Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Quinn’s birthday has lasted all month. Seriously. It started at the first of the month when, after months of waiting out the high-def war, he got a Blu-ray player. Then, we spent a week in New York. Granted, he was there for a conference, but it’s New York. And, he got to pick out a new laptop bag at Jack Spade. We got back home the night before his birthday. The next night, we went to one of our favorite semi-local restaurants, and he got another present. Then, this weekend we had the family over for dinner and more presents.

And this cake. I let him pick out his birthday dessert every year. Last year’s tiramisu cake was delicious, but sort of a pain to make (and keep together). This year, he picked a dessert featuring one of my favorite combinations – chocolate and hazelnuts.

Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake is a cool, creamy, rich, and delicious dessert. A must for chocolate lovers!

The only baking involved is with the crust. It is a simple yet delicious chocolate hazelnut shortbread. I think we could have just served the crust and been happy. But, I kept going with the rest of the recipe. I made everything but the ganache the night before and kept the cake in the refrigerator. The glaze was quick and easy, which was great considering everything else I was cooking for our meal.

There really aren’t adequate words for how much we liked this cake. I’ve already said how delicious the crust is. The chocolate mousse component was rich and creamy. The Nutella added just enough of a twist to the chocolate to give it a little extra interest. The ganache was just rich enough to perfectly complement the other chocolates.

Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake is so deliciously decadent. I just love all those layers of chocolate goodness!

Everyone loved this cake. There was hardly any left over. In fact, we had to put a few pieces away quickly – for photography purposes only, of course. After the photo shoot, well, we couldn’t let it go to waste, now could we?

Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake


    For the crust:
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • For the mousse:
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
  • 1/2 cup (5 oz) Nutella
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the ganache:
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 3.5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped


To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Invert bottom portion of an 8-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Reattach sides of springform pan.

Process hazelnuts and sugar in food processor until finely chopped. Add flour, butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse just until dough forms.

Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Using a fork, poke holes over surface of dough. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until dry to the touch (Careful! It will be hot!) Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Remove sides of pan and carefully slide parchment paper from underneath the crust. Reattach sides.

To make the mousse:

Place water in a 1 - 1 & 1/2 quart sauce pan. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until softened.

Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, just until gelatin has dissolved (about 2 minutes). Whisk in Nutella until combined. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk mascarpone and Nutella mixture. In a separate bowl, beat cream, cocoa powder, and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat just until combined. Then, increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk 1/3 of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Then, gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon filling evenly on top of crust, and smooth crust. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

To make the ganache:

Place cream in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk gently until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Stir occasionally, until slightly thickened but pourable (about 20 minutes).

Run a warm knife between the cake and pan. Remove sides of pan. Transfer cake to serving plate. pour ganache over cake. Spread, allowing excess to run over sides of cake.


Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

Unglazed cake can be covered and chilled up to 2 days. Cake can be glazed 6 hours ahead and chilled, uncovered.

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  1. maggie March 30, 2008 Reply

    holy crap, that looks amazing. i just showed my honey and he wants it for his birthday, too. (recently he’s been obsessed with nutella.)

  2. sandra March 31, 2008 Reply

    Wow! Gorgeous.. :)

  3. Rosa March 31, 2008 Reply

    Your cake looks wonderful and extremely delicious! Wow!



  4. Ginny March 31, 2008 Reply

    It looks amazing! so delicious! nothing like gooey chocolate and hazelnut! :)

  5. Deb Schiff March 31, 2008 Reply

    Gorgeous photos. Love the last one with the fork.

  6. Those photos… my goodness! Amazing looking mousse!

  7. Dianne March 31, 2008 Reply

    Oh wow…That looks amazing!

  8. a. grace March 31, 2008 Reply

    i’m not surprised that you had to stash a couple of slices for the sake of photography. i, for one, greatly appreciate it. i admire your restraint in not devouring the aforementioned slices before the pictures could be taken. :)

  9. jennifer March 31, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Maggie! Hope y’all enjoy the cake.

    Thanks, Sandra!

