i decided pretty last minute to make a cake as a surprise for our dear friend, jan's, birthday. i didn't want to buy a lot of ingredients at the store since we are leaving today for vacation so i raided the cupboard and decided to whip up a cake with the jar of nutella we had hiding on a shelf (we have to hide it or else i would eat it everyday). enter the lovely nigella and her gluten free nutella cake.
it all began smoothly, if you call having to beat 6 egg whites until stiff by hand, smooth. but really despite the intense arm workout i was off to a good start. then i looked at the clock and realized it may be difficult to finish the cake, let it cool, ice it, and transform myself all in an hour and a half. this was going to take some serious time management and organization. unfortunately when feeling pressed for time i start to make mistakes. let's list them shall we.
-separating the eggs, a yolk slipped into my bowl of whites
-when boiling the hazelnuts to remove the skins, the baking soda water solution began bubbling over, i mean all over, the stovetop.
-as i simultaneously burnt my only bar of chocolate
-then burnt my hand in the oven
-my back started to go out
-a glass broke
-and i burnt my finger again
i was feeling defeated and less than excited about finishing this cake but it smelled so good. as it was cooling i was able to get myself ready, and before you knew it the hour and a half was up the cake was finished, i looked presentable, and my kitchen looked as though it had been through war. as we walked to the train, cake in hand, and women on the street paused to admire and let out their, "oohs and mmms," i thought that maybe it might all be worth it. it wasn't until we sliced into the cake and the table grew silent as we all took bite after bite that i was assured that it was indeed well worth it.
adapted from nigella lawson
6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
125g soft unsalted butter
400g nutella (1 jar)
1 tablespoon frangelico
100g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate, melted
preheat the oven to 180ºC. in a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. in a separate bowl, beat the butter and nutella together, and then add the frangelico, egg yolks and ground hazelnuts. fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time. pour into the prepared tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.
i opted out of nigella's recipe for the ganache and made a nutella cream cheese frosting instead.
for the icing
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
a few tablespoons of nutella
whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. sift the powdered sugar over the bowl and whisk for a few seconds. add the nutella and mix until completely incorporated.