This showstopper cake combines the rich flavor of chocolate with the nuttiness of hazelnuts. So moist and tender that it melts in your mouth. Glazed with a luxurious chocolate ganache and tangy cream cheese icing, it's a chocolate lover's dream. Perfect for any occasion or as an afternoon snack, it will leave everyone craving for more.
Picture a rich and decadent chocolate hazelnut bundt cake, oozing with a luscious chocolate ganache and topped with a velvety smooth cream cheese icing. Sounds divine, right?
The bundt cake itself is made with unsweetened cocoa powder and finely ground hazelnuts, which infuse the cake with a nutty, chocolaty flavor that will have your taste buds dancing.
The texture is dense and moist, with a tender crumb that practically melts in your mouth.
It's the perfect balance of sweet and rich without being overly cloying.
Why make this recipe
- Easier than it looks: the batter is not hard to make and the layered frostings are also simple preparations.
- Impressive: this cake can be a showstopper if you host a dinner party or other special occasion. Your guests will be impressed by your baking skills and love the delicious dessert.
- Cheaper: buying a similar cake from a bakery can be expensive. And you might want a more homemade look. And you know what ingredients go into it.
For the cake (image below):
- White, granulated sugar.
- Brown sugar: light or dark.
- All-purpose flour.
- Ground hazelnuts or hazelnut flour.
- Cocoa powder: always use unsweetened. I like Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder, Ghirardelli Premium baking cocoa, and Scharffen Berger natural cocoa powder. And, in my experience, the dark ones are the best (this does not apply to the super dark used for making homemade oreo cookies known as dark cocoa powder).
- Salt: I like to use kosher salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Baking powder and baking soda: are used as leaveners to help the cake rise, so make sure they aren't expired.
- Milk: we use whole milk, but reduced fat also works.
- Vegetable oil: I use sunflower oil.
- Eggs: fresh, large.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
- Prepared coffee.
For the toppings:
- Heavy or whipping cream.
- Chocolate: use your favorite dark semisweet chocolate for this recipe. I like Callebaut 54% chocolate wafers or Ghirardelli Premium baking bar.
- Brown sugar.
- Runny honey or corn syrup.
- Unsalted butter.
- Cream cheese: the regular type, full-fat cream cheese is needed for consistency and creaminess. I always use Philadelphia original cream cheese, but other premium brands work fine.
- Powdered sugar: also called confectioners or icing sugar, you can easily buy it online. Domino powdered sugar is a very popular one.
See the recipe card towards the end of this post for quantities.
Preparing the bundt pan
If you love making bundt cakes, you probably know the pain of not being able to remove it from the pan in one piece. It has happened to me many times!
There are several ways of dealing with this:
- Shortening and flour: use soft shortening to grease the pan, every angle, every nook and cranny until it's completely covered. Using your fingers is messy but effective. You can also use a brush. Sprinkle flour and rotate the pan to cover it completely. You'll have to do it to one side and then the other. Make sure you flour the center tube. Turn the pan upside down over the kitchen sink and smack lightly it against the edge. The excess flour will fall, leaving a thin layer behind. Your pan is ready to be filled.
- Cake goop or cake pan-release paste: it's one of my favorites, together with the shortening method above, because it's very effective. Mix equal parts (volume: cups or tablespoons) of shortening, flour and vegetable oil (sunflower or canola) to make a paste. Use it to coat the pan with a brush. Store it in an airtight container (I use a jar) for a month at room temperature or up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
- Butter and flour: I used this method for years, but now use one of the above-mentioned ones. Good if you don't like shortening. Use soft butter (not melted) to patiently cover the whole pan, every nook and cranny, every sharp angle and space available. I use a brush or my fingers. I then flour the pan and refrigerate it while putting together the batter. I take it out at the last moment when I need to fill it, and it goes cold into the oven. Not everyone has success with this method.
- Baking spray: use a spray labeled as having flour or specifically made for baking (as opposed to cooking). It has to have flour; otherwise, you have a high chance of the cake sticking when removing it. At least, that's my experience.
- Recipe: whenever I find a great bundt cake recipe that can be easily removed from an intricate bundt pan, even though I didn’t follow step 1 above, I cling to it like life itself.
How to make a chocolate hazelnut bundt cake
This cake is pretty simple as it uses oil and can be made with a whisk. You can use an electric mixer if that's easier for you.
Sifting the cocoa powder and flour mixture is important as some ingredients can clump during storage and to add air to the batter.
Dry ingredients are combined in a large mixing bowl. The hazelnuts should be finely ground.
The wet ingredients are mixed in a separate bowl, and both preparations are then combined.
Hot coffee is added at the end. It will make the cocoa powder 'bloom', intensifying its flavor.
The final batter is very thin. Pour it carefully into the prepared pan and make sure the oven is preheated to the right temperature.
Though this cake is fantastic on its own, the toppings take it to the next level. The dark chocolate and white creamy icings make for a stunning presentation.
Nutella: since it's a chocolate cake with hazelnuts, add a few tablespoons of the hazelnut spread to the chocolate ganache or the cream cheese icing for an extra dose of nutty flavor.
The chocolate ganache is made with melted dark chocolate, heavy cream, and a pinch of sea salt, resulting in a silky smooth glaze that drips down the sides of the cake in a mouth-watering cascade.
The cream cheese icing is the perfect complement, adding a tangy, slightly tart note to balance out the sweetness of the cake and ganache. You can take it up a notch with a tablespoon of hazelnut liqueur as I do.
Proper storage is crucial to keeping your hazelnut chocolate bundt cake fresh and delicious. Here are some tips on how to store the cake:
- Room temperature: to keep it fresh for up to 2 days, place it in an airtight container or under a cake dome.
- Fridge or freezer: if you need to store the cake longer, you can keep it in the refrigerator or frozen. Wrap it with plastic wrap and then foil, or place it in an airtight container.
- No toppings: if making it ahead, freeze the cake plain and top it a few hours before serving it. Thaw in the refrigerator the day before or at room temperature for a few hours, depending on the environment.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperatures, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: remember that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust, if any.
- Preparing the bundt pan: I grease it well with soft butter and flour it. I chill it while mixing the batter and it works well for me, but if you usually don't do that and your bundts remove easily, just butter and flour without chilling. The cold pan creates a layer that makes it easier to remove the cake after it's baked.
A baking spray with flour in it works well for some. Lately, I've seen this bundt pan release mixture featured in several places, and people swear by it. I haven't tried it yet.
- Adding coffee to the batter enhances the chocolate flavor and marries wonderfully with hazelnuts. You won't taste a coffee flavor. You can use hot water instead.
- Toppings: the chocolate ganache must be dry and set before you pour the cream cheese icing over it. Otherwise, it will be a messy frosting. The chopped hazelnuts add a wonderful crunch and make a prettier cake.
Troubleshooting common issues
- Overbaking or underbaking: the first can cause the cake to be dry and tough. Underbaking can make it excessively gooey and undercooked, but not in a good way. To ensure that your cake is baked evenly, use a cake tester or toothpick to ensure the cake is fully baked. Insert it into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Difficulty removing the cake from the pan: since a bundt cake has a unique shape, it can be challenging to remove it from the pan without it breaking apart. Use shortening to grease the pan and flour it. Set aside while making the batter. Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove it. You can also use a smooth-bladed knife around the edges and center tube to loosen up any bits that might be stuck to the walls.
- Using cold ingredients: the ingredients should be at room temperature before mixing them, as cold ingredients can result in an unevenly mixed batter and an uneven cake texture.
- Frosting that won't set: if it's too runny, it can slide off the cake or create a messy appearance. Make sure the cake is cold when you drizzle the toppings. The ganache should be pourable but not hot, and the cream cheese icing should be fluid and not thick as the one we use in carrot cakes.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup hazelnut flour (or ground hazelnuts)
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup drip coffee (very hot)
For the ganache:
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon runny honey or corn syrup
For the cream cheese icing:
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons cream or milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar (this is an estimate, you might need more)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF /180ºC
- Butter (soft not melted) and flour or spray well with baking spray (containing flour) a 10-12 cup bundt cake pan. Place in the refrigerator while mixing the batter.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the ground hazelnuts and sugars and combine.
- Beat together eggs, milk, vanilla and oil for 1 minute in a medium bowl. You can use an electric mixer. I normally use a hand whisk.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ones while beating on low speed or mixing.
- Heat coffee until almost boiling. Add slowly to the chocolate batter while you continuously stir. Integrate well. The batter will be thin.
- Pour into the prepared pan, filling no more than ¾ of its capacity.
- Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Use a smooth-bladed knife around the edges and center tube to loosen up any bits that might be stuck to the walls. Shake the pan right and left, up and down until you feel the cake is loose. Be careful when doing it.
- Invert the cake onto the cooling rack, lifting the pan slowly. If the cake resists, invert again and cool in the pan for 10 more minutes before attempting to remove it again.
- Let cool completely before covering with a layer of chocolate ganache. Let it dry.
- Drizzle a layer of cream cheese icing on top of the chocolate and let it drip down the sides.
- Sprinkle with some ground hazelnuts immediately if you want to, before the icing starts to set.
- Let dry and serve.
- Store leftovers covered for up to 3 days at room temperature, covered or under a cake dome. Refrigerate after that, wrapped or in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperatures, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust if any.
Preparing the bundt pan: I butter the pan very well with soft butter, flour it and chill it while mixing the batter. The cold pan creates a layer that makes it easier to remove the cake after it's baked. A baking spray with flour in it works well for some. Lately, I've seen this bundt pan release mixture featured in several places and people swear by it. I haven't tried it yet.
Toppings: the chocolate ganache must be dry and set before you pour the cream cheese icing over it. Otherwise, it will be a messy frosting.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: chocolate hazelnut bundt cake
Adapted from the Kahlua Chocolate Bundt Cakes