Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

We made a chocolate hazelnut cake for Giada De Laurentiis at our photo shoot -- and she asked us for the recipe. Here it is for everyone!
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Work: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups canola oil
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
3 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans and dust with extra cocoa.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together water, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer stir together cocoa, instant espresso powder, sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda. Add wet ingredients and mix until combined, 2 minutes.
  4. Pour batter evenly between prepared pans. Tap baking pans on the counter to release air bubbles from batter. Bake until edges are slightly dry, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pans 15 minutes, then turn out and cool on wire rack.
  5. For frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter with 1 tablespoon of the cocoa. Cream remaining 1 cup butter in a bowl and add melted butter mixture and vanilla.
  6. Whisk together remaining cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar. Add to butter alternately with the cream until combined. Mix 1 cup frosting with chocolate hazelnut spread and set aside.
  7. Trim domed tops from cooled cakes. Fill each layer with hazelnut frosting. Frost the outside of the cake with remaining frosting.

Serves 16.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, April 2012.


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