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Plum and Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon Frosting {Gluten and Dairy Free!}

A deliciously tempting mini 6″ cake that is naturally gluten and dairy free! Moist hazelnut cake with plum filling and dairy free cinnamon frosting. It’s delicious and easy to make, with no oil needed!

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A deliciously tempting mini 6" cake that is naturally gluten and dairy free! Moist hazelnut cake with plum filling and dairy free cinnamon frosting. It's delicious and easy to make, with no oil needed!

The first month of 2017 is almost over, and what a year it’s been already! It’s hard to ignore politics at the moment, but for our own personal sanity I think it’s a good idea to take a step away from it for a while. Just sit down with a cup of coffee, a good book and a slice of Plum and Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon Frosting and have some “me” time in the midst of all the craziness. Doesn’t that sound good right now? So take a moment to grab this amazing recipe and then switch off for a while, you deserve it!

Plum and Hazelnut Cake - A deliciously tempting mini 6" cake that is naturally gluten and dairy free! Moist hazelnut cake with plum filling and dairy free cinnamon frosting. It's delicious and easy to make, with no oil needed!

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Hazelnut Gelato

Hazelnut Gelato

I know what you’re thinking – Michelle! It’s November! What are you doing posting a recipe for Gelato?! I know, I know, it’s a bit of a weird time to be posting an ice cream recipe, but I’m of the firm belief that it’s never too cold for ice cream. I bet even Steve Rogers wouldn’t have turned down a big bowl of this hazelnut gelato right after he got woken up after being frozen for 70 years! Is there anything I can’t bring back to Steve Rogers? That’s the real question here!

Hazelnut Gelato

The Italians really do know what they’re doing when it comes to food, don’t they? Gelato is one of their brightest shining achievements in my opinion, it’s so creamy and delicious I can never turn it down. Hazelnut, or Nocciola, gelato is definitely my favourite flavour – and I think it’s most other people’s too since it always seems to be first to go in all the gelato places I’ve been to! So when I decided to make some I knew it was going to be hazelnut gelato. 

Hazelnut Gelato

Hazelnut is such a wonderful flavour, and while it does go beautifully with chocolate I really wanted the nut to shine in this gelato. I couldn’t resist the call of Nutella entirely of course, so it’s got a little swirled right into it. It adds a hit of richness, while still letting the hazelnut take centre stage. 

Hazelnut Gelato

I was a bit apprehensive about making gelato, since I knew it would be a lot harder than my super easy no churn pumpkin pie ice cream. And while this gelato does need an ice cream machine and a little more effort, it’s totally worth it! What makes gelato so much better than ice cream? Honestly, I couldn’t put my finger on one definitive reason why it is better, but I definitely prefer it. Gelato has a lower fat content than ice cream (which totally means it’s healthy, right?) and less air is whipped into it, so it’s somewhat denser. It’s also, therefore, best served at a warmer temperature than ice cream. Ideally it’s best stored at a warmer temperature too, but I don’t expect anybody to change their freezer settings to accommodate gelato (but I wouldn’t judge you if you did!), you will just want to leave it out on the side for at least 15 -20 minutes before scooping and serving – that way you’ll get that elastic, soft serve kind of texture that we all love about gelato. I didn’t leave mine out to thaw long enough before taking photos, I was fighting against the clock, so I apologise for that! 

Hazelnut Gelato

And if you’re still not sold on the idea of gelato in November, maybe it’s a little too cold for you, try a scoop in your coffee or hot chocolate – it’s amazing and will allow you to enjoy the yumminess of gelato while staying nice and toasty! In fact, I could go for that myself right now! 

Hazelnut Gelato

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Hazelnut Gelato
Soft, delicious Italian gelato flavoured with hazelnuts
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Ingredients
  1. 100g hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  2. 6 tbsp full fat milk
  3. 700ml full fat milk
  4. 240ml double cream
  5. 6 large egg yolks
  6. 225g caster sugar
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 3 tbsp nutella
Instructions
  1. Put the the hazelnuts in a food processor, and process until coarsely chopped. With the processor still going, gradually add the 6 tbsp of milk and continue to process until you have a creamy paste. Add a little extra milk if needed. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside
  2. Heat the 700ml milk and cream in a saucepan over a medium heat until hot, but do not bring to the boil. Take off the heat and set aside.
  3. Add the egg yolks, sugar and salt to a bowl and whisk until thick and combined. Slowly add about 50ml of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another 50ml of the hot milk.
  4. Slowly whisk the egg mixture in to the rest of the milk mixture.
  5. Stir in the hazelnut paste and return to a medium heat.
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring constantly, until you have a custard.
  7. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to stop a skin forming.
  8. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, until cold.
  9. Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream machine for about 45 minutes or according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
  10. Once thickened, spoon the gelato into your chosen container and swirl through the nutella, cover and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.
  11. Remove gelato from the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving
Notes
  1. You can toast and skin the hazelnuts yourself by putting them on a baking sheet in a 180C/350F oven for about 10 minutes, until the skins start to crack. Then rub the skins off.
  2. To make the Nutella easier to swirl, warm it up first by either microwaving for 10 second intervals until smooth and runny. Or place the whole jar in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes.
Giraffes Can Bake https://www.giraffescanbake.com/
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Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

ferrero rocher cupcakes

Do these Ferrero Rocher cupcakes even need an introduction? These are the kind of cupcakes that walk into a party and everybody turns their head to stare! They’re the A-Lister of cupcakes, I mean look at them! Moist, rich chocolate cake filled with chocolate hazelnut ganache and topped with chocolate hazelnut swiss meringue buttercream – who doesn’t love chocolate and hazelnut together? They’re the classic couple, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of food pairings! What I’m trying to say is these cupcakes are to die for, if you like Ferrero Rocher these cupcakes are for you! 

ferrero rocher cupcakes

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Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

The chocolatey, hazelnutty goodness of a Ferrero Rocher, all wrapped up into a yummy cupcake

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Chocolate and Hazelnut are a match made in heaven, it’s true, I read it in the bible; “and on the 6th day, God created chocolate and hazelnut in His own image, to spend eternity together. However some old dudes heard Him wrong and wrote it down as Adam and Eve”. That’s how it goes in my bible anyway!

