Nutella, not just for the bedroom anymore
Ah, Valentine's Day, and who better to spend it with than Nigella Lawson? Damn! I mean your loved one, of course. But what better to serve them than an unctuous, decadent, over the top, Nutella cake (the recipe is here) from her book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess?
What's so good about torta alla gianduia? Well, it contains a whole jar of Nutella for one. It's also made with a little Frangelico, a lot of hazelnuts, and a generous amount of melted dark chocolate. Of course, if you needed any more reason to like it than, "it contains a whole jar of Nutella," then this is probably not the post for you.
I love Nutella. There, I said it. Of all the substances on earth, it's difficult to name one that is as delicious as this hazelnut-chocolate ambrosia. Like most great foods, Nutella has its origins in Italy and, perhaps, its most ardent devotees.
We saw this firsthand on our honeymoon. Shortly before our departure, I learned of a café devoted to the product in Bologna, the city in which we happened to be spending the first week of our trip. I'll admit to being a little disappointed with the Nutelleria. I suppose I was expecting some sort of Homer Simpson-esque Nutella dream world, with rivers of Nutella and comically oversized jars that I could bring home for all my friends. What we found, unfortunately, was a shop more McDonald's than Italian café. You'll no doubt be proud to learn that, despite my disappointment, I somehow managed to eat a really fantastic Nutella crepe. Ah, Bologna, non basta uno stomaco.
As for the cake, it's damn good too. The crumb is very moist and dense, almost ideal, really. The chocolate ganache icing is smooth, but has a lovely crunch because of the hazelnuts dotting its surface. The only disappointment, for me at least, is that despite an entire jar of the stuff, the cake does not have an overwhelmingly Nutella flavour; instead, the dark chocolate dominates, while the hazelnut elements play a supporting role. This is not to say that the cake is not delicious, it is. As per Nigella's suggestion, we enjoyed a slice with a little Frangelico. Between the alcohol, dessert, and each other's company we were rather content, and isn't that just the way it's supposed to be on Valentine's Day?