on low, gradually add icing sugar until combined, then increase speed and gradually add coffee mixture. Beat on high until fluffy and well-combined. You may need to add more sifted icing sugar if your icing is too runny. It should be easy to spread but stiff enough to hold its shape.

assembling the mocha marble cake:
If the cake layers are domed in the center, use a serrated knife to level the tops of the cake.you Place one cake layer on your cake stand and use a spatula to smooth a layer of icing over the top of it. Sandwich other cake layer on top and then crumb coat the whole cake with more icing. Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set the crumb coat. Frost the cake evenly with the rest of the icing, using an offset spatula to smooth the surface (running the spatula until hot water will help with smoothing it). Decorate as you like (I coated mine entirely with crushed up Pirouette cookies, I absolutely love their hazelnut cream flavor!).
inspired by Raspberri Cupcakes