It’s All About The Boy


My son turns 16 today! It’s 3 in the morning and I am still up. Just finished organising stuff for his birthday dinner later. I guess since I have only one child, I tend to overdo things a bit when it comes to celebrating his birthday. He got his birthday presents from me weeks ago. A few nights ago, he requested for his favourite lemon roast chicken as “part” of his birthday week. He loves that roast chicken, which is amusingly known also as the “Engagement Chicken” because apparently, girls who served this roast chicken to their partners got engaged either right after having that chicken or few days later. I got the recipe from Glamour magazine years ago. I got curious, cooked the chicken and my son absolutely loved it. For three years in a row now, that would be his only request for his birthday meal…the lemon roast chicken. I was telling a friend that if I like his soon-to-be girlfriend and I think he is ready to settle down, well, I will have no hesitation sharing the recipe with my future daughter-in-law!

He liked the broken glass jello I made (and posted before) and thought I’d make it again for tonight when the cousins and aunt come over for a simple family dinner. I tried a couple of vegetarian recipes and liked one of them so will definitely make it tonight for the vegetarian cousins. And then I saw this cake recipe, which has all the ingredients I know my son would absolutely love. Devil’s food cake with hazelnut crunch . I actually asked myself if I have time to do this, me being not a cake-baking person really. The photo was tempting and the sound of hazelnut crunch made with Nutella, melted dark chocolate, hazelnuts and rice crispies together was just too hard to resist so I baked it.This was definitely a labour-of-love-cake. I was beating that frosting with my hand-held beater for a good 15 minutes! The method may be a bit laborious but it was very much worth it. Three layers of coffee-flavoured cake with hazelnut crunch in-between the layers then iced with that decadent butter cream frosting, this was one treat we surely enjoyed.Ingredients


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 120g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 70%), melted, cooled slightly

Hazelnut Crunch

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 60g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 70%), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 3 cups toasted rice cereal

Frosting and Assembly

  • 240g high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt), chopped
  • 240g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61%), chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces



  • Preheat oven to180°C. Coat the bottom and sides of cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment-paper rounds; spray paper.
  • Sift cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl; set aside. Dissolve espresso powder in hot coffee in a medium bowl and whisk in buttermilk; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Beat on high speed until doubled in volume and very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape bottom of bowl well, making sure to incorporate all butter into eggs. Beat for 1 minute longer.
  • With mixer on low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with coffee mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. With mixer running, drizzle in chocolate and mix until just blended. Divide batter evenly among 8-inch diameter cake pans; smooth tops.
  • Bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cakes cool in pans for 30 minutes.
  • Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment and let cool completely.Cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Hazelnut Crunch

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out nuts on sheet. Toast until fragrant, 6–7 minutes. Coarsely chop nuts; set aside. Line same baking sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper; let cool.
  • Combine chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water. Heat mixture, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over saucepan. Stir in hazelnuts and Nutella. Fold in toasted rice cereal.

  • Spread mixture out on prepared sheet; don’t worry about spreading it evenly. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.

  • Using your hands or knife, break or chop crunch into small pieces. Hazelnut crunch can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Frosting and Assembly

  • Combine both chocolates and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan; pour over chocolate mixture. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Using an electric mixer, beat until cool, 5–6 minutes.
  • Add butter a few pieces at a time; beat until incorporated between additions. Continue to beat mixture until thick and lightened in color, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer and up to 15 minutes with a handheld mixer (if mixture seems very thin, stop occasionally and chill in refrigerator to firm it up before continuing to beat).

Using a serrated knife, cut off domed top from each cake to create even layers. Place 1 cake layer on a large plate. Using an offset spatula, spread about 1 cup frosting on top of cake. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup hazelnut crunch over frosting. Place second cake layer on top; press to adhere (this will ensure that the frosting will hold the layers together).

  • Repeat process with another 1 cup frosting and 1/2 cup hazelnut crunch. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
  • Decorate top of cake with more hazelnut crunch, if desired. Chill cake until frosting is set, 3–4 hours. Cake can be assembled 2 days ahead. Cover with a cake dome and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
    My son and I were just too excited to have a slice of this cake. Too excited that just before midnight when the frosting set, we both had a go, a little slice each and I gotta say, we were both satisfied with how this turned out.

Recipe from


This entry was published on August 25, 2012 at 4:58 am. It’s filed under bakeware, baking, cooking, desserts, family bonding, food, parenting, recipes, Sweet treats and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “It’s All About The Boy

  1. Happy Birthday to your Boy! 16 is a Huge one, or at least it was for me


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