Nutella Birthday Cake

by Natasha on March 15, 2014

Nutella Birthday Cake

Last week, I had the pleasure of celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday with her. My brother and I decided to throw her a little party, so obviously, there was cake. My mom is a true chocoholic, so for her, it’s not really dessert unless chocolate is involved. Originally, she had requested these Nutella Bomb Cupcakes, but a birthday just isn’t a birthday without a layer cake, so I ended up reworking the cupcakes into cake form.

Nutella Birthday Cake

My mom lives in Indiana. She also happens to be Indian. It’s very confusing. Like when I tell people I’m from Indiana, and they say, “Oh, you’re from India?” And then I say, “No, but my mom is.” And then they say to my mom, “Oh, you’re from India?” And she says, “Yes, but I live in Indiana.” It kind of makes me wish I were from Ohio just to make things easier, which is kind of a sad wish. Anyway, here are some things I learned on my last trip about Indiana and Indians.

1. Indiana has even weirder weather than Texas.
2. I still don’t like snow.
3. I still don’t like chai. <--This makes me a bad Indian.
4. Chai means tea. Please don't say chai tea. <--This would make you a bad Indian.
5. Indian ladies can drink Aaron under the table.
6. I can eat way more cake than Indian ladies.

Numbers 5 and 6 meant that our cake was accompanied by lots of margaritas, Aaron had a hangover the next day, and we had lots of leftover cake. Apparently a cake meant for 15 can also serve 37 Indian women.

Since I was going to be making this cake away from home in an unfamiliar oven and without my oven thermometer, I knew I was going to need a foolproof recipe. After burning two batches of chocolate chip cookies, I realized that the only setting on my mom's oven was scorch, so I went with the same chocolate cake recipe that I used in my Dark Chocolate Speculoos Truffle Cake. It’s a one bowl sour cream chocolate cake that is super moist and really hard to mess up.

Nutella Birthday CakeNutella Birthday CakeNutella Birthday Cake

Being away from home in a somewhat small town also meant limited access to different varieties of cocoa powder. If you read my Dark Chocolate Malt Cake post, you know that I’ve recently started trying new kinds of cocoa powders to see what I like best, and have fallen in love with Valrhona. I’m able to get it at a reasonable price in the bulk section of my local grocery store. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve become too much of a snob for Hershey’s, but the only other Dutch process cocoa powder I could find near my parents’ house was Droste. I was reluctant to shell out 10 dollars for about 9 ounces of it, but my Instagram friends assured me it was good stuff, and they were right. I would put it a notch below Valrhona, but I liked it more than Guittard and Ghirardelli. Next on my list to try are Cacao Barry and Pernigotti, but any other suggestions are welcome.

Nutella Birthday Cake

For the cake recipe, click here.

Nutella Birthday Cake

Ingredients

    For the Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
  • 8 large egg whites (8 ounces, 226 grams)
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups (608 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 cup (260 grams) Nutella

Instructions

    For the Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
  2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should the water be at a rolling boil. It's the steam that's going to heat the egg whites, since we don't want scrambled eggs.
  3. Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 145-150 degrees fahrenheit, whisking frequently so as not to get scrambled eggs.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will usually take several minutes).
  6. Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated.
  7. If the mixture looks curdled at this point, this is normal. Just keep whipping for a few more minutes until it comes together. If the mixture looks soupy, you can add a few cubes of chilled butter, or stick the whole bowl in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and then continue beating.
  8. Once the buttercream has become smooth, and the Nutella and beat until incorporated.
  9. To Assemble the Cake:
  10. Place one layer of the cake on an 8-inch cake board.
  11. Place a large dollop of frosting on top, and use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the first layer.
  12. Place the second layer on top of the first and do the same with the frosting.
  13. Place the third layer on top, and put a large dollop of frosting on the top of the cake.
  14. Using an offset spatula, work your way around the sides until the entire cake is covered with a thin layer of frosting. I find that a turntable is helpful during this process. Let the crumb coat set in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  15. Once the crumb coat has set, spread a thicker layer of frosting on the top and sides of the crumb coat to create a smooth finish. Top with chocolate curls and raspberries if you wish.
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Cake recipe adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Note:
The frosting recipe for this cake is a larger batch of the Nutella Swiss buttercream from my Nutella Bomb Cupcakes. It makes enough to fill, crumb coat, and frost this 8-inch 3 layer cake. If you want additional frosting for piping, I would recommend using 10 egg whites, 10 oz. of sugar, 8 sticks (2 lbs. of butter, and 1 1/4 cups of Nutella).

