OK so I have a thing for brown sugar, in particular dark brown sugar. I just think it makes everything taste better (well not everything, but you know..). And in chocolate cakes (well chocolate anything), I love it. It just gives a beautiful depth of flavour that you don’t get with white sugar. See the darker brown bits on the outside of the cake? That’s where the brown sugar has caramelised like it does with brownies – yum!
And listen – how good is Nutella? I mean, I literally can’t buy a jar without eating at least a third of it (OK,
half most of it) straight off the spoon. It’s deadly, but so ridiculously delicious. I kinda wish they didn’t make it, but if they stopped I’d have some kind of break down for sure. And adding Nutella to baked goods – why wouldn’t you? All you have to do is just whack a few spoonfuls into some buttercream or cupcakes and you’re set.
I made this cake for my twin great nephews’ birthday. They’re teenagers, so I wanted to make something that wasn’t kidsey, but was also a bit masculine. I mean there are heaps of ideas floating around for feminine looking cakes, but try to make one for a young man… Unless you want to make it into Darth Vader or a Ninja Turtle then forget it! And I have a saying – “I don’t make cakes that are shaped like stuff”. In other words, I don’t make cakes that look like princesses, or footballs, or cartoon characters, or even numbers. End of story. That’s just the way it is. I don’t negotiate.
So I pulled together some ideas, found out what flavours the boys did or didn’t like (one pf them doesn’t like caramel – I don’t think we can be friends anymore coz that’s just plain weird..) and came up with this cake. This is an amazingly rich chocolate cake that’s so moist and yet still light. Layered with some Nutella buttercream then a few sprinkles to decorate the top of the cake, I have to tell you – it was goooood!
Layer tins. You need them. If you’re into making layer cakes – even if it’s just 2 layers, use layer tins. You will never go back to making one cake and cutting it in half, or thirds or whatever. I use Bakers Secret non stick, 20cm (8 inch) pans that are about 3cm (just over an inch) deep when making layer cakes. The Wilton cake pans are just as good and the same size. The first time I saw these I thought – “Of course!”. I mean, its so much easier to bake 3 or 4 shallow cakes than cutting a deeper cake into layers. Also, how hard is it to cook a larger cake evenly throughout? And cutting them into even layers, forget it, I don’t need the stress…
If you don’t have one already, you’ll need a Wilton 1M Open Star Piping Tip
Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream
– 1 cup cocoa
– 1 cup boiling water
– 2 cups brown sugar
– 230g / 8.5 ounces softened butter
– 4 eggs
– 2 & 1/2 cups Plain/All Purpose Flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 2/3 cup milk
– 1/3 cup cream (thick or thin cream is fine)
– 1/2 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 170°C or 340°F. Grease and line 3 layer tins.
In a bowl or jug, combine the cocoa and boiling water and whisk really well until there are no lumps left.
Beat the brown sugar with the softened butter until light in colour and nice and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating a little between each egg.
Beat the flour and baking powder in gently, then add the cocoa mixture, milk and cream and mix gently until combined. Don’t worry if it looks curdled to when you first add the milk and cream, it all comes together after some gentle beating.
Pour thirds of the mixture into each of the 3 layer tins. You want the tins to be about 2/3 full so that they have room to rise.
Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans.
Make Buttercream Frosting as per the instructions. Beat in the Nutella and add more icing sugar / powdered sugar (up to 1/4 cup) if needed, as the Nutella will make the buttercream a tiny bit thinner. Fill in between the layers of the cake with the buttercream and smooth some across the top of the cake.
Pipe swirls of Nutella Buttercream around the top of the cake using a Wilton 1M Open Star piping tip. Finish with some chocolate sprinkles on the top of the cake.