Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding Cake

Josh Keown

I think it’s high time that we look a bit deeper into the riches that Italian sweet treats has to offer. It’s simple to take the easy way out –– not having to create, make and worry about desserts at all. But by doing so, you are not only losing revenue, you are losing customer satisfaction and good will. But there is a way that you can have your cake and eat it too. I am sure many of you bring in your desserts, and as long as you have a good supplier and the product meets your high standards, that’s the easiest way to go. But there’s nothing wrong with finding a good local bakery or small-shop operator to make classic and creative desserts just for you. In fact, it’s very effective.

Now then, suppose I give you a recipe for a delicious Italian dessert that is simple and easy to make. And what if you have the capacity to turn out this dessert in some sort of volume situation, one that allows you to sell it not only in your restaurant, but even the whole blooming cake to go. Think about the imprint that makes in the customer’s mind about your restaurant. The customer is at home and guess what? It’s your restaurant they are thinking about every time they take a bite of your delicious cake. There you go. Yes, you can have it and eat it, too. In fact, there’s the recipe:

Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding Cake (Gianduia)

Gianduia is a sweet chocolate containing hazelnut paste. It takes its name from Gianduja, a carnival character that represents in some fashion a typical Piemontese (region in Northeast Italy). In the Piedmont region of Italy, hazelnut confections can be found in every coffee house, candy store or sweet shop. The finished cake has a rich, chocolate molten appearance, is quite moist, and devilishly delicious. Nutella is the trade name of a hazelnut cream and is widely available.

Yield: 1 8 x 8 inch cake (scale up in direct proportion)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
½ (One-half) cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
½ (One-half) cup chopped hazelnuts
4 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
½ (One-half) cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons Nutella
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sugar. Add the milk and the canola oil and combine. Fold in the hazelnuts. Mix thoroughly.
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8-inch square pan with unsalted butter. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put the chocolate morsels in a 2-3 cup Pyrex or glass measuring cup and microwave at medium power, stirring two or three times to melt the chocolate. In that same cup add the brown sugar, Nutella and cocoa powder. Mix to combine. Pour the hot water over the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate mixture over the batter in the pan.

Bake the cake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until it is set. Let cool. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or dust each serving with powdered sugar.

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