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Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Attention Nutella lovers! This chocolate hazelnut mousse cake has all the flavor of your favorite chocolatey spread in the form of a ganache-covered fluffy mousse cake. It’s absolutely irresistible!

Fork digging into slice of hazelnut mousse cake

Chocolate hazelnut mousse cake may not be a cake in the truest sense of the word, but take one bite and you won’t care. It starts with a chocolate-hazelnut shortbread crust, a simple Nutella mousse, and finally some chocolate ganache. There really aren’t adequate words for how much I adore this cake!

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake Recipe

  • Easier than it looks. There is some work involved in making three different components for the cake, but nothing about it is difficult. 
  • Make ahead options. You can make everything but the ganache the night before, and keep the cake in the refrigerator. The ganache is quick to make to finish the cake.
  • Incredibly delicious. The shortbread crust is rich and buttery; the chocolate mousse component is decadent and creamy. The Nutella adds just enough of a twist to the chocolate to give it a little extra interest. And the ganache is just rich enough to perfectly complement the rest of the cake.
overhead view of ingredients for Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.


  • Hazelnuts – Like any nut, hazelnuts can go rancid. If you’ve had them in your pantry for a while, make sure they smell and taste fine before using them in this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour – Here’s how to measure flour for baking.
  • Unsalted butter – Unless a recipe states otherwise, always use unsalted butter in your baking. Here’s the difference between salted and unsalted butter.
  • Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder – Dutch-process cocoa powder has a richer flavor than natural cocoa powder.
  • Salt


  • Cold water
  • Unflavored gelatin – This helps the mousse hold its shape as a cake.
  • Chocolate-hazelnut spread – Like Nutella.
  • Mascarpone – For a rich mousse layer. Cream cheese is the closest substitute to mascarpone, but mascarpone is worth the splurge.
  • Heavy cream – Chill the cream and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Granulated sugar


How Do You Toast and Peel Hazelnuts?

To toast hazelnuts, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re lightly browned and fragrant.

After toasting, wrap the nuts in a clean kitchen towel and let them sit for a minute to steam, which helps loosen the skins. Then, rub them with the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible.

How to Make Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Make the Crust:

  • Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a springform pan with parchment paper.
  • Make the crust. Finely chop the hazelnuts with the sugar in a food processor. Pulse in the remaining crust ingredients.
  • Bake. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and poke holes over the surface with a fork. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until dry to the touch.
  • Cool. Let the crust cool completely, then remove the sides of the pan and slide the parchment paper from underneath. Reattach the sides.

Add the Mousse Layer:

  • Bloom the gelatin. Place the water in a sauce pan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Warm. Set the pot over low heat and stir constantly until the gelatin dissolves. Whisk in the Nutella and remove from heat.
  • Start the mousse. In a large bowl, whisk the mascarpone and the Nutella mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Finish the mousse. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. 
  • Chill. Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Top With Ganache:

  • Make the ganache. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 1 minute.
  • Cool. Whisk until the chocolate melts into the cream. Transfer to a small bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened but pourable.
  • Finish. Run a warm knife between the cake and pan, then remove the sides. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and pour the ganache over the top. Spread the ganache, allowing the excess to run over the sides.
Hazelnut mousse cake on cake stand

Tips for Success

  • Soften the butter for the crust. This will help all the ingredients come together and create a smooth dough. Learn more: How to Soften Butter.
  • Don’t over-mix the crust. Once it starts to clump, stop mixing. Over-mixing can result in a tough crust.
  • Use cold heavy cream for the mousse. It will whip easier and hold its shape better than room temperature cream.
  • Know when stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are when the whipped cream holds its shape when lifted with a whisk. If the peaks flop forward, the cream needs to be whipped longer.
  • Chill the mousse cake for at least 3 hours before serving. This allows enough time for the mousse to set so it’s sliceable.
Slice of hazelnut mousse cake on white plate

Serving Suggestions

A dollop of whipped cream would pair perfectly with this decadent chocolate hazelnut mousse cake. You can also top it with some chopped hazelnuts for extra crunch and nutty flavor. Fresh berries add an elegant touch, too—just make sure they’re completely dry after you wash them!

How to Store

The unglazed cake can be covered and chilled for up to 2 days. The hazelnut mousse cake can be glazed 6 hours ahead of time and chilled, uncovered.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Slice of hazelnut mousse cake on white plate

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture may suffer upon freezing and thawing.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

Tip of hazelnut mousse cake on fork

Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Yield 8-10 servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

This rich hazelnut mousse cake has all the flavor of Nutella in the form of a fluffy layered cake. A bakery-style treat you can make at home!