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And that is why Ferrero Rocher’s are so yummy. And Nutella. And all things Chocolate Hazelnut. The only way to make them better is to put it in a cupcake. Like I said, heaven!

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I promised you guys these cupcakes when I shared my Valentine’s Day cakes, sorry it took me so long I’m the worst, I know! The recipe I used was my fave chocolate cake recipe, in this post I’ll give you the recipe for the chocolate hazelnut swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate hazelnut ganache.

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What you wanna do is make up a batch of chocolate cupcakes and let cool.  Make up the ganache, which is double cream, chocolate and Nutella and leave to cool for about 10 minutes, meanwhile cut circles out of the centre of each cupcake, saving the cut outs. Fill the cupcakes with about a teaspoon of the ganache and replace the centres, trimming them where necessary. Make up the swiss meringue buttercream, it takes a while to make but it’s so so worth it. Before you add the Nutella when making it, set about a quarter of it aside to decorate with. There’s a lot of butter in swiss meringue so make sure you’re working in a cool environment when decorating with it. Swirl the Nutella SMBC on top of the cupcakes and drizzle with some of the ganache. Put a swirl of the white vanilla SMBC on top and place half a Ferrero Rocher on top. Yum!

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[recipe title=”Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache”]
Ingredients

  • 115g Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut butter)
  • 120ml double cream
  • 55g dark, good quality, chocolate, chopped

Method

    • In a medium saucepan, heat cream over medium low heat.
    • Stir in Nutella and stir until smooth and combined
    • Add chocolate and stir until melted
    • Leave to cool

[/recipe]
[recipe title=”Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Meringue Buttercream”]
Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella

Method

  •  Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in your stand mixer bowl and place it over simmering water. Heat to about 160 degrees F (about 7 minutes), whisking occasionally
  • Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until mixture cools, doubles in size and forms stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes,
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and add butter one piece at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. The mixture may curdle but keep mixing and it’ll come back together don’t worry.
  • Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Set aside quarter of the frosting aside for the vanilla portion (if you want just Nutella SMBC obviously you don’t need to do this)
  • Add Nutella to remaining frosting and beat to combine. Use asap.

[/recipe]

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

Why have one Valentine’s cake when you can have three!

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I bought some super cute Wilton heart pans, they’re only 4″ across but they make for super adorable little heart cakes which are perfect for valentine’s day. Or, if you prefer, “I love me” day! Plus they were only $10 in Target!

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I made these for my best friend/other half. I have a terrible track record of messing up cakes I make for her (there’s a certain Mondrian birthday cake we do not talk about) but these turned out really great looking and taste just as good!

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All three are the same flavour, I did consider making three different flavours but who has the time for that in one day! They’re chocolate and hazelnut, one of my favourite flavours ever (and also the flavour she chose). Don’t give me access to a jar of nutella and a spoon because the whole thing will be gone in a day! Yum, yum, yummy!

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These are my fave chocolate cake recipe with chocolate hazelnut ganache and chocolate hazelnut swiss meringue buttercream. Seeing as I did all three the same flavour, I got creative with the decorating. The first is the Ferrero Rocher cake, the sides are covered with chocolate hazelnut SMBC and chopped hazelnuts and then topped with chocolate hazelnut ganache. There are also a few ferrero rochers hiding inside the cake too!

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The second is filled with the SMBC and ganache, then covered in SMBC. Then I surrounded it with Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers and topped it with V Day themed M&M’s. I know this design has been done by everybody and their mother, but it’s one of my favourite designs and one I’ll never get tired of (There’s a two tier cake I did last month with chocolate fingers that I’ve not shared with y’all yet and it’s one of my favourites!). Besides, cadbury fingers are like crack, how could you ever get bored of them?!

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The last is my least favourite. It’s filled with the SMBC and ganache and then decorated with the SMBC in kind of roses. The problem I had here was I was using a large open star nozzle to do the roses (I’m currently in Atlanta so don’t have all my decorating supplies to hand) which is doomed to fail considering the cake is only a 4″! Plus it was snowing and icy outside so the heating was nice and high, giving me a very unworkable buttercream, with the amount of butter there is in SMBC working in warm temperatures is never easy!

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I also made some cupcakes to go with them because why not! There’s a lot of cake in this apartment right now (such a horrid problem to have, I know!). I’m gonna do a full post on the cupcakes with the recipe (which I used for all three cakes and the cupcakes) next week. For now here’s a taster:

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I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day! If you’re not celebrating it or hate it, then I hope you have a happy Friday with lots of love and happiness! If you’re single today, please don’t be sad about it, go out and buy yourself something nice because you are fab and you deserve it! And whether or not you’re in a relationship, treat somebody you love to something nice, even if it’s just some nice words or some novelty chocolate, while I agree you should love and appreciate those you care about all year round today is a great day to spoil them a little extra 🙂 Have a great day my lovelies, I’ll see you next week!

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More chocolately goodness on Giraffes Can Bake that you might like:

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