Chocolate Nutella Cake

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We have fallen in love with this decadent Chocolate Nutella Cake recipe! A filling of Nutella and Nutella Buttercream is sandwiched between moist, rich cake layers for a flavorful dessert that is as delicious as it is impressive!

I love the usual go-to chocolate layer cake flavor combinations like Oreo Cake, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake, Almond Joy Cake, etc. but a Chocolate and Hazelnut recipe like this one just feels extra special and unique (not to mention the flavor is amazing!)

This Moist and Delicious Chocolate Nutella Cake has the perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnuts!

What is Nutella?

Nutella is a deliciously creamy spread, with it's most flavorful & prominent ingredients being hazelnuts and cocoa.

Who invented it?

The first version of Nutella was invented by pastry chef Pietro Ferrero (founder of Ferrero SpA) in the mid 1940s after WWII when cocoa powder was scarce.

He shaped a paste of hazelnuts, sugar, and a little cocoa powder into loaves which were sliced and served with bread. 

In the early 50's, he created a spreadable version, Supercrema, which his son, Michele, eventually modified and marketed as Nutella. It was an instant success in Europe and over the years this delicious spread has become a beloved staple worldwide. 

That's your little history lesson for the day! Nutella is amazing as a spread for bread, a dip for fruit, and it has made it's way into countless desserts. Really, any dessert you can think of probably as a Nutella version.

I don't know what took us so long to have a Nutella cake but I'm happy to tell you that it was worth the wait! Let's get to it.

 

Moist and Delicious Chocolate Nutella Cake- This recipe has the perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnut.

How to Make a Chocolate Nutella Cake

For today's Nutella Cake, the Nutella flavor comes from the filling and frosting.

We used our scratch Classic Chocolate Cake recipe but any of of our chocolate cake recipes would be perfect for this recipe (including our Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Sour Cream Cake, Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe, Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Box Mix, and more)! 

Freezing the Layers (optional step)

After baking my cake layers, if time allows, I like to wrap the cake layers individually while still warm in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for at least a few hours.

This makes them extra moist!  If you are baking well in advance, you can freeze the cake layers for up to three months! They will taste as fresh as the day that you baked them as long as they were wrapped tightly in plastic wrap & foil!

Thawing the Layers

Before decorating, thaw the layers while still wrapped for at least 15-20 minutes or until condensation forms on the wrapping. Then remove the foil and continue thawing.

Freezing is an optional step, if you are in a rush, you can skip this step altogether and simply allow the cake layers to cool before filling and frosting.

Assembling the Nutella Cake

This is a three layer (eight inch) cake which means two layers filling- hooray! I love three layer cakes for this reason-- another layer of filling means another layer of flavor.

For today's cake, we have the perfect balance of hazelnut and chocolate. So goood!

First, you'll place the first cake layer onto your pedestal or cake base of choice. Then, spread the layer with Nutella, stopping about ¼ inch from the edge all the way around.

I didn't spread the Nutella extremely thick, but enough to ensure that the flavor would come through. Maybe about ⅛inch thickness or so. 

 

This delicious Chocolate Nutella Cake consists of chocolate layers and a filling of Nutella and Nutella buttercream.

 

I followed that with a layer of our Nutella Buttercream Frosting. Then placed the middle chocolate cake layer on top and repeated the filling. Finally, I topped it all off with our last chocolate cake layer.

Chocolate Nutella Cake recipe! This delicious cake consists of decadent chocolate cake layers and a filling of Nutella and Nutella Buttercream Frosting!

 

Settling the Cake

Why Should Cakes be Settled?

Settling the cake is an optional step but something that I always make time for. It prevents bulges that can appear over time after the cake has been frosted.

All layer cakes are going to settle a little bit. It's inevitable, especially if the cakes have a decent amount of filling or the cakes are on the softer side.

If you frost a cake without settling it first, it will still settle, but it will cause little bulges of frosting or filling around the sides of the cake as it happens. Ugh!

The Steps

What I like to do is to fill the cake, wrap the tier in plastic wrap, and place a weight of some sort on top. This might be a couple of stacked cake pans, a book, or whatever you like.

It should be able to cover the entire top of the cake with a *light* but steady pressure.

How long to settle Cakes

Let the weight work it's magic for a few hours or overnight. Then unwrap and continue! (Of course, if your fillings are perishable, you'll want to refrigerate)!

Frosting the Cake

I frosted the sides and top of the cake with our Hazelnut buttercream using a small offset spatula. I first filled in any gaps between the cake layers with frosting, then crumb coated the cake with a thin layer of frosting, and followed up with the final coat.

I used a bench scraper to smooth the frosting around the sides, and used my spatula to carry any excess frosting around the top edge of the cake toward the center. Then I placed the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm things up before smoothing out any remaining imperfections with a hot spatula (heated with hot water) and a little fresh buttercream here and there as needed. 

I do notice that smoothing a chilled cake with a hot spatula can sometimes give the frosting a marbled or swirled look-- just slightly. I like it though! If you want to avoid this, you can still chill the cake but smooth over imperfections with a room temperature spatula or bench scraper. 

