This Chocolate Nutella cake is a perfect dessert for chocolate and hazelnut lovers! It's a gorgeous combination of moist chocolate sponge cakes, luxurious Nutella mousseline cream (German buttercream) as filling and frosting, and chopped hazelnut as decoration! This lovely layered cake is sure to impress your guests at any dinner or birthday celebration!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It's easy- This is a super easy Nutella cake recipe that is beginner-friendly! You can follow this detailed guide with easy-to-find ingredients and simple steps!
- From scratch recipe - Yes, using a cake mix might sound easy and quick. However, the taste and flavors definitely superior when making from-scratch recipes. This way, you can easily achieve a super moist and tender cake with incredible flavors.
- It's super delicious - I never compromise on taste! This irresistible Nutella chocolate cake is wonderfully packed with chocolate and hazelnut flavors in every single bite!
- No fancy equipment is needed- You will need the basic baking tools such as an oven, digital kitchen scale, electric hand mixer, cake pan, and other simple things to make this dreamy Nutella chocolate cake recipe.
- It looks so pretty! - This cake looks as good as it tastes, can be a star at any dinner table!
📝 Ingredient notes
For the Chocolate sponge layers
- All-purpose flour - All-purpose flour works best for this recipe or any low protein content flour! If you want to learn more about different types of flour, do check out my flour guide.
- Eggs - Make sure that the eggs are at room temperature. It's important to achieve the best emulsification.
- Cocoa powder - Use only unsweetened, dutch-processed cocoa powder for the Chocolate cake layers. The base of this Nutella cake is chocolate cake layers and the cocoa powder will provide the chocolate flavor and color.
- Sugar: We will use both brown sugar and granulated white sugar for this Nutella cake recipe. If you're interested in learning about the different kinds of sugar used in baking, do check out my sugar guide.
- Baking soda and baking powder: This duo will nicely increase the volume of the cake and make the texture lighter. For more info check my baking powder article and baking soda article.
- Salt: Use a little amount of it to balance the sweetness and overall flavor!
- Vegetable oil: Use oil instead of butter to make the chocolate sponge layers. There are various vegetable oil out there, do choose the one with no flavor
- Milk - Whole milk at room temperature. Milk and coffee are the liquid ingredients of this chocolate cake layer, which means they need to be added in the correct amount so you can achieve the right consistency of the cake mixture.
- Coffee - You can brew espresso at home and use it the cake batter. Coffee will wonderfully enhance the chocolatey flavor of your cake. No, the cake won't taste like coffee!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the Nutella frosting
This frosting is super light and nothing like the typical Nutella buttercream frosting or Chocolate buttercream! No need to use an extensive amount of sugar, nor heavy cream. Check my Nutella frosting post for more details.
- Milk - Use whole milk for the creaming texture
- Egg - We'll only need the yolk of the eggs. Also, make sure that the eggs are at room temperature so they can blend nicely.
- Sugar - Simple, granulated white sugar will be fine in this recipe. Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar to your preference. Be sure to check out my sugar guide to learn about sugar.
- Corn starch - Along with plain flour, this ingredient will add some thickness to the frosting.
- Flour - All-purpose flour (a.k.a. plain flour) will do the job. If you're interested in learning more about flour, please check out my flour guide.
- Chocolate - Only use semi-sweet, good-quality chocolate as it will significantly affect the taste. Finely chop the chocolate before mixing it into the mixture.
- Nutella - It's the highlight of this cake! Nutella, this iconic chocolate hazelnut spread is of course a must to make Nutella cake.
- Butter - Use only unsalted batter. This way, you can control the saltiness of the mixture more easily. Make sure that the butter is at room temperature. It needs to be soft, but not melted.
- Cocoa powder - Use good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make chocolate sponges
This Chocolate cake recipe is super easy and you can start by gathering all of the ingredients.
Don't forget to use a digital kitchen scale so you can get the most accurate measurements. Then, preheat the oven to 180C/356 F (no fan).
After that, follow these steps:
- Prepare the cake pan. You will need 3 round cake pans of the same size (15 cm/16 inch). Grease them and line them with parchment paper.
- In a big bowl, whip together the egg, oil, sugar, coffee, and milk for 1-2 minutes. These are "wet ingredients".
- In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. These will be the "dry ingredients". Sifting is important to avoid any lumps in the batter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold them carefully until combined.
- Grab the cake pans. Divide the batter equally into those 3 pans - use a digital kitchen scale.
- Your cake batter is ready to bake. Now, check the oven temperature using a digital oven thermometer to make sure that the interior temperature suits this cake.
- Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes. During the final minutes, insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the cakes. If it comes out clean, your cakes are ready.
