For a beautiful, eye-catching dessert, this Double Nut Chocolate Cake is just the thing, with a nutty chocolate frosting between layers of chocolate and vanilla cake!
Chocolate Nut Cake with Hazelnuts and Pecans
This over-the-top, decadent Double Nut Chocolate Cake is such a beauty and absolutely worth every calorie. It’s a three layer cake consisting of two white hazelnut cakes and one chocolate hazelnut cake. Between those layers is a bit of hazelnut liqueur and a very, very chocolate filling with a bit of a pecan crunch. It’s pretty much everything I love rolled into one dessert.
The first time I made this cake, it was our first Thanksgiving in New York, and it was just the two of us. After sharing it with others in our building, I was pleasantly reminded how easily you can make friends with baked goods.
Double Nut Chocolate Cake is the kind of cake that’s great for the holidays because you can share it with everyone. It’s very rich, so I usually only want a very small slice per sitting.
What You’ll Need
This is a long-ish list of ingredients, but most of them are fairly common ones you may already have in your kitchen. Be sure to go for the good chocolate in this chocolate-centric dessert!
For the cake:
- All-purpose flour – Measure by weight if possible. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method.
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter – Set out the butter about half an hour before baking to allow it to soften.
- Brown sugar
- Eggs – Set these out as well so they won’t be cold when added to the batter.
- White vinegar – This works with the baking soda to give the cake its light, moist texture.
- Hazelnuts – Toasting the hazelnuts (either in the oven or on the stovetop) gives the cake more flavor.
- Vanilla extract
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – Use natural cocoa powder, not Dutch-process because of the baking soda in the recipe.
For the frosting:
- Hazelnut liqueur – Frangelico is a common brand. You can also substitute a different liqueur or omit it.
- Semisweet or milk chocolate – The cake you see in these photos was made with semisweet chocolate, which is my preference. You can use chocolate chips or chocolate baking bars.
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Double Nut Chocolate Cake
You’ll be making cake batter as well as a frosting. You’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, a large heavy saucepan, and three 8-inch cake pans.
Make the cake layers:
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, and grease the paper.
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Combine the wet ingredients. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it’s creamy. Add the brown sugar gradually, and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Combine the water and vinegar in a separate bowl.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of the water/vinegar mixture. Mix in the vanilla and the chopped hazelnuts.
Portion the batter. Pour a third of the batter into one of the prepared pans. Repeat with a second pan.
Make the chocolate cake batter. Fold the cocoa powder into the remaining cake batter; then pour into the third pan.
Bake the cake layers. The cakes will need 19 to 21 minutes to bake. They’re done when a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake layers. Place the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment paper, and allow to cool completely.
Make the frosting:
Melt the chocolate and butter. Place them in a heavy saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
Add the pecans and vanilla. Stir them into the partially cooled chocolate mixture. Continue cooling and keep stirring occasionally until it has a spreading consistency. This can take about 45 minutes.
Brush the liqueur over the cake layers. A pastry brush works well for this.
Assemble and frost the cake. First, place one of the vanilla cake layers on a serving plate; spread a third of the frosting on the top of the cake. Next, place the chocolate cake layer on top; spread with half of the remaining frosting. Finally, place the remaining vanilla cake layer on top; spread the remaining frosting on top. Allow the cake to set before serving.
Tips for Success
- Weigh the cake batter. The easiest, most accurate way to divide the cake batter evenly is to divide it by weight. Before mixing, weigh the mixing bowl. After mixing, weigh again and subtract the weight of the bowl. Divide that number by three, and you’ll know how much batter should be in each portion.
- Use good quality chocolate. This matters not just for flavor but for melting smoothly.
- Plan ahead. This is not a difficult cake to make, but it does take some time. You’ll also need to factor in time to let the frosting cool and at least a few hours after the cake is assembled to allow it to set.
How to Store Leftovers
Keep the cake covered in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To freeze the cake, wrap individual slices in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Then wrap again in aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe bag or container. Stored properly, it should keep for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.