Friday, April 21, 2017

Vanilla and homemade-nutella pound cake

I have talked to you before about my homemade hazelnut-chocolate spread and it seems like I’m going to be talking more about it in the future because every time I prepare a batch, I make something different with it. I use it in various cakes, brownies, beverages (like this hot chocolate) and ice creams.

This time, I used it in a pound cake, a vanilla pound cake that needed something to lift it up and make it more interesting, and the resulting cake was like the best marbled cake there is, with the homemade spread making all the difference.

It’s very easy to make, you don’t even need to bring out the big guns, aka stand mixer, as you’ll only need an electric hand-held mixer to make the batter.

It’s a delicious cake that’s moist and dense but not heavy, and it’s soft and ultra buttery with an intense vanilla flavor and an even more intense hazelnut and chocolate flavor from the homemade spread. And that part of the cake is my favorite; where it’s softer and creamier but also grainy from the hazelnuts and almonds.

Getting both the vanilla and the homemade nutella part in one bite, however, is pure heaven. The combination is scrumptious and I had a really hard time having just one slice. If you too have a sweet tooth like I do, be warned, this cake is seriously addictive.

Vanilla and homemade-nutella pound cake

You’ll need about a third of my homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread so you’ll get the chance to eat the rest by the spoonful.

The homemade nutella makes the difference in this cake but if you don’t want to make it yourself, you can certainly use the regular nutella. It won’t be exactly the same because the homemade version of the spread has more balance of flavors, is not too sweet and has the full flavor of chocolate and nuts, but it will still be delicious.

Yield: 1 cake / 10 slices

185 g all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
5 medium-sized eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
250 g caster sugar
320 g homemade nutella (or regular nutella)

Special equipment: 21 x 11 cm loaf pan, baking paper, electric hand-held mixer, fine sieve

Leave your homemade nutella out of the fridge for 1 hour before using it in the cake in order to soften.

Preheat your oven to 160°C.
Grease the bottom and sides of your pan and line with baking paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, sieve the flour, the baking powder and the salt.
In a jug or another medium-sized bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and lightly whisk using a wire whisk until frothy.
In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar, and beat with an electric hand-held mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy. With the mixer running at medium-low speed, gradually add the beaten eggs and beat on high until fully incorporated and you have a mixture that is creamy, light and airy. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the last 1/3 of the flour and beat until just incorporated. Beat for 30 seconds more and then stop.

Spread 1/3 of the vanilla cake batter in the bottom of your prepared loaf pan, then add half of the homemade nutella on top and spread it or dollop it (I did the latter to get bigger pieces of it in the cake). Repeat with another 1/3 of the vanilla cake batter, spreading over the nutella. Add the rest of the homemade nutella and spread it (or dollop it) and finish by adding the rest of the vanilla cake batter on top. Smooth the top of the cake and place it on the low rack of the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then transfer to the middle rack and bake for a further 15 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Note: Because the homemade nutella is made with actual nuts, it has heft and sinks a bit to the bottom of the cake. If you use store bought nutella it will probably stay put. You can even swirl it around to marble it with the vanilla batter, something which is a bit difficult with the homemade nutella because it is thicker.

Remove the pan from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut into slices and enjoy!

It will keep for up to 4-5 days, covered, at room temperature but I doubt it will stay around for that long.


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