Hazelnut Cake

Quinn’s birthday cake this year is a familiar theme: chocolate and hazelnut. That’s been the common factor of his birthday dessert for the last couple of years. I’m certainly not complaining because that is one of my favorite flavor combinations.

This year’s dessert comes from Perfect Cakes by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Nick Malgieri. If you’re not familiar with him, go immediately and check out some of his books.

Fans of nutty desserts won't want to miss this sweet, buttery Hazelnut Cake. - Bake or Break

Nick calls this cake Capriccio Alle Nocciole, but Hazelnut Cake works just fine for me. He describes it as a “buttery Swiss hazelnut cake.” With two sticks of butter and six ounces of hazelnuts in the recipe, that is certainly an apt description. There is some chocolate in this cake, but it is really all about the hazelnuts.

As much as I like hazelnuts, though, I felt that this cake was best served warm with a little chocolate syrup. Then again, I am a sucker for all things chocolate, so that shouldn’t come as a shock.

Hazelnut Cake is a delicious, buttery cake filed with lots of hazelnuts and a bit of chocolate. - Bake or Break

Quinn picked another winner this year with this cake. He certainly has had luck sticking with one of his preferred flavor combinations. Check back this time next year. I will probably be telling you about another chocolate and hazelnut dessert.

Hazelnut Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Hazelnut Cake


  • 1 & 1/2 cup ground unblanched hazelnuts, divided into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan. Coat with 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.

Beat butter and 6 tablespoons of sugar on medium speed of a heavy-duty mixer. Mix until soft and light, about 5 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground hazelnuts, and chocolate. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Mix on low speed just until blended. Beat in the milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.

Beat egg whites on medium speed with a mixer’s whisk attachment. Mix until white and opaque and just beginning to hold a shape. Increase speed to medium-high and add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in a stream. Continue mixing until soft peaks form.

Stir one-third of egg whites into batter. Then, fold in remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then, remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack.


Recipe adapted from Perfect Cakes.


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  1. Stephanie Wise April 26, 2010 Reply

    Mon Dieu! This looks amazing. Like Nutella in cake form. I must bake this very soon.

  2. Lynnette April 26, 2010 Reply

    Ooooo, that looks wonderful and I have that book!!! Yay, I must try it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Satpreet April 26, 2010 Reply

    Aaah. I gave up Nutella two months ago, and have been very good at resisting anything that might spark a craving. But I think I’m going to have to make an exception for this cake.

    Looks beautiful. Always great to see a post from you!

  4. Joanne April 26, 2010 Reply

    This cake looks like a serious winner! There is nothing better than the chocolate/hazelnut combo. Quinn definitely knows what he is doing, choosing this recipe.

  5. Fallon April 26, 2010 Reply

    Chocolate and hazelnut is a favorite combo of mine as well. What a delicious cake this is!

  6. Erica April 26, 2010 Reply

    Wow this looks incredible!

  7. The Food Hunter April 26, 2010 Reply

    I clipped this one…can’t wait to try it.

  8. jose manuel April 26, 2010 Reply

    Como siempre, increibles los pasteles que nos traes. Ya se echaba de menos una receta. Un saludo

  9. Firemountmom April 26, 2010 Reply

    I’ve never been a fan of Hazelnut before, but this looks too yummy to pass up!

  10. hannah @ thepastrykook April 26, 2010 Reply

    hazelnut sounds delicious!

  11. I always await Quinn’s birthday cakes, since the combination is a favorite of mine, as well as the boyfriend’s!! I earned a lot of brownie points through these cakes :)

  12. this looks and sounds amazing! My 2 oldest sons LOVE this combo…
    thanks for the recipe :)

  13. Alta April 27, 2010 Reply

    I need to use hazelnut more often in baking! This sounds amazing.

  14. T. Martin April 27, 2010 Reply

    Do you think ground almonds (aka “almond meal”) could be subbed for the ground hazelnuts?

  15. jennifer April 27, 2010 Reply

    T. Martin, I think that almonds would work. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

  16. Elisabet Figueras April 28, 2010 Reply

    Great recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you very much for sharing!!!

  17. tasteofbeirut April 28, 2010 Reply

    I am so impressed with this cake! Even though hazelnuts and chocolate are the best combo ever, I have not seen many cakes like this! Your photo is also very beautiful.

  18. sandra April 29, 2010 Reply

    Cake is my favorite.I like all kinds of tastes.But I cannot make cake.

  19. Window On The Prairie April 29, 2010 Reply

    What a great combination. Looks so delish!

  20. Bread Bin Al April 30, 2010 Reply

    Wow, this looks awesome together. Yum!

  21. Lovely, and reading the comments am tempted to try this with ground almonds.

  22. Natalie May 5, 2010 Reply

    Mmmm drool, I cant believe how tasty this looks :) its making me hungry hehe.

