Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

I will most likely be making it again for Christmas! I doubled the recipe for the chocolate hazelnut buttercream in order to frost the whole cake but for Christmas I think I’ll just make it as per the recipe and frost as a semi naked cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semi Naked Cake with Chocolate Ganache


Chocolate Cake (For 8 inch, 3 layer cake)

  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1½ cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. Line three 6 inch pans with parchment paper, apply butter to the pan and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat until combined.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by adding vanilla extract and milk.
  6. Add the dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk and beat until they combine well.
  7. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 mins until a toothpick or a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Unmold the cakes carefully to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese) at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella)
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream (at room temperature)

Frosting Directions:

  1. Beat butter until smooth and creamy and light in colour (about 10 min).
  2. Add the powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese and hazelnut spread, beat until it turns out smooth and creamy.
  3. Add cream as needed for desired consistency. Make sure that the frosting is not runny or too thick, it should be spreadable.
  4. If the frosting seems loose, refrigerate it for some time to thicken.

Chocolate Ganache Instructions:

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and combine with heavy cream.
  2. Temper the chocolate mix by either setting the bowl over a pan of simmering water, or microwave at a 30 second interval and stirring continuously until it completely melts.
  3. Ensure not to overheat or burn the mix as it will split and become unusable. Once melted, keep stirring to bring its temperature down until smooth and silky.

Final Assembly of the cake:

  1. Level the top surface of all the cakes by shaving off the uneven portions.
  2. Place your cake base on a turntable/cake stand.
  3. Apply little frosting on the center of the base and spread. This helps the cake to stick and not slide off.
  4. Place the bottom cake on the center on the cake base.
  5. Apply a generous amount of frosting on top of the cake in the center and level it leaving ½ inch gap from the edges of the cake with a ¾ to 1 inch thickness.
  6. Place the middle layer cake on top and press gently so that the excess frosting oozes out of the sides. Repeat step 5.
  7. Place the third/final cake upside down on top of the frosting, so that the flat bottom of the cake faces upwards. Gently press and using a spatula spread the oozed out frosting around the sides of the cake.
  8. Apply your crumb coat. Start by applying a very thin layer of frosting on top and around the cake, starting from the bottom to the top. Scrape down the excess frosting using a scraper to create a semi naked crumb coat. Finish with a small coating on top.
  9. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to set properly and then apply your final coat and continue using your scraper or palate knife to smooth the cake. If you have air bubbles, pop cake back in the fridge for 15 minutes, dab some more icing over the holes and continue to smooth. When cake is ready, refrigerate again for 30 minutes until thoroughly chilled.
  10. Pour the ganache over the chilled frosted cake. Quickly spread the ganache to the sides to create a polish finish on the top and to create the drip effect. Avoid further spreading.
  11. Pipe rosettes over the top of the cake and decorate with Ferrero Rocher.


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