- Let the moist chocolate cakes cool completely on the cooling rack. Then, let them chill in the fridge before assembling the cake
💡 Top Tip: Cold ingredients don't emulsify well. So, make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature before mixing eg. milk, coffee, and eggs
2. How to make Nutella frosting
Since it's not a regular Nutella buttercream, there is some process to follow. We're going to start with making a chocolate pastry cream. I have a more detailed post about how to make Nutella frosting, check it out if you want to learn more.
- Grab a mixing bowl and a hand whisk. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until slightly fluffy. It will take about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch and flour to the mixture. Continue mixing. Combine them very well until it becomes a smooth paste.
- Grab a saucepan and heat the milk over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, remove it from the heat.
- Then, pour it over the previous mixture and whisk vigorously.
- Pour back the combined mixture into the saucepan. Cook it over medium heat until it gets thicker. It will take about 2-3 minutes. Use a hand whisk to whisk it until it gets smooth and glossy. If it gets lumpy, you can strain it after cooking to avoid any lumps.
- Mix the chocolate into the mixture in 3 batches. Combine them using a rubber spatula until incorporated well.
- Pour the mixture over a shallow bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to avoid the air drying out the surface.
Preparing the Nutella frosting
The next step is converting the chocolate pastry cream into Nutella buttercream frosting. Don't worry, it's super easy!
- Make sure that the chocolate pastry cream has cooled to room temperature. Also, make sure that the unsalted butter is soft at room temperature, not melted.
- Whip the soft butter for a few minutes. Then, mix in the cocoa powder and Nutella. Keep whipping for 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually add the chocolate pastry cream in 4 batches. Keep whipping until the cream has a stable, fluffy texture.
- You can refrigerate the cream for an hour before assembling the cake
Besides cakes, this frosting is perfect also for frosting cupcakes. Check my Nutella cupcakes recipe.
💡 Top Tip: Avoid overwhipping this Nutella frosting. Once it reaches the perfect consistency, stop whipping. Otherwise, the frosting will get runny.
3. How to assemble the cake
We're going to assemble the chocolate sponge cakes with the Nutella frosting and finish our Nutella chocolate cake! However, remember that the frosting is needed for filling and decorating as well so make sure you leave some for the decorating part.
- Start assembling the cake from bottom to top. Fill each layer with 200 grams of Nutella frosting using an offset spatula.
- Repeat the same process for the second cake layer. Again, make sure that the frosting is applied evenly.
- Finally, place the third layer of chocolate sponge cake on top
- Let the cake chill for an hour before finalizing
- Chill the cake for 30 minutes before applying the crumb coat
- Then, chill the cake again for 30 minutes and apply the final frosting
- Again, chill the cake for 1 hour before proceeding with the decoration
For the decoration, place the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with star nozzle top and pipe decoration on top. Apply some roasted chopped hazelnut on top and at the sides of the cake. You can also get creative by adding some chocolate shavings or pouring Nutella on top of the cake!
💡 Top Tip: Make sure that the filling is evenly and symmetrically applied so that the final cake will look nice and firm. Uneven fillings may cause the cake to "slide" or even fall.
🎓 Expert tips
- Always measure the ingredients using a digital kitchen scale. Cup measurements aren't always accurate.
- Make sure that all ingredients for the cake batter and the frosting are at room temperature. Cold or warm ingredients can ruin the consistency of the mixture.
- Grease the pans and line them with parchment paper so you can easily remove the cakes after baking.
- Avoid overmixing the Nutella frosting. Once it gets stable and fluffy, stop the whipping process right away.
- Refrigerate the cake before applying the Nutella frosting. The temperature of the cake is super important during the assembling process. If the cake is too warm, the filling will get runny and it can lead to sliding cake layers.
🥣 Equipment Notes
To measure the ingredients, be sure to use a digital kitchen scale. It will help you achieve the best accuracy!
To prepare the batter, you can use an electric hand mixer and rubber spatula. Yep, you don't need a stand mixer. Then, pour the batter into three cake pans of the same size (15 cm/6 inch round cake pans).
Before the actual baking process, remember to check the oven temperature using a digital oven thermometer.
After the baking, you can put the cake layers on a cooling rack to let them cool down.
As for the assembling process, you can use a cake turntable and offset spatula to easily apply the frosting.
You can easily sprinkle some roasted chopped hazelnut and pipe the same Nutella frosting that you use to fill the cake on top of the cake as well!
You can start with chocolate pastry cream at room temperature. Whip the soft butter, cocoa powder, and Nutella until combined. Then, whip in the chocolate pastry cream in 4 steps. It's a luxurious "Nutella cake filling" with gorgeous flavor!
This is a relatively small Nutella cake recipe that is made in a 6 inch / 15 cm tin, but of course, you make the cake even smaller or larger, as you wish. Check out my cake converter!
The cake is best served fresh, however, any leftover cake can be stored in a closed container for 2-3 days refrigerated.
As for the sponges, simply wrap them with plastic wrap, then freeze them for up to 2 months. As for the whole cake, I do not recommend freezing it.
