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Nutella Cake (Nigella)

I am planning to make the Nutella cake tonight for a friend's birthday, and was just wondering if anyone had made it and had any pointers? Link to recipe: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/n...

My thoughts:
- The jar of Nutella I have is 350g, so I'm going to try it with that and add a little extra chocolate, and hope for the best.
- I could only get 85% and the bar with sea salt (45%), both Lindt. I'm going to use half of each so the chocolate isn't too bitter. I can't see the salt hurting.
- I've made a flourless chocolate cake before, and put in a tablespoon of flour to stabilise it (something I had read at the time). I think I will do the same again.

Some questions:
- Should the ground hazelnuts that go in the cake be toasted? I'd assume that it would have a better flavour if it were...
- How finely should I grind the hazelnuts? Is a coarse meal better, or should I try for a fine meal?
- And if I am toasting it, should I do it before grinding or after (I'd prefer to toast in the oven)?

It took me forever to find hazelnuts. Went to about 7 stores and gave up, eventually buying brazil nuts and almonds to substitute. Then I stopped at a convenience store on the way home, wandered past the nut section just in case, and guess what I find!
I recall reading a trick to remove hazelnut skins with a towel, but can't recall it exactly and will do a search - any hints?

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  1. Toast hazelnuts either in the oven (350F) or in a skillet on top of the stove, tossing periodically. When they start to smell toasty, you'll notice the skins darkening and starting to separate from the nutmeat. do not let them burn, so watch the nuts carefully! Anyway, once toasted, place the nuts in the middle of a kitchen towel and cover them. The nuts will be hot. Let the nuts cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, grab the towel (it will be like a bag with the nuts inside) and start rubbing the nuts against each other. You are rubbing off the skins. Do this until most of the skins have been removed. No need to worry about getting every last skin.

    1. as suggested, definitely toast the hazelnuts. it will make deskinning very easy.
      i suggest processing finely.

      i actually make my own nutella, so you could just add some extra melted chocolate, ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a little powdered sugar, as well as a splash of oil to make up for that last 50g.

      1. Taste those nuts before you make the cake to make sure they are not rancid! My experience is that hazelnuts are a winter nut, usually available around Christmas. That may be because that's when they are at their peak, or perhaps that is when demand for hazelnuts peak. In any event, they are difficult to find at other times of the year and the fact that you found some on the shelves of a convenience store would make me suspect the quality of those nuts.

        As for skin removal, toasting and then rubbing in a kitchen towel works okay, makes a mess and doesn't get off all the skin. Another method that removes the skin is to boil them first in a pan of water and baking soda: For 1/2 cup of nuts, add 2 tablespoons baking soda to 1 1/2 cups boiling water, add the nuts and boil for three minutes. Test by running a nut under cold water - the skin should slip off easily; if not boil a few minutes longer. Rinse the nuts under cold running water, using your fingers to remove the skins. Once prepared, crisp the nuts in a 350 degree oven.

        I've used both methods - toasting and rubbing with a towel, and the baking soda water bath - and I prefer the baking soda water bath. It is more successful at removing more of the skins easily, and as a bonus the water as it boils the nuts spits all over the stove, which I discovered is a fine way to clean the stove top!

        1. @nofunlatte: Thanks for the guide. I followed it and it worked for about 80% of the nuts.

          @Emme: I do remember reading about making it online. Decided that it wouldn't matter too much and did without, but will keep it in mind for next time.

          @jannicooks:
          I'm in the Southern hemisphere. Can't say I've ever looked out for them before. I could never use nuts and not taste several! they were all fine. I'll keep your method in mind for next time - I used the pretty ones for the top and the rest (some with skins partially on) went into the cake.

          It didn't come out perfectly. I left it in the oven for around 40 minutes. The sides had pulled away and were clearly done - any longer and I knew I would risk burning. The centre looked soft, but when I tapped it, it sprung back, so I took it to be done. I let it cool and decorated it. I just cut in to it, and the centre is like pudding. So each slice is about half cake and half pudding. I've put it in the fridge in the hopes that it will firm up a bit, but I am a bit disappointed in that. I expected moist and dense, but I didn't expect runny. I've made a flourless chocolate cake before that didn't look pretty but was the perfect consistency and tasted awesome. This looks great and tastes good, but the consistency is not what I was expecting.

          Something else I wondered about is the Nutella itself. The jars I can get indicate that they were made in Poland. Since the quantity the original recipe had listed was for 1 jar of 400g, and the big jar here is 350g, I do wonder if they're made in different places and the contents vary. If that's the case, the recipe might need adjusting...

          3 Replies
          1. re: haiku.

            many products are being sold in smaller packages. 50 gms is not something really discernible to the eye.

            the recipe is an oldie but a goodie. better off just buying 2 jars of nutella instead of fiddling with proportions on the recipe.

            1. re: haiku.

              Haiku.. a bit late replying, but I make this cake every year for my birthday. I've never bothered with toasting the hazelnuts I grind, and it's still always great. It has also always set for me...

              1. re: rstuart

                I am going to have to test this one again.

                It's great once refrigerated, as the centre isn't runny anymore. Additional baking time would have ruined the outside. Maybe a lower temperature will be better.

                I do still wonder if it's the Nutella itself that's different. I see from another thread here that the US Nutella has different ingredients to the Italian Nutella.

                I'm just going to enjoy it as is and consider making it again in the future - it tastes good!

            2. I just saw this and thought about making it as well. I'm in the US and I've seen Double Devon Cream (does not mention clotted). Is this the same as Double Cream?

              2 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                Burgeoning, I've never seen double devon cream... but I've always substituted whipping cream in Canada. Not as high fat as double cream (it's 35% BF rather than the close to 40% that's apparently in double cream), but in something like a ganache can work. In a pinch I once used table cream (18%).. not ideal in terms of setting, but still tasted good.

                1. re: rstuart

                  I went with double devon cream. Search for it on amazon. It worked just fine. I also wasn't totally sure if I was to blanch the hazelnuts before grinding but it didn't seem to matter. The cake was huge for a flourless cake and very moist and rich. Glad I had some ice cream to balance it out.