Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TWD: Brownie Cake with Nutella Glaze

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is for Mocha Brownie Cake.  Well, since I was a homebody yesterday and didn't want to run to the grocery store for one single ingredient, I adapted the recipe with what I had on hand.   Lacking heavy cream, I was unable to prepare the mocha ganache.  Armed with a full jar of Nutella, I went with that!    The result??  The picture says it all.

The chocolate cake is baked in a single pan, then torted into thin layers.   Marcel Desaulniers, this recipe's author, suggested baking in a 9 inch round pan and torting the cake into three thin layers.  I opted for an 8 inch round pan, and cut the cake into two layers.

The batter is a cinch to make.  Melting unsweetened and semisweet chocolate in a double boiler, and whipping the eggs senseless is as complicated as it gets.   The cake takes 45 to 50 minutes to bake, and I found it to be at least 10 minutes longer in the 8 inch pan.  I checked it at least 4 times for doneness with a toothpick and was still uncertain as I pulled it from the oven.  The top of the cake was dry and crusty, but beneath the cake seemed moist.  As it cooled in the pan, it sank a bit.

Before I flipped the cake out to cool, I ran a sharp knife around the pan.  Success!

Marcel's recipe calls for a mocha ganache to be spread between the cake layers and atop the cake.   Instead, I spread Nutella, a chocolate-hazelnut spread, between the layers.  Then I prepared a glaze by warming 3/4 cup Nutella with 3 tablespoons (or so) of milk and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar in a saucepan on the stove top.  I poured the glaze on the cake and allowed it to drizzle down the sides of the cake.   Oh yeah.

My family enjoyed this cake!  The outside is crispy, the inside, moist.  Not as fudgy as my usual brownie recipe, but still a delightful chocolate cake.

Mocha Brownie Cake
~Marcel Desaulniers~

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sour cream
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325.  Butter a 9 inch round cake pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess;  set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and reserve.
Heat an inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler.  Put the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates and the butter in the top of the double boiler, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully blended and smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat.
Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer, and whip on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the eggs are slightly thickened and doubled in volume.  Add the melted chocolate and mix at medium speed for 15 seconds.  Don't worry if the chocolate is not fully incorporated---it will blend in as you add the other ingredients.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and, working with a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold in the dry ingredients.  Give the sour cream a vigorous turn or two with a whisk to loosen it, and fold it into the batter.  The batter will be quite thick.
Pour the batter into the pan and, with a spatula, smooth, and level the batter.  Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes.  Turn the cake out onto a cardboard cake round (or the round from a tart pan with a removable bottom) and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup hot strong brewed coffee
Heat the heavy cream, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches the boil.  Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour in the boiling cream and the hot coffee.  Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.  The ganache must cool thoroughly.  You can leave it to cool at room temperature--which could take an hour or so--or you can refrigerate it.  The ganache thickens as it cools.  You want to use it when it just begins to thicken and can be poured rather than spread over the cake.
Assembling the cake:
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and invert it onto a clean, dry, work surface.  Working with a long, sharp knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers.  Place the top of the cake, cut side down, in a 9 inch springform pan;  check the side of the pan are closed.  Pour 1 cup of the ganache over the layer, spreading it evenly to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 15 minutes.  Top with the center layer, pressing it gently into place, and pour another cup of ganache, again taking care to get the filling to the edges;  refrigerate until set.  (If at any point the ganache has thickened and is no longer pourable, heat it over the lowest heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to its proper consistency.)  Place the last layer, cut side down,, in the pan, and press down firmly but carefully to position it.  Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before applying the icing.  Cover the remaining ganache with plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature.
Finishing the cake:
To finish, run a knife around the inside edges of the cake pan;  release the sides of the springform.  Pour over the remaining ganache and use a long icing spatula to smooth the ganache over the top and around the sides.  Allow the icing to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature. 

To get a clean cut, heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before each cut.  Place the slices on plates and, if cold, allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Once the ganache has set, the cake can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Visit our Tuesdays With Dorie website to view other bloggers' cakes!  Enjoy!


  1. The top picture is great! I love the idea of Nutella. I bet it tasted awesome.

    1. My family sure thought so! Gone in two days....

  2. Great substitute to use nutella, it should be very different in flavour and give a lovely hazelnut taste!!!
    Well done!!!

    1. I wish I"d had some chopped hazelnuts for the top! That would have made it perfect.

  3. Love the usage of Nutella....... Lovely flavors!!

  4. The pictures speak for themselves....love the swirl on top. What a great idea to use Nutella.

  5. yes--that looks great! makes perfect sense that nutella makes a good ganache!

  6. The top picture, with the nutella glaze flowing down the sides, makes me want a slice of your cake! :-)

  7. Your cake looks delicious. I was amazed that you achieved such a beautiful looking glaze with Nutella. I think two layers makes sense with this cake.

  8. I am pretty sure that a Nutella version would have went very quickly in our house :-)
    I love the way your ganache is oh so casually hanging over the edges...

  9. Love your picture of the cake with the "ganache" hanging over! Looks delicious!

  10. Lovely, Dawn. Love the swirl you achieved on top!

  11. Great substitution with the nutella; I would not have thought of that.

  12. I love the nutella idea, and that you managed to make this with stuff you already had at home.