So this weekend I made a cake. A four layer intense chocolate cake filled with hazelnut mousse and topped with toasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate curls. It’s a mouthful to say and definitely a mouthful to eat…

It was my dad’s birthday on Saturday, and although he loves his sweets, he’s very particular about what he likes. He thought Scott’s chocolate peanut butter cake was way too rich and he doesn’t care for super sweet frosting, so I combined his love for chocolate and the hazelnut mousse I made over winter break to create this massively delicious cake.

The cake was really good — decadent and moist, with the addition of coffee adding another level of depth to the chocolate. I will definitely use this chocolate cake recipe again! The mousse was a perfect balance for such a rich cake, and the hazelnut flavor was divine. I sprinkled toasted hazelnuts between each layer, which offered a pleasantly crunchy surprise throughout the smooth mousse.

For the top of the cake I used the Pioneer Woman’s tutorial for chocolate curls and I think they added a very fancy and professional touch. I planned on wrapping the cake in a solid band of chocolate, but it didn’t work out as I had hoped and scrapped the idea altogether. I could have frosted the outside of the cake with more mousse, but I liked the look of the layers, and there was already plenty of mousse/calories throughout the cake.

My dad was very happy with the cake (as were we all) and I was very proud to serve such a delicious treat on his big day! Happy Birthday Dad, here’s to many more cakes to come

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Mousse

For the Cake: adapted from I am Baker

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Hazelnut Mousse: double recipe from this previous post

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare you 8″ cake rounds by greasing and flouring them

– Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and mix until well combined

– In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry

– With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine

– Split the batter into the prepared pans

– Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean

– Cool in pans for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely

– Once cooled, use a large serrated knife to evenly split each layer into 2 and level off any domes from baking

– Layer cakes and mousse, sprinkling toasted hazelnuts between each layer for a nice crunch


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67 Responses to “Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake”

  1. #
    withoutamicrowave — May 3, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    Aw, the pic of you and your dad is so cute! The cake looks delicious…I would never be able to make this because I wouldn’t be able to stop eating the leftovers for days!!!

  2. #
    Jennifer — May 3, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    What a great pic!!!!!!

    incredible cake!!

  3. #
    Kall — May 3, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

    what a cute picture! i hope your freshman year is ending up nicely :)

  4. #
    Eva — May 3, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

    this cake looks amazing! my dad’s birthday is coming up also. maybe i should make this for him(:

  5. #
    danazia — May 4, 2010 @ 12:14 am

    Ah…. I am licking the screen. My birthday is on Saturday and that is what I want!!!!! That is killer! Thanks for the post!

  6. #
    Memória — May 4, 2010 @ 3:05 am

    I’m so glad he liked the cake! It looks great. The next time I make my chocolate overload cake, I’m going to divide it into four layers like you did. It looks fantastic!

  7. #
    Marti — May 4, 2010 @ 3:19 am

    There are so few cakes that I think I. MUST. TRY.

    But this is one of them, Erica! It’s gorgeous.. so edible looking. :)

  8. #
    Gala — May 4, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    That sounds delicious, and I love the many layers!

  9. #
    Erica — May 4, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    You all have to try this recipe — it’s as tasty as it looks! Thanks so much for all the super nice comments :)

  10. #
    Raina — May 5, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

    Amazing looking cake. Chocolate and hazelnuts..I am all for it. Your dad is a lucky guy!

  11. #
    Devorah — October 12, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

    I made this cake and mousse for my family get together this weekend and everyone LOVED it!!!! I highly recommend making extra mousse because it’s sooo good on its own too! I used skim milk instead, and wasn’t confident enough in my skills to cut the layers in half, so I used three separate round pans, and just stacked those as the layers of the cake as they were. This recipe is amazing! The cake is so nice and moist and flavorful. And the mousse is incredible!

  12. #
    purpleubergoober — January 27, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    This cake is not only beautiful, but looks ridiculously delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  13. #
    13 — February 27, 2011 @ 3:55 am

    This is soooo decadent tasting. Wish I could reach into my monitor and grab a slice! ♥


  14. #
    John — March 6, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    I made this cake for my wife’s birthday. She and everyone else loved it, but I have to say that she liked it even more leftover. I have to say that she loves cold cake in general but it seemed to let the mousse setup well.

  15. #
    Freight audit — August 19, 2011 @ 1:49 am

    Wow, looks very delicious. I want to have this one. Every layers of the cake are good.. I like it. Thanks for sharing.

  16. #
    Megan — September 5, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    Wowza– this looks amazing!

  17. #
    Anonymous — September 22, 2011 @ 6:16 am

    you are truly blessed, your father has such a beautiful daughter who has a good heart and bakes up such wonderful treats! i just started reading your blog, kinda forgot how i got here. you are doing a great job, keep blogging and i will keep reading!
    -Fan from Malaysia

  18. #
    Anonymous — October 23, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

    Hi, I just mixed up the batter for this cake, and it is very runny… is that how it is supposed to be? I put the batter into cupcake tins, so I’m anxious to see if they turn out!

  19. #
    Erica — October 23, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    Anonymous, yes the batter is very runny but they’ll still turn out great!

  20. #
    Anonymous — October 23, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    Thanks, Erica! :) They smell great in the oven!

  21. #
    Anonymous — October 23, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

    How long do you suggest I leave the cupcakes in the oven? I was thinking about 22 min?

  22. #
    Anonymous — December 23, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    can i use cake flour?

  23. #
    Erica — December 29, 2011 @ 1:43 am

    I don’t see why you couldn’t use cake flour – give it a try and let me know how it comes out!

  24. #
    DarkLight — January 13, 2012 @ 5:21 am

    I emailed the link for this webpage to my mom with the picture of the cake, and the recipe for it and the mousse, to see if she’ll make it. It’s gorgeous, and looks delicious, especially the rustic layered look. Which in my opinion looks better than the frosted one, although I certainly wouldn’t turn down a piece of it. =) Wish me luck on getting my mom to make it. Thanks for making such a lovely dessert site, hopefully I’ll be trying out a few of these awesome looking recipes!

  25. #
    Anonymous — March 22, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    Can I just make this cake in a cake form and then let cool and cut the pieces after? Also, can I add some almond flour for a more nutty taste? Thank you for an amazing idea! Looks amazing and unique from the typical chocolate cake.

    • Erica — March 26th, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

      I’m not sure what a cake form is but sounds good to me! And almond flour would probably also be great. Good luck!

  26. #
    Anonymous — March 24, 2012 @ 3:52 am

    Just finished making the cake, it looks great an the mousse tastes fantastic! Can’t wait to have my slice tonight with family and friends! Really enjoying your blog from down under!

  27. #
    Helen — April 25, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    AMAZZZING!!!! i cant wait to try this!!! thank you soooo much!

  28. #
    Chrys Thao — June 26, 2012 @ 4:05 am

    Looks super good. I can’t wait to try this out for my anniversary next month!

  29. #
    Sofia — August 1, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    Hi Erica,

    How many pans did you use?

    Looks delicious, will make it this weekend for my sons birthday.

    • Erica — August 1st, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

      I used 2 pans and cut each layer into 2 to make a total of 4 layers. Good luck!

  30. #
    Helene Stenkløv — October 2, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. #
    Christina — November 16, 2012 @ 2:43 am

    How many people does this cake feed?

    • Erica — November 19th, 2012 @ 1:39 am

      Probably about 16-20 depending on how big of slices you cut :)

  32. #
    CJ — November 22, 2012 @ 5:41 am

    I came across this and when it came to the Nutella right when I added the Kaluah the Nutella got hard and clumpy! The second time I added the coffee mixture it did the same thing! Why?

    • Erica — November 26th, 2012 @ 3:38 am

      I’m sorry the mousse didn’t work out for you. Did you beat the Nutella and Kahlua together for awhile? It might take a few minutes to get them both evenly incorporated and smooth. It also might help to microwave the Nutella for 10-20 seconds just to loosen it up a bit. Other than that I’m not quite sure what could have gone wrong, sorry!!

  33. #
    Meghan — January 9, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    Too funny! I went searching for a hazelnut mousse recipe thinking it would be sublime with Ina Garten’s “Beatty’s chocolate cake” recipe and it appears it has been done together and with great success. I am a HUGE fan of I am Baker, which actually led me to your blog. But to give credit where credit is do, this AMAZING best in the world chocolate cake recipe is Ina Garten’s.

  34. #
    Kathy — January 30, 2013 @ 12:26 am

    I was wondering how many cupcakes do you think this will make? Thanks for the recipe, it looks and sounds delicious. Can’t wait to bake.

    • Erica — January 30th, 2013 @ 3:51 am

      About 24 – I actually just made this recipe into cupcakes and will be posting it tomorrow! Enjoy :)

  35. #
    DT — March 12, 2013 @ 12:22 am

    Do you have to refrigerate the cake overnight?

    • Erica — March 12th, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

      Yes, I would recommend that because the mousse should be kept cool. Good luck!

  36. #
    Colette @ JFF! — March 21, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    My friend made this cake and says it is to die for.
    Subscribed to your blog! Gotta make this cake to-nite!

  37. #
    Kelly — April 29, 2013 @ 2:21 am

    I made this cake twice so far and it has been a huge hit! Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome recipe! I also wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog as well. =) Keep up the great work!

  38. #
    Jessica — June 23, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    I am excited to try this recipe!! Quick question, in regards to the cocoa powder? Is it unsweetened cocoa powder?

    • Erica — June 24th, 2013 @ 12:18 am

      Yes, unsweetened!

  39. #
    Paige Smith — July 14, 2013 @ 2:01 am

    My moms favorite cake is hazelnut so i had to make this for her birthday!!

    I just finished making it but ran into some problems! I don’t know what happened!

