This cake started out innocently enough with three brownie layers and a jar of Biscoff spread, but something happened along the way; namely the discovery of an unopened jar of Nutella in the back of the pantry. At first I felt like using these two European spreads in the same cake would be crazy (like the Ghostbusters crossing streams? Mass hysteria? Dogs and cats living together?!) but ultimately, curiosity got the best of me. I tasted both spreads together on a graham cracker and decided the combo was a good idea.
I do my best to make sure my taste buds and brain are intellectually connected when I test recipes. I mean, just because you can put two flavors together doesn't always mean they will harmonize, and I worried about this rich-on-rich pairing. After a good ponder and many taste-tests I decided the Nutella filling was a touch too dominant and needed to be tempered with something. But what? After staring blankly into the open refrigerator - for who knows how long - unbelievably, the answer appeared. Peeking out just behind the orange juice was a stash of malted milk powder. It was just the thing to round out the richness of the chocolate hazelnut spread. Don't get me wrong, the finished cake is rich indeed, but with a covering of salted Biscoff frosting, it is balanced in spite of itself.
Speaking of salted desserts! My new book Sea Salt Sweet has a newly added "Look Inside" preview on Amazon, so you can have a peek right now! There's a healthy preview of the front matter, and a couple of recipe previews, too. I almost wish there were more recipe previews because that's the true heart and soul of the book, but if you'd like to have a more complete idea of what's inside, the index is also viewable.
Back to this cake! I feel like I need to recap the whole thing before you dive headfirst into the recipe, which admittedly has several steps but is pretty straight forward. I feel that even novice bakers can tackle this with a little stick-to-itiveness.
The cake consists of three brownie layers, all baked in 9-inch round cake pans. Sandwiched between the brownies are fillings of malted Nutella and Biscoff. The fillings have an almost cookie dough consistency but with a much more velvety texture. The whole cake is covered in salted Biscoff frosting, which, if you make nothing else in this entire recipe, you must try this frosting.
Swirls of Nutella frosting are piped along the top edge of the cake and each is garnished with a large malt ball (usually found at bulk candy stores or here). I pulverized a few Biscoff cookies into crumbs and used it to garnish the edge of the cake. The final flourish is a touch of Maldon flake sea salt atop the Nutella swirls. If you've been reading this blog for very long, then you know it is one of my favorite salts to use on desserts. If you've never tried it, then you can find a small pinch tin here if you'd like to give it a try before committing to a larger quantity.
This is certainly an eye-catcher and yields a high quantity of servings, so needless to say - it's good for a party! I highly suggest serving it with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream (or both!). If nothing else, a tall frosty glass of milk will do the trick.
Malted Nutella and Biscoff Brownie Torte
Yields one 9-inch triple layer cake; approximately 20 servings
Nutella and Biscoff are both European dessert spreads that can usually be found at most grocery stores here in the states. If you're coming up empty handed, you can procure some via the World Wide Web. (See here and here.)
1 1/2 cups butter
6 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, flour, salt and baking soda.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans; remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in air-tight containers until needed.
Malted Nutella and Biscoff layers
6 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 cup (about 9 oz.) Biscoff spread
1 cup (about 9 oz.) Nutella spread
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
Line two round 9-inch pans with plastic wrap (the same ones used to make the brownie layers, if possible).
Make the Biscoff layer: Mix together 3 cups of the powdered sugar, 1 cup Biscoff and 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into one of the lined pans. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Make the malted Nutella layer: Mix together 3 cups of the powdered sugar, 1 cup Nutella, malted milk and remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into the remaining lined pan. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Salted Biscoff frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (about 9 oz.) Biscoff spread
3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Combine the butter and Biscoff in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix again. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick and fluffy; add the salt and whip again. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 2 minutes longer, or until the salt is well dispersed throughout the batter.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup (about 9 oz.) Nutella spread
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
Beat the butter and Nutella in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix again. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large closed star piping tip.
15 Jumbo chocolate malt balls
6 Biscoff cookies, pulverized
Maldon flake salt for garnish
Place a brownie layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Turn out the Nutella candy layer on top of the brownie; top with another brownie layer. Turn out the Biscoff layer onto the brownie layer and top with the final brownie layer. Frost the entire cake with the salted Biscoff frosting, using an offset spatula to swirl the icing. Pipe 12 to 14 rosettes of Nutella frosting on the top edge of the cake. Garnish each with jumbo malt ball. Place the cake on a baking sheet and gently toss pulverized cookies onto the bottom edge of the cake, allowing the excess to fall onto the baking sheet. Finally garnish the top of the cake with Maldon flake salt.
Store the cake covered at room temperature
Recipe by Heather Baird