Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chocolate & Nutella Layer Cake Part 1

Hey Y'all! 

I am sharing a cake recipe on here for the first time (I think)! :) Cakes are so pretty and there's an endless amount of things you can do to them. However, I don't make cakes very often because despite how pretty they are, I don't like to eat them that much. Yes, you read that right - I don't particularly like cake. It's just too sweet for me, particularly the frosting. Nevertheless, I love making different types of frostings and enjoying how they look while someone else enjoys how they taste. :) 

This cake came about because my husband had been asking almost every night if there was any good dessert in the house. I spoiled him over Christmastime with cookies & fudge but, for the sake of my waistline, I hadn't made anything sweet for a few weeks. And I hadn't made a dessert other than cookies for who knows how long! A big dessert was way overdue. So, I gathered my cookbooks, pulled up Pinterest, and perused both for a cake recipe I wanted to bake that I thought my husband might also love. I ended up finding this one on Pinterest. I chose to make it because it's chocolate on chocolate + Nutella & my hubby is quite fond of both of those! ;) Plus, I already had two of the ingredients - Nutella & sour cream - sitting in my pantry/fridge where they had been for quite some time and I wanted to use them up, particularly the sour cream, before they went bad & would be wasted. (I hate wasting food!) This cake was exactly what I was looking for. It is a bit involved, as many cakes tend to be. Since I work during the day, I split it up over two evenings. You could also make the cakes a few days or even a few weeks ahead of time and just freeze them until you are able to make the frosting as well. Anyway, LOTS of photos in this one! :) Enjoy & I'll have part two with the frosting recipe on Monday.

*Quick tip I learned from my mother-in-law once. Whenever a recipe calls for superfine sugar, don't feel like you have to go out and buy some. Instead, if you have a food processor, just put the necessary amounts of regular granulated sugar in there and pulse it a few times until the sugar is superfine. :)

This had been sitting in my pantry for . . . an embarrassingly long time, but it was still good & did the job! All-purpose flour is perfectly fine in place of cake flour.

Mmm, now here comes some chocolate goodness.

If you have never heard of espresso powder, but frequently make chocolate desserts, go buy some now. That's not a suggestion. ;) This stuff will take your chocolate desserts to the next level. It's seriously one of my favorite 'extra' ingredients to keep in my kitchen.

Also, homemade vanilla. I always use this in baked goods. Store-bought vanilla just does not compare (not to mention the jar is way cuter & that's important). And the smell, ahhh, let me just go inhale this for a moment. hehe ;)

About halfway through, your kitchen might look like this.

Or, even worse, this. Yikes!

This is what the batter looks like once it's all come together. This is also the point where you pause your preparations, grab a spoon (we'll be sanitary and not use our fingers ;) ), and have a taste . . . or two or three or four of the batter to make sure it's safe for everyone else to eat. ;)

Now, this recipe makes a 3 layer cake. However, I only have two cake pans because I don't like a lot of kitchen clutter & don't need more than two that often, so I just baked the first two layers & once they were done, baked the third layer separately. You'll want to grease each pan and place some parchment in the bottom as well. Please be smarter than me though & remember to grease the parchment paper as well or you will run the risk of taking part of your cake's bottom with the paper when taking it out of the pan. Oops!

Isn't it a beaut?

Chocolate Layer Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/3 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
3/4 cup brewed coffee or espresso
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare three 7-in. round cake pans with nonstick spray and parchment.

2. Sift all dry ingredients together. Combine buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs, & vanilla in a large measuring cup & beat lightly with a fork.

3. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture for 1 minute on medium speed. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

4. Bake the first 2 layers for 20 minutes and rotate pans in the oven. Continue to bake until toothpick comes out almost clean (a few crumbs), about 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining layer, then invert cakes onto racks until completely cool. 

*If you don't have buttermilk on hand, add 1 tbsp. of white vinegar to 1 1/4 cups of milk and let it set for 10 minutes.*

Now, wrap your cakes securely in plastic wrap, freeze, & stay tuned for the chocolate-Nutella frosting recipe on Monday! :)

*Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita*

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