Fudge Snack Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

November 30, 2020
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  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

The original recipe for "Fastest Fudge Cake" came from Alice Medrich's book A Year of Chocolate (2001) although I've modified the preparation to make it a 1-bowl recipe (to suit my impatience as a baker) and added my own ganache recipe (fewer ingredients than the frosting Alice originally called for). —Rucy

What You'll Need
  • Cake
  • 8 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 1-1/4 cups Light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 Eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 + 3t cups Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt (just regular table salt)
  • 1/2 cup Tap water, hot
  • Ganache
  • 3/4 cup Heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Chocolate, very good quality, I prefer bittersweet and use Guittard 74% wafers
  • 3 tablespoons Chocolate hazelnut spread, homemade or a commercial preparation like Nutella
  • Flaked sea salt, to taste, optional
  1. Cake
  2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom of an 8-inch square of 9-inch round cake pan (using your butter wrapper or a non-aerosol baking spray) or line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a large microwave safe bowl melt the butter. Remove from microwave, add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla. Stir until well blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients to same bowl - evenly sprinkling ingredients around the bowl to reduce the number of strokes you'll need to mix (read full step to see Note). Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon stir only until combined. Note: I live near the coast, where my dry ingredients tend to clump, so I place a sieve over the top of my bowl and sift my dry ingredients into the mixture. If you live in a drier climate you may not need to sift at all.
  5. Pour the hot water over the batter all at once. Stir just until the water is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly (light crumb is OK but the toothpick should not be wet with batter).
  1. Ganache
  2. Heat heavy cream in microwave until very warm but not boiling. Remove from microwave.
  3. Add chocolate, stir until chocolate is fully melted, let cool slightly then refrigerate. If planning to store longer than half an hour, while the cake bakes and cools, make sure to cover.
  4. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and whip using a whisk until smooth. Add the chocolate hazelnut spread, blend until combined, then decorate the cake. I use a piping bag with star tip, piping a dollop of ganache onto each serving, alternatively use a plastic storage bag (cutting an opening in the corner) or frost using two teaspoons to mound ganache slightly. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt, if desired. Serve.
  5. Notes: Baked in a square pan this is a great snack cake. Baked in rounds, recipe doubled, this recipe easily makes a more formal fit-for-company cake. It's a great last minute birthday cake. Double the ganache recipe, to have enough for a filling between layers plus dollops of ganache on top, each dollop topped by a toasted hazelnut plus flaked sea salt. Triple the ganache to have enough to frost the top and sides of the cake with dollops of ganache on top. This cake is incredibly versatile and always well received. Variations: Add Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), up to 1-1/2 Tablespoons, adding with the hot water (but then reducing the hot water to adjust - this is a wet batter - but you really don't want to exceed the total volume of moisture/water called for which is 1/2 cup). Add spice with the dry ingredients: cinnamon or cayenne or cardamom. Replace dairy with vegetarian-or-vegan friendly alternatives: this cake has worked well for me using vegan butter in place of dairy butter, coconut milk or almond milk for the whipping cream, though I haven't yet tried replacing chicken eggs with the equivalent in flax 'eggs' to make a vegan cake.
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