I have two friends that I bake for regularly that are frequently mentioned in this blog, not by name of course! They, like me, love food and frequently talk about it. I think that this recipe may have been a favourite for one of them – and that is saying A LOT. Every time I have seen them lately, he mentions this dessert and has a new comment about it. He has asked if he can pay me to make it for him so he can take it to potluck dinners – and of course claim that he made it! And really I didn’t even make it as well as I could have – I would have used Frangelico if there weren’t kids eating it!
Anyways, it is based on a chocolate trifle like dessert known as Death by Chocolate (I often just call it “Chocolate Mess” as it ends up looking like that once served) but it is a Chocolate-Hazelnut Trifle rather than just straight up chocolate. Basically I had a layer of my favourite chocolate cake in the freezer and wanted to use it without making anything that would take a ton of time. Also, I had Ferraro Rocher’s that someone had given me but I was afraid to open them as I have a fear that I will eat them all! So put that together with some Nutella and you have “Death by Ferraro Rocher”! Here are the layers:
Chocolate Hazelnut Trifle
Chocolate Cake or Brownies, cut up in 1inch cubes
Use your favourite recipe or just buy a cake mix if you are being lazy! Although you do want a good cake, it isn’t as important to make sure it is moist since everything else in the dessert ensures lots of moisture!
1/2 cup Frangelico, Kahlua, Chocolate Hazelnut Tea (for the kid friendly version!), or any liquid that has a little sweetness/flavour to add
3/4 cup Nutella
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
4-8 Tb milk/cream
Beat all together until smooth. Add enough milk to ensure a pudding like consistency.
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and beat a little more but not too much!
6 Ferraro Rocher’s, chopped roughly
- Arrange half of the chocolate cake pieces in the bottom of your bowl (I like using my trifle bowl but any deep bowl will do – it is nice to use a clear one so you can see the pretty layers!).
- Drizzle 4 Tb of Frangelico/whatever you are using over the top of the cake pieces.
- Spread half of the Nutella mousse over the cake evenly. I tend to put it in ‘glops’ and then spread it out evenly.
- Spread half of the whipped cream over the mousse.
- Sprinkle half of the chopped Ferraro Rocher’s over the whipped cream.
- Repeat all layers.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate overnight too.
I was paid for my first cake recently! It was very exciting really. A friend from my gym was going to buy her daughter’s cake from the grocery store or something but realized instead she could buy it from me! I think she was almost as excited about the idea as I was! Her only real request was to decorate with strawberries – although not necessarily real. But it didn’t have to be strawberry flavoured. Well to me, it did have to have some strawberry flavour because I couldn’t just put strawberries on the outside and then make a chocolate cake or something! Anyways, I decided on trying one of the vanilla cakes from Sweetapolita that she keeps raving on about, pair it with a strawberry curd filling and cover it with fluffy vanilla buttercream.
Unfortunately I couldn’t actually take a picture of the inside of the cake so I made a mini one for me! (I needed to taste test it too!) I ran out of vanilla icing so I iced it with chocolate fudge icing that I had left from something else. It is one layer short of the real one but the picture still shows the inside. It was pretty tasty although next time I would make thicker cake layers rather than such thin ones as I did this time. I think this is an excellent vanilla cake but I don’t know if it is THE best as has been posted on Sweetapolita… I think I need to try a few others!
Fluffy Vanilla Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita) with Strawberry Curd and Whipped Vanilla Frosting
makes one 2-layer, 8 inch round cake
- 6 large egg whites, room temp
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean scraped (or increase vanilla to 2 1/4tsp)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tb + 1tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter, room temp & cut into cubes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & line with parchment paper two 8″ cake pans
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, and the vanilla.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or regular & use a hand mixer), combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of milk and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 90 seconds.
- Scrape down the bowl if needed. Add the egg mixture in 3 batches and beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Curd (this works perfect for Raspberry Curd as well)
- ~15oz fresh strawberries, stems removed (or ~12oz raspberries)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 TB lime juice
- 5 tsp cornstarch
- In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice and cornstarch until mostly smooth.
- In a food processor or magic bullet, puree the berries with the sugar. Add the cornstarch/lime juice and puree again.
- Strain into a medium saucepan through a mesh seive.
- Cook over medium until it comes to a boil. Stir constantly and cook for another minute until somewhat thickened.
- Strain again into a heatproof contained and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill slightly to make sure it is thick before using in the cake.
Whipped Vanilla Frosting
- 1 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 6 cups icing sugar
- 2tsp clear vanilla
- 3-5 Tb cream/milk
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become pale and creamy.
- Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time while the mixer is on low. Add vanilla and cream until desired consistency is reached.
- Beat on medium for 6 minutes.
- I actually made this a 6 layer cake and made 3 9″ layers (I did an extra ‘half’ recipe on top of what is written. I think if I did it again, I would actually double the recipe for 3 thicker 9″ layers) and sliced each of the layers in half. I also used 2 cups of butter & 8 cups of sugar for this size of cake.
- I layered it as such: cake, vanilla frosting, cake, strawberry curd, cake, vanilla frosting, cake, strawberry curd, cake, vanilla frosting, cake. Cover the entire cake with frosting.
- When it comes to the layers with the curd, pipe a good “dam” around the outside of the cake prior to adding the curd. This will ensure that the curd doesn’t leak out.