Apricot-Nutella Breakfast Cake

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Lately I have been trying to make breakfast more interesting. We seem to be always on the move lately and so I have been experimenting with portable breakfasts that taste good and use up what I already have on hand. I found a recipe for apricot-almond Dutch babies – a kind of muffin with a soft center. You use a lot of whipped egg whites and it has a wonderfully creamy batter. I decided to turn the muffins into a cake that I would fill with the rest of a jar of apricot preserves and the rest of the Nutella from World Nutella Day. We have given up Nutella for a while because they now have switched to palm kernel oil in their recipe – and we are definitely off of that! If you missed my rant on the subject, click here. But I did make an exception for World Nutella Day.

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So anyway, this little cake was born. The photos didn’t turn out too great, but it was very satisfying for breakfast and lasted about a week, which was perfect. Hope you enjoy it!
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World Nutella Day: Dishing up Silky Nutella Pudding

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Well it is another year, which means another wave of chocolate-hazelnut love to hit the blogosphere with World Nutella Day!

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This is a worldwide food holiday created by Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Shelley from At Home in Rome and something that all lovers of this wonderful spread celebrate in pure joy around the world due to the amazing sugar high this event produces!

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I have to say that even though I have this date marked on the calendar, this year I wasn’t quite prepared. I meant to get the Trader Joe’s brand of Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread when we were visiting relatives up north, but totally spaced it. I wanted to get that brand because in the USA, Nutella now has Palm Oil in it. Bleech. But what is a girl to do? Sometimes sacrifices need to be made in the name of Nutella goodness.

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Lately I have been having a massive craving for pudding. My mom used to make pudding a lot when I was younger – tapioca was one of my favorites, but I also loved her chocolate pudding – with the pudding skin, thank you very much! So I was going to make a lovely combination pudding – chocolate nutella tapioca, but could not find non-instant tapioca at the grocery store. So I decided to ditch the tapioca idea for now, and go for full on silky nutella bliss.

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I recently got an awesome box of spices from my friend Tony, who with his partner Jonathan travel all over the world. On their trips, they collect spices. He realized he had too much, so he sent me a huge box full of delicious spices. One was cinnamon from Thailand, which is much lighter in color than what I usually get, and tastes like heaven. So I decided to garnish the tops of the pudding with a dash of this cinnamon.

This is a good pudding people. Make it. Make double so you can enjoy it longer or give some to your friends in celebration of this fantastic holiday! Happy World Nutella Day to you all!

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World Nutella Day 2008: Nutella-Date Pudding Cupcakes

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The reason we are all gathered here today- at least in my corner of the universe, is because February 5th is
World Nutella Day 2008. This is the day that my buddies, American expats in Italy, Sara, Michelle and Shelley decided we should all sit back, relax and enjoy the Nutella.
This is a day to celebrate this delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread that puts smiles on faces young and old all across the world.

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My first encounter with Nutella was when I lived in Norway, in 1994. Bread is a big thing in Norwegian cuisine. You eat it for breakfast and lunch with a wide variety of meats cheeses and spreads. My favorite was always Brunost (Brown Cheese) – I had it for breakfast and lunch, every single day. Of course, I was a foodie back then, too, I just didn’t know it yet, so I was addicted to going to the grocery stores there and seeing what kinds of products I could find that were unique to Norway. When I came across Nutella and realized you could eat it on toast for breakfast, I thought it was pure genius. I mean who doesn’t love the combination of Chocolate and Hazelnut? But for breakfast!? I thought this was a Norwegian invention and I was forever indebted, until I found out it was an Italian creation! Gotta love Italy. Anyway, I fell in love with the stuff. I discovered how good it went with waffles, another big treat in Norway. Well by that point I was hooked. When a Dutch friend of mine told me they eat chocolate sprinkles on their toast for breakfast, I began thinking we Americans are totally depraved.

Anyway, I digress. You are wondering about these wonderful pudding cakes I made. Well there is a story behind them too- I will try to be quick about it. Remember the Dolce Italiano Event back in November, where I, along with the geniuses behind World Nutella Day made recipes from Gina DePalma’s newest cookbook: Dolce Italiano: Desserts From the Babbo Kitchen? I made this and this.Well we were only allowed to make 2 desserts for that event (as if I was in any capacity with the impending holidays to make MORE than 2), but there was a third I was really wanting to try, her Chocolate and Date Pudding Cakes. I love dates and chocolate and pudding, so for me it was another match made in heaven. When I was thinking of a recipe to make for World Nutella Day, I immediately went to Gina’s cookbook to look for inspiration. I rediscovered these pudding cakes and decided to alter them to fit the bill for this fabulous celebration that I am sure Ms. DePalma would certainly sanction.

So what I did was instead of using the bittersweet chocolate and butter mixture, I decided to use Nutella. And in place of walnuts, I went for Hazelnuts, much more my liking and a much better match for the Nutella.

The verdict? These cakes are succulent. Yes, that is the word.

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As Gina puts it : “The Medjool dates…contribute a deep caramel flavor that holds hands with the chocolate like a smitten teenager.”

Oh boy, does it. That with the warm taste of the hazelnuts underneath they are just pure heaven. I baked mine for 20 minutes and not minute longer. This made the centers perfectly moist and delicious. Bet you can’t have just one!
Happy World Nutella Day to everyone – get out there and get your Nutella on!

World Nutella Day: How you can participate.

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