I made this delicious cake for Geoff almost two years ago, for his twenty-ninth birthday. He is a sucker for all things Nutella/Ferrero Rocher, so it was pretty easy to please him. As you can see, I am entirely incapable of baking a cake that doesn’t fall, but it actually worked out well, because I was able to add a bunch of delicious ganache to the middle, then pile on a bunch of Ferrero Rocher. Hence the cake ended up looking presentable, despite its sad middle. I spread nutella between the cake layers, poured ganache over the top, plopped on some candy, and called it a day. All of our birthday guests exclaimed over the deliciousness of it all, so I think I did well!
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Easy Chocolate Ganache
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8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
8 oz. heavy cream
Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes and stir. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is fully melted and can be whisked and incorporated into the cream. Be sure and scrape the sides and bottom to make sure you don’t find any globby bits of chocolate when you start working with it.
The ganache will thicken as it cools, so if it’s a little too thin for you, hang tight and it will be ready pretty quickly. When it’s completely cool, it will be thick and fudgy and can be used like frosting. Store in an airtight container. You can reheat it to achieve your desired consistency.