Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nutella Cream Layer Cake

After reading Jess's post on her red pitaya yoghurt mousse cake from My Birthday Cake by Kevin Chai, I decided that I will be using the same book soon to make a layered cake. Since I have bought the book, I would have to make an effort to use it. The recipe that came to mind was the hazelnut cream cake.

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.  

26 comments:

  1. The cake leveler very good indeed. I've got one but only use it once. I find it a bit difficult to use. But your cake is perfectly done! I must have use it wrongly :(

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  2. ZY, you tried the recipe from the book :). I ve weak spot for chocolate, if you make this for the gathering, I shd be able to eat a big slice even I am full hahaha... I agreed the chocolate cream layer is too thin, I will prefer to have thicker layer :P.

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  3. Your cakes look bakery-perfect. Hazelnut chocolate on chocolate sounds super delicious.

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  4. I need one of those cake levellers! Good stuff :)
    Your cake turned out so nice and even. And the icing is so well done - just like a pro. Looking at the pics is making me hungry...

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  5. So, this cake was what you were planning to make after the meet-up? I remember you told me and Aimei about it, or something similar. Or I got other things mixed up!?

    You're definitely one cake baker and layer cake fanatic. I can't beat you in that sense. LOL! I've never thought of getting those toys ... To me, that's a very professional thing to do. Are you interested in fondant decorating now? That day when I went over to drop off stuff at Edith's, I saw her fondant cake! Beautiful!

    I think we had a little miscommunication the other day. I myself actually prefer creme chantilly -- NOT plain unsweetened whipped cream. I thought you meant the latter one. That'd be too bland to my liking. The Hong Kong-style fruit cake (or what you call shortcake), I think, is frosted with creme chantilly. No way I'd eat it with plain whipped cream!

    Aiya, your Nutella cream layer cake looks good enough to me lar! You're being too harsh on yourself with your perfectionism. LOL! But then, have to agree that more cream would be even better.

    P.S. My previous postscript was meant for Jess. I typed too fast and so the mistake! Oops!

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  6. Yummy-licious! B nicely done! Its really hard to imagine its a guy who did all these wonderful bakes! *^_^*

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  7. very nice chocolate layered cake you have made! The sponge layer looks perfect! I have not used a cake slicer before, it looks like a neat tool :)
    I simply use a long bread knife to slice across the sponge layer...base on gut feel. I am also too lazy to do the crumb coat step. I have to thank my two boys for my haphazard way of making a layered cake, they will always remind me not to worry too much over the presentation, they 'assured' me that they don't eat with their eyes ;)

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  8. Hi Grace,

    Thanks! The cake leveller is really useful. At first I am also not very sure of how to use it. Got used to it through some practice and trial and error. The initial slice is always the most difficult due to the resistance from the cake. Mark the height you want to slice. Just use a serrated knife to make a slight slit first and the rest of the sawing and slicing using the leveller will be easier =]

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    Hi Jess,

    I was reminded about the book. Need to use it sooner or later. I have a weakness for chocolate too. It will be hard to transport the cake around since the cream would have softened. I myself also prefer a thicker layer of frosting too. If you have the chance, give at least the frosting a try. It would be perfect on cupcakes or other chocolate cakes too!

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    Hi DG,

    Thanks! The best part of the cake is the frosting. I love it totally.. yummy ~

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  9. Hi Eelin,

    Yeah its good stuff. Cost around $4.50 at Phoon Huat. Good investment for layer cakes. Thanks for the kind words~ My frosting isn't very pro yet. Still need more touchup here and there to look more pro.

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    Hey Pei-Lin,

    Ya this is the cake I mentioned.

    I am getting addicted to layered cakes and upsided down fruit cakes (pineapple, apple, mango etc). Thought of making fondant cakes too. Will venture into it when I have more confidence in my layered cakes.

    I was the one who mentioned that I dont like plain unsweetened whipping cream. Creme chantilly is ok but I feel that it is somewhat monotonous. There are recipes I came across asking plain whipped cream to be used. Nah, definitely not for me..

    Haha, its not perfectionism. Its striving to be 'Batter', lol. There is always room for improvement. If I think I am good enough, I will probably become complacent.

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    Hi HHB,

    Thanks! Its a very good tool to use indeed.

    My serrated knife is a bit short so not very suitable to use. Besides I have bad experience with cake layering without the leveller.

