Best-Ever Chocolate Nutella Layer Cake

Chocolate, chocolate everywhere!

I was looking through some older posts the other day, and I came across these Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes with Nutella Cloud Frosting. And while I’ve never been fixated on Nutella desserts, I had almost forgotten how much I loved the way the sweet and hazelnutty flavour and creamy texture of Nutella added a much-welcome addition to these otherwise classic (but awesome) chocolate cupcakes.  So this week I decided to make a super-simple, quick and easy cake version of those cupcakes, embracing quality dark chocolate, extra dark cocoa powder and, of course, Nutella.

Simply put, the frosting is magical. Like unicorn and rainbows magical.

I have this thing about chocolate frosting. I kind of need it to be airy and satiny, as opposed to super-fudgy and dense–I think it pairs so well with a deep, dark moist chocolate cake, such as this one. This frosting is a take on that same Nutella Cloud Frosting I had used on the cupcakes, but I decided to add much more Nutella and a generous amount of sour cream to balance out the sweet. Rather than using the mixer, I just popped everything into my food processor and gave it a 60-second spin or so. The result was the creamiest and richest sweet chocolate frosting I’ve ever tasted.

In addition to the Nutella, we add a good dose of extra dark premium melted chocolate (I used a 70%) to help keep some of the intense chocolate flavour. The Nutella lends to the satiny texture, but because it is already quite sweet, the overall quality of this frosting is on the sweet side, but with a dark decadence. If you can’t get Nutella, or if you find you prefer a deeper flavour with minimal sweetness, you could even skip the Nutella and add a handful of ground hazelnuts. Of course the texture would change to a more rustic one, but the taste would be notably more sophisticated.

But Nutella seems to bring a nostalgic element for some, and if this cake is going anywhere near a little cakelet’s belly, I think Nutella is the way to go, because kids go, well, nuts for this stuff.

And because this cake, as simple as it is, is a celebration of chocolate, I opted for a medley of pure chocolate sprinkles as the finishing touch. It adds an interesting visual and delightful chocolaty crunch to each slice. For the piped border, I went with an unfussy shell-style border, but extended each one for a few extra seconds to create a more elongated shell look. Nothing fancy, but quick, easy and pretty. Because this frosting pipes like a dream, it makes for the perfect frosting border.

So this photo just goes to show that not all cakes look picture-perfect when sliced (this is what happens when I frost a cake and take photos 10 minutes later, rather than refrigerating it for some time to set), but holy Easter-bunny this chocolaty madness is divine. And it couldn’t be easier to create. You’ll see!

Best-Ever Chocolate & Nutella Layer Cake

Yield: One 3-layer, 7-inch round cake

Super-moist, dark chocolate cake filled and frosted with satiny dark chocolate & Nutella sour cream frosting and covered in a medley of chocolate sprinkles.

Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups (285 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/3 cups (470 grams) superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) dark Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 grams) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (8 grams) salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) brewed coffee or espresso
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Frosting:
  • 4 1/2 cups (565 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (280 grams) Nutella (or other hazelnut spread)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) full-fat sour cream
  • 11 ounces (330 grams) best-quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 7-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and parchment rounds.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients mix for 1 minute on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer). Divide batter evenly among prepared pans--each pan should contain about 600 grams of batter.
  4. Bake the first 2 layers for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick or skewer comes almost clean (a few crumbs), about 5 more minutes. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining layer, and then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
  5. For the Chocolate Frosting:
  6. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. The frosting will be very soft. Refrigerate the frosting until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.
  7. Assembly of the Best-Ever Chocolate & Nutella Layer Cake:
  8. Put a dollop of frosting on a 7-inch round cake board (or cake plate) or 8-inch scalloped cake board.
  9. Put your first layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and wiggle the layers into place. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes.
  10. Using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 15 minutes. Repeat with another thin layer of frosting, this time working to achieve a smooth finish. Chill for another 15 minutes.
  11. Apply a third coat of frosting to the cake. Holding a tall pastry comb in your dominant hand, press it gently against the side of the cake and keep it steady. Use the other hand to slowly rotate the turntable until you have gone all the way around the cake. Gently press some chocolate sprinkles around the bottom edge of the cake.
  12. Fit a medium pastry bag with a medium-large closed star tip, such as 1M, and fill about 2/3 full with frosting. Pipe a border around the top of the cake. Chill the cake until the frosting border firms up, at least 30 minutes.
  13. Cover the top of the cake (but not the piped border) with chocolate sprinkles. Once frosting softens again, the sprinkles will adhere to top. The cake will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2014/04/best-ever-chocolate-nutella-layer-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • If you don’t have 7-inch round cake pans, you could also use 8-inch cake pans. The layers will just be ever-so-slightly shorter.
  • For the cake layers, I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Brute–it adds so much depth, chocolate-y flavour and a wonderfully dark hue.
  • For the frosting I used Callebaut Dark Callets 70.4 %  to balance the sweetness of the Nutella.
  • I used one of the Wilton Decorate Smart 3-Piece Icing Comb Set for the sides of the cake (the furthest comb to the right in the image).
  • I used a medley of chocolate vermicelli sprinkles on top, including India Tree Chocolate Vermicelli and De Ruyter Chocoadehagel. Any kind works well, but I prefer to keep it to pure chocolate vermicelli, as opposed to just chocolate jimmies.
  • Because the frosting has sour cream in it, it’s best to refrigerate this cake if it hasn’t been gobbled up after a day. Keep refrigerated at that point, and serve at room temperature (although it tastes pretty great cold too).

