Nutella is a weakness of mine (as evidence in this delicious comforting drink, festive cookies or campfire amazement)... I just love that sweet chocolate hazelnut combination. So it will come as no surprise that when I saw the ABC Challenge was this chocolate hazelnut cake, I was excited.
A few things intrigued me about this recipe: 1. There was no actual Nutella involved, just the real-deal chocolate hazelnut ingredients. 2. Chopped hazelnuts went into the cake batter, but weren't required in the frosting. 3. There's no frosting. So if you have poor decorating skills that won't matter here since the only adornment is a sprinkling of cocoa powder (I added the tiny flourishes of whole hazelnuts on top of mounds of fudge-y filling). 4. The lack of frosting is quickly remedied with a divine ganache-type frosting, but it goes in between the cake layers, not draped over the entire cake which is more common for ganache.
After baking and sharing the cake with many friends and coworkers, they all agreed it was delicious, but crumbly! The cake is light, but falls apart too easily for my liking. And even though I didn't mind the chopped hazelnuts in the cake, I think they were a contributing factor to the crumbliness. The next time I make this I'd add the hazelnuts to the ganache filling. Speaking of the chocolate filling it was amazing. Silky, rich and perfect on it's own; no other frosting was needed.
Here is the recipe I used to make this cake since I didn't really change anything... although I may need to make it again with a bit of tweaking ;)