Chocolate Cake With Nutella Icing And Hazelnut Praline

I wanted to post this cake recipe before this month ends. MM completes 8 years this month! Though I said the previous statement without any drama, trust me, lots of drama happens behind the scene, all the time. Be it in the kitchen, photo session, maintenance… As I’ve said before, though the site is in my name, it’s very much a joint venture between Jose and myself. I manage the front office and he is in charge of the back office. So you can imagine, how it works out when husband and wife works together ;)

One of the things that we always have a conflict is, Jose wants me to be proud about the site, in a good way. Sometimes it happens that when I’m asked whether I’m working, I tend to say I’m unemployed or jobless, depending on my mood and as a result some people tend to look down upon me. Ok, now if I start talking about that topic, it will take ages, so let’s come back to what we were saying, hhmm, yeah be proud about my work. He keeps asking me why am I downplaying the whole thing and so on. So, to stop his bickering, I told him, come this June, I’ll not only be a proud owner, but may be flaunt it a lil bit ;)

You see, I was all set to start throwing around my weight, not so much, may be the size of a paper weight, as starters. I started practicing my make believe celebrity style at home too. I almost perfected it, then something happened. I got a mail! A mail from some agency saying that they will make me and my small blog a celebrity and they want me to do audition also for that! Here I’m all set to flaunt my celebrity status in Utopia and it took no time to bring me back to  reality where I’m asked to audition to become one. Sigh! Should I say that my paper weights got crushed into fine dust by a road roller :(

Though I’ve given up the idea of “flaunting my blog”, I’ve started saying that I’m the “author” at MariasMenu :) An author without readers is like a Red Velvet Cupcake without the cream cheese icing, it just doesn’t feel complete. It’s only because of YOU, I can call myself an author. I know I test your patience and tolerance level at times, with the delay in posting new recipes or getting back to your mails and comments, but you put up with me ever so kindly.

Thank you for being there for MM :)

Now about this cake, this is one of the best Chocolate cakes, I’ve baked so far. I baked it twice in a month’s time, once for one of our friend’s anniversary and other for a friend’s b’day. The cake was a hit with both of them, if I say so myself. I loved the texture of this cake, it’s a bit dense but in a good way. The cake by itself isnt sweet, so it calls for a grand icing. The Nutella icing complemented the cake perfectly. It’s very much a celebration cake, ideal for birthdays, anniversaries or any special occasion or you can just bake this cake and make an ordinary day an extra ordinary one ;) If you like chocolate cakes, this one is for you. I made praline only for one cake. The cake pic given above is the one I made for our friend’s anniversary.

I want you to bake this cake so badly, so I shamelessly went and asked one of them to give me a slice to take home, so that I can take a pic to share with you ;) I wanted you to see the sliced cake, to get an idea about the texture.

Finally, the recipe…

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl…

In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes…

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined…

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat…

Divide the batter evenly into 2, 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean…

Place a cake on the serving plate. Moisten the top and sides of the cake with coffee syrup. Place some icing on the top of the cake and spread it. Sprinkle the hazelnut praline, if using…

Place the next cake on top of this. Moisten the top and sides with the coffee syrup. Place some icing on top…

Start spreading it on the top and sides. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnut praline on top…

Cake recipe from here and Icing recipe from here

Please read the notes section before proceeding with the recipe

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Chocolate Cake With Nutella Icing And Hazelnut Praline

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Servings: 10 -12
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 2 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetend Cocoa Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 stick Butter (113 gms, @ room temp)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs (@ room temp)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 cup Lukewarm Water
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk (refer notes for substitute)

For Nutella Buttercream

  • 250 gms Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 400 gms Nutella
  • 1.5 – 2 cups Icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk

For Coffee Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Hot water
  • 1 tbsp Instant coffee powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar

For Hazelnut Praline (optional)

  • 1/2 cup Blanched skinless hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup Sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 C, 10 mins before baking.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
  • Divide the batter evenly into 2, 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake in the pre heated oven for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • To make icing:
  • Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or icing sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • To make coffee syrup:
  • Combine hot water, instant coffee powder and sugar. Let it cool completely.
  • To make the praline:
  • Melt the sugar with 1/2 tbsp water in a pan. Once it starts turning brown, add the whole hazelnuts. Swirl the pan to make sure the nuts are coated completely with caramalised sugar. Transfer it to an al.foil or parchment paper. Let it cool completely. Crush it using a rolling pin.
  • Assembling the cake:
  • Place a cake on the serving plate. If you are using a cake board, spread some buttercream on the board and place the cake. This is done to avoid the cake moving around while doing the icing. Place cut out baking/parchment paper under the cake around the edges and without covering the centre, so that the extra icing will not be falling on the board. You can pull out these in the end.
  • Moisten the top and sides of the cake with coffee syrup. Place some icing on the top of the cake and spread it. Sprinkle the hazelnut praline, if using. Place the next cake on top of this. Moisten the top and sides with the coffee syrup. Place some icing on top and start spreading it on the top and sides. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnut praline on top.