Happy Easter to you and your family!

Good luck & enjoy!



Related posts:

Comments

  1. 1

    Gah, this cake is so perfect! Magical is definitely a good word to describe it. Love those layers, the frosting, and all the sprinkles! :)

  2. 2

    Gorgeous and amazing! I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks completely stunning! xo
    P.S. The first picture of the cake is pure perfection, ;).

  3. 3
    Tania Torres says:

    Seriously… I can’t wait for the book!
    This looks a-ma-zing! My husband is gonna die for this one :]

  4. 4

    AHHH!! the roasting picture is haunting me. Everything about this cake is pure magic.

  5. 5

    Which brand of cake pans do you use/recommend? Thanks.

  6. 6

    You beautiful person. This cake is TOO MUCH.

  7. 7

    I’m always so inspired by all your cakes, Rosie! Every single one is a masterpiece! Nutella is my favourite, so i really need to try this recipe- looks fab! :)

  8. 8

    Good god this looks incredible!

  9. 9

    Looks like another chocolate cake winner is on your hands! Love the simplicity of the design and how dark that chocolate cake is. Can’t wait to try it myself. So happy you are back blogging :)

  10. 10

    I will go nuts over this Nutella cake too!! Looks perfect.

  11. 11

    Insanely delicious!!

  12. 12

    You have succeeded in making me crave an overly chocolate cake. Normally I pass right over chocolate cake recipes but not only is the presentatin awesome with all those chocolate sprinkles on top and the perfect frosting on the sides, btu there’s Nutella! I may have to add some hazelnuts if I made it though.

  13. 13

    ..I’m so inspired by your cakes and how gorgeous your recipes are! This looks scrumptious, and growing up with jars of Nutella in the house (I’m Italian), this brings back lots of great memories.

  14. 14

    Can this be made in cupcakes? If so, how long to bake.

    I love your recipes and I did make the 7 layer chocolate n it’s my fav recipe.

    • 15

      Hi Nancy! Sure thing, you can definitely make these into cupcakes. Bake them for about 18-22 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few crumbs only. Hope that helps!

      • 16
        Susie's sweet cake pops says:

        Hello Rosie, I love this cake and so looking forward ro bake it, I am a little concern though you mentioned to bake 2 pans first and then the 3rd one, in my baking experience when I didn’t bake the cake inmediately it turn out wierd, do I keep the unbake batch in the fridge or just hanging there?

        • 17

          Hi Susanne,
          I always keep the batter at room temperature before baking, so I bake the 2 first pans and then leave the third on the counter until it goes in the oven. I do this with all of my cake layers, and don’t have any issues, so you should be okay. Hope that helps!

  15. 18

    That is some seriously delicious chocolate action right there!

  16. 19

    amazing! posting on my facebook page

  17. 20

    Oh my goodness, my husband would be jumping up and down for this one.

  18. 21

    WOW!!! This cake is just wonderful. Nutella is a favorite in my house and I know my husband will love this cake.

  19. 22

    Whoaaaaa this cake looks insanely yummy!! LOVE!

  20. 23

    This looks truly delicious. Great cake. Fabulous photos. Thank you so much!

  21. 24

    That cake is the more beautiful than any cake I could dream of! Stunning. That frosting recipe is similar to the one they use at Sprinkles Bakery, Beverly Hills. It is really the best.

    • 25

      Rosie, when you were expecting a cakelet did it affect your baking at all? Ever since I found out that I have a cakelet in my oven, my baking has been off! I am using the same ingredients, same recipes, same everything but something is different.

      After seeing your beautiful cake, my cravings just kicked in. I just put a chocolate cake in so let’s see what happens.

