- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/4 cup Nutella
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
- 1-1/4 cups hazelnuts, toasted
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
- Pour into a greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Trim 1/2 in. from edges of cake. Cut cake horizontally into two layers; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cream; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat gelatin mixture and remaining cream until it begins to thicken. Add Nutella; beat until stiff peaks form.
- Place bottom cake layer on a cutting board; spread with whipped cream mixture. Top with remaining cake layer.
- Place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream and espresso granules just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth.
- Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 30 minutes. Spread over top of cake. Cut cake into 1-in. squares; top each with a hazelnut. Yield: 8 dozen.
Originally published as Petite Chocolate-Hazelnut Cakes in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2010, p83
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