Dessert / Recipes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Recipe


Hi everyone! I’m Ash from Smashcakes, and I am so excited to be one of Best Friends For Frosting’s newest dessert contributors. A few things about me: I’m based in New Zealand and I’m obsessed with vintage Bundt pans, sprinkles, and ALL things dessert! I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy creating them!

Today I’ll be sharing a delicious gluten-free recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. This is everything you could wish for in a cake — rich, decadent, and oh so delicious! Layers of rich chocolate cake are sandwiched between a Nutella and chopped hazelnut filling, then the whole cake gets covered in ganache. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream come true!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

(Adapted from Sweetapolita)

You’ll Need:

  • 1¾ cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • ½ cup rice bran oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F/175 C.
  2. Prepare 3 8-inch round cake pans by greasing them with butter and dusting with rice flour. Place a circular piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake tins.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together (this step double sifts the dry ingredients as well as mixing them together).
  4. Place a tablespoon of vinegar into your 1 cup measure then fill to the top with milk. (This is an easy-peasy way to make buttermilk at home. However, if you already have buttermilk in your fridge, feel free to use it!)
  5. Pour the milk into a clean bowl. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla bean paste. Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour the buttermilk mixture and the coffee into the flour mixture. Whisk gently to combine. This is a VERY wet mixture so is best done by hand rather than in your kitchen mixer.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans and place in the hot oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.
  9. Allow to fully cool before icing.

For the Nutella Filling:

  • 2 cups Nutella
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped


  1. Center the first cake onto a cake board or plate.
  2. Place the Nutella in a saucepan and heat on low until spreadable, but not hot.
  3. Pour ¾ cup of nutella on top of cake #1. Using a knife or an offset spatula, spread it around the top of the cake. When evenly distributed, scatter half of the hazelnuts.
  4. Place cake #2 on top of cake #1. Repeat the process with Nutella and hazelnuts.
  5. Place cake #3 on top of cake #2. Pour the remaining Nutella on the top of the cake. Slowly work the Nutella over the top of the cake and around the sides. This doesn’t need to look neat or completed. The reason for this layer of frosting is to trap in all the loose crumbs and set the cake.
  6. Place the cake in the refrigerator while you prepare the ganache.

For the Ganache:

  • 7 oz. good quality chocolate
  • 3.5 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter


  1. Chop the chocolate into evenly sized pieces. Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and butter into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Stir continuously with a silicone spatula. Do not use a wooden spoon as they often retain water, which can affect the ganache.
  3. Keep stirring until the chocolate is nearly all melted, then turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the saucepan and continue stirring. Remove the bowl from the saucepan when the chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Leave the ganache at room temperature until it is slightly thicker and has reached a good spreading consistency.

Assembly: Remove the cake from the fridge. Pour half the ganache over the cake. Using an offset spatula, distribute the ganache around the top of the cake, allowing it to pour over the sides. Keep working the ganache, adding more and spreading it around in a circular motion on the top and a vertical swoop on the sides until the desired look is complete. This technique is VERY forgiving. The messier and more rustic, the better!

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