      So glad you are back on the blog. xo

  22. 26

    I would like some of that cake right now! Simple yet beautiful!

  23. 27

    Light as air, this icing is one of my favorite recipes of yours! I’ve had to modify slightly for the hot humid Australian coastal summer, but the base recipe is so well done it made tweaking easy! Thanks for all the wonderful posts.

    • 28
      Andrea Mercado says:

      What modifications you had to do? I live in the caribean and would love to bake this for my girl bday. Thanks!!!

  24. 29

    Your recipe of chocolate cake is the best, i made this recipe many times. But with nutella Frosting i Think that is heaven! Thanks Roxie. Saludos desde México.

  25. 30

    Rosie, this looks AMAZING! I’ll never make it since I am allergic to nuts, but my goodness I can drool over it from a distance.

  26. 31
    Nichelle L. says:

    Can’t wait to make this! Is there anything I can do to make to frosting without a food processor because I don’t have one :( . I have a blender but not a vitamix. Will it hurt to put all the ingredients in the mixer?

  27. 32

    Gorgeous! Your recipes are always amazing, and I cannot wait to try this one. I’m a chocoholic, and this cake looks like perfection. I only discovered Nutella about a year ago and have not used it in my baking yet, so this will be a first. Thanks for sharing! (I cannot wait to buy your book!)

  28. 33

    I made this for my birthday!!!! It was the best cake EVER!!! :D

  29. 34

    Wow that cake is so impressive, look how dark and moist it is! Your icing skills are incredible!

  30. 35

    Your cakes are always so amazing! Pinned :-)

  31. 36

    Sounds amazing! Definitely keen to try anything with Nutella, and the sour cream addition is also intriguing :)

    hereiskat.blogspot.com

  32. 37
    Mi Dung Nguyen says:

    Hey Rosie
    Your chocolate cakes always look amazing.
    I tried this recipe, but my cake didn’t look ad good as yours
    The texture of the cake was to gooey.
    I don’t know what I did wrong, but I hope you could give me a tip.

  33. 38

    Oooh, this looks good!!! Immediately bookmarking this :D

  34. 39

    Oh wow. This just looks incredible! I’ve been off chocolate for Lent, but I think I might just have to make this this week to make up for 40+ days without it!

    Alice xx | The Cup and Saucer

  35. 40

    Hello from rainy London!

    Yum, yum super yum. Just made this for Easter for my husband and our friend. Used nuts instead of sprinkles and two layers instead of three, but besides that stayed faithful to the recipe and wow. It was the lick!

    The cake itself tastes just like a chocolate muffin. <3

    Next time will try with cherries and vanilla buttercream.

    Btw, I have loads if leftover icing. What to do with that next? I wonder how long it will keep.

    Many thanks Rosie for sharing this with us. As always, your posts are inspiring. :-)

  36. 41

    What a fantastic cake! I love nutella so imagine it would make an excellent frosting. I would so love to try some.

  37. 42

    I have the same question as Nancy, can I use the recipe for the cake and frosting for cupcakes? If yes, then how long should I bake the cupcake for?
    Amazing cakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 43

      Hi Chandana! Thanks so much for the kind words! Here’s what I replied to Nancy re: making them as cupcakes:
      Sure thing, you can definitely make these into cupcakes. Bake them for about 18-22 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few crumbs only. Hope that helps!

      • 44
        Chandana says:

        Thank you!!! Love your site and totally amazed by your cooking talent/patience!

        • 45
          Chandana says:

          Made the cake yesterday :) .. our little guy turning 12 on May 2nd loved it and approved to be made into cupcakes for his party :). I think I could have baked them a little less. I was wondering how many cupcakes would the batter make?
          Thank you for this amazing site!

  38. 46
    Ewa Jagaciak says:

    Made this on the weekend-turned out perfectly and disappeared quickly. Thanks for a beautiful website that I love to pore over.

  39. 47
    Erin Loller says:

    I made this cake yesterday for a work friends birthday.
    AMAZING!!
    Everyone was blown away by the way it look and equally amazed at the taste.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for making such yummy sweets and for putting the weights down for all the ingredients, makes baking so easy for this Aussie :)

  40. 48

    Stunning cake! Of course if it involves chocolate and Nutella I’ve all over it. Pinning!

  41. 49

    A M A Z I N G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just one thing, can i use my mixer for the frosting because i don’t have a food processor?thanks

  42. 50

    Definitely going to try this recipe out when I have a break from uni! :p

    hereiskat

  43. 51

    Holy Easter Bunny! this looks divine!

