Whether you prefer it smeared across toast or straight from the jar, everyone loves Nutella. The inspiration for countless chocolate-hazelnut treats, how do you even begin to improve Ferrero’s iconic spread? Well, pairing it with an equally decadent dessert is a good place to start.
Enter the Nutella brownie cake, my answer to a brownie buff’s birthday cake. Substituting Nutella for chocolate and cocoa, this cake is neither traditional brownie nor layer cake but a delicious amalgamation of both.
With heapings of Nutella used throughout the recipe, avoiding a sugar overload was key. To do this, balancing flavours and textures would round out the overall flavour profile while championing the cult-classic hazelnut spread.
As the base of this entire construction, a brownie recipe that maintained this balance was vital. I landed on the Nutella brownie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction for its Nutella swirl and sea salt flecked top.
For the filling, I went straight to the source, spreading an indulgent, gooey layer of Nutella out of the jar and onto the brownie layers. To add a contrasting texture and satisfying crunch, I then toasted hazelnuts and scattered them in the centre and on top of the cake.
I also sought a tangy element with the Flour Covered Apron’s cream cheese frosting with lashings of Nutella. Paired with the flecks of sea salt and toasted hazelnuts this helped to achieve the complexity was searching for.
– 150 grams unsalted butter, softened
– 200 grams light brown sugar
– 4 eggs, room temperature
– 2 C Nutella
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 190 grams plain flour
– ½ C Nutella
– Sea salt flakes
Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting:
– 115 grams unsalted butter, softened
– 250 grams cream cheese, softened
– 115 grams Nutella
– 4 C icing sugar
Toppings and Fillings:
– 200 grams Nutella
– 75 grams hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and roughly chopped
– 5 Ferrero Rochers
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
2. Grease and line the bottom of two 22 cm round cake pans. Cut strips of baking paper and use to overhang the sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan later. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
4. Add brown sugar and beat until creamed.
5. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla with the mixer on low speed and then beat on medium-high until combined.
6. Beat in salt and 2 C Nutella and mix until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
7. Add flour and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
8. Pour the batter into prepared pans. Drop teaspoons of the remaining ½ C Nutella sporadically on top and use the tip of a paring knife to swirl the Nutella gently into the batter. Sprinkle sea salt on top.
9. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a couple of moist crumbs.
10. Allow brownie layers to cool completely in the pans.
11. Once cooled, use overhanging baking paper to lift brownie layers from the pans.
12. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
13. Add Nutella and beat until well combined.
14. Gradually add powdered sugar 1 C at a time with the mixer on low speed, mixing until incorporated after each addition.
15. Increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth.
16. To assemble, dollop a spoonful of frosting onto a cake board and set one of the brownie layers on top. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the surface and pipe a ring of frosting around the perimeter of the layer to create a border.
17. Spread a thick layer of Nutella inside the ring of frosting, sprinkle with a light layer of toasted hazelnuts and top with remaining cake layer.
18. Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until the cake has crusted.
19. Add a final coat of frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.
20. To decorate, arrange remaining toasted hazelnuts and Ferrero Rochers on top of the cake.
Photography by Ben Neale.