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February 16, 2012

nutella cheesecake layer cake + truffles.

Remember Andrea? We've made awesome french toast (I actually made her a heart french toast on Valentine's Day morn teehee) & gone secret santa shopping together, and she also decided what my last surprise birthday cake would be. Well, today's her birthday, and that means one thing: make a more awesome birthday cake than the last one.

Which is kind of extremely difficult, considering this was the cake from Andray dray's birthday last year ..

Chocolate chip cookie. Ice cream. Chocolate cake. Ice cream. Cookie. Ice cream. Cake. Ganache. 

That thing was beautiful. In fact, I think it was the first cake to initiate the whole best-last-birthday's-cake OCD I now have.

I had been seeing the trend of sandwiching cheesecake (fully baked cheesecake) between baked cake layers, instead of frosting. And it intrigued me, because there are so many combinations you could make with that. Imagine pumpkin cheesecake between spice cake layers? Or mocha cheesecake in a chocolate fudge layer cake? 

.. tell me why I let the cake get so close to the edge of the table again.

So many possibilities. Today, however, we are going to focus on Nutella-swirled cheesecake inbetween chocolate cake layers that have been hit with a little coffee flavor to enhance the chocolateyness. You don't taste the coffee in the finished product. A creamy Nutella chocolate frosting enrobes the entire cake, hiding the surprise within. Mini dark chocolate truffles line the perimeter of the cake, and roasted chopped hazelnuts are pressed into the sides. 

I could go into extreme detail of how the textures (creamy cheesecake, crunchy nuts, fluffy frosting, tender cake, indulgent truffles) and flavors (mellow cheesecake, hints of Nutella, lots of chocolate, toasty nuts, slight tang from the frosting) complement each other, but I'll spare you the flourished wordy description that would most definitely result, and just give you pictures instead. 

See the swirl of frosting? And the cocoa dusted truffle? And the toasty nuts?

I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I am in college, I can only do so much. 

Lookie dat nutella swirl

And Andrea loved it, which is all that really matters. Andray dray, hope you had an awesome birthday! Love you foo, Yacht-C. 

Nutella Cheesecake Layer Cake, with truffles
pretty much followed from here and here, with slight adjustments.

-Cheesecake (make first, day before if possible, is best)
-Chocolate Cake Layers (make second)
-Chocolate Nutella Frosting (make as the cake is baking)
-Roast Hazelnuts (while cake is baking)
-Truffles (make the mixture before preparing the cake, and then after the cake layers have baked & are cooling and everything else is done, roll & coat these)

Nutella Swirled Cheesecake
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temp 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 2 large eggs, room temp 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup Nutella, or any chocolate hazelnut spread 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Open springform pan. place piece of aluminum foil over the bottom of the pan. Close the pan, so that only the bottom is now coated with foil. Fold the excess foil up the edges of the pan. 
  3. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. 
  4. Add sugar and flour. Beat well until most lumps are gone.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  6. Add vanilla. Mix well. 
  7. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. 
  8. Mix remaining batter with Nutella. Dollop over the plain batter in the pan, and swirl with end of the spoon. Do not over-swirl. Bake about 30 minutes. When done, the cheesecake should jiggle when the pan is gently pushed, but it should look firm. The batter will appear cooked. Let cool in the oven for about 30 minutes before removing. 
  9. Let cool completely outside of the oven. Then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Take out about 30 minutes before assembly.
  • 7 oz dark chocolate (I used 85% .. go hard or go home) 
  • 2 Tb butter 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract 
  1. Break up chocolate into a bowl and heat for about 1 minute. 
  2. Chop butter into small pieces and add to chocolate. 
  3. Heat cream till about steaming (1 minute in microwave, or over the stove) and pour over the chocolate butter mix. Stir everything together until homogeneous. There should be no lumps. If necessary, heat the entire mixture briefly in microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in-between, to ensure homogeneity. 
  4. Smooth out in a shallow pan, and refrigerate at least an hour. 
  5. Scoop out balls and roll roughly. 
  6. Coat in cocoa, crush nuts, or whatever you desire. Chill until use. 
Chocolate Cake
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour  
  • 2/3 cup cocoa 
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking soda 
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder 
  • 1/2 tspn salt 
  • 1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temp 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tspn instant coffee granules 
  • 3 large eggs, room temp 
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or some yogurt diluted with water to make that amount) 
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract 
  1. Combine first five ingredients, from flour to salt. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar briefly, until everything's mixed. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time. 
  4. Mix in the coffee granules. 
  5. Add in half the buttermilk and vanilla. 
  6. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Mix till there are streaks. 
  7. Add remaining buttermilk, and mix until thoroughly combined. 
  8. Divide batter between two well greased and floured round 9" cake pans. Bake 15 - 25 minutes, depending on your oven. Toothpick in the center should come out with moist crumbs. 
  9. Remove and let cool about 10 minutes before inverting to cool completely. 
Chocolate Nutella Frosting 
  • 10 oz whole milk ricotta (low-fat is more grainy & may mess with the light mouthfeel the frosting should have) 
  • 1 stick (1/ cup) unsalted butter, room temp 
  • 1/4 cup Nutella 
  • 1/4 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate, slightly cooled 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract 
  1. Beat ricotta and butter very well. 
  2. Add Nutella, chocolate, and vanilla.
  3. Add cocoa and sugar. 
  4. Beating more will only incorporate more air and make the frosting fluffier. Beat until you arrive at your desired consistency. Add more sugar to taste. 
*If desired: toast 1 cup chopped hazelnuts on a pan, or roast in oven, till golden brown and fragrant. Let cool. 

Place one cake layer on plate. 
Place cheesecake layer on top. 
Place second cake layer on top of cheesecake. 
Frost the entire thing. 
Make sure the cake looks even. 
Press roasted hazelnuts into the entire side of the cake with hand.
Place truffles along perimeter atop the cake. 
Candles. Plates. Forks. Knife. 
Sing to Birthday Girl / Guy. Enjoy.

Also, ignore the complete chaotic mess and mass of cleaning that follows afterwards. No need to tell anyone about that, as miserable as it is.

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