Since there were leftover cream from my recent truffles making, I thought I would put it to good use. Afterall, heavy cream does not store very well and has to be consumed quickly once the pack is opened. All that is left is the hazelnut chocolate spread. Naturally, Nutella was the wise pick here. When it comes to cream frosting, I do not like plain whipped cream. At the very least, I would prefer cream chantilly - vanilla flavoured whipped cream with icing sugar added. In this case, Nutella would lend a rich chocolatey taste to the otherwise plain dairy whipped cream.
I took out my Wilton cake leveller and my plastic turntable, both obtained from Phoon Huat. These are the baking toys that will come into good use for any layered cakes.
Instead of using the sponge cake recipe as stated, I used a chocolate sponge recipe from another book, similar to the sponge used in my strawberry yoghurt mousse cake, since I did not have any chocolate sponge mix on hand.
Cutting the sponge cake is quite straightforward when using the cake leveller. Simple hold the handle, adjust the height of the cutting wire and cut through the cake in a smooth sawing motion.
Notice the grooves on the sides of the cake leveller. The height of the cutting wire can be adjusted by moving the ring attaching the wire up and down and resting on the grooves. The cutting wire may look thin but it is actually taut and strong.
Using the cake leveller to cut sponge layers will result in uniformly sliced layers with smooth flat tops.
Due to the warm humid weather (as always), I had to firm up the cake (with the cream frosting) in the refrigerator so that it will be easier to smoothen the hazelnut cream icing. If the cream is too soft, It will slide down the sides easily.With the help of the plastic turntable, it was so much easier to smoothen the hazelnut chocolate cream. I recall watching a pastry chef working with a turntable at Jurong Point. Back then, I stood aside and watched carefully how the cream frosting was spreaded around the cake, learning some nifty tips and techniques which I applied to my own cream cake.
Overall, I feel that I could have done better with the layering and coating with cream. I should have sliced off the slightly domed top of the sponge and ensured the layers are of equal height. The cream layer is abit too thin to be noticeable towards the edges. Perhaps I will increase the amount of cream next time. I also forgot to do the crumb coat first, resulting in some stray crumbs making their way to the frosting. Nevertheless, it served as a good practice for preparing a layered cake. Since I regarded this as a practice, I did not decorate the top and sides. I will probable use chocolate love letters (wafer sticks) to surround the sides and top the cake with some unskinned hazelnuts next time as suggested.
Tastewise, I like the richness of the hazelnut chocolate cream. It reminds me of melted chocolate ice cream! The sponge is soft and moist but much more springy compared to the one used in the strawberry yoghurt mousse cake even though the recipes are very similar. Maybe this is due to the addition of cocoa powder.