Nutella-Cold Brew Cake

I made this cake mostly because I wanted to create a chocolate-forward cake. That and I wanted it to be a little playful and sophisticated, using black(Dutch-processed) cacao to add a fruitier cocoa flavor, as well as cold brew to intensify the chocolate flavor, and Nutella, because why not? Nutella makes everything better, unless you are lactose-intolerant or have a nut allergy, in which case, I am so sorry and I will eat this cake in its entirety on your behalf. The sponge, while it has that intense cocoa flavor, is light and fluffy in texture from being a chiffon cake. I not only used cold brew in the batter, but I also soaked the baked cake in cold brew just to keep it from drying out and to really impart that flavor. I also made a cold brew ganache and a Nutella mousse to act as the layers between the cake, giving you both fudge-y and creamy textures of chocolate!

This is definitely one of those cakes that I would save for a special occasion. The velvety texture of the Nutella mousse against the rich, decadent ganache and the fluffy cake gives you a really luxurious eating experience. Usually I would include something textural in my layer cakes, but I opted out for this one, just because I felt like the soft textures actually help you get the chocolate, cold brew, and Nutella all in one bite. If you do not have black cacao, you can substitute with regular cocoa powder as well, though the cake might not be as fragrant. I also finished my cake off with gold leaf, but that is 100% optional as well! I just wanted this cake to be fit for making memories with!

For the black cacao and cold brew chiffon:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup black cacao powder
2 tbsp cold brew coffee
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix together the black cacao, coffee, egg yolks, salt, and canola oil. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture then fold the egg whites into that as well. Pour the batter into a lined 1/4 sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool down before unmolding and cutting out 2 6-inch rounds and creating the third round out of the scraps.

For the cold brew soak:
1/3 cup cold brew
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together. Keep cold for assembly.

For the cold brew ganache:
1/4 cup cold brew
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
a pinch of salt

Melt everything together. Once the chocolate is fully dissolved into the liquid ingredients, stir together and pour into a shallow container, allowing the ganache to cool down to just above room temperature for assembly.

For the Nutella mousse:
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Nutella
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Mix gelatin with cold water in a pot first. Add to the pot the milk and bring that mixture to a simmer on low heat. In another bowl, mix together the Nutella with egg yolks and salt. Add half of the milk into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk together. Then pour the egg yolk-half milk mixture back into the pot with the milk and whisk everything on low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the egg mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps. Allow the egg mixture to cool down before adding in the vanilla, then the heavy cream.

To finish:
Gold leaf

Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Start by placing down the scrap layer of the cake. Add in 1/3 of the soak. Add in 1/3 of the ganache first, then pour in 1/3 of the Nutella mousse. Repeat these steps again, using one of your normal 6-inch cake rounds in place of the scrap layer. For the last layer, start with the cake round and the soak, then pour on the mousse. Swirl into the mousse the remainder of your ganache. Then transfer to a freezer and allow the cake to set for at least 3 hours before attempting to unmold. Finish with gold leaf.

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