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com March 16, 2014 at 1:30 am

Happy birthday cake #2! You had me cracking up at the Indiana/India thing–I can see how confusing that would be. It’s almost a “who’s on first?” situation. I am obviously not Indian, because I could DEFINITELY put away a bunch of this cake, no problem!
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2 Natasha March 18, 2014 at 11:48 am

Thanks, Elizabeth! I was kind of happy about the leftovers, since I ended up putting away a LOT of this cake.

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3 Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor March 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Gorgeous cake! And love the chocolate nutella combination. Pinned to my cakes board!

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4 Natasha March 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

Thanks for pinning, Ashley!

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5 Kaitlyn @ birchtreebaking March 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

This looks absolutely decadent! Isn’t nutella just the best ingredient to any baked treats? I’m making my mom a flourless chocolate cake for her birthday this year because she’s allergic to gluten. She loves it, but I still think flour does make a cake better!

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6 Natasha March 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

Thanks, Kaitlyn! Agreed, Nutella is amazing in everything. A flourless chocolate cake sounds yummy!

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7 Ashley March 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

This cake is gorgeous! Especially with those pretty raspberries on top! I really need to use nutella more often … I always seem to forget about it lately.

I have the same problem when I’m at my parent’s house – I can’t deal with their oven (it burns things sometimes, other times it under-cooks them haha terrible!)
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8 Natasha March 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

Thanks, Ashley! It is definitely a challenge to bake in other people’s ovens. I think I’m going to start traveling with my oven thermometer.

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9 Chris @ Shared Appetite March 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Wow, you have some serious cake making skills! This cake is stunning! And such beautiful photos!
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10 Natasha March 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Thank you, Chris!

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11 Erika March 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

Lol Natasha I think this was your funniest post yet! I loved the whole India/Indiana thing…I can totally see that going down in real life. Too bad I wasn’t there to help out with the cake…it probably could have served 37 Indian ladies + you + me perfectly. But then again, you wouldn’t have leftovers! And cake leftovers are THE BEST. Weirdly, I kind of like eating the messy piles of leftover cake better than perfect slices. Anywayyyy. Keep us all updated on your cocoa preferences! I am still using low-class Hershey cocoa powder but I’ve been dying to try Valrhona. What’s the store where you get yours? Have you ever seen it in the bulk section of Whole Foods? I’ll have to check next time…
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12 Natasha March 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Thanks, Erika! Apparently I forgot my audience when making this cake. My parents’ friends don’t eat cake with the same enthusiasm as my friends and I do, but leftovers are never a bad thing. I’ve actually been disappointed in Whole Foods’ selection of baking ingredients (other than vegan stuff). Do you have a Central Market in Houston? I get my Valrhona in bulk there for a reasonable price, and it often comes on sale. They also have Callebaut chocolate chips in bulk, and bars of Scharffen Berger chocolate that will change your life!

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13 Erika March 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DO HAVE A CENTRAL MARKET IN HOUSTON AND I AM NOW GOING THERE AFTER WORK.

Natasha, you may have ruined me for life.
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14 Winnie March 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm

It’s a fabulous cake!!
Mouth-watering photos :)
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15 Natasha March 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Thanks, Winnie!

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16 PRASHANTH RAJ March 29, 2014 at 1:58 am

the cake is super fantastic. My is now full of wet waters and can’t wait to eat that immediately :P

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17 Alyssa {Cake, Crust, and Sugar Dust} April 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

You had me at Nutella! Looks phenomenal! I need to start trying some different cocoa powders, but I don’t have a variety available to me at local grocery stores. Any suggestions on where I could get the good stuff?
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18 Natasha April 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Thanks, Alyssa! I get mine at a local store in Dallas called Central Market, but a lot are available online through Amazon. Valrhona is amazing, but I have heard good things about Cacao Barry and Pernigotti from readers.

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19 Monica April 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I know I like your mom a lot already! She has great taste in dessert. This chocolate cake is gorgeous, and sounds delicious. What a great birthday cake for your mom!
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20 Natasha May 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Thanks, Monica!

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