Slice of hazelnut mousse cake on plate with tip eaten


For the crust:

  • 2 tablespoons (18g) hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off
  • 3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the mousse:

  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
  • 1/2 cup (140g) chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella
  • 1/2 cup (113g) mascarpone
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (355ml) chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar

For the ganache:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75ml) heavy cream
  • 3.5 ounces (99g) good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped


To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Invert the bottom portion of an 8-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Reattach the sides of the springform pan.
  2. Process the hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the flour, butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse just until a dough forms.
  3. Press the dough evenly into bottom of the prepared pan. Using a fork, poke holes over the surface of the dough. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until dry to the touch (Careful! It will be hot!) Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Remove the sides of the pan and carefully slide the parchment paper from underneath the crust. Reattach the sides.

To make the mousse:

  1. Place the water in a 1 - 1 & 1/2 quart sauce pan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin has dissolved (about 2 minutes). Whisk in the Nutella until combined. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the mascarpone and the Nutella mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Then, increase mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Then, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spoon the filling on top of the crust, and spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

To make the ganache:

  1. Place the cream in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.
  2. Then, whisk gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Stir occasionally, until slightly thickened but pourable (about 20 minutes).
  3. Run a warm knife between the cake and pan. Remove the sides of pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Pour the ganache over the cake. Spread over the top of the cake, allowing the excess to run over the sides.


Unglazed cake can be covered and chilled up to 2 days. Cake can be glazed 6 hours ahead and chilled, uncovered.

Recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious.

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    55 Comments on “Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake”

  1. holy crap, that looks amazing. i just showed my honey and he wants it for his birthday, too. (recently he’s been obsessed with nutella.)

  2. Wow! Gorgeous.. 🙂

  3. Your cake looks wonderful and extremely delicious! Wow!



  4. It looks amazing! so delicious! nothing like gooey chocolate and hazelnut! 🙂

  5. Gorgeous photos. Love the last one with the fork.

  6. Those photos… my goodness! Amazing looking mousse!

  7. Oh wow…That looks amazing!

  8. i’m not surprised that you had to stash a couple of slices for the sake of photography. i, for one, greatly appreciate it. i admire your restraint in not devouring the aforementioned slices before the pictures could be taken. 🙂

  9. Thanks, Maggie! Hope y’all enjoy the cake.

    Thanks, Sandra!

    Rosa, it was extremely good. Thanks!

    Ginny, I agree. I am a huge fan of chocolate and hazelnut.

    Deb, that’s one of my favorite shots, too. Thanks!

    Thanks, Aran!

    Dianne, those were my feelings as well. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

    a. grace, it was tough, but we managed to have a little bit of restraint. All in the name of BoB!

  10. the best part about this cake is the way the mousse sinks in to the crust and the ganache. and I bet the hazelnut adds a nice nutty aftertaste. Great job with your pictures:)

  11. pure chocolate heaven. Makes me go weak in my knees.

  12. I knew immediately what this was! Because 1) the photo from Gourmet on the cover of that issue is my favorite, ever from the magazine; 2) I’ve had this cake bookmarked for so long, and still haven’t matched it with a time and the excuse to bake it. I’m so happy to hear it was a raging success!

  13. Oh My! I would hurt myself on this dessert!

  14. That looks positively sinful and divine.

  15. I can see why there was nothing left, Jen! It looks so delicious!
    Quinn is a smart guy. 🙂

  16. If the title “Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake” wasn’t enough to send me over temptation’s edge, your photos certainly were!

    Dreamy… absolutely dreamy…

    I’ve been craving chocolate as of late, and this is soooo being made. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I love that flavor combo…this is a must bake! Thanks!

  18. Ohhh, now thats to die for!

  19. I am so excited to make this! Thanks Jennifer! Love your blog by the way – I’m so happy I discovered it! I never knew there were so many people out there who love to bake as I do 🙂

  20. Looks pretty darn amazing. I don’t quite like hazelnuts as a nut to just munch on, but I think I might like your cake 🙂

  21. that looks fricking awesome! hazelnut and chocolate is my favorite dessert combination.

  22. This dessert was absolutely wonderful. The hazelnut taste is just enough-not too much and not too little. I don’t know how you could have made the texture any smoother! It was just perfect!