    Rosa, it was extremely good. Thanks!

    Ginny, I agree. I am a huge fan of chocolate and hazelnut.

    Deb, that’s one of my favorite shots, too. Thanks!

    Thanks, Aran!

    Dianne, those were my feelings as well. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

    a. grace, it was tough, but we managed to have a little bit of restraint. All in the name of BoB!

  10. amanda March 31, 2008 Reply

    the best part about this cake is the way the mousse sinks in to the crust and the ganache. and I bet the hazelnut adds a nice nutty aftertaste. Great job with your pictures:)

  11. Kate March 31, 2008 Reply

    pure chocolate heaven. Makes me go weak in my knees.

  12. deb March 31, 2008 Reply

    I knew immediately what this was! Because 1) the photo from Gourmet on the cover of that issue is my favorite, ever from the magazine; 2) I’ve had this cake bookmarked for so long, and still haven’t matched it with a time and the excuse to bake it. I’m so happy to hear it was a raging success!

  13. Cindy March 31, 2008 Reply

    Oh My! I would hurt myself on this dessert!

  14. That looks positively sinful and divine.

  15. Patricia Scarpin March 31, 2008 Reply

    I can see why there was nothing left, Jen! It looks so delicious!
    Quinn is a smart guy. :)

  16. Sandie (Inn Cuisine) March 31, 2008 Reply

    If the title “Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake” wasn’t enough to send me over temptation’s edge, your photos certainly were!

    Dreamy… absolutely dreamy…

    I’ve been craving chocolate as of late, and this is soooo being made. Thanks for sharing.

  17. My Sweet & Saucy March 31, 2008 Reply

    I love that flavor combo…this is a must bake! Thanks!

  18. megan March 31, 2008 Reply

    Ohhh, now thats to die for!

  19. Tara March 31, 2008 Reply

    I am so excited to make this! Thanks Jennifer! Love your blog by the way – I’m so happy I discovered it! I never knew there were so many people out there who love to bake as I do :)

  20. RecipeGirl March 31, 2008 Reply

    Looks pretty darn amazing. I don’t quite like hazelnuts as a nut to just munch on, but I think I might like your cake :)

  21. michelle @ TNS March 31, 2008 Reply

    that looks fricking awesome! hazelnut and chocolate is my favorite dessert combination.

  22. Nan (and Jim) March 31, 2008 Reply

    This dessert was absolutely wonderful. The hazelnut taste is just enough-not too much and not too little. I don’t know how you could have made the texture any smoother! It was just perfect!

  23. brilynn March 31, 2008 Reply

    That is one awesome cake! I’d love a big slice!

  24. Fran Z March 31, 2008 Reply

    Pornalicious!!! I must try this!

  25. Nick March 31, 2008 Reply

    Whoa, this is my first time here and this looks ridiculous. I may have to start frequenting this site more often. Thanks for the visual stimulation!

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  26. jennifer March 31, 2008 Reply

    Oh, wow! Thanks, everyone!

    Deb, don’t wait for an excuse – just make it! I will anxiously await your photos and thoughts.

    Patricia, Quinn is very smart indeed. He married me, right?

    Tara and Nick, welcome!

  27. Sharona May April 1, 2008 Reply

    Fantastic! I love it. Just cooked with hazelnuts the other night. Such a nice flavor.

    Thanks, sharona may

  28. Indigo April 1, 2008 Reply

    Oh my days. My best friend in the world is the hugest cheesecake/chocolate/hazelnut fan, and I think I just found her birthday cake. Stunning.

  29. jennifer April 1, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Sharona May! I would hazelnuts right behind pecans for my favorite.

    Indigo, let me know what you think if you make it.

  30. Nina April 2, 2008 Reply

    Chocolate, more chocolate and hazelnuts – nothing wrong about this cake….fantastic!!!

  31. jennifer April 2, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Nina!

