I am totally tickled to bring you this post from my sweet and sassy (and super talented) friend Jaclyn! I met Jaclyn in Nashville last year at Food Blog Forum and LURVED her from the get go! Her blog, Food + Words is incredibly gorgeous, her photography is unlike any other, it’s calming and quietly elegant to me. Her writing is so natural that it makes me feel like I’m right there with her in her kitchen and her recipes (do you see that skillet cake above – swoon) make me want to immediately jump into my kitchen & make whatever she’s posted. In short, she’s awesome & I know you’ll love Jaclyn as much as I do xoxo -Paula
I am thrilled to be guest posting on Bella Nutella! As I’m sure you’re aware, Nutella is dangerously addictive stuff. I can’t let myself buy it too often, because if there’s a jar in the house, I’ll usually eat the whole thing before I get a chance to make anything with it! I’m pretty stealthy, like a cat burglar. I silently slink into the kitchen, spoon at the ready. I don’t even need to look in the cabinet to find the jar–it’s purely muscle memory.
When Paula asked me to guest post on Bella Nutella, I knew I had to leave at least a few spoonfuls of Nutella to make a proper dessert for the site! I’m finishing up my studies at culinary school, where I’m specializing in baking and pastry. I play with sugar and butter and chocolate all day long, and every day I come home from school and bake even more. What can I say, baking is just in my blood!
At school, we make all sorts of fancy french pastries and gateaus that are certainly beautiful, but require a lot of patience and energy. While overly complicated plated desserts have their time and place, they certainly aren’t what I’m making for my husband and friends when I’m home. My favorite things to bake are often quite simple: quick breads, cheesecakes, cookies, and my personal favorite category of desserts: Anytime Cake.
An Anytime Cake is, as you might imagine, a cake you can bake and eat anytime, day or night. It’s simple, unpretentious and comes together in a matter of minutes. Anytime Cakes are perfect to whip up when you find out your husband is on his way home for dinner–with his boss in tow, or when the itch to bake must be scratched on a Sunday morning.
My Nutella Hazelnut Skillet Cake is the epitome of the perfect Anytime Cake: wonderfully simple to prepare, rustic and beautiful when baked, and off-the-charts in terms of flavor. The cake is baked in a cast iron skillet, which makes the edges crisp and lovely. The crumb is tender and moist, and the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts on top provide a wonderful contrast of texture, as well as highlight the Nutella flavor throughout the cake. You could serve this cake with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, or even ice cream.
…Or, you could be like me and enjoy a thick wedge for breakfast with a cup of coffee. It’s the breakfast of champions!
Nutella Hazelnut Skillet Cake Serves 8 to 10
Butter and flour, for the skillet
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (substitute instant coffee granules)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ounces Nutella
4-5 ounces chopped hazelnuts, skins removed
1. Butter and flour a 10” cast iron skillet, and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, cream, vanilla and instant espresso powder, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted on, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until the mixture is pale and voluminous, about 2 minutes. Add the Nutella and beat until combined, about 30 seconds-1 minute. Turn the mixer on low and add the dry and wet ingredients to the mixer bowl in three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
5. When the last of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, scrape the batter into the prepared skillet using a spatula, smoothing the surface of the batter. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts atop the batter.
6. Bake the cake at 350 degrees F for 40-55 minutes, or until the edges of the cake are cooked and the center is set. The cake will look and feel undercooked in the center, but since the cake will be staying in the pan until completely cool, the heat of the skillet will finish cooking the cake completely once out of the oven. Remove the skillet from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
7. When ready to serve, simply cut the cake in the skillet into thick slices and serve at room temperature. Top with freshly whipped cream, if desired, and serve with cold milk!
8. Cover the cake in the skillet with plastic wrap and store at room temperature, where it will keep for up to four days.
Notes: This cake freezes beautifully as well! Simply wrap the cooled cake well in plastic wrap, then placed in a zip-top plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and store in the freezer, where it will be good for up to six months. When ready to serve, transfer the cake from the freezer to the fridge but don’t unwrap it, and allow to thaw overnight.