  44. 52

    This inside of this cake looks like a dream. Beautiful, as always.

  45. 53

    Hi Rosie. I can’t wait to try this cake! One question: Can I use 9 inch pans? As that’s all I have. Or will the cake be too flat?
    Thanks

  46. 54
    Sabrina Kassamali says:

    OMG – this cake is AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! Love your blog Rosie – cannot wait for your book! Had a quick question about making this into smaller cakes – like a 5 inch pan – how many layers would it make and how would the baking time/altitude be affected? Thanks in advance!

  47. 55
    Rachel Millar says:

    I made this cake last weekend and it was amazing!!! Really easy recipe to follow and the results were just perfect!! Thank you for sharing such an awesome recipe!

  48. 56

    Bonjour

    Je viens de faire cuire le gâteau dans un moule de 26cm (environ 7.5 pouces) et il s’est affaissé sur son centre. J’ai respecté les ingrédients, les quantités, le temps et la température de cuisson… je n’arrive pas à savoir ce qui peu poser un souci dans mon process. Auriez vous une piste pour m’aider ?

    J’ai fait la crème, elle est parfaite ! Nous n’avons pas de “sourcream” en France, donc je l’ai remplacée par de la crème fraîche semi-épaisse légère et du mascarpone (50/50) et le résultat est impeccable !

  49. 57
    Tanaya says:

    Probably quite late here!
    But my goodness, I think I died and went to cake heaven :)
    Do not ever stop baking/blogging!! :)

    I was also wondering if the Nutella and Chocolate could be added to your SMBC recipe, to cut down on the sweetness

  50. 58

    I’m in the process of making this wonderful delight and wondering how long will the leftover icing keep for? Can I freeze it like a buttercream?

    • 59

      Hi Tanya,
      Sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you sooner, but you can refrigerate the frosting for several days, and just bring to room temperature and warm slightly in the microwave before beating back to fluffy. I’m sorry that I haven’t tried freezing it, but I find that these confectioners’ sugar-based frostings don’t tend to freeze that well. I hope you enjoyed the cake!

  51. 60

    Hi there !
    I made that chocolate cake… At first I was pretty scared by the liquid consistency of the batter and the fact it contains coffee ( I’m not a fan )… but GOD this cake is good. Even with my oh so horrible “mistake”… When I went to grab the cocoa powder, I realised I didn’t have much left… and had to use the very sweet nesquik ( please don’t slap me… I had no choice… ). I really didn’t expect for it to taste SO DAMN GOOD. It’s so moist and chocolaty and rich and… pfiou. Thanks to you I have found my dream chocolate recipe.
    I filled it with a white chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries…. I can’t wait to taste the whole thing :)

    Thanks again ! I love what you do ^^

  52. 62

    Hi Rosie,

    I made this cake for my dad’s birthday this past weekend, and my entire family loved it. I went with the larger recipe found in your Campfire Delight Cake post, and ended up with a 5-layer cake (cut 6, stopped stacking at 5). I also alternated the Nutella frosting with Campfire’s toasted marshmallow frosting. And while the cake was ridiculously decadent, it was extremely unstable. By the time we served it, it was collapsing on itself. Even though my skewers came out clean, the tops of the cakes were very sticky, and probably a little underbaked. I’m sure this contributed to the issue, but I still felt that this very moist cake was much more fragile than my favorite vanilla cake (your buttermilk cake, which is extremely easy to stack).

    Have you ever had similar issues with this cake? In the Campfire Delight post, your 6-layer cake looks pretty stable, but is it generally better to leave the 3 layers uncut? Any insight would be very helpful. I loved this chocolate cake, but would definitely need more stability if I wanted to try it as another layer cake.

    Thanks!
    Andrea

  53. 63
    Catherine Baluyot says:

    Hi Rosie,
    This cake looks really yummy. Just wondering if I can use instant coffee powder instead? And use two 9 inch pans?

    • 64

      Hi Catherine! Sure thing–you can use instant coffee powder. I would dissolve the powder into boiling water and add it that way. And two 9-inch pans will work just fine. You will have slightly taller layers, but it should work well. Best of luck!

  54. 65
    Catherine Baluyot says:

    Rosie, thanks for the quick reply.

  55. 66
    Dana Cato says:

    This is officially my favourite go-to cake for the future! Man, it’s so soft and fluffy and chocolately! I made this today for my boyfriend for World Baking Day, and it’s so easy to make, and so flippin delicious! Thanks so much for such a gorgeous recipe! :)

  56. 68
    Katy Trott says:

    Hi Rosie,
    Am so happy I stumbled upon your blog – not only are your recipes delicious, but I am more than happy just to gaze and the photos of these cakes!

    I have been practising these cakes myself now and have a few friends/acquaintances who would like me to do them a cake for an event, but I do have a question I have not found an answer to anywhere on the web:

    How on earth do you transport your buttercream decorated cakes? The sides are so perfect and obviously cannot be touched to pick up to transfer to a cake stand (what most people want their cake displayed on). If you have the cake decorated on a cake drum do you include the cake drum in the buttercream decoration or does the decoration stop above it? If it stops above how do you get round the fact that the cake drum is going to be on display? I’m assuming you use some sort of drum/board when transporting otherwise how would you transfer cake to cake stand without sides being touched at all?

    This has been a major dilemma for me these last few months!

    Thanks so much

  57. 69

    I just served this cake to a party of 10 adults and they all loved it! I was worried because I know cake isn’t for everyone, but EACH GUEST cleaned their plates. I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was my first attempt at a layer cake, and I am happy to say the recipe worked perfectly for me.

    I only had 9in cake pans, so there was enough batter for two layers 1.5 inch layers. I increased the baking time by about 10 minutes.

    I frosted the cake last night, left it in the fridge. When I served it today the cake was moist and delicious. I can’t wait to make some more beautiful cakes from Sweetapolita!!!

  58. 70
    Felesha says:

    Where did you find your Extra Brute powder?

  59. 71
    Shelbie says:

    This the best chocolate cake I have ever tried! You have done it again!! Thanks for the recipe!

  60. 72
    Ronnetta says:

    this cake tastes divine. my first attempt was an epic failure. the cake sank in the middle and didn’t bake through completely. second try was perfect! I baked for 30 minutes rather than 20. oh the joys of a sad oven. either way, the second cake was beautiful and held up very well. thanks, Rosie! I love your website and ideas. one question, what is the benefit of baking the layers separately? you mention baking the first two together then the third separately. thanks!

  61. 73
    Jelline says:

    Greetings from Holland! Really love your blog. Was wondering if i could cover this cake with fondant.

    Thx Jelline

  62. 74
    Salma Aziz says:

    is there an alternate for buttermilk?
    I dont know what is buttermilk….can we use cow milk instead.

  63. 77

    LOVE your recipe. Tried it and it was SO quick and easy, thank you. Do you know if I could freeze this cake? Greetings from Greece

  64. 78

    cake looks super delicious !

  65. 79

    please I need help ,I made this recipe 4 times but it sunk . my oven temp was 350,325 300 , I used flower nail.

    • 80

      You could turn the heat down by 50 degrees and cook it very slowly. That is what I do and it turns out beautiful

  66. 81

    This is amazing.
    Love the texture of the frosting.

    I will keep on practising
    IbuCergas
    IbuCergas

  67. 82

    Just used this recipe for my daughters 4th birthday cake. it’s going to be decorated with fairies, toadstools and fairy dust for her tinker bell cake. I made it dairy free (my son is dairy intolerant) by souring some oat milk with a 1tbsp of vinegar. i’ve just turned it out of the cake tin and it looks perfect and tastes good too! your cakes always have such good texture for icing. thanks so much!!

  68. 83

    I’m going straight to the grocery’s to get some nutella and make this today!

  69. 84
    Mariclod says:

    Hi Rosie.

    Love all you recipes and I would like to make this cake for my son’s birthday but I am wondering if it would be dense enough to apply fondant? Thanks for the info

  70. 86

    This is amazing. The chocolate frosting look tasty!!

    Dapur IbuCergas
    IbuCergas

  71. 87

    I made this today and it tastes amazing! Thank you for the brilliant recipe! x

  72. 88
    Frances says:

    Do you think this frosting would lend itself to making rosettes all over the cake??Or is it too soft?

  73. 89

    I’ve made this cake about 5 times now, and the chocolate party cupcakes. It is the best cake I’ve ever had and the people I’ve made it for have said the same thing.
    It’s not a mud cake but very similar to mud cake. Absolutely delicious!!

  74. 90

    I just made this for my sister in laws birthday tomorrow and can’t wait to see her face when she sees it.

  75. 91

    The cake looks gorgeous! N im sooo Gonna give it a try… may i know if i can exclude the sour cream off the frosting?

  76. 92

    Hi,

    I was wondering if I HAVE to make the frosting in the food processor? Can I use my Kitchen Aid instead?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Nutella Layer Cake / Nutella Cookie Cups / Nutella stuffed strawberries (you probably don’t need a recipe for these! […]

Speak Your Mind

*