Friday, February 11, 2011

Valenutella's Day Molten Explosion (in-your-oven) Cake

Part One: Valenutella's Day

Nutella is a product barely short of an obsession for my loved one. I have found him standing in the kitchen, swirling his finger inside the awkwardly-shaped jar, trying to get as much of the chocolately spread as possible in one swivel. Which is why I felt like a deadbeat girlfriend when not only was I the one to break the news that there even is such a thing as National Nutella Day, but I didn't do a damn thing about it! And it was a Saturday! When all I had to do was plod around in my fleece socks and pretend like I had more important things going on than gorging on chocolate!

Well, I spied this recipe yesterday morning, and decided that since I watched National Nutella Day fly by on February 5th without so much as a lick of the stuff, I was going to get down to business 5 days later. But of course I can't make a decision without analyzing it from 348 different angles, so I thought about Valentine'a Day being a mere 5 days away, and began questioning the timeline for this (not-extravagant-at-all) baking extravaganza.

Ahem, LIGHTBULB: Make the flippin' Nutella cake smack dab in between it's own holiday and Valentine's Day, and we'll be celebrating Valenutella Day. Hard to argue with logical efficiency.

Part 2: Molten Cake

So here I go, 10 hours of cake planning under my belt. I had gone to the gym after work, putting me home at around 8, tired and sweaty. Good conditions for undertaking such a task. But, I had completed my first tempo workout for my half marathon training and logged in about 7 miles for the night, so I was jiving for some butter and sugar.

I'll post the recipe at the end, but this thing was so EASY to put together. You have your dry ingredients, throw in your wets, cover endlessly with sugar and chocolate and then pour on some water.

This cake is definitely a lava-esque type: gooey in the middle, with brownie quality all along the outer edges. I am a failure, and didn't pick up ice cream on the way home from work, but this cake belongs on top of some Haagen Daz. I mean, it has built-in warm chocolate sauce for crying out loud. Amazing the products that come out of a little chemistry/oven teamwork.

Part 3: Explosion-In-Your-Oven

(I want to put a picture here, but my camera won't take a quality one of the inside of my oven. Think: black. Charcoal black.)

I'm here to be real with you guys. Playing around in the kitchen mostly leads to phenomenal dishes (duh), and sometimes leads to messy situations.

First off, I'm an idiot. Second off, this is an easy fix and I really wasn't upset (especially since that cake still held up as

The recipe calls for an 8 inch baking dish. Well, I had everything BUT. So I used a pie dish. Bad idea.

My first clue should have been in the last step, when I poured 1 cup of hot water over the cake - the dish was almost full.

Looking back, why did I continue adding in the last 1/2 cup of hot water? Was it because baking is science and anything that strays from a cake recipe is destined to turn out tasting like chalk? Was it because I was too busy daydreaming of my next 3 meals to think about my next disaster? Was it because I secretly knew I wanted to scrub out my oven on a Friday night?

I don't know, but I do know that about 25 minutes into the baking time the smoke alarm went off, sending me into the kitchen where a cloud of smoke was waiting for me. Opened the oven door, and there is cake molton spewing everywhere - all over the sides of the pie plates, down through both racks, onto the oven floor...pretty explosively awesome.

When this happens, there's only 2 things to do:

1. Remove cake from oven.

2. Eat said cake in bed while you settle down for a nice Thursday night rendezvous with NBC.

Oh, and turn off the oven. Now go eat your cake.

Valenutella's Day Molten Explosion (in-your-oven) Cake
Barely adapted from Alice

*After making this, I realized my substitutions created this vegan, without even meaning to. Make whatever substitutions you want, but I can vouch for this one and say it's almost gone 24 hours later. In a house of 2 people. Excuse me while I go complete my Core Fusion.

3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (2 if your not using Pamela's GF flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup Nutella
6 tablespoons melted Earth Balance (or butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cup hot water

How To's

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa powder and 1/2 cup sugar together.

3. Stir in milk, Nutella, butter and vanilla extract. Since we are nearing the end of our Nutella jar when the spread gets a little thicker, I had to mircrowave it with the butter for about 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds.

4. Spread the mixture into your 8 inch backing dish. This is important folks. I think you understand.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and brown sugar; sprinkle evenly over the brownie mixture in dish.

6. Pour the hot water over the whole thing (no stirring) and put in oven for 40-45 minutes. Or until your fire detectors go off and you get to eat it a little more soupy than normal. Hallelujah for egg-free recipes!

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