    I dun really mind if the presentation is not perfect if its for my own consumption. But most of the time I bake layered cakes as bday cakes for loved ones, hence there is extra motivation to do it better. If not I will feel bad about it.

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  10. Hi Cathy,

    Thanks for the encouragement =]

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  11. You can always invert the top most layer so the top part of the cake is flat, which then makes it easier to frost sans the dome.. Cake leveler is very very useful!! hehe I have one too..

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  12. Hi Bakertan, oh yes, it is a very stressful business to bake bday cakes for family members and friends...from selecting the type of cake to make, flavors, baking, frosting, and even packing the finished cake, all these details have to be considered!

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  13. Nice cake! It's been awhile since I last made a layered cake, especially my favorite chocolate layered cake! Hmmmm, I do have a serarated knife, but most of the time I could not border if I accidentally slice one thicker then the other, lol! Indeed u are one perfectionist yeh! Okay, I will be making my mum's birthday cake this Sunday, look out for it.... Let's hope it will turn out nice. :) Btw, save me a slice of that yummy chocolate cake okay?

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  14. Nutella cream on chocolate sponge sound like a great combination. The cake is neatly layered!

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  15. Hey ZY!i've got that leveller and cake turner too!! Well done! it looks pretty professional! I can't slice my sponge cake half as good as you even with the same leveller.

    Good job :)

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  16. Greetings from Malaysia!

    Stumbled upon your site and love it! I've just bought 2 baking books and in the process of reading it. I am going to venture into the land of baking soon and hope I can learn more from your site!

    http://www.imafulltimemummy.com/post/2010/08/13/Off-On-A-New-Adventure.aspx

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  17. Hi PigsPigsCorner,

    Thanks!

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    Hi Swee San,

    Thanks for the tip. I was browsing through your blog just last week and I heard about you from Pei-Lin and other fellow bloggers at the meetup. Considering we are around the same age, you have achieved a lot you are really talented! Really inspires me to hone my skills and be a 'batter' baker. Glad to have you dropping by.

    cheers and happy baking!

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    Hi HHB,

    Ya lor, totally agree. Even level of sweetness, texture of cake layers and amount of cream has to be taken into consideration, alamak haha.... I realise most ppl ard me prefer light textured sponge layer cakes like the ones sold in most neighbourhood bakeries rather than dense western style layered cakes like the ones in coffee bean.

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  18. Hi Bee Bee,

    Maybe I am only a perfectionist when it comes to baking, haha. You wanna come over my place to collect your slice of cake before its all gone, lol?

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    Hi Jessie,

    Its indeed a great combination. Thanks!

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    Hi Yan Ee,

    great minds think alike. I can probably give you some tips if we have the chance to meet up for baking sessions.

    cheers

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    Hi full-time mummy,

    Welcome to the world of baking! I am not very pro in baking but hope I can help you out wherever possible.

    cheers and good luck baking!

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  19. Your cake looks very lovely and professional... :)

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  20. Hi hanushi,

    thanks for dropping by and the kind words =]

    cheers

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  21. Oh my.. i can't help but to say WOW!

    U've got some very awesome skill there. Very nice smooth top which i can never achieve unfortunately :(

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  22. Cool! You cut it very nicely with the cake leveller! I have one, but I don't really know how to cut it so beautifully. Needs practice yah? Everything I see people's chocolate cakes, it just looks so nice and tempting. However, when I baked mine, I just don't feel like eating it. :( Yours look truly nice!

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  23. Hi, can check with you is the cake leveller useful? Does it make slicing the cake easier and neatly? Am contemplating of getting one?

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  24. Hi Cherie,

    Thanks! I am sure you can do it with some practice =]

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    Hi Jane,

    I think I am lucky to figure out how to use it smoothly. Got it right the first time I think. Out of all baked goods, I realised I have better luck with cakes most of the time. Your choc cakes look nice mah. Ought to be proud of them and the effort you spent in constructing them =]. I think I still need some more practice in spreading and smoothing the cream, haha.

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    Hi Yummy Koh,

    the cake leveller is really useful for me. Should work well once you get the hang of using it. Yes it does make the slicing alot easier and neater.

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  25. Oh I didn't know such things exist. No wonder those cakes I've seen in books are so nicely and evenly cut. Now the mysteries are over! Thanks Bakertan. You sure do invest in your hobby yah?

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