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Friday, January 30, 2009

Cinnamon Nutella Cake Bites

Nutella holds a special place in my heart. I've made nutella cupcakes, ice cream, and muffins, all with great success. For an upcoming (after?) holiday party, I decided to take them in a new direction - cake bites! I was inspired to create them after seeing strawberry vanilla cake bites in my google reader. What could be better than nutella with cinnamon cake, enrobed in more chocolate?? YUM! (Admittedly, I'm still stuck on the cinnamon nutella ice cream combination.)

I decorated the tops with thinned royal icing so people could tell the difference between the two. I love the flavor combination of the strawberry vanilla, but toyed with the recipe and ultimately think it would be better as written (see my note with the recipe). The cinnamon nutella bites were SO good, but I really didn't expect anything less! Can you really go wrong there? I think not. I even snuck some chopped hazelnuts into the center. Free Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.org

Cinnamon Nutella Cake Bites
Cake recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Makes approximately 30 cake bites (1 tablespoon size)

- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup nutella
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, or about 30 whole
- 12-14 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan, and line bottom with parchment or wax paper. Place pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture, and whisk gently until you have a homogenous batter. Now, using the whisk or rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth satiny batter. Scrape the batter into the pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. A thin knife inserted into the middle will come out clean. Transfer cake to a cooling rack, and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, and cool to room temperature.

Once fully cooled, break up the cake into a large bowl. Add the nutella and mix thoroughly. Shape into tablespoon sized balls, press 1 whole hazelnut or a few hazelnut pieces into the center of the ball, and reshape to close up the cake ball. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to firm up the cake bites. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Dip the chilled cake bites in the chocolate and thoroughly coat. Set cake bates on parchment line cookie sheets, and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set the chocolate coating.

Strawberry Vanilla Cake Bites
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, as seen at Joy the Baker
Makes: approximately 30 cake bites (tablespoon size)
I thought the cake/preserves mixture was too dry, so I added a little extra preserves. Once completed, I thought they were too wet. Next time I'll stick to the recipe!

For the Cake:
~1 cup cake flour
~1 teaspoon baking powder
~1/4 teaspoon salt
~1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
~1/2 cup sugar
~1 egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
~1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~1/3 cup whole milk

For the Strawberry Binding:
~1/3 cup strawberry preserves
~2 heaping Tablespoons of marshmallow creme

14 ounces milk chocolate for dipping.

To Prepare the Cake:
Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour one 8-inch round baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer, on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla, and beat until thoroughly blended, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed and add flour mixture and milk, alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mix until batter is just smooth, do not overmix. Batter will seem loose.

Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cake will still be pale in color, not golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a rack, then invert on a rack to cool completely. While Cake cools, mix together the strawberry preserves and marshmallow creme.

When cake is completely cool, crumble into a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberry mixture and mix together with hands This will be messy. Mix until the cake and preserves are thoroughly incorporated.

Shape cake mixture into 1 inch balls or squares by pressing the cake mixture together with your fingers and rolling in the palms of your hand. Place the shaped cake bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once all the bites have been rolled, cover and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Melt milk chocolate in the microwave, or over a double boiler. Dip chilled cake bites into the melted chocolate and place back onto the baking sheet. Once all balls are dipped, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden the chocolate.


Joelen said...

What delicious truffles! Great pics and choices of cakes... its no surprise your coworkers loved them!

That Girl said...

I love your little hazelnut surprise!

Liesl said...

I love anything that has nutella...the stuff is seriously amazing0life changing at that!! I can't wait to try those truffles!!! Thanks for sharing!

bensbaby116 said...

I bet these are delicious! So pretty too. :)

elly said...

These look amazing. I NEED the cinnamon nutella bites stat.

Colleen said...

I really love the two flavor combos you have going on here!

PamelaMay said...

Just made them for my Valentine packages. I used bittersweet chocolate and they came out fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!