I wanted to post this cake recipe before this month ends. MM completes 8 years this month! Though I said the previous statement without any drama, trust me, lots of drama happens behind the scene, all the time. Be it in the kitchen, photo session, maintenance… As I've said before, though the site is in my name, it's very much a joint venture between Jose and myself. I manage the front office and he is in charge of the back office. So you can imagine, how it works out when husband and wife works together ;)
One of the things that we always have a conflict is, Jose wants me to be proud about the site, in a good way. Sometimes it happens that when I'm asked whether I'm working, I tend to say I'm unemployed or jobless, depending on my mood and as a result some people tend to look down upon me. Ok, now if I start talking about that topic, it will take ages, so let's come back to what we were saying, hhmm, yeah be proud about my work. He keeps asking me why am I downplaying the whole thing and so on. So, to stop his bickering, I told him, come this June, I'll not only be a proud owner, but may be flaunt it a lil bit ;)
You see, I was all set to start throwing around my weight, not so much, may be the size of a paper weight, as starters. I started practicing my make believe celebrity style at home too. I almost perfected it, then something happened. I got a mail! A mail from some agency saying that they will make me and my small blog a celebrity and they want me to do audition also for that! Here I'm all set to flaunt my celebrity status in Utopia and it took no time to bring me back to reality where I'm asked to audition to become one. Sigh! Should I say that my paper weights got crushed into fine dust by a road roller :(
Though I've given up the idea of “flaunting my blog”, I've started saying that I'm the “author” at MariasMenu :) An author without readers is like a Red Velvet Cupcake without the cream cheese icing, it just doesn't feel complete. It's only because of YOU, I can call myself an author. I know I test your patience and tolerance level at times, with the delay in posting new recipes or getting back to your mails and comments, but you put up with me ever so kindly.
Thank you for being there for MM :)
Now about this cake, this is one of the best Chocolate cakes, I've baked so far. I baked it twice in a month's time, once for one of our friend's anniversary and other for a friend's b'day. The cake was a hit with both of them, if I say so myself. I loved the texture of this cake, it's a bit dense but in a good way. The cake by itself isnt sweet, so it calls for a grand icing. The Nutella icing complemented the cake perfectly. It's very much a celebration cake, ideal for birthdays, anniversaries or any special occasion or you can just bake this cake and make an ordinary day an extra ordinary one ;) If you like chocolate cakes, this one is for you. I made praline only for one cake. The cake pic given above is the one I made for our friend's anniversary.
I want you to bake this cake so badly, so I shamelessly went and asked one of them to give me a slice to take home, so that I can take a pic to share with you ;) I wanted you to see the sliced cake, to get an idea about the texture.
Finally, the recipe…
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl…
In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes…
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined…
Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat…
Divide the batter evenly into 2, 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean…
Place a cake on the serving plate. Moisten the top and sides of the cake with coffee syrup. Place some icing on the top of the cake and spread it. Sprinkle the hazelnut praline, if using…
Place the next cake on top of this. Moisten the top and sides with the coffee syrup. Place some icing on top…
Start spreading it on the top and sides. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnut praline on top…
Please read the notes section before proceeding with the recipe
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 cups Plain Flour
- 1/2 cup Unsweetend Cocoa Powder
- 1.5 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 stick Butter (113 gms, @ room temp)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 large Eggs (@ room temp)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
- 1 cup Lukewarm Water
- 1/2 cup Buttermilk (refer notes for substitute)
For Nutella Buttercream
- 250 gms Unsalted butter (softened)
- 400 gms Nutella
- 1.5 – 2 cups Icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp Milk
For Coffee Syrup
- 1/2 cup Hot water
- 1 tbsp Instant coffee powder
- 1 tbsp Sugar
For Hazelnut Praline (optional)
- 1/2 cup Blanched skinless hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 C, 10 mins before baking.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
- Divide the batter evenly into 2, 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake in the pre heated oven for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- To make icing:
- Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or icing sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.
- To make coffee syrup:
- Combine hot water, instant coffee powder and sugar. Let it cool completely.
- To make the praline:
- Melt the sugar with 1/2 tbsp water in a pan. Once it starts turning brown, add the whole hazelnuts. Swirl the pan to make sure the nuts are coated completely with caramalised sugar. Transfer it to an al.foil or parchment paper. Let it cool completely. Crush it using a rolling pin.
- Assembling the cake:
- Place a cake on the serving plate. If you are using a cake board, spread some buttercream on the board and place the cake. This is done to avoid the cake moving around while doing the icing. Place cut out baking/parchment paper under the cake around the edges and without covering the centre, so that the extra icing will not be falling on the board. You can pull out these in the end.
- Moisten the top and sides of the cake with coffee syrup. Place some icing on the top of the cake and spread it. Sprinkle the hazelnut praline, if using. Place the next cake on top of this. Moisten the top and sides with the coffee syrup. Place some icing on top and start spreading it on the top and sides. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnut praline on top.
You can also make cupcakes using the above batter, though I'm not sure about how many it will yield. If you are baking this cake for a kid's party, it's better to skip the praline. I used hazelnuts since it was nutella icing.