Five Layer Nutella Red Velvet Cake

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Some people are so great, they deserve a red velvet AND Nutella cake. Stan is one of those people, and the inspiration for this Five Layer Nutella Red Velvet Cake. The recipe can be found below:

RED VELVET CAKE:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4  cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ( 2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt
  • splash of heavy cream (if needed)

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt
  • splash of heavy cream (if needed)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and lay a strip of parchment paper in five seven-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between five large bowls. Each bowl should have about 2 cups of batter.

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Bake in the middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the cakes, you don’t want them to over bake! It will continue to cook as it cools.  Let the layers cool in the pan for about five minutes, then remove them from the pans onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.

While the cakes cool, make the both types of frosting. For the cream cheese frosting, mix the softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed using a hand held mixed or kitchen aid for 1 minute. Then mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the powdered  sugar in a few installments, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Whip until the frosting is fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of heavy cream. If it’s too runny, add a touch more powdered sugar.

Set the cream cheese frosting aside, and then make the Nutella Buttercream. Beat the softened butter and Nutella on medium speed using a hand held mixed or kitchen aid for 1 minute. Then mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the powdered  sugar in a few installments, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Whip until the frosting is fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of heavy cream. If it’s too runny, add a touch more powdered sugar.

Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely. Make sure to alternate the layers top up, top down, to help the cake remain level.

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Lightly frost each layer, alternating cream cheese frosting and Nutella buttercream. For the exterior of the cake, frost the top half of the cake with Nutella buttercream and the bottom half with the cream cheese frosting. Using an offset spatula, smooth the frosting and blend together the two frosting types in the center of the cake, to create an ombre effect.

I also melted straight Nutella, and covered the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides, and piped some cream cheese swirls around the top edge of the cake.

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Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

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I though I had it all figured out when I made a double-decker, salted, brown butter, chocolate chip cookie cake, but I was mislead. While that cookie cake was delicious, I found a recipe I might like even more! It turned out perfectly chewy, and golden brown. To make this cake even better, I stuffed the cookie cake with Nutella. It was a game changing decision.

Cookie Cake Dough:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.

Begin by preparing the cookie dough. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy. Mix in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla on medium-high speed until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, at a low speed, until combined. The cookie dough will be quite sticky. Add 1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips, and mix briefly until the chips are evenly disbursed.

Press half of the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan. Pour Nutella into the center of the cake, and spread over the cookie dough, leaving 1 inch of the edge of the cookie dough uncovered. Spread out the remaining cookie dough into a 9- inch circle, and place on top of the Nutella and cookie dough in the prepared pan. Gently press the edges of the cookie dough together, sealing in the Nutella. Press remaining chocolate chips onto the top of the cookie cake.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil to avoid heavy browning around the edges. Bake for 5-10 more minutes, then remove from the oven cool on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cookie cake from the pan and transfer to a serving dish.

As the cookie cake cools, prepare the frosting by beating the butter on high for two minutes using a stand mixer, until it is lighter in color. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add in the powdered sugar over two installments, alternating with splashes of cream. Once all the powdered sugar has been incorporated, mix in gel food coloring (if desired). Beat on high for two additional minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add additional cream (if too thick) or powdered sugar (if too runny) as needed to reach desired consistency.

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Use a closed star tip to pipe frosting swirls around the edge of the cake, if desired.

Nutella Macarons

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Macarons are incredibly finicky. Sometimes, they develop those cute little feet and are just perfect. Other times, the feet are all over the place! I’ve tested out a few different recipes, and while some tips do help, some of the common “rules” around making macarons can be disregarded. The ideal macaron should be a perfect circle, with “feet” along the edges, where it has risen in the oven. They should comfortably slip off your baking mat. They also should be slightly chewy, yet crunchy, and they should taste like heaven.

Here is what I believe is most important during the baking process:

  • Kitchen scales are very useful for making macarons, as proper measurement of the ingredients ensures the best results. They’re also relatively cheap. That being said, I usually make macarons with cup measurements, and have been successful , so it is not a necessity!
  • I highly recommend buying a silicone baking mat, they’re amazingly useful, easy to clean, and last forever.
  • Use almond meal (finely ground almonds)! It’s not worth grinding up your own almonds. This will save you quite a bit of time, and clearning. Random note, if you do chose to grind  your own nuts, you can use different types of nuts! Common replacements include pistachios and hazelnuts.
  • Most recipes tell you to add the granulated sugar into the egg white gradually, but it’s a LIE! I’ve gradually added, and dumped all the sugar in at once, with no difference in my end product.
  • Aged egg whites are not a must. I’ve made macarons with egg whites at room temperature for about an hour or two and they have turned out just fine
  • Double stack your baking sheets to ensure that the pans heat evenly.
  • Use a piping bag with a round tip. I already have these on hand because of the cakes I bake, but they are pretty cheap to buy if you don’t! Piping bags and tips allow better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking. You can use plastic bags, as long as they are the sturdier, freezer-type bag. Just cut a hole in the corner about 1 inch wide.
  • If you are going to color your macarons, use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can mess with the consistency of the macarons, and ruin the texture. Also, make sure you add the coloring  to the egg mixture while beating in the sugar, to ensure even distribution of the color.
  • When you are beating the egg whites, most instructions tell you to beat until glossy/stiff. I’ve found you should take it one step further, and beat them until they literally don’t move when you turn your bowl over. You should be able to hold the bowl over your head, and have NOTHING move. That’s when you know the egg whites are ready!
  • When folding the egg whites with the almond meal and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Make sure you’re folding motion is gentle, and that you repeatedly scrape around the bowl and move batter towards the middle. DO NOT OVERMIX. You should make no more than 50 folds. Many recipes say the consistency should be of lava, but if your mixture resembles runny pancake batter, you’ve gone too far.
  • After piping the macarons, tap the tray against your countertop on the sides of the tray, to make sure any air bubbles are released.
  • After piping the macarons, let the tray sit out for at least 25 minutes, until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. This is the skin that needs to form in order for the “feet” of the macaron to properly develop.
  • When the weather is humid or rainy, it can negatively affect the macaron shells. The extra moisture can interfere with the development of the skin that should form during the resting stage.
  • Halfway through baking, rotate the pans in the oven. In my experience, my oven heats a bit more on one side more than the other. Most ovens do not bake perfectly even, and this will help ensure consistency throughout your final product.

