Cooking with kids: Nutella chocolate cakeHeidi Scrimgeour

Baking chocolate cake with kids can be a recipe for disaster. Most children adore home-made chocolate cake - but many recipes are a little heavy-handed with ingredients like cocoa powder and chocolate fudge frosting, making the finished product way too rich for little tastebuds.

Nutella chocolate cake is the exception to that rule - this is far and away one of the easiest cake recipes you'll find. You literally throw everything in a bowl and beat - and its distinctive hazelnutty chocolate spread flavour practically guarantees that it won't last long. Which is probably for the best, as it's not a cake for anyone watching their weight.

I can't remember what first prompted me to consult Google for a Nutella chocolate cake recipe, but this Cinnamon Nutella cake over at BBC Good Food seemed perfect.

I've adapted it a little by leaving out the cinnamon and hazelnuts (my lads aren't nuts about nuts). I also paid careful attention to the advice left in the comments about how to avoid the Nutella sinking to the bottom of the mixture.

But my genius stroke (if I do say myself) is the addition of 3-4 tablespoons of nutella as frosting on top of this cake when it's cool. I don't know why I've never thought of nutella as a speedy way to 'ice' a cake before but it's absolutely perfect - the right consistency, deliciously chocolatey, it looks lovely, and best of all the only effort involved is opening a jar.

Ingredients:

75g softened butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
4 rounded tbsp Nutella or own-brand chocolate hazelnut spread

If you wish, you can also use:
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C / gas 4 / fan 160C.

Grease the base of a 20cm round cake tin. (The original recipe also calls for greaseproof paper but we made do without.)

Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and milk (and cinnamon, if using) until light and fluffy.

Tip three quarters of the mixture into the tin and spread it level.

The original recipe suggests spooning the Nutella on in four blobs before adding the remaining mixture, swirling it a few times with a skewer and smoothing to cover the Nutella. But to avoid the Nutella sinking to the bottom try dolloping the Nutella on in teaspoonfuls instead.

Then mix gently but thoroughly before adding the rest of the cake mix.

If using hazelnuts, sprinkle them on top before popping the cake in the oven. (If you plan to frost the cake with Nutella, leave the nuts off until then and pop on top at the end.)

Bake for 45-50 minutes (the recipe says 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes but mine is always ready much sooner) until risen and firm to touch.

If the cake starts to brown too quickly cover it with foil.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out, (peel off the paper if using) and cool on a wire rack.

Once completely cold, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella on top and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Decorate with hazelnuts at this stage if you wish.

And eat!