Hello friends of (on?) the Internet!
Halloween has come and gone, and it is November at last, which is basically the same as the start of the holiday season, right? (Yes, I’m one of those people.) And holidays mean copious amounts of chocolate and shiny baubles and family traditions, all of which come together to bring you the dessert of the week.
Growing up, I don’t really have particularly distinctive memories of having much candy other than Ferrero Rochers. We weren’t really a hugely candy-y family, and frankly, I don’t even think I was that terribly fond of the actual taste (I’m pretty sure I never ate the hazelnut in the center when I was little), but I always remember that every time we would buy the crunchy little confections, my parents would carefully peel back the (surprisingly durable) shiny golden wrappers all in one piece, and fold them up into teeny tiny origami foil goblets that they would pretend to toast me with.
And while we haven’t bought a box of Ferrero Rochers in ages, every time I come across one at a Christmas party or something, I still obsessively scrape the gummy glue bits off of the corners and flatten out the foil, and make myself my very own little miniature chalice to surreptitiously tuck away into a pocket somewhere like I’m not a crazy person.
But as I was sitting down and listing out quintessentially fall-wintery flavors for the next couple of months (goodbye, summer berries!), I realized that chocolate-hazelnut is about as cozy as it gets, and off to the supermarket to buy a 12 pack of Ferrero Rochers and a big jar of Nutella I went!
(By the way, did you know that Nutella is actually made by the Italian company Ferrero too? No wonder the Ferrero Rocher filling tastes exactly the same as Nutella. On a related note, I learn literally everything from Wikipedia.)
To make teeny tiny Ferrero Rocher mini cakes, I started with half of my classic chocolate cupcake recipe and swapped out the butter for vegetable oil for an extra soft and fluffy crumb (no dry cakes for us!), then slathered on copious amounts of Nutella buttercream. Top with some extra runny chocolate ganache, an extra swirl of buttercream, a dusting of gold glitter, and, of course, a single Ferrero Rocher, and you’ll have yourself a shiny and elegant little dessert.
(They’re so small that you could probably eat both by yourself if you wanted to. I won’t tell.)
For the perfect pre-holiday treat (or if you’re thinking way ahead for that glitzy, glamorous Christmas party you always told yourself you were going to host), give this recipe a try and watch as everyone oohs and ahhs over how completely adorable these mini cakes look. Hope you enjoy!
Ferrero Rocher Mini Cakes
Makes two 3″ cakes
75 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbs) flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbs skim milk
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbs vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with butter or oil, then dust with a layer of cocoa powder, shaking off the excess.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Melt chocolate by microwaving in 15 second increments and stirring in between. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk.
Tip: This is easier if you warm the milk slightly!
- Beat together oil, eggs, yolks, and sugar until well incorporated, then add the coffee milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract and continue beating the mixture.
- Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to comfortably touch but still warm enough to remain melted, slowly add to the liquid mixture while mixing. Continue to beat until well mixed.
- Pour the sifted flour mixture into the liquid ingredients. Gently stir in one direction until the ingredients are just combined.
Tip: Under-mixing is better than over-mixing in this case. A few small (~1/8″ diameter) stray clumps of flour shouldn’t be a problem!
- Transfer your cake batter into the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back slightly when gently pressed with a finger.
- Set aside to cool completely, then use a 3″ circle cookie cutter to cut out 6 cake circles. Place the circles onto a large plate, cover with saran wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost!
Tip: Don’t have a plain circle cookie cutter? Actually, neither do I. In a pinch, the top of a large wine glass will do! Also, make sure the cake cools all the way down before you try to cut and lift out the mini layers – otherwise, the cake might crack!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and butter until well incorporated, fluffy, and smooth. Set aside for frosting!
Assembly, part 1:
- Place a small smudge of buttercream in the center of your serving plate, then place one mini cake layer on top of the buttercream.
- Using a small offset spatula, top with a liberal amount of buttercream, and stack on the next layer, then repeat until all three layers are stacked up.
- Coat the sides and top of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream so that no loose crumbs remain around any exposed surface of the cake. Repeat for the second mini cake, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- After chilling and removing the mini cakes from the refrigerator, frost with a thick layer of buttercream, using the offset spatula to smooth out the top and sides of the cake. Place back into the refrigerator until you are ready to drizzle!
Tip: Be sure to reserve a little bit of frosting to pipe on top of the cake!
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- In a small bowl, melt together the chocolate and cream by microwaving in 15 second increments and stirring in between. Set aside to cool slightly until it is just warm to the touch.
Assembly, part 2:
- Remove the frosted cakes from the refrigerator. Load the ganache into a small sandwich bag, snip a tiny hole in the corner, then use the sandwich bag to pipe drips of chocolate all around the edge of each cake.
- Add enough chocolate ganache to flood the center of each cake, using a small offset spatula to smooth out the top surface of the ganache as needed.
- Allow the ganache to dry completely, then load the reserved buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 1M!) and pipe a small swirl onto the center of each cake. Top with an unwrapped Ferrero Rocher, dust with gold glitter powder, and serve chilled. Buono appetito!