I’ve made nutella cakes several times now, but these are slightly different, and I’m not just referring to the little Christmas decorations. I had a bit of an “ah ha” moment this weekend and I think I’ve managed to make this wonderful recipe even better, without making it more complicated.

Speaking of Christmas, if you haven’t checked it out yet, I’m doing 12 days of giveaways, and there is still time to enter Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8 and Day 9!

Nutella cakes, since being published in Abby Dodge’s book “Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients” (where they are called nutella brownies) have been a bit hit in the food blog world and I don’t know anyone who has tried it who hasn’t loved it.

I’ve received a lot of comments from readers who have tried the recipe and loved them as well. So of course when I thought of my holiday recipe list, I had to include them on my list. The comment I receive the most about these cakes is that people like to eat the cakes while they are still warm because the cakes are still fudgy in the middle.

So then it suddenly came to me, why don’t I do something to make them stay fudgy even after they have cooled? Of course there are a couple of ways to do this, but I wanted to do a version that would keep these cakes really easy to make, since one of the reasons these cakes are so simple is that they are so easy to whip up. So I added a dollop of nutella in the middle of the batter of each of these cakes. As a result, the nutella taste is even more apparent in these cakes and the center of the cakes stay fudgy even after they have cooled.

I love, love these nutella cakes. I think these are the prettiest version I’ve made yet. One word of advice I’d give on making these cakes is that you want to be careful with the nutella amount when making the actual batter. It’s hard to be precise because you are working with such a sticky substance, but when there are so few ingredients in these cakes, adding too much or too little nutella can change these cakes a lot. Too little nutella and the cakes can be dry. Too much and they end up have a very crackly gray top that I find happens when you have too much nutella in a recipe.

Fudgy nutella cakes (adapted from Abby Dodge’s book)

Yields approx 12 mini nutella cakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
extra nutella for filling

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease mini cupcake/muffin pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, nutella and flour until blended.

3. Spoon batter into the cups about 1/3 full.  Then add a dollop of nutella in the center of each. Cover with more batter, until the cakes are about 2/3 full. You can sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles, chopped chocolate, etc for decoration.

4.  Bake about 9 minutes.

Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori
4898 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 268-2888

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori. The last time I went, the ramen was really salty, but I wanted to go back once they started serving Yakitori. I found out recently that they are now serving Yakitori, after reading mmm-yoso’s post.

I put it on my to-do list, but didn’t expect to get to it as soon as I did. But this weekend, BF and I found ourselves wanting a light dinner and decided to go check out Yakitori.

It was pretty late when we went, and I was worried about crowds. It was crowded, but we were able to be seated within 5 minutes. We were seated in the bar section, which was great because I was able to observe all the grilling action.

Here is the menu. In addition to the yakitori section, they also added more other menu items.

Despite how busy the place was, everything came out really fast. I was impressed with how fast our food arrived. The yakitori items came out as quickly as when we’ve ordered ramen in the past. As a result, our meal ended up being very quick, which is just what I was looking for.

I was set on the chicken heart and chicken gizzard, but they were sold out of both. We ordered beef tongue (tan):

I really liked the flavor of this. BF didn’t like the texture though.

Beef (harami):

The beef was tender. The chunks on the skewer were a little on the fatty side for me.

Quail eggs (uzura)

The quail eggs were grilled and seasoned with a simple salt and pepper. I love quail eggs, but these weren’t very different from the ones I normally make except that they were grilled.

Eringi Mushroom

I liked the sauce of the mushrooms and of course I liked the mushrooms themselves. Even BF gave this an “alright” which is high praise since he normally hates mushrooms.

Chicken wings (tebakara)

The skin was crispy and the meat inside was very juicy. I thought the skin had too much seasoning and ended up being too salty for me.

BF also ordered the spicy tuna tar tar. I liked the mixture of the tofu, onions and the raw tuna. There was also a raw quail egg.

Overall, it was a nice, light dinner. I was happy we got our food quick and were out of the place in under an hour. The staff was also very friendly and happy.  I’ll come back again to try more yakitori items.
Yakyudori Ramen on Urbanspoon

Welcome to Day 8 of the 12 days of giveaways. If you haven’t already, there is still some time left to enter Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, and Day 7.

On the eighth day of giveaways, Kirbie’s Cravings gave to me…

Gift card to CHEFS!

(and for purposes of completing the song, sung to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas, here are the rest of the giveaways)

One lucky reader will be given a $25 gift card to CHEFS, a catalog retailer for kitchen supplies. I was given this gift card in my bag of swag when I attended the Foodbuzz festival. As much as I like getting stuff, I really don’t need any more kitchen utensils. I barely have enough room in my kitchen to store what I own. So I’m giving away my gift certificate. You can browse their products online. There are hundreds of items under $25, or you can use the certificate towards a bigger purchase. Shipping is free for orders over $49!

One lucky reader will be selected at random through a number generated by random.org. To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me what you would buy with the $25. Contest ends on December 19, 2010 at midnight PST.

For an additional entry, follow me on twitter (if you don’t already) and tweet the following message: “Win CHEFS giftcard http://bit.ly/fWXvZ0 @kirbiecravings.”

Good luck!