    My cake like completely fell apart when i was taking it out of the cake pans!
    So unfortunately i could not cut it into 4 layers and have the beautiful exposed layer look which was what i was looking forward too :(
    But instead i just put the chunks that were left behind in the cake pan back like a puzzle lol.. and just made the cake two layers and covered the outside with the mousse…

    Even though it doesn’t look as beautiful as yours, It definitely taste amazing!
    The mousse is to die for and the cake is so moist!!!!

    Im not sure why my cake fell apart :( I made sure to grease and flower my pans too!

    Oh well it still taste amazing!

  40. #
    Erica — July 16, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    I’m so sorry the cake stuck!! Maybe try nonstick spray next time. It’s a little less natural, but I seem to always have luck with that! Glad you still enjoyed it :)

  41. #
    Stephanie — August 18, 2013 @ 4:45 am

    I was so excited to try this recipe tonight for a cake auction at my church tomorrow. I LOVE to bake (that being said I am in no way a professional hit I do give myself a pat on the back for making some delicious things!);) the cakes turned out perfectly, better than any I have ever made and the mouse.. Amazing! So I go to put it all together and it starts out leaning a little. By the time I get it to the refrigerator it is touching the side of the cake dish :( I tried to salvage it but the top layer is lost. Any suggestions on what to do?? I tases the lost layer and wow this is amazing!! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Erica — August 18th, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that! It sounds like your cake layers weren’t firm enough to hold up to the mousse. Did you make sure to cool the cakes completely before constructing the cake? Glad you still liked it!

  42. #
    Kat — September 24, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    Erica! Thanks so much for this awesome recipe! I made it and it was super tasty. It was my first cake from scratch though and so i had some issues with the actual prep stuff that might seem basic to others, like the mousse was a little bit softer/runnier than i would like, (i’ll whip it longer next time?or maybe i whipped too long? i thought that peaks formed and then seemed to water down the longer i kept going) also the actual cake batter after cooked was super crumbly and difficult to work with, almost sticky-like. Is there a certain amount of time that i should spend on mixing the batter? Or any tips that you can think of for me next time? Either way the taste was great just some texture issues. Overall wonderful and thanks again for sharing!

    • Erica — September 24th, 2013 @ 11:49 am

      Hey Kat, I’m sorry to hear about your issues! You may have overbeaten the mousse, or it’s possible that the Nutella mixture was too warm when you added it. If you get the same results next time, you could try adding some powdered sugar to stiffen things up. You want to mix the batter as minimally as possible after the flour is added. Basically just until the white specks disappear, but no longer than that. I hope this helps!

  43. #
    Dana — October 14, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    This is one of the best chocolate cake recipes I have ever tried! The mousse didn’t hold up for me at all. I tried chilling, whipping, more powdered sugar, meringue powder, none of it worked. It made a nice dip though for chocolate cake pieces. Any tips?

    • Erica — October 14th, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

      Hmmm I’m so sorry that the mousse didn’t work out for you!! I have made it many times and never had a problem, and sounds like you tried all the things I would have recommended. Did you chill the bowl and whisk attachment before whipping? It’s possible that you whipped too long so that the mousse broke down, but I’m not sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake at least!!

  44. #
    kaite — October 23, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    How many serves??!

  45. #
    kaite — October 23, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    How many serves??

    • Erica — October 24th, 2013 @ 12:57 am

      About 12 people, depending on how big you cut the slices!

  46. #
    Erin — March 1, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

    My cake batter is pouring over the sides of the pan! No one else seems to have had this problem, so I obviously did something wrong. The coffee seems to have made batter way too watery. I put in 1 measured cup….not sure where I went wrong but I have a feeling this isn’t coming out right!

    • Erica — March 2nd, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

      Yes, the batter is very runny but always turns out great. I hope it worked out for you!

  47. #
    Caroline — April 8, 2014 @ 11:51 pm

    I made this today for my 25 year old son’s birthday. He said he wanted a hazelnut cake and voila! I found yours. It is in the fridge waiting for him to get home and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out so thanks very, very much!

  48. #
    Carrie — October 2, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    Quick question about the cocoa powder-is that sweetened or unsweetened? Thx!

    • Erica — October 2nd, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

      Unsweetened! Enjoy :)

  49. #
    Carrie — October 5, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

    Ok, so ended up making this for my husband’s birthday and it received rave reviews, my grandmother called me today to tell me it is one of the best cakes she has ever had, thank you for sharing this recipe!

  50. #
    Brianna — November 28, 2014 @ 10:41 am

    Hi there! Love your recipes and want to try this one. Just curious if you have any advice on Dutch Process Cocoa Powder? It’s what I’ve got on hand and it wasn’t cheap so I’d love to get some more use out of it. I was thinking maybe I could do 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, or 1/2 of each. Do you have any experience with Dutch Process Cocoa that might yield some advice? Either way, I’ll let you know what I try and how it works out.

    • Erica — November 30th, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

      Hi Brianna, I don’t have much experience with Dutch process so I’m sorry I can’t offer you very specific advice. Google it and see what the internet recommends! Best of luck – and enjoy the cake :)


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