The best thing about loving to bake, cook and generally be in the kitchen? Getting to handpick and carefully concoct your very own birthday cake. I knew that chocolate would be involved. I also had some Philadelphia that needed using, but didn’t feel like a cheesecake. Cream cheese frosting it was. I also had some leftover chocolate ganache from macarons I’d made about a week earlier. Double frosting, I had no choice. I scoured my Evernote and finally decided on Bake or Break’s chocolate hazelnut cake, with a few adaptations.
I knew the cake needed to be boozier. That’s what birthdays are for, right? I substituted Frangelico with good, deep, dark, strong Guadeloupean rum, and added a bit to the ganache as well. I may even have put a touch in the cream cheese frosting, but don’t tell anyone. I also used a bit less nutella in the cake and a bit more chocolate. Nutella is a bit too sweet for my tastes (although I love it occasionally) and I wanted the cake to be more neutral since it was going to be topped with lots of sweet, sugary frosting and ganache.
The result was pretty spectacular. A moist and compact chocolately cake with just a hint of hazelnut and rum, airy cream cheese frosting, rich boozy ganache and toasted hazelnuts. It was neither too sweet nor too chocolately, it was just right. And a perfect breakfast for the day I turned 29, gobbled up right before heading to the beach in Northern France, on the hottest day of the year.
Nutella, rum and hazelnut cake with boozy ganache and cream cheese frosting
Adapted slightly from Bake or Break
6 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1/2 C softened butter
10 ounces of nutella
2 T dark rum
1/2 C ground hazelnuts
8 ounces of dark baking chocolate, melted
4 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 C heavy cream
2 t corn syrup
1 T butter
1 T dark rum
Cream cheese frosting:
2 packages of cream cheese
1/4 C softened butter
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 C sugar, to taste
Start by making your cake. Preheat your oven to 350° and butter a round springform pan. I recommend putting a parchment paper circle in the bottom so the cake will be easier to remove later. In a large bowl, cream the butter and nutella together until smooth. Add the egg yolks, rum and hazelnuts and stir to combine. Fold in the melted chocolate, followed by the egg whites that have been beaten with the pinch of salt. They should be firm, but not dry. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remove edges of the pan and let cake cool completely.
Place the heavy cream in a small sauce pan and mix with the rum and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat as soon as it begins to bubble. Immediately add in your chocolate pieces and stir until all is melted. Add the butter and stir again until just combined. Let cool while you make the frosting.
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a mixer on medium-high speed until well combined. Add rum and a bit of vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the sugar, tasting often, until frosting is sweet enough and the consistency is to your liking. Mine was very light and still held up well on the cake after refrigeration. I don’t like a super sweet frosting, which is why if you want it to be thicker, add more sugar and cut the sweetness with a tiny bit of lemon juice.
Once the cake has cooled, frost completely with the cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until the frosting has set slightly. Pour the ganache in the center of your cake and spread towards the exterior, going just to the edge and letting the ganache dribble over the edge in some spots. Top with toasted hazelnuts and refrigerate until ready to eat!