🍰 More Cake Recipes
Nutella Cake (VIDEO)
Chocolate Sponge for 3 x 15 cm ( 6 inches)
- 170 g (1⅓ cups) All purpose flour
- 45 g (½ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened, dutch processed
- 120 g (⅔ cups) Granulated sugar
- 120 g (½ cups) Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 70 g (⅓ cups) Vegetable oil
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 165 g (⅔ cups) Milk room temperature
- 120 g (½ cups) Coffee freshly brewed strong coffee, room temperature
- 750 g (3 cups) Whole milk
- 150 g (¾ cups) Granulated sugar
- 120 g (½ cups) Egg yolk approx. 6 egg yolk
- 37 g (⅓ cups) Corn starch
- 37 g (⅓ cups) Flour
- 75 g (½ cups) Chocolate semi-sweet good quality chocolate finely chopped
- 225 g (¾ cups) Nutella
- 225 g (1 cups) Unsalted butter soft, room temperature
- 25 g (⅓ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened, dutch processed
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with chocolate pastry cream for the Nutella froting
- In a large enough bowl with the help of a Hand whisk, whisk together sugar and egg yolk until slightly fluffy for about 1-2 minutes
- Mix in corn starch and flour until throughly incorporated and have a smooth paste
- Bring milk to simmering in a saucepan on medium heat
- Pour the warm milk over the egg yolk mixture slowly while whisking vigorously with a Hand whisk.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens. Concretely it is approximately 1 min after the first boil. It might get lumpy first, don't worry just keep whisking and the cream will get smooth and glossy. If in doubt, strain the pastry cream for a lump free, creamy end result
- Add in chocolate in 3 stages, and mix with a Rubber spatula until completely incorporated. Place the cream into a shallow bowl and cover the entire surface with plastic wrap to avoid skin forming on top. Let it cool to room temperature
- Heat oven to 180 C / 356°F (no fan)
- Prepare 3 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan with parchment paper
- With an Electric hand mixer whip together the wet ingredients for 1-2 minutes: room temperature egg, oil, sugar, coffee, and milk
- Sift dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients then fold just until combined
- Divide batter equally into 3 cake pans with the help of a Digital scale
- Bake for 25-30 min or until skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean
- Cool the chocolate sponges on Cooling rack. Chill them in the fridge before assembling the cake
Preparing the Nutella frosting
- The Nutella frosting can be made with room temperature chocolate pastry cream, Nutella, cocoa powder, and room temp soft butter. Make sure everything is room temp otherwise the mixture might curdle
- Once the pastry cream is set and at room temp, prepare the frosting by whipping room temp butter first for a few minutes, then whip in the cocoa powder and Nutella for 1-2 minutes
- Start adding in the room temperature pastry cream in 4 stages until the cream reaches a stable yet fluffy texture. Do not over whip the mixture as it can become runny
- Chill the cream if needed for an hour, otherwise, proceed with assembling the cake
- You will need to use the cream for: 1. filling 2. frosting 3. piping decoration so make sure you have enough cream left for each
- Start layering the cake from bottom to top and fill each layer with 200g Nutella frosting
- Continue with the second layer and apply the same. Finally, finish with a 3rd layer of chocolate sponge cake
- At each layer please check how even the layers are, and make sure they are symmetrical with even layers. Chill the cake for either 1h in the fridge or 15min in the freezer before proceeding with frosting the cake
- Once the cake is nicely chilled, frost the cake. You can pipe the cream around the cake first, then smooth it with an offset spatula
- Chill the cake again 1h in the fridge before proceeding with decoration
- Apply roasted chopped hazelnut all around and on the top of the cake and pipe some decoration on top using the same Nutella frosting
- Serve the cake fresh, store any leftover in air-tight container refrigerated for 2-3 days
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- All ingredients for the chocolate cake must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, milk, coffee etc.
- Do not skip salt that will balance the sweetness of this cake
- For the Nutella frosting, it is key to use good quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate so that they don´t overpower the Nutella taste but balances it
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking. Consider this recipe more like an in-depth tutorial, literally the only recipe you will ever need to make delicious Nutella cake
- Chill the chocolate sponges before making any layered cake
- Assemble the cake on the serving tray you are planning to serve as at a later stage you won´t be able to move the cake
- Let the pastry cream be properly set before whipping it up into mousseline cream. While whipping, pay very close attention to the consistency and stop whipping immediately after it gets fluffy. Over beating would result in breaking the cream and instead of becoming stiffer, in fact, it will get runnier
- Make sure you chill the cake in between applying the different layers and frostings just as stated in the recipe. That is a standard procedure for making any layered cake
This is the best Nutella cake I found online, finally a recipe that is not overly sweet yet has a wonderful chocolate and hazelnut Nutella flavor!! I’ve never made this kind of cream before but it’s a keeper.