This rich frosted chocolate hazelnut cake has all the flavor of Nutella in the form of a 9×13 cake! Perfect for a party but easy enough to make just because, it’s a treat for anyone who loves that famous chocolate hazelnut spread.
Rich Nutella Cake Recipe
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you won’t be shocked to learn that I have a weakness for Nutella—for evidence, look no further than my Nutella Banana Bread, Loaded Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies, and Nutella Pie. So naturally, when deciding on a cake for my birthday, I opted for this frosted chocolate hazelnut cake.
Not only does it feature one of my favorite flavor combinations, it’s also my favorite kind of dessert—simple and delicious. If you are a fan, too, then you’ll adore this cake.
Despite not containing any cocoa powder, this cake has a rich chocolate flavor from the Nutella spread. There’s no other chocolate present, yet it makes for a lovely chocolate cake with a nice, soft texture.
Then there’s the frosting—rich, thick frosting. Again, all the chocolate comes from chocolate-hazelnut spread. Add in some cream cheese, butter, and sugar, and you’ve got a mound of sweet, chocolate-y, fluffy frosting for the perfect finishing touch on this cake.
Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Recipe
Here’s what makes this rich chocolate cake a standout:
- Something a little different. Not that I’d ever turn down a slice of chocolate cake, but this frosted chocolate hazelnut cake is a little different than the same old, same old.
- Super easy to make. This isn’t a complicated recipe by any means, nor is it the kind of cake that requires leveling and layering and perfect piping.
- Tender crumb. The addition of sour cream makes for a moist, tender crumb. (While the word “moist” may not be music to your ears, it is exactly what we want in a cake recipe!)
- Perfect for celebrations—or any day of the week. Dress it up for a party or simply slather on the frosting for a weekday treat.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
For the cake:
- Blanched hazelnuts – Toast them in the oven or in a pan on the stovetop to bring out their nutty flavor.
- All-purpose flour – Here’s how to measure flour for baking.
- Baking powder and soda – For leavening the cake.
- Unsalted butter – Learn more: Unsalted or Salted Butter: Which is Better for Baking?
- Granulated sugar
- Dark brown sugar – Learn more: Light Brown Sugar vs Dark Brown Sugar: What’s the Difference?
- Chocolate-hazelnut spread – The most well-known brand is Nutella, but another variety is just fine, too.
- Vanilla extract – Either store-bought or homemade vanilla extract.
- Eggs – Let these come to room temperature along with the butter.
- Sour cream – Set this out at room temperature, too.
For the frosting:
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese – Use the kind that comes in a block, not a tub.
- Chocolate-hazelnut spread
- Confectioners’ sugar – Also known as powdered sugar.
What Is the Easiest Way to Blanch Hazelnuts?
The easiest option is to buy hazelnuts that are already blanched! Failing that, you can boil a cup of hazelnuts in 3 cups of water with 1/4 cup of baking soda for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and then remove the skins.
How to Make Frosted Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
While it might not be quite as easy as opening up a box of cake mix, this chocolate hazelnut cake recipe is simple enough for even beginning bakers. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan.
- Pulse the nuts and flour. Combine the hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of flour in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground hazelnut mixture.
- Cream the butter and sugars. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until they’re light and fluffy.
- Finish mixing the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate-hazelnut spread and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until combined, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Add the dry ingredients and sour cream. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with 2 portions of sour cream.
- Bake. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before frosting.
- Make the frosting. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, cream cheese, and chocolate-hazelnut spread until smooth, then slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar.
- Frost. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake and garnish with coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Tips for Success
Read over my baking tips for beginners, then follow these additional pointers for a perfect chocolate hazelnut cake:
- Let the hazelnuts cool. If they’re piping hot, they’ll melt the chocolate-hazelnut spread and butter, and even potentially cook the eggs. This would spell disaster for your batter.
- Soften the butter. Let the butter for both the cake and the frosting come to room temperature. This makes it easier to beat. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
- Sift the confectioners’ sugar. Even if your sugar doesn’t look lumpy, little clumps can hide in the bag or box—and you won’t find them until you’re spreading the frosting onto your cake.
- Line the pan for easy removal. If you’d like, line the pan with parchment paper and then grease the paper and pan. This will allow you to easily lift the cake out of the pan before frosting, cutting, and serving.
This frosted chocolate hazelnut cake recipe is delicious as written, but you can make some simple tweaks to put your own spin on it.
- Make it festive by swapping the chopped hazelnuts on top with sprinkles.
- Top the cake with fresh berries for a pop of color.
- Mix finely chopped toasted hazelnuts into the frosting for extra crunch.
- Garnish with coarsely chopped Ferrero Rocher candies.
How to Store
This cake will keep at room temperature, covered, for a day. If you want to store it longer, wrap the cake with plastic wrap in the pan or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
You can freeze this cake in the pan or in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
More Recipes With Hazelnuts
- Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
- Hazelnut Macaroons
- Cinnamon Hazelnut Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
- Chocolate Hazelnut Oat Bars
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies