Two layers of rich chocolate hazelnut cake, sandwiched between layers of fluffy Nutella buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts. Simple flavors, decadent dessert.
If my grad school labmates hadn’t bestowed the name Bunsen Burner Bakery upon this little food blog, I probably would have gone with something like The Midnight Baker. Or The Last-Minute Baker. Perhaps, The Procrastinating Baker – that has a nice ring to it.
Because if I’ve committed to baking something, chances are you’ll find me in the kitchen at 2am in a cloud of flour and cocoa powder. Hi, I’m Julie, and I always wait until the last minute.
My husband and I are polar opposites in so many ways. He want to know every last detail; I like waiting and rolling with the punches. He thinks there’s nowhere like home, with your couch and your TV and your dog; I think there’s nothing better than exploring the world. His indulgence of choice: chocolate cheesecake. My indulgence of choice: a big box of Cheez-Its. He listens to sports podcasts; I listen to NPR Politics podcasts. He’ll take chocolate cake with a big scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert; make mine a blueberry pie with a scoop of vanilla, please. Introvert (him), extrovert (me).
But perhaps the biggest difference between us? The speed at which we get things done. He has his lectures for residents done weeks (often months) ahead of time. Me? I’m giving a departmental talk tomorrow. I’ll start working on my presentation… when I finish this post.
My wait-until-the-last-minute habits drive my husband nuts. I’m completely calm and relaxed, but he stresses on my behalf. Am I overconfident? Do I rely too much on that feeling like “everything works out in the end?”
Perhaps, but a recent TED Radio Hour podcast on procrastination explains it perfectly. The longer I wait, the better ideas I get. It’s not that I’m entirely putting it off – I’m constantly thinking about things, tossing around new ideas, deciding what works best. I just wait until the last minute for the execution.
While putting Ryan to bed last night, I was running through my talk in my head – I just have to make the slides to go along with the talk in my head. Aaron Sorkin totally nailed it when he told Katie Couric, “You call it procrastinating. I call it thinking.”
And thus, I
procrastinated thought my way into this very last minute chocolate hazelnut cake, a Father’s Day treat for my father. Giant bag of roasted hazelnuts*, last minute overnighted from Amazon (thank you, Amazon, for encouraging my procrastination). A box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, a holiday gift from a friend.
And finally, after the little guy was fast asleep and my science-related work for the evening was done, I started baking this cake. At 2am.
Last minute baking is totally my jam, but not for the faint of heart. Once you commit, you commit – there’s no time for redos.
If you notice in the photo below, the two cake layers are not exactly even. I didn’t want to pull everything out out of my cabinets for my cake leveler (pulling things out is so loud, and the last thing I needed was to wake my sleeping baby!), so I tried leveling by hand. I couldn’t get the cake even on both sides, so I kept trimming away a little more… and a little more… and a little more… until I realized I had whittled away half the cake.
Ooops. Oh well, an uneven cake is still delicious! (I assure you, no one even noticed those uneven layers once they took a bite.)
And this chocolate hazelnut cake sure was delicious… assuming you’re into chocolate cake (I am not, so I rely on comments from family and friends).
A rich, fluffy cake, full of chocolate flavor and chopped hazelnuts. Nutella-based chocolate hazelnut frosting, whipped to perfection. A layer of decadent chocolate ganache. Chopped hazelnuts and a few Ferraro Rocher chocolates as decoration.
Don’t be turned off by the number of steps listed below – this cake is pretty simple to make. Only two layers, easy frosting. Cover the whole top with microwave-made chocolate ganache. Then sprinkle on some hazelnuts for decoration (totally optional!) and you have a lovely cake.
Simple perfection. Another successful last-minute baking endeavor – let the tradition continue!
Two layers of rich chocolate hazelnut cake, sandwiched between layers of fluffy Nutella buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol
*Amazon links are affiliate