This decadent cake is a dessert-lover’s dream, featuring a chocolate batter made with Nutella, buttermilk and hazelnut liqueur, and a smooth frosting of bittersweet chocolate, Nutella and heavy cream.
Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake
PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 40 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 30 MINS
- 3 c. heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 bar bittersweet chocolate
- 1 c. Unsweetened cocoa powder
- c. boiling water
- 1/2 c. Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread; buy two 13-oz jars)
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 c. Nutella
- 1 c. hazelnuts
- Garnish: chopped toasted hazelnuts and chocolate curls
- Microwave cream in a large bowl on high until steaming. Add chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.
- Cake: Heat oven to 350°F. You’ll need two 9 x 2-in. round cake pans, greased and floured.
- Whisk cocoa powder and water in a medium bowl, then Nutella and buttermilk, Frangelico and vanilla.
- Beat sugar, butter, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed 3 minutes or until pale. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. On low speed beat in flour in 3 additions alternating with cocoa mixture in 2 additions, beating just until blended. Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes until a pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of each layer; turn out on rack and cool completely.
- Insert several toothpicks halfway up side around both cake layers. Using picks as a guide, cut layers in half with a long serrated knife.
- Filling & frosting: Beat cold chocolate mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Put Nutella into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold into remaining chocolate mixture until combined. Remove 2 1/2 cups to a bowl; stir in hazelnuts for filling. Reserve remainder for frosting.
- To assemble: Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; spread with 1/3 the filling (1 scant cup). Top with second layer and 1/2 the remaining filling; repeat with third layer and remaining filling. Top with last cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top and sides; refrigerate 15 minutes to firm. Spread top and sides with remaining frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish just before serving.
- Wrap cooled cake layers and make frosting (through Step 1) up to two days ahead. Cover the frosted cake and refrigerate up to three days.
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