I’ve been 27 for a week now and am still basking in the birthday glow. There was something different about this years festivities. I barely slept the night before (no surprise there), tossing and turning throughout the night. Excited, overwhelmed, but mostly happy about the possibilities of what 27 could bring.
I woke up to text messages, voicemails, Facebook wall posts and Instagram collages. I felt so loved and it was only 9 a.m. I heard from friends back in New York, friends from high school, college and around town. People I haven’t talked to in months personally reached out to wish me a happy birthday. I felt so special and want to give each and every one of you a holler for making my day so fantastic. Truly, thank you.
As part of a present and because I have the worlds best parents, my Mom offered to make my birthday cake. I told her I’d find the recipe and we would bake it together. My mind was set on salted caramel and when I found a recipe that included nutella as well, I was sold.
What’s so awesome about this recipe is how interchangeable it can be – the cake was rich, moist and full of that chocolate flavor we all know and love. Next time I’d make the cake with a whipped vanilla bean frosting. Mmmm. Drooling as I type this. Yes. That will have to happen sometime soon. The frosting, with hints of nutella would be delicious on cupcakes. However, when both were combined with salted caramel smothered on each layer…well, the magic happened.
The recipe called for Ferrero Rocher candies, but since I couldn’t find them at the store, I picked up salted caramels instead. Turns out, it was one of the better choices I’ve made so far in my 27th year.
I served the cake to some of my best friends. Candles were lit, songs were sung and plates were cleaned (phew!). If you’re looking for a sweet birthday treat with somethin’ a little extra, I can’t imagine finding a better cake. And if you liked salted caramel / nutella / chocolate, this is definitely the cake for you.
Chocolate Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Chocolate Birthday Cake (Recipe from Sunny Side Up!)
- Butter, for greasing the pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans with butter, flour, and parchment paper. (Grease pans with butter. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. Butter the parchment paper then add about a tablespoon of flour to each pan, shake and tap until it’s evenly distributed)
In a glass measuring cup stir together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment). With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients, mix until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, add the hot coffee. Mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one more time.
Nutella Frosting Recipe
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups premium bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 2/3 cup Nutella
- 2 tablespoon milk
- pinch of salt
*The original recipe says that if you decide not to torte your cake (cut the layers in half) you can use half of this recipe. However, we made the whole batch and had enough leftovers for an entire cake. I’d suggest halving the recipe and if you need more, it’s easy enough to whip up some more!
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sifted confectioners sugar for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, and beat on low for another 30 seconds. Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add the nutella, milk, and a pinch of salt, and beat on medium-high speed for another minute.
Evenly distribute the batter between the two cakes pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then flip out onto the wire racks.
Assembling the cake
Salted Caramel Sauce (*Note, the original recipe calls for a homemade caramel sauce. We tried twice, failed and resorted to the phenomenal Fran’s Caramel)
Nutella Cloud Frosting
6-8 Ferrero Rocher candies, cut in half (*Note, we used salted caramels instead)
Extra sea salt for sprinkling, optional
Cardboard cake round
Start by cutting the two cake layers in half. Place one half of one cake on the cardboard cake round. Drizzle about 1/3 of a cup of caramel sauce over the entire surface, use a spatula to evenly distribute. Top with a good heaping spoonful of frosting and spread to the edges. Repeat with the next 2 layers.
Place the 4th and final cake layer. Frost the top and sides and with the remainder of the frosting. Drizzle caramel sauce about the edge, all around the top of the cake (I started about 2 inches from the edge and poured the caramel while turning the turn table, working my way to the edge). The sauce should start to work it’s way over the edge and drip down the sides, but if it doesn’t you can use the back of a spoon or a spatula to give it a nudge. Finally, sprinkle the caramel with a little bit of sea salt and garnish with Ferrero Rocher halves.
Best. Bytes. Birthday. Ever!