It’s probably safe to say that I’m a choco-holic. I love pretty much anything with chocolate in it or on it. So you may find it odd that I’m not a fan of chocolate cake. I will almost always choose vanilla. That being said, I love vanilla cake with some kind of chocolate frosting, filling or pizzazz.
The pizzazz here comes in the form of creamy and delicious Nutella. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with vanilla cake and Nutella. I used a dense shortbread cake as the base, and drizzled Nutella on top, then swirled it around in circles to give it a marbled effect. The more Nutella the better!! The shortbread base gets slightly crispy around the edges once baked, but stays perfectly spongy inside. In the name of Valentine’s Day and to put the cake squares over the top, I added slices of fresh strawberries. When the strawberries are hulled and sliced, the look like little hearts, which I love. The strawberries add a fresh taste to the bars and you can add as many as you like. You can even cover the entire top with the berries if you like.
Adding fruit to dessert makes it healthy, right?
Strawberry Nutella Shortbread Cake Squares
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- strawberries sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 12 by 17 by 1 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, line with parchment and lightly spray the parchment, too.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low, and add in the flour. To avoid over-beating, stop mixing when a few streaks of flour remain in the batter and stir by hand until no flour streaks remain.
Scrape the batter into prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Microwave the Nutella for about 20 seconds, or until its lightly melted. Drizzle the melted Nutella onto the batter and swirl it around using a toothpick. Evenly place the sliced strawberries on top of the batter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Just before serving, cut shortbread into 24 squares and dust with powdered sugar.
Store leftovers in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper or parchment. Squares will keep for up to 3 days.