Professionally trained chef and owner of Food Lover's Odyssey Vacations. Sharing my love for the food, wine and culture of Italy and France with travelers since 2009.Read More
It’s World Nutella Day! A few years ago Michelle from Bleeding Espresso and Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy declared February 5th as World Nutella Day, the official day to celebrate their and the world’s love for Nutella. The Nutella love has spread just as quickly as a spoonful of Nutella slides onto a piece of toasted baguette (one of my favorite ways of eating Nutella). Now you’ll find people creating and sharing special recipes to celebrate the day. Last year I joined in the love, sharing a story about my first taste of Nutella (in Florence)with you and my recipe for Gianduja – Nutella Cheesecake.
This year, I thought I’d share the Nutella love with individual cakes shaped in the form of a heart, not only to celebrate today but also as a nice dessert for Valentine’s Day. The cake is a flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake. There are two fillings; one a nutella ganache with chopped hazelnuts and on top of that is a whipped milk chocolate ganache. Then the entire cake is slathered in Nutella ganache and finished with a garnish of roasted hazelnuts. Although the recipe can be used to make one 9-inch round cake, I had a very handy heart shapped cutter and made individual cakes, perfect for romantic Valentine’s Day dinners for two, or you can make several for a dessert bar celebrating love, might I suggest a Nutella love fest. This cake is also gluten free.
While making this cake, scents of chocolate and roasted hazelnuts mingled together and filled the house. I had a flashback to a day when I was in Alba, Italy. We were there to check out the market before heading to Barolo to sip some wine. That same seductive scent filled the entire city. At the time we didn’t know that the Ferrero plant, the makers of Nutella, was located in Alba. Hearing us guess what the scent was, a guy at the osteria where we were eating told us about
the Ferrero plant. Imagine living in a town where all day you would smell chocolate and hazelnut?
Below I’ve given the recipe for making the individual cakes, using a heart shaped cookie cutter. The recipe will work if you’d like to instead make only one large 9-inch round cake. Instead of baking the flourless cake on a sheet pan, divide the cake batter into two 9-inch spring form pans. Follow the same assembly instructions, instead make only one round 9-inch cake.
Enjoy and Happy World Nutella Day! Thanks again Michelle and Sara for sharing and continuing the Nutella love!
(makes about 10 individual heart cakes or one 9-inch round cake)
For the Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake:
9 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup finely ground blanched and toasted hazelnuts
5 eggs, room temperature
Preheat an oven to 310°F and line the bottom of a 15×7 jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Slowly melt the chocolate and butter over a double-boiler. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together the melted chocolate mixture, the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sugar until combined. Add the ground hazelnuts and whisk until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, adding each egg after the first has been incorporated into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan. Make sure the mixture is level and smooth on top. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. It is ready when you place a toothpick in the center and only a few moist crumbs attach to the toothpick.
For the Whipped Milk Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
10 ounces good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
Scald the cream. Pour over the milk chocolate and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Starting from the center of the bowl, slowly whisk the mixture until it comes together. Pour into a 9×13-inch glass dish and refrigerate until it is chilled, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip to soft peaks. Set aside until assembling the cake.
For the Nutella Ganache:
1 jar (13 oz) Nutella
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/3 cups blanched and toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the nutella and cream until they are combined. Pour 3/4 cup of the ganache in a bowl and combine it with 1/3 cup of the chopped hazelnuts. Set aside both mixtures until you’re ready to assemble the cake. The remaining 2 cups of hazelnuts will be used for the garnish.
For the Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Pour the sugar and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cool and refrigerate until ready to use. It should be cold before using.
To Assemble the Cake:
Cut out the heart forms for the individual cakes. With a pastry brush, dab simple syrup onto the bottom layer of each cake, enough so that it soaks through. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Nutella ganache with the hazelnuts onto each bottom layer of cake and spread it in an even layer out almost to the edge. Using a piping bag with a round tip, pipe a layer of whipped ganache, about 3/8-inch in height on top of the Nutella ganache, covering the entire area of the heart.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the whipped ganache layer. With a pastry brush, dab simple syrup onto the top layer of each cake until it has soaked through. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. Place a baking rack over a sheet pan. This is for icing the cake. Once the cakes have chilled, remove them from the refrigerator and place them onto the rack. Pour the Nutella ganache, the mixture that does not have nuts in it, over each cake to ice it completely. If you need to, you can recuperate the icing in the sheet pan and do a second glazing. Chill for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Coat the sides with the chopped hazelnuts and serve.
**The World Nutella Day Image is provided with permission by World Nutella Day. All other photos, the recipe and all content are mine and may not be copied or reproduced without my permission.