Chocolate hazelnut mudcakes by Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit

There’s something about the coming of Spring, the Easter season, and the flowers in the air that says one thing: chocolate. It’s definitely the chocolate time of year, and these dark, fudgy little cakes are just the ticket. They would be perfect on at almost any event. They make as elegant an end to dinner, as they do a decadent addition to high tea. I particularly love these as an alternative to the more boring traditional gift of store-bought chocolates. Imagine receiving a cake box with four of these lush cakes instead of a boring foil-wrapped bunny, now that is a hostess gift! And I say four, because this recipe makes eight, meaning you get to keep some for yourself.Chocolate hazelnut mudcakesThe cakes themselves are a slightly lighter version of a chocolate mud cake; still dark and strong, but not quite as dense as is traditional. On top of the cakes goes a gooey dollop of chocolate hazelnut frosting – and you know when anyone says chocolate hazelnut, they mean Nutella. To add some beautiful bling to these babes, a simple shard of hazelnut-studded toffee gets pronged into each, and just like that they are ready to go. Does that sound sarcastic? I didn’t mean it to – trust me when I say that each element of these cakes couldn’t be easier to put together.

The cake mix is a melt-and-mix, one bowl affair. The frosting is as simple as some light stirring and the toffee shard is really incredibly easy for the payoff you get at the end. I know some people are scared of caramel, but the only secret is to leave the pan completely alone, so that the sugar can melt and caramelize. It’s nerve-wracking only if you poke and prod at it – just stay calm, let it do its thing, and before you know it you will have a tray of the most delicious, dark, chocolatey and beautiful cakes you could dream of, studded with golden caramel shards. Happy chocolate season!

Chocolate Hazelnut Mud Cakes

For the cakes:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 4oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

For the frosting:

  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, soft
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz milk chocolate (30% cocoa solids), melted
  • 2 tbsp Nutella
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the toffee shards:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts (feel free to leave these out, the toffee still looks great)
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