I used an 8B piping tip to add stars around the top of the cake, and placed chocolate covered hazelnuts on top of every other one to finish things off! So pretty!

 Moist and Delicious Chocolate Nutella Layer Cake Recipe!

 

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Chocolate Nutella Cake

This Decadent Chocolate Nutella Cake is so moist and delicious! It has the perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnuts!

Decadent chocolate layers with Nutella and Nutella buttercream filling & frosting! So good! You will love this chocolate hazelnut cake!

Ingredients

For the Classic Chocolate Cake I use the reverse creaming method with this recipe

  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 2 ¾ cup (322g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (82g) unsweetened cocoa (lightly spoon into cup then sift)
  • 2 teaspoons ((10g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften in microwave) I cut the butter into 1 inch pieces onto waxed paper leaving on the countertop for 8 to 10 minutes it will still be quite cool when adding to the dry ingredients. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a few minutes
  • ¼ cup (54g) vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1cup (220g) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (220) hot coffee, it can be instant or brewed

For the Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup (280g) Nutella Spread to make the buttercream {We bought a 26.5oz Jar so that we had additional Nutella for spreading on the layers}
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional) the salt cuts the sweetness of the buttercream
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons (45g to 60g) milk, more if needed to reach the consistency you like
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract

Decoration

  • Chocolate covered hazelnuts for the top of the cake
  • 6B Piping Tip or your french tip/large star tip of choice for decorative accents.

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour THREE 8 inch cake pans
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute to blend.
  4. Add softened butter a few pieces at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Mix until the dry ingredients look like coarse sand and the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk , oil and vanilla until blended.
  6. Method is important when using the Reverse Creaming Method. With the mixer on low speed, SLOWLY add approximately ½ of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 ½ minutes at medium speed. Don't mix above medium speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, beating for 20 seconds after each pour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
  7. Slowly add the cup of hot coffee and mix another 30 seconds until blended. The batter will be very runny. Don't worry!
  8. Pour into 3 prepared 8" pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cakes 10 minutes on a rack and then turn out of the pans.
  10. *Yields approx 9 cups of batter.
  11. Making cupcakes? Check out our Classic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe (conventional method of mixing for fluffier cupcakes).

For the Nutella Buttercream Frosting

1.  In the bowl of your mixer add the butter and salt,  mix on medium speed until it is softened and smooth.  Add the Nutella, mix until blended.

2.  Gradually add the powdered sugar alternately with the milk.  Add vanilla and mix on medium speed 4 to 5 minutes until smooth.

Makes almost 5 cups frosting

Assembly of Cake

Place the first layer of cake on a pedestal or cake base.

Spread with Nutella, taking it to about ¼ inch from the edge of the layer. (I spread the Nutella to about a ⅛ inch thickness. Adjust to your liking, although if you want a thick layer of Nutella, you should pipe a dam of buttercream around it.

Follow with a layer of Nutella Buttercream. Add the second layer of cake followed by more Nutella spread and Nutella Buttercream.

Top it off with the third cake layer.

Fill in any gaps between the layers with frosting and frost the cake. We used a 6B french tip to create stars around the top edge of the cake which we topped with chocolate covered hazelnuts.

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25 Comments

  1. Hi! I'm attempting to make a castle cake for my son's birthday. 3 - 9x13 layers. Should I double both of the cake and frosting recipes?

  2. Hi Keturah, This recipe makes 9 cups of batter of batter. A 9x13 sheet cake pan can hold 7 cups of batter so for 3 pans you will need 21 cups. I don't know how much batter your mixing bowl will hold. Just to double the recipe would be 18 cups. I think it would good to double the frosting recipe. Below is a cake batter chart that you might find helpful. Hope all goes well.

  3. Thank you for your prompt reply! I so appreciate it and will continue to use your site for guidance and tips.

    Be well :)

  4. I have made so many of your cakes which all turn out amazing. I am going to try this one as my daughter has requested a Nutella cake - which of course would be her favorite. Thank you again for sharing all your wonderful recipes.

  5. Hi Bee, If you would like to reduce the salt in the Nutella Buttercream frosting to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, it is fine to do so. Salt cuts the sweetness of the recipe. You can even leave it out of the recipe.

  6. Hi,I need only two 8inch layers so I guess I should split the recipe in 2/3, how much baking powder and soda should i use then? I guess it will be 13/4 flour for 2 layers, pls help me

  7. Hi Lisa, I would not do more than cutting the recipe in half, you would have 2 1/4 cups batter for each pan. An 8x2 inch round pan can hold 3 cups batter. If you want taller layers I would make the whole recipe. You will have 3 cups for batter leftover for cupcakes or an additional cake layer that could be frozen for up to 2 months if wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

  8. Hi , can I remove the coffee from this cake? We all don’t like coffee but not sure it will throw out the consistency?

    1. Hi Symone, you won't taste the coffee but if you prefer to skip it, you can substitute hot water instead!