  32. Tarah April 2, 2008 Reply

    Mmm, that looks to die for. I look forward to making this in the near future :]

  33. Tartelette April 2, 2008 Reply

    I wish it were my fork…and my slice of cake! Oh wow! This is so going on the baking list! Fabulous.
    P.S: I solved the mistery intruder’s identity and gave her a piece of my mind :)

  34. Katie April 3, 2008 Reply

    That looks divine! I like how it uses hazelnuts, most recipes I ahve seen like this always use almonds, but this sounds fab.

  35. Sarah April 3, 2008 Reply

    I just recently found your site & I already love it! I’ve bookmarked at least 4 recipes. :)

    I just bought some hazelnuts & I’ve been dying to make mousse, so this recipe might be attempted sometime soon!

  36. jennifer April 3, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Tartelette! Good to know you’ve figured out your mystery. Very strange.

    Thanks, Katie! I don’t bake much with almonds. I mostly use pecans and hazelnuts, although I do try to branch out every once in a while. 😉

    Sarah, I’m glad you found me! Let me know what you think of the cake if you make it.

  37. Christine April 4, 2008 Reply

    Delicious, I love nutella. The photos are amazing, the mousse the ganache. Oh I want a piece!

  38. jennifer April 4, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Christine. Sadly, this is one dessert that didn’t last long. We do remember it fondly, though. 😉

  39. Angie April 4, 2008 Reply

    This looks absolutely delish!

  40. jennifer April 5, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Angie!

  41. kimmie April 14, 2008 Reply

    first time here and it’s such a fine place!

    i found that same recipe a couple weeks ago and i’ve been dying to try it out! i’m so glad to read it was a great success. now i really can’t wait to make it!

    thanks for the insight.

  42. That looks really good, and I love the pictures!

  43. Tanja May 19, 2008 Reply

    This is, by far, the most delicious looking cake I have ever seen. I can’t wait to try it. In fact, I may even make it for myself for my birthday. In fact there are a bunch of recipes you have posted that I would love to try, so thanks!

  44. jennifer May 19, 2008 Reply

    kimmie, I’m glad you found me!

    Thanks, chocolate shavings!

    Tanja, thanks so much! I hope you like the cake. I made my own birthday cake last year, too.

  45. hong July 4, 2008 Reply

    What tasty cake! Really make people want to bite it.

  46. jennifer July 5, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, hong

  47. Connie November 15, 2008 Reply

    I just made this for my sister-in-law’s birthday. It looks fantastic. I can’t wait to cut into it.

  48. Oh wow, this looks great too! He picks great desserts for his Birthday, mine gets carrot or german chocolate cakes-how plain. lol

  49. kanika April 30, 2009 Reply

    Hey………..that looks yummy

  50. paolo January 1, 2010 Reply

    I’m making a birthday cake and this looks beyond amazing!…But i got a idea to put this mousse cake in the middle of the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake recipe…Kinda like the german chocolate cheesecake recipe on this site!…Will my idea work??…just wondering.

  51. jennifer January 1, 2010 Reply

    paolo, that might work. I think you’d definitely have to keep the whole thing refrigerated and your fingers crossed. Let me know how it works. Good luck!

  52. paolo January 2, 2010 Reply

    Thanks for responding!….Hopefully it will turn out the way i imagined it!

    I’ll definetly let you know on jan.16 then!;)

  53. paolo January 18, 2010 Reply

    Good news!….The cake turned out awesome!…And everybody loved it!…Including the birthday boy(me!)Lol….For the filling i used Nutella buttercream, Which was fanastic!…And i kept the shortbread cookie crust with the moussee and it gave the cake a good texture with the moist cake, creamy mousse, and the chewy goodness of the cookie!…And the top i just put the chocolate ganache!…If there was a name i would call it, It would be the “Ultimate Nutella Cake”…The only problem i had was that i didnt chill the mousse right so the cake did flatten the mousse a bit!…lol

    Here’s some pictures i took!…

    I took these pics like 10 minutes after i blew out the candles!…

  54. Whitney November 27, 2010 Reply

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit! Thank you, Jen, for the delicious recipes and incredible pictures. Your posts never cease to amaze me!

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