Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake and Cupcakes

Yesterday the hubbie and I celebrated our first anniversary! I can't believe it has been a year, so much has changed, including me starting this blog. 

I believe the tradition is to eat your top layer of your wedding cake on your first anniversary, but we did that a long time ago...maybe a month after the wedding. Don't judge! I knew it wouldn't taste as good and I didn't get to try any at the wedding!

Let's all thank the hubbie for the beautiful bouquet of flowers that served as a great background for my photos!

What we did get to have yesterday was some of our wedding beer. Yep, we had our own beer made just for our wedding. My dad is a home-brewer extraordinaire and decided a year before the wedding to make a brew that was specifically made for our likes. In addition to having a few cases at the wedding, my dad is storing one beer for us to have at each of our 'big' anniversaries to see how the flavor changes over time.  Look at that label, isn't it the cutest with our own south park characters!

OK, so back to cake, since we didn't have our top layer and the bakery is back in St. Louis, I decided to make a cake inspired by our honeymoon. With the majority of the honeymoon in Italy we ate Gelato just about everyday we could, sometimes twice! We would always get some combination of nocciola (hazelnut) and cioccolata (chocolate). Hence the cake idea was born...

Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake and Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup dutch process unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 and 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 tsp Frangelico (hazelnut liquor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

10 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp Frangelico
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of 3 8-inch pans, then place piece of parchment paper on bottom and grease sides and bottom again. Alternatively if you want to make cupcakes, place baking cups in cupcake pans and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add in oil and sour cream and mix till blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add in water until completely incorporated.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl, then add in vinegar and Frangelico and mix. Add in eggs one at a time, scrape bottom and sides of bowl again to ensure mixture is completely blended. Mix in chopped hazelnuts and pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes or cupcakes for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick entered in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 20 minutes, then let cool completely on cooling rack. If you are in a hurry, go ahead and chill them for 30 minutes to firm them up.

To make the frosting, in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually sift in confectioners sugar one cup at a time, scraping sides and bottom of bowl after each addition. Once all sugar is added beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add in Nutella and beat until incorporated, scraping sides as needed.

To make ganache, combine chocolate, Nutella, and Frangelico in a double broiler or in a bowl over boiling water. Whisk mixture until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream until completely incorporated with melted chocolate.

To make cake, place one cake on prepared cake board and top with 2/3 cup of frosting. Repeat with remaining cake layers, then use remaining frosting on sides of cake. Using an offset spatula is key to getting those sides and top smooth. While ganache is still warm, pour over cake letting it drip down sides (or in my case having to smooth it out with an offset spatula because I let the ganache cool too much). To make cupcakes, insert ganache in center of cupcake and top with frosting, just like I did here or here. Top cake and cupcakes with toasted hazelnuts.

I will tell you now to cut your cake into very thin pieces as it is extremely rich and the cupcakes are pretty heavy when loaded with ganache filling, so have some milk on standby!

This cake was adapted from the Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

Happy Baking!


  1. Congradulations on your anniversary! The beer bottles are adorable, recently one of my friends was marriend and I decorated a wine bottle label and she says it's too pretty to drink.

    I would probably wait until the one month as well, and this cake is amazing. I have taken cake decorating classes as well and I know how much effort was put into this. Congradulations again!

  2. Happy Anniversary! What a great way to celebrate your anniversary with a freshly baked cake! I would be afraid to eat a cake that's been in my freezer for a year, haha. The cake looks absolutely delicious and so beautiful. I'd love to try it but I'm allergic to hazelnuts!

    I love the beer bottle too, so cute!

  3. Happy Anniversary :)

    What gorgeous cakes and flowers.

  4. i was so tempted to eat our cake 1 month after the wedding! it probably would have tasted better than it will 1 year later

  5. Happy Anniversary! Your cake looks wonderful!

  6. This looks amazing. Happy Anniversary! I love chocolate and hazelnut together, so this sounds fabulous. The filling and the ganache look like heaven.

  7. Happy anniversary!!! Homemade cakes and coffee - love it! Many, many more.

  8. Happy 1 year! Your cake looks fabulous! :)

  9. Happy Anniversary and a lifetime of more to come! That cake was a perfect way to celebrate. It turned out gorgeous and I bet it tasted fantastic!

  10. Happy anniversary! What a wonderful way to celebrate - homemade wedding beer and a honeymoon inspired cake.

  11. Hazelnuts and chocolate is the best combination. My favorite. The cake looks great. Wish I could try a slice ;)

  12. This is a great use of Nutella, thanks for posting this.

    Do you think you will be doing more with Nutella?

  13. Happy Anniversary! Your cake looks incredible and since it uses my obsession Nutella I'm hooked. I also love your wedding beer. What an awesome idea!

  14. @Mike: I most definitely will be doing more with Nutella, I love it! If you are looking for another nutella recipe, check out:

    and thanks to everyone for all the Happy Anniversary wishes!

  15. First and foremost...happy anniversary! The first year goes by so quickly. I can't fault you for diving into the top layer a month after the wedding. Who wouldn't want a fresher piece of cake?

    I love your bottle labels. Nothing like the gift of beer. My husband and I homebrewed the beer for our wedding and our friends and family really enjoyed drinking it. They had the hangovers to prove it :D

    Need. Hazelnut. Cake.

  16. Happy Anniversary! My husband and I will be celebrating our year anniversary as well on the 24th of this month :)

  17. Happy anniversary! And those cupcakes looks so dreamy. And that cake, wow! Southpark, love it!

  18. Happy anniversary! I love the flowers, the cake, AND the South Park beer label, haha :) So cute!

  19. Happy Anniversary! It looks like you did a phenominal job on your cake. I am going to try this. I love the combination of chocolate, hazelnut liquor and (drumroll please) Nutella.

  20. A Very Happy Anniversary! Good move to eat the top immediately, ours was no good when we finally defrosted it! I love chocolate and hazelnut!

  21. Mmmmm those look delicious! Adding them to my ever growing list of flavor combinations to try!

  22. Wow, that cake looks absolutely beautiful, and tasty. I need to find some time to make this ASAP. Love the beer bottles too! They are awesome.

  23. Hey Debbie, happy anniversary to you! I'm sure you had a fabulous time with hubby. Hope you're having a wonderful day too.
    Blessings, Kristy

  24. Btw, your double chocolate cake looks absolutely addictive and I'm salivating! ^_^

  25. Happy Anniversary... Beautiful flowers... And gorgeous chocolate cake :)

  26. looks really delicious, your hubby must have loved it!

    And the beer bottle labels are so cute!

  27. Love, Love, LOVE IT! I love the special beer & might just be making that cake for my husband's birthday since it's 2 of his favorite things! Happy Anniversary (ps-we ate that top layer right away too...why waste good cake?? :)

  28. Happy 1st Anniversary! and many more to come!

  29. Happy 1st Anniversary and many many many MORE to come!

    that choc cake looks yummm ... thanks for sharing :)

  30. I baked cupcakes from this recipe w/o the ganache and frosting (I was in a rush) and they are DIVINE! Thanks for sharing, I really enjoy your blog, it is a true inspiration for a novice like myself.



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