When Sunset reader Marie Yong travels, she always carries along a notebook to collect recipes. One she recorded gets a lot of mileage at home: an easy chocolate cake with a baked-in sauce made with cocoa-flavored hazelnut spread (such as Nutella). Look for the spread in well-stocked supermarkets alongside peanut butter or ice cream toppings.
About 10 tablespoons (1/3 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa-flavored hazelnut spread
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened softly whipped cream
How to Make It
Butter an 8-inch plain or fluted tube pan. In a bowl, mix hazelnut spread and whipping cream until smoothly blended. Pour evenly into bottom of pan.
In a large bowl with a mixer, beat 10 tablespoons butter and the sugar until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture; stir to combine, then beat until well blended. Spoon evenly over hazelnut mixture in pan.
Bake in a 350° oven (325° in a convection oven) until cake begins to pull from pan sides and springs back when lightly pressed in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then slip a thin-bladed knife between pan rim and cake. Invert a large plate over cake. Holding pan and plate together, invert again and shake gently to release cake onto plate. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes, then lift off pan. Scoop any hazelnut mixture left in pan onto top of cake. Garnish with strawberries.