Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Like a chocolate hazelnut dream!
Texture: The cake itself is ultra rich, moist, and fudgy while the frosting is thick and creamy.
Ease: I think this is among the easiest homemade cakes, it just takes some time! The good news is both the cake layers and the buttercream can be made in advance.
Pros: Beautiful decadent cake worthy of any special celebration.
Cons: So much butter… but hey. It’s cake!
Would I make this again? I’ve made this recipe three times already!
Today is my 26th birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by sharing this beautiful and decadent recipe for Nutella cake.
Since chocolate and Nutella are two of my favorite things in the world, this seemed only fitting.
Actually, when I first developed this recipe I topped it with Ferrero Rocher candies and brought it to my dad’s birthday party. Everyone raved about it, but I knew it needed a few more tweaks to get it just right.
Then I thought this would be the absolute perfect cake for Easter for anyone like me who’s a total chocoholic. It became a part of an Easter dinner shoot we did last weekend and I just can’t wait to show you those photos! We scored some beautiful edible flowers and they really took this cake to a whole new level, without requiring any special decorating equipment or skills.
I’m just in love with this cake, so I hope you find a reason to make it for your friends and family soon. If you do, be sure to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram with #handletheheat.
Nutella Cake Recipe Tips
This chocolate cake recipe isn’t your typical one. It doesn’t involve any beating of room temperature butter and sugar. Instead, we actually boil half of the ingredients together much like you would with a sheet cake. It makes this recipe super simple and practically foolproof. However, you do have to wait for that mixture to cool off so it takes a little extra (hands off) time.
This mixing method, coupled with some of the ingredients (like the brown sugar), create a very rich, moist, and fudgy chocolate cake. The texture reminds me a bit of a brownie. This is perfect for when you need sturdiness to build a tall cake or to use a lot of buttercream!
I love my Fat Daddio’s anodized aluminum cake pans.
The cake layers can be made a day ahead of time before you assemble the cake. Cover each entire layer (don’t cut them yet) with foil or plastic wrap and let them sit at a cool room temperature until you’re ready to assemble. Whatever you do, don’t refrigerate unfrosted cake layers. This will dry them out. You can also wrap each layer well in plastic wrap and pop them in freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 month.
The buttercream can also be made, transferred to an airtight container, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight. Let come to room temperature than re-whip for a couple minutes before using.
Leveling & Cutting Cake Layers
To make this recipe the way you see it in these photos, we simply take each cake layer, level off the top, then cut in half for a total of 4 even layers. I’d highly recommend a cake leveler like this one to make easy, quick, and precise work of leveling and cutting your layers. If you don’t have one, a serrated knife will work – it’s just harder to maintain an even cut.
By the way, if you’d rather keep it a 2 layer cake, feel free to do that! You can also frost the sides of the cake if you’d prefer to as well. I would just increase the buttercream recipe by 1 1/2 and follow my cake assembly and decorating instructions from this video post.
Yes, there is a lot of butter involved in this recipe. It’s cake! But anytime we have more layers that means more buttercream. Yay! A stand mixer makes easy work of powering through this much buttercream, but if you must use a hand mixer just be sure to use a deep mixing bowl. Do not skip sifting the sugar and cocoa, it’s essential for a smooth frosting!
If you have more questions or frustrations with buttercream, there’s a link to a free buttercream guide here or at the bottom of this post.
This cake is ridiculously easy to decorate once you’ve cut your four layers. I simply scooped my buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large plain decorating tip and piped an even layer of frosting on each piece of cake. Using a plain tip instead of just a spatula creates those clean looking frosting layers. Then we just went to town with edible flowers on top.
Edible flowers are such a fun, beautiful, and easy way to decorate any cake for spring. This look made it perfect for Easter, or even a birthday party. You can find edible flowers during the spring season at your local farmer’s market or some speciality, gourmet, or bakery supply stores.
You could also decorate with seasonal chocolates, like Easter eggs or Valentine’s Day hearts! Ferrero Rocher candy are another fun decoration on top, they even make Easter eggs!
This cake can be held in a cake carrier or lidded cake stand for up to 8 hours at a cool room temperature. After that, it should be refrigerated. Though I doubt it will last very long! If you plan on serving this at an outdoor party or gathering where it will side outside for a few hours, refrigerate it until it’s chilled beforehand. That way it’ll slowly come up in temperature and hopefully be perfect by the time you want to serve it. No melting cakes here!
More Cake Recipes:
- Best Chocolate Cake
- Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache
Photos by Constance Higley.
This decadent Nutella Cake features four layers of moist and tender Nutella chocolate cake with a generous helping of luscious Nutella buttercream. Decorated with edible flowers, this cake is perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, birthdays, or any other special occasion!
For the cake
- 2 1/2 cups (500 grams) light brown sugar
- 8 ounces (227 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (33 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (137 grams) Nutella
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
For the buttercream
- 16 ounces (454 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups (500 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup (100 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup (275 grams) Nutella
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- Edible flowers, for decorating
Make the cake:
In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, Nutella, espresso powder, baking soda, and 2 cups (500ml) water. Heat oven medium for 3 minutes and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour mixture into a large heatproof mixing bowl and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds.
Once cool, stir in the eggs one at a time. Gently stir in the flour and salt. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then flip the cakes out onto cooling racks to finish cooling.
Make the buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder, Nutella, and salt and beat on medium for 1 minute, or until smooth.
Assemble the cake:
Use a large serrated knife or cake leveler to level the top of each cake, then to cut each cake layer in half. Place 1 cake layer on a cake platter or turntable. Spread with a fourth of the buttercream and top with another cake layer. Repeat with all four cake layers. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate with edible flowers, seasonal candy, Ferrero Rocher, or whatever your heart desires.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
© Handle the Heat - handletheheat.com
Join the Handle the Heat Community
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!