Little Oven, Big Satisfaction: Milk Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cake

After three weeks with a broken oven -- and the appliance technician still unable to give me a date certain when he would be able to get the part required for the repair -- I couldn't take it any more. Not being able to bake anything was driving me crazy, so we bought a toaster oven to tide us over. When it arrived, I could hardly wait to take it for a spin. Even though I specifically purchased a toaster oven that would accommodate a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, I decided to start with something small. So I made a single batch of Yossy Arefi's "Milk Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cake" from Snacking Cakes, in an 8-inch square pan. 

This recipe comes together quickly. You whisk sugar with an egg until pale and foamy; add Nutella, oil, milk, vanilla, and salt; whisk in cocoa powder, followed by flour, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in hot coffee, and fold in milk chocolate (I used Cacao Barry Ghana 40% pistoles). I poured the batter into a parchment-lined pan and scattered chopped hazelnuts on top before putting it into my little countertop oven.
The nuts on top got toasted as the cake baked and were a nice golden brown.  The cake was moist and satisfyingly chocolate-y, although the milk chocolate pistoles had all sunk to the bottom. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't taste more Nutella in the cake -- there's half a cup of the spread in the batter and I thought the flavor was very subtle (although of course the nuts on top definitely made this a milk chocolate-hazelnut cake regardless). 
I think the cake would have benefited from some frosting. The recipe suggests chocolate whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and I'm sure either of those would have been excellent -- but perhaps Nutella buttercream would be the ultimate accompaniment? This was a perfectly good chocolate cake. But it seemed like chocolate cake with hazelnuts on top, as opposed to a gianduja or Nutella cake, which is what I was hoping for when I decided to make the recipe. 

Still, I enjoyed it immensely. Being able to bake something for the first time in weeks was just so satisfying!
Recipe: "Milk Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cake" from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi,