This delicious chocolate hazelnut cake recipe features moist chocolate sponge cake alternated with Nutella and cream cheese-spiked frosting. So decadent!
Calling all Nutella lovers! This cake is for you and puts your favorite chocolate hazelnut spread to good work. Not only is the cake cream spiked with the beloved spread, but the chocolate and hazelnut flavors are reflected throughout the entire cake. Perfect for everything from birthdays to Christmas dinner!
Chocolate Sponge Cake 101
For this recipe, you’ll need to prepare a chocolate sponge cake from scratch. Our version only requires 4 ingredients – large eggs, all-purpose flour, sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder. The batter is super simple to whip up and the cake can be used as the base for so many different cakes.
Tools You’ll Need to Make Sponge Cake
A couple of kitchen tools will make baking a sponge cake a no-brainer.
- Round Cake Pan – You’ll need one 9-inch cake pan to make the sponge cake. If you want a taller cake, you can use a 7-inch pan.
- Stand Mixer – A stand mixer with a whisk attachment will make whipping the eggs so much easier. This is key to getting that fluffy and airy texture you want in a sponge cake!
- Toothpicks – The best way to check if the sponge cake is fully cooked is by using the old-fashioned toothpick test. Stick it into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s ready!
- Wire Rack – You’ll want to cool the cake layers on a wire rack before slicing them in half.
How to Prepare Our Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
As baking goes, you must pay attention to the steps closely and mind the measurements. Otherwise, the process is quite straightforward.
- Prepare the Sponge Cake: First, bake chocolate sponge cake and slice it into three layers. The layers will be thin.
- Toast the Hazelnuts: Next, toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven.
- Make the Cake Cream: Whip the dulce de leche, cream cheese, and Nutella together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Stack & Frost the Cake Layers: Next, place a cake layer on a plate covered with foil. Apply a layer of frosting on top, followed by a layer of chopped hazelnuts. Repeat as you stack the cake layers on one another, leaving the top layer unfrosted for now.
- Frost the Outside of the Cake: Frost the cake layers with the remaining frosting and pop the cake into the refrigerator.
- Make the Chocolate Ganache: Next, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat and pour it over the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Stir or whisk until smooth. This ganache recipe has more tips for success!
- Pipe the Chocolate Ganache: Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off, pipe the chocolate alongside the edges, letting it drizzle off the sides. Pipe more chocolate in the center and spread it into a thin layer on top. Sprinkle hazelnuts along the edges.
- Refrigerate the Cake: Lastly, place the cake in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to let it set. Bon appetit!
Tips for a Bakery-Style Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
Follow these foolproof pointers to get a cake worthy of any bakery case.
- Allow the sponge cake to cool completely before slicing into it. When preparing your sponge cake for this recipe, allow the cake to cool before you horizontally slice it into thirds. This will prevent it from breaking.
- Use room temperature ingredients for the frosting. To make the process of whipping the cake cream ingredients that much easier, use room temperature Nutella, cream cheese, and dulce de leche.
- Allow the cake to rest overnight. While you can get away with a 2-3 hour rest in the refrigerator, allowing it to sit overnight is the best. This gives the cake time to develop its flavors and turn ridiculously moist!
Storing Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
To keep your cake on hand for up to a week (although it’s doubtful it will last that long), store it in an airtight cake container. If you’re a regular baker, a container specifically made for cakes is life-changing. Not only does it prevent the cake from soaking up lingering smells in the fridge, but it also helps protect its shape.
What ingredient makes a chocolate hazelnut cake moist?
While most people credit butter for making cake moist, it’s sugar that can take most of the credit. Without getting too sciencey, this is because sugar attracts and holds onto the water during the baking process.
How do you keep your chocolate sponge cake from sinking?
The most common reason that sponge cake sinks is inaccurate oven temperature. If your oven runs hotter, the cake will brown faster on the outside and not cook on the inside. If it runs cooler, it will appear golden brown on the outside but remain uncooked in the center. This is the perfect storm to make your cake sink.
Should you use semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips for chocolate ganache?
Most cakes are already sweet enough with frosting, so if you’re adding ganache it’s best to opt for semi-sweet chocolate chips. That said, if you’re a sugar addict, you can use milk chocolate.
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is just cooked sweetened condensed milk and has a rich, milky, and caramel-like flavor. You can make it yourself with our Instant Pot Dulce de Leche recipe, or buy it in a can at most grocery stores.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes to Try
- Spartak Cake – Chocolate layer cake
- Cake Prague – Slavic-style chocolate cake
- Strawberry Chocolate Cake – Chocolate covered strawberries in cake form
- Chocolate Nutella Banana Cake – Moist banana cake with Nutella frosting
- 1 chocolate sponge cake
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 14 oz dulce de leche
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Nutella room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Bake one chocolate sponge cake in a 9 inch pan. Once cooled, slice each cake into three even layers (they will be thin layers).
- Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Whip the dulce de leche, cream cheese, butter, and Nutella together until smooth.
- Cover a plate with foil. Place the first cake layer on the plate and apply a layer of frosting on top of it.
- Sprinkle on some chopped hazelnuts on top of the frosting. Repeat the process with the remaining cake layers, leaving the top layer unfrosted.
- Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Pop the cake in the refrigerator to set.
- Bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil. Pour it over the chocolate chips in a medium bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir the mixture until smooth and creamy and let it cool to room temperature.
- Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off, pipe the chocolate along the edge of the cake, allowing the chocolate to drizzle down the sides. Pipe some of the chocolate in the center of the cake and spread it across evenly with a spatula.
- Scatter some hazelnuts on the outer edges of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 2-3 hours. Slice and enjoy!
I just made this for myself' bday 🎂..really yummy! Easy to follow, love the hazelnut..perfect! Thank you for sharing.
HI there! I am so delighted to hear that the recipe was a success! Thank you for the feedback. Happy New Year!
Can I use peanuts if I can’t find hazelnuts will it taste good ?
Hi Dee, I have not used peanuts as a replacement in this recipe. I think the taste will change completely, though it will still be very tasty. If you end up giving it a try, please let me know how it turned out. I am very interested.
Such an easy cake to make yet so delicious. I did double the recipe and make a chocolate cake and then a regular white cake and mixed the layers to not have the cake so chocolatey. And I soaked the chocolate layers because I found that the chocolate cake turned out too dry.
Yuliya, I love the idea of soaking up the cake. Thank you for sharing this feedback.Happy Holiday Season.
Delicious - I made this for my husbands birthday and it was a hit!
So glad to hear this recipe was a success, Melissa! Thank you for your feedback.
I made this for a friend's birthday party and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Thats amazing to hear, Olivia! So glad it was a hit!
My husband loves hazelnuts, so I wanted to give this a try. It was a huge hit! Almost too pretty to eat with the drips down the side - but we still devoured it! 🙂
Hi Kara, So glad to hear this recipe was a success! Enjoy!
Hi, I want to make this cake for my husband’s bday but I am worried it will be too sweet. We love cakes but nothing too sweet. How can I make it less sweet? Can I add more cream cheese or reduce the amount of Nutella and dulce de leche? Thank you
Hi Thamy- you could possibly reduce the amount of dulce de leche but I haven't tried doing so. I think with the heavy cream, cream cheese, butter and especially the hazelnuts etc the flavor is balanced. You can always add more cream cheese if you prefer instead. Just watch the frosting consistency so that it's still spreadable and not too thick or thin. Enjoy!
I am so excited to try this out. Rather than just the roasted hazelnut in between layers can I do a hazelnut praline ?
Hi Lily- I don't see why not! The pralines will probably make it a bit sweeter, but it does sound like a delicious variation! Enjoy!
Amazingg cake 😋 I had it made for my baby shower (except I had the crème on the outside stay white not chocolate) and everyone was devouring it. Thank you!
You're very welcome, Alla. Also, congratulations on your baby!
today is my moms b-day
Happy birthday to your mom! Is this the cake you're making for her birthday?
I was wondering if instead of nuts, would strawberries be ok for in between layers?
Hey Mary, yes, strawberries would be great.
Hi there, I’m baking this cake tonight but wondering about the sponge cake recipe, how many of these do you make for layering? My cake only rose to about an inch and a half once fully baked, and I’m making another one so that I can add a second layer. Seems something is not right as your description shows quite a high layered cake?
Hey Mary, when making a cake you may need 2 of them. Hope you love the outcome!
Do you use semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate? Looking forward to making this for my husbands birthday cake in a few weeks!
Hi Wendy, you can use either. I prefer using semi-sweet, the cake has rich flavors.
Hi- Is the sponge cake recipe linked, the same as the Chocolate sponge cake called for in the recipe?
Hey Emily, yes that is correct. I shared under Hot tip on how to make this a chocolate sponge cake. I think eventually I may separate them out to create less confusion for people. Thanks for clarifying.
Thank you for this recipe! I am from the UK and “Dulce the leche” isn’t a common item found in stores ...can it be substituted with something else? Many thanks in advance!
Hi Gulsen, dulce de leche is simply cooked condensed milk. Here is how you can make it: https://momsdish.com/easy-ins…
Thank you for getting back to me! This looks easy enough 👍🏻🤞🏻
I hope you love the recipe! Let me know how it goes.
Ma’am if I want to soak the cake which will be better sugar syrup or coffee
Oh coffee will add such a great flavor. I love that idea but either one would work
Ma’am I want to try this receipe. Can I get the link for cocoa sponge cake....the ingredients for the cocoa spongecake
Hey dear, here is the link for the sponge cake: https://momsdish.com/recipe/9…
Ma’am thanks for your reply.Can I know whether the batter of sugar and should be stiff or flowing ribbon like. Which is the correct texture required for the sponge cake
Hey Renrac, it should be flowing. It shouldn't be stiff.
What type of cocoa powder do you use in this recipe dutch processed or natural? And if either what will the difference be taste wise?
Hey Reine, it really depends on what I have on hand. Most of the time I use dutch processed because it has a deeper flavor and color. But either one of them would work in this recipe.
Can I replace the chocolate sponge cake with a classic chocolate cake?
Hi Samia, yes for sure. I hope you love the recipe.
I am planning to make this recipe. But I dont have hazelnuts. should i leave it out or walnuts works? . I am new in baking cake, been reading the comments about soaking a cake to milk or sugar. How is that process? should I prep milk and place the cake and soak for few minutes or how? LOL. I cannot visualize the soaking part. Thank you
Hey Grace, you can definitely use walnuts. For soaking, you just drizzle the cake with sweet milk. Enjoy it!
Thank you. I already made it for my son's 6th birthday tomorrow. I was going to share a photo but seems I cant. It was really nice and thank you for the recipe
You can join our Momsdish community on Facebook, I would love to see the photo there.
Turned out amazing!! This recipe is a keeper!
Jenya, thank you for sharing! I am so glad you loved it!
Natalya, do you think I can substitute 1/2 of the butter with 8 more Oz cream cheese (so I want to use a total of 1/2 cup butter and 16 Oz of cream cheese) ? My family isn't a fan of butter cream Frosting, and since this is the first time ever I'm making a cake I want to be sure I won't screw it up. Thank you!
Yes, you can definitely replace the butter with cream cheese.
Delicious frosting! I made it with my own chocolate cake recipe with some amaretto in the cake mix, but everything else was same. Took to dinner at a fish house for a birthday dinner with friends, even strangers oohed and ahhed over it! We had a lot so we gave them a few slices. Rave reviews from all! One fellow shook my hand! lol! Frosting is excellent, sweet but perfect with the ganache and nuts. Adding this to my recipe book and I don't add many! Thank you!
Oh my goodness! such an awesome review. Made my smile! So glad it turned out so beautiful for you, sounds like you guys made some new friends! 🙂
Do these cake need to be soaked with anything? It’s not too dry without soaking?
It’s butter cream cake. It’s up to you if you want to soak it. Usually I don’t.
Does the cream frosting require cream cheese, or can that be subbed out for something else?
You can replace it with butter.
I am going to make this cake for my sis bday. How do you make dulce de leche?
I usually buy them at Walmart in Hispanic section. But here is my friends blog that shares details on how you can make it at home: http://natashaskitchen.com/20…
The recipe says one sponge cake cut in half to make two pieces. However in your pictures of the step by step recipe, your have four pieces. Am I missing something?
There is a note about this in description of the cake recipe. "For this recipe you will need to bake one 7 inch Cacao Sponge Cake (click link for the recipe), divide dough into two baking pans so it bakes better. Or if you wish to make an 11 inch cake, then bake two Cacao Sponge Cakes and double the cream."
Do you mean you will need two 7” sponge cakes using the one sponge cake recipe from the link?
The sponge cake makes a 9-inch cake. So you would make two 7-inch sponge cakes instead. Hope this helps.
I am also confused by this - you say bake the 9” recipe in two 7” tins instead. Then it says spilt the cake evenly - does this mean you now have four layers?
Hey Dee, yes, you would have 4 layers in the cake. Hope this helps.
I want to make this cake tall and a little wider. What if i used the same recipe of 5 eggs and sugar per one layer and cook seperately and then beat up another 5 eggs with the sugar it needed for another layer. And then cut all in half to make 4 layers. And just double the cream.
My question is, is there such thing as too much "cake" in a cake? or will it equal out since there will double cream. Like could it be possible to have too much of a thickness of cake layer? I do want a tall and wider cake. What do you think?
Also do you think this cream can make a swirl on top for decoration? will it stand or melt?
If you want larger cake just double up the ingredients on everything or add just 1/2 more. It hard to understand from your comment what exactly you are trying to double up. I would increase all ingredients by same percentage so you get same results.