  23. That is one awesome cake! I’d love a big slice!

  24. Pornalicious!!! I must try this!

  25. Whoa, this is my first time here and this looks ridiculous. I may have to start frequenting this site more often. Thanks for the visual stimulation!

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  26. Oh, wow! Thanks, everyone!

    Deb, don’t wait for an excuse – just make it! I will anxiously await your photos and thoughts.

    Patricia, Quinn is very smart indeed. He married me, right?

    Tara and Nick, welcome!

  27. Fantastic! I love it. Just cooked with hazelnuts the other night. Such a nice flavor.

    Thanks, sharona may

  28. Oh my days. My best friend in the world is the hugest cheesecake/chocolate/hazelnut fan, and I think I just found her birthday cake. Stunning.

  29. Thanks, Sharona May! I would hazelnuts right behind pecans for my favorite.

    Indigo, let me know what you think if you make it.

  30. Chocolate, more chocolate and hazelnuts – nothing wrong about this cake….fantastic!!!

  31. Thanks, Nina!

  32. Mmm, that looks to die for. I look forward to making this in the near future :]

  33. I wish it were my fork…and my slice of cake! Oh wow! This is so going on the baking list! Fabulous.
    P.S: I solved the mistery intruder’s identity and gave her a piece of my mind 🙂

  34. That looks divine! I like how it uses hazelnuts, most recipes I ahve seen like this always use almonds, but this sounds fab.

  35. I just recently found your site & I already love it! I’ve bookmarked at least 4 recipes. 🙂

    I just bought some hazelnuts & I’ve been dying to make mousse, so this recipe might be attempted sometime soon!

  36. Thanks, Tartelette! Good to know you’ve figured out your mystery. Very strange.

    Thanks, Katie! I don’t bake much with almonds. I mostly use pecans and hazelnuts, although I do try to branch out every once in a while. 😉

    Sarah, I’m glad you found me! Let me know what you think of the cake if you make it.

  37. Delicious, I love nutella. The photos are amazing, the mousse the ganache. Oh I want a piece!

  38. Thanks, Christine. Sadly, this is one dessert that didn’t last long. We do remember it fondly, though. 😉

  39. This looks absolutely delish!

  40. Thanks, Angie!

  41. first time here and it’s such a fine place!

    i found that same recipe a couple weeks ago and i’ve been dying to try it out! i’m so glad to read it was a great success. now i really can’t wait to make it!

    thanks for the insight.

  42. That looks really good, and I love the pictures!

  43. This is, by far, the most delicious looking cake I have ever seen. I can’t wait to try it. In fact, I may even make it for myself for my birthday. In fact there are a bunch of recipes you have posted that I would love to try, so thanks!

  44. kimmie, I’m glad you found me!

    Thanks, chocolate shavings!

    Tanja, thanks so much! I hope you like the cake. I made my own birthday cake last year, too.

  45. What tasty cake! Really make people want to bite it.

  46. I just made this for my sister-in-law’s birthday. It looks fantastic. I can’t wait to cut into it.

  47. Oh wow, this looks great too! He picks great desserts for his Birthday, mine gets carrot or german chocolate cakes-how plain. lol

  48. Hey………..that looks yummy

  49. I’m making a birthday cake and this looks beyond amazing!…But i got a idea to put this mousse cake in the middle of the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake recipe…Kinda like the german chocolate cheesecake recipe on this site!…Will my idea work??…just wondering.

  50. paolo, that might work. I think you’d definitely have to keep the whole thing refrigerated and your fingers crossed. Let me know how it works. Good luck!

  51. Thanks for responding!….Hopefully it will turn out the way i imagined it!

    I’ll definetly let you know on jan.16 then!;)

  52. Good news!….The cake turned out awesome!…And everybody loved it!…Including the birthday boy(me!)Lol….For the filling i used Nutella buttercream, Which was fanastic!…And i kept the shortbread cookie crust with the moussee and it gave the cake a good texture with the moist cake, creamy mousse, and the chewy goodness of the cookie!…And the top i just put the chocolate ganache!…If there was a name i would call it, It would be the “Ultimate Nutella Cake”…The only problem i had was that i didnt chill the mousse right so the cake did flatten the mousse a bit!…lol

    Here’s some pictures i took!…

    I took these pics like 10 minutes after i blew out the candles!…

  53. Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit! Thank you, Jen, for the delicious recipes and incredible pictures. Your posts never cease to amaze me!

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