I  have tried out a lot of online recipes for macarons, and this one has worked the best for me. I have continued using this recipe as a base, altering it to test out different flavors.

Macaron Base:
  • 1/3 cup sugar plus 1 tsp
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 3 tsp. almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 4 tsp. powdered sugar
  • Gel food coloring (pink and lavender)
  • pinch of salt

Filling: 1 jar of Nutella, sea salt (if desired)

Begin by preheat the oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone mat.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an hand mixer until they form peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar, while constantly whisking. Add in the gel food coloring. Whisk until the mixture becomes glossy, and is very stiff. Divide mixture evenly between two bowls, coloring one with pink food gel, and coloring the other one purple.
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Sift the powdered sugar and almond meal into a bowl. Gently fold this mixture into the meringue mixture, until everything is just incorporated.Pour the batter into a piping bag with a 1cm opening (I used a plastic bag and cut off the corner) and pipe 1 inch rosettes (using a closed star tip) onto a lined baking tray. Pipe from one side, at a 45 degree angle. Tap the tray firmly against the table, to remove any large air bubbles. Set these aside until the the tops of the macarons have developed a skin (about  30 minutes). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottom of the macarons are firm. Feet should have developed around the base of each cookie. Due to the rose shape of these macarons, the feet developed at interesting angles, but were there none the less!
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Once the macaron shells have cooled, spread the Nutella onto the shells. You can also use a buttercream, or jelly. The options of fillings, flavors, and colors are endless 😀
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Nutella Swirled Banana Nut Muffins

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A lot of my client contacts at work have been asking me me to bring in some sweets, so I needed an easy, crowd pleasing treat.I decided to make banana muffins, which are almost healthy, right? I threw in some hazelnuts to give them some texture, and of course I swirled a giant globs of Nutella into each muffin. Why? Because Nutella makes everything taste like heaven. The ingredients included:

Banana Nut Muffin Batter:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in a large bowl, and combine with a hand mixer at a  low speed. Fill each lined cupcake tray 2/3 full, and drop 1 heaping tablespoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Using a butter knife, swirl the Nutella around the top of each muffin.

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Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, until the edges were golden brown. The size of your muffin tins and how full you fill them will also affect baking time, so baking time may vary.

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I chose to make both normal sized muffins, and mini muffins. The mini muffins only need to be baked for about 10 minutes.

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Salted, Nutella-Stuffed, Browned Butter, Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Happy Thursday! What better way to celebrate a long week, than with nutella-stuffed, brown butter, chocolate chip cookies! I know, the name is a mouthful…but there are so many wonderful aspects of this cookie, and each one deserves a spot in the name. The nutty flavor of the brown butter compliments the nutella perfectly, and a finishing sprinkle of sea salt makes this a well-balance, salty/sweet treat.

Cookie Dough Ingredients (Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Servings: 20 Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Chill Time: At least 2 hours

Bake time: 9-10 minutes

Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

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With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.

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Chill your dough overnight, or AT LEAST 2 hours. This allows the dough to absorb the flavor of the brown butter, and results in a chewier, thicker cookie. Trust me, don’t skip this step!!!

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The following morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form cookie dough balls with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough, and flatten the dough in the palm of your hand. Place 1 Tablespoon of chilled Nutella in the middle, and fold the dough back around it, gently into a ball.

Place the cookie dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, and gently flatten the dough with your hand. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Let the cookies cool on a wire wrack, and sprinkle with a flourish of sea salt after a couple minutes. And BAM! NUTELLA COOKIES FOR ALL 😀

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Nutella Crunch Cake: Take II

Back by popular demand, I received another order for a Nutella Crunch Cake. I used the same tried and true recipe as last time, but mixed up the presentation. What that really means is that I slathered the cake in hazelnuts, coated the sides with chocolate chips, dolloped Nutella all over the place, and sprinkled a little sea salt on the top 😀

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee, hot
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Prep Time:15 minutes

Bake Time: 15 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 45 minutes (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 6-8

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch round cake pans, and line/grease the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs). Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

For the cake assembly, frost each layer of cake, and top with toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Add a very light sprinkle of sea salt on top of the hazelnuts. Once the layers are all stacked, apply a thin crumb coat, and let the cake sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. Frost as desired with remaining frosting.  I decided to coat the sides of the cake with chocolate chips, dolloped (warmed) Nutella around the edge of the cake top, and sprinkled a little sea salt on the top.IMG_0245.JPGIMG_0240.JPG