Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake

Have you ever come across a recipe that you knew you just had to try only to discover that one ingredient in that recipe would be a mission to find? That’s exactly what happened to me. I came across a recipe for a Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine and a key ingredient in for the cake was chocolate graham crackers. I was pretty sure that I had seen them before at a local supermarket or Target, but then after searching quite a few supermarkets and a few Targets I was still out of luck. I even searched the Nabisco website to make sure they were still available and found out that in fact Honey Maid Chocolate Graham Crackers were still in production. So, it was just a matter of finding them and lo and behold I did just that when I randomly strolled down the cookie aisle of a supermarket I normally don’t shop at.

With ingredients like confectioners’ sugar, Nutella, mascarpone cheese, heaving whipping cream and those hard-to-find chocolate graham crackers this was sure to be a delicious cake.

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To begin I whipped together heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in one bowl until stiff peaks formed.

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In another bowl I whipped together the remaining heavy cream and mascarpone cheese the recipe called for along with the Nutella until once again stiff peaks formed.

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Then it was time to begin assembling the cake. (Of course before assembling I had to try both of the whipped mixtures and they were delicious.) I lined the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with 4 graham crackers, breaking the crackers as need be so there wouldn’t be any big gaps.

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I then spread half of the mascarpone-vanilla mixture over the crackers…

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And then layered another four graham crackers over it…

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And then spread half of the mascarpone-Nutella mixture over the crackers…

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I continued the layering process ending with a top layer of the mascarpone-Nutella mixture.

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I wrapped the cake with plastic wrap – I also wrapped the bottom with aluminum foil to make sure the plastic wrap would stay on – and refrigerated it overnight.

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Prior to serving the cake I unmolded it from the springform pan and pressed the crumbs of 4 crushed graham crackers around the sides of the cake.

Final verdict… It was AMAZING! If you follow by blog regularly you know that in February I always make a character cake – first there was Elmo, then Minnie Mouse and this year it was an Enchanted Castle – for my friend’s daughters’ birthday, well, she happily ate a slice of this cake in record time and when I saw how much she enjoyed it I told her that next year this would be the cake I make for her birthday and she had no objections! We’ll see what happens when February rolls around though… I’ve already been thinking about some sort of Frozen theme. Regardless, I’m already looking forward to making this cake again. I should head back to that supermarket to pick up another box or two of the graham crackers just in case… Another search for them would not be fun, especially since I know how delicious this cake is now.

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake

1 3/4 cups cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

20 whole chocolate graham crackers

1. Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup each heavy cream and mascarpone with the chocolate-hazelnut spread in a separate bowl. Beat with the mixer on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with 4 graham crackers in a single layer, breaking them into pieces to fit and fill and big gaps. Spread half of the vanilla whipped cream over the graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers. Spread half of the chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream on top. Repeat with another layer of graham crackers, the remaining vanilla chipped cream, then more graham crackers and the remaining chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. Uncover the cake and run a thin knife around the edge to loosen. Remove the springform ring; smooth the sides of the cake using an offset spatula. Put the remaining 4 graham crackers in a large resealable bag; crush into fine crumbs using the bottom of a skillet. Press the crumbs around the side of the cake.

 

 

Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

A few months ago I came across a recipe for a Marbled Nutella Banana Bread on a fellow bloggers’, My Ninja Naan, blog  and I have wanted to make it ever since. I was all set to make it last weekend but then my dad ate one of my perfectly ripened bananas. It was probably for the best though, the bananas were practically over-ripened in my book so I am sure the taste of the bread would have been overpowered by the banana taste and the Nutella flavor would have gotten lost in it. While I am a fan of bananas I prefer to eat mine when they are pale yellow without any spots – when most people would say they are not ready to be eaten – so they won’t have the overpowering banana taste I am not fond of. So, I bought three bananas that were on the verge of turning a darker shade of yellow and let them sit for a week to ripen up a bit to make the bread.

I started off by sifting together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. While I do have a traditional sifter, I prefer to use a sieve to sift my dry ingredients as it’s much quicker and I find that it does the job just as well.

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I set the dry ingredients aside and I began to mix together the wet ingredients. First up, I mashed three ripe bananas.

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Next, I added in the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and used my hand mixer to combine them all.

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I then mixed in two eggs.

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And finally I added in the flour mixture.

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Once the batter was well combined I divided it into two bowls and added the Nutella to one of them.

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To get the marbled effect I alternately spooned the banana and the Nutella-banana batters into my prepared 9-inch loaf pan (I just sprayed it with baking spray) and then swirled it with a knife.

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After baking for an hour in a 350 degrees F preheated oven the bread was done.

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I let it cool for a bit and then sliced a few slices to see the marble effect and of course to try it and it was delish!

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Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 bananas)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy and well combined – about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined – about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide 1/2 of the batter into a medium bowl; stir in Nutella until combined.

Alternate spoonfuls of batter into loaf pan until all of the batter is used up. Swirl batter gently with a knife (not too much!).

Bake 1 hour or until well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 1 loaf.