Notes

1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes
As you can see from the step by step pic, the batter tends to curdle after adding eggs. Dont worry about it, it will come together in the end.
if you want a taller cake, use 2, 8 inch baking tins. When I used 8 inch tins, I had some left over batter and I got 3 std size cupcakes from it. If you want to serve more people, 9 inch cake tins is ideal.
I baked the cake one day in advance, once cooled, wrapped tightly in cling film and left on the kitchen counter. Made the icing, praline and also did the assembling the next day. You can store the iced cake at room temp in an airtight container for 2-3 days, unless you are living in extreme hot-humid places. If storing in fridge, let the cake stand at room temp for 20 mins or so, before serving.
I used the coffee syrup, to cut down some of the sweetness of the icing. If you dont like the taste of nutella very much, add 1/2 cup of sifted cocoa powder to the butter and follow the rest of the recipe. If you are adding cocoa powder, you may need to use more icing sugar, around 2.5 – 3 cups.
If you are not doing any large scale piping, you may end up with extra icing. So please adjust the qty of icing as per your requirements. You can store the leftover icing, if any, in the fridge for 3-4 days. Just whip it up again before using.
You can also make cupcakes using the above batter, though I’m not sure about how many it will yield.
If you are baking this cake for a kid’s party, it’s better to skip the praline. I used hazelnuts since it was nutella icing.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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I really want MariasMenu to be an enjoyable and fun place. You can share your experience related to a recipe or give your suggestions or feedback. But remember, if you spam, be offensive, or just plain rude – I will delete those comments. Think of it as going to a friend’s house, wouldn’t you respect that friend?
  • I have never baked in my life. But when I see this pics I feel like attempting. Will let you know how it turns out to be Maria chechi..

  • In time for my sons 16th birthday! 250grms butter is how many cups?. In US everything is cup measurement. We love nutella, I am sure this cakes a killer!!

  • Hi Maria
    I’m a constant viewer of mm..tried many recipes..but never left any feedbacks..I like the way you introduce the recipe with the story happened before..and also the step by step guidelines for the recipes..my little one is turning 2 next week so i’m going to try this cake and let you know about the outcome..keep blogging..and all the very best wishes for mm…cheers…

    • Hi Sona,

      Thank you so much for taking time to write to me, appreciate it very much :)

      So good to know that you’re a regular visitor here. Advance b’day wishes to your lil one!

      Hope the cake comes out well for you.. Happy baking :)

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hi Maria,
    the recipe looks interesting…how much does 1 stick butter mean…also if i add cocoa pwdr at the icing stage can i do away with nutella or is it just to reduce the taste of it
    norma

  • Awesome cake :) I’ve tried loads of your recipes and they’ve never failed me!
    I’m making this tonight for my son’s first b’day tomorrow. Could I ask, every time I bake a cake, the top rises like a volcano and cracks. What am i doing wrong? Is it the temperature of the oven or because of air trapped?
    Also, before layering, do you cut of the rounded top of the cake so that the cake is stable?

    • Thanks a lot Honey :) Wish your son a very happy b’day, God Bless him!

      The cake forms into a dome mainly because of uneven baking. The edges of the cake tends to get baked faster than the centre and that’s why it happens.

      To ensure even baking of cake, wrap a wet towel (you can cut out thin strips of old towel) around the cake tin and keep in the oven. This helps the cake to rise evenly.

      I didnt cut out the top of the cake, since it came out even and levelled.

      Hope the cake comes out well for you, all the best! Have a great time tmrw :)

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hi Honey,

    Thanks a ton for letting me know about the cake :)

    Your cakes look so pretty! I’m really happy that the cakes were a hit. Thank you so much for sharing the pics.. I’ll put it on MM FB page soon..

    I assume the brown coloured one is ultra moist and the light coloured one is Nutella?

    Cheers
    Maria

  • Hi Maria, made this cake today. Came out very well. Very moist and spongy. Will be surprising my father in law tomorrow for his 83rd Birthday . thanks for this wonderful recipe :)

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