Monday, March 2, 2015

Chocolate Birthday Cake + Nutella Buttercream Recipe

There are two things I've been searching for, recipe-wise, for a long time. One: The perfect chocolate cake (soft, moist, with real chocolate flavor). And two: a balanced Nutella frosting (not too sweet and actually tastes like Nutella). I'm overwhelmingly happy to announce that last week I finally figured out both. Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe is the best chocolate cake I've ever made. A recent special ordered chocolate cake from one of my favorite bakeries (which I won't name here because that would be mean) honestly doesn't have anything on Ina's recipe. During my January cleanse, while I spent a lot of sober time at home fantasizing about all the food I wasn't allowed to eat, I binged on Barefoot Contessa reruns that somehow I'd never seen before. Even more than the health benefits of that cleanse, I'm grateful that it led me to this recipe.

The Nutella buttercream was trickier - I've tried several recipes that I didn't love, so finally I decided to create my own. Which is great because now I get to share it with you! One important note: please seek out the European Nutella. It costs a little more and it's a bit harder to find but it's so worth it. Most specialty stores, especially gourmet Italian stores, carry it. It includes more hazelnuts and less sugar, and you can really tell a difference in the flavor.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup Nutella
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, beat the butter and salt for 5 minutes, until pale and creamy. You will need to scrape down the sides of the mixer a few times. Add the Nutella and cocoa powder and beat for 2 more minutes. Add the sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until combined. The mixture will be very thick. Add the vanilla extract and then the heavy cream, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, and beat until fully combined. This makes enough for a 9" layer cake or 18 cupcakes.