  23. Jenny May 8, 2010 Reply

    Cool! I love it!

    This is perfect for desserts on “Mother’s Day”.

    Can I add raisins on this cake recipe? or something like toppings?

  24. jennifer May 9, 2010 Reply

    Jenny, I’m not a raisin fan, so I don’t have a lot of experience baking with them. Toppings are definitely good though. Just the chocolate sauce I used on it was fabulous.

  25. Cookie Confessions May 10, 2010 Reply

    this looks delicious!! i love anything with hazelnut mmmm!

  26. Tv Food And Drink May 11, 2010 Reply

    Love and not a big fan of hazelnut. By the way, I have made the Max Brenner fudge brownies numerous times and they have always gone over with a GIANT BANG!

    I gave you a blog award on my site along with a link. Hope to send some new traffic your way!


  27. Caitlin May 13, 2010 Reply

    This looks delicious! I will definitely be trying it soon!


  28. Laura Bodine May 29, 2010 Reply

    Literally drooling on my keyboard!


  29. Veronica June 3, 2010 Reply

    Oh yummy! I love hazelnut cake! Thanks for sharing this! Awesome pictures too!

  30. Jessie June 11, 2010 Reply

    I never thought of pairing salt and chocolate until I tasted the salted caramel hot chocolate at Starbucks. Salted brownies may be next on my list to try. Thanks for posting this!

  31. Jessie June 11, 2010 Reply

    Oops, I clicked on the wrong recipe to comment on. This looks good too!

  32. zach August 14, 2010 Reply

    One of my favorite cakes mmmmmmmm

  33. The Food Hunter December 2, 2010 Reply

    Happy Birthday to Quinn.. love the cake

  34. Gisela October 25, 2011 Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve made this twice already- last year for a fundraiser (they sold out!), this year for entertaining. Both times I made cupcakes instead of the cake, and topped them with chocolate ganache, and a hazelnut for the finish. The only minor problem for me was the sugar (I’m leaving out my troubles with making perfect ganache). I believe one cup is more than 12 tablespoons. I think I caught it last year in time, but not this time around. It tasted slightly under-sweetened, so I countered it with extra thick ganache on top. We still loved the result, and they tasted even better the next day. (My dear neighbor claimed it was the best cupcake she ever tasted)
    PS: I’ve made the “Zimtsterne” that you posted, too, (with great success) and think yours are extra gorgeous.

  35. Jennifer March 17, 2012 Reply

    Wait!! I just went to make the recipe and noticed that the ingredients list calls for 1 cup of sugar, but the instructions call for 12 TBSP total, 6 with the butter/yolks, and 6 with the whites. 1 cup = 16 TBSP. Which is it?? :-O

    • jennifer March 18, 2012 Reply

      Jennifer, I just looked back at the original recipe, and it should be 12 tablespoons. I’ve corrected the recipe. Thank you!

  36. Karen May 22, 2012 Reply

    Im making whoopie pies this weekend and i wanted to try a hazelnut cake with nutella frosting, will this hazelnut cake work for whoopie pies or will it be too dense?

    • jennifer May 22, 2012 Reply

      Karen, I’ve never tried making whoopie pies, but my instinct says this cake wouldn’t work well for them.

  37. val March 21, 2013 Reply

    I wanted to make this cake using 2 9inch cake pans and have nutella in the center and choc genache on top. will this work ?

  38. jennifer March 21, 2013 Reply

    Hi, Val. I’ve never tried making this cake in round layers. I feel like it will work, but you’ll likely need to decrease the baking time. You may also want to refrigerate the finished cake for a bit to let it set.

  39. Jux October 30, 2013 Reply

    Yesterday I looked for a nuts cake in order to fulfill my husband’ s craving. Then I found your beautiful cake. I made it yesterday and turned out to be by far the best cake I ever baked!
    Dense, rich, nutty, some glimpses of bitter chocolate here and there: a piece of heaven!

  40. Nadine April 21, 2015 Reply

    A good friend’s birthday is coming up and she loves hazelnut + chocolate combination so I’ve been browsing your archives and found this beauty. I don’t own a Bundt form though, do you know if this would translate to springform? Would I need to adjust the baking time? Thanks for letting me know :)

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry April 21, 2015 Reply

      Hi, Nadine. I’ve not tried this as anything but a Bundt cake. If you’re going to go another route, I’d recommend making a couple of layers or halving the recipe and making one layer. You might want to look at this recipe as an alternative: Hazelnut Cake with Mocha Frosting. Happy birthday to your friend!

      • Nadine April 30, 2015 Reply

        Thanks for your reply :) I actually browsed many of your other hazelnut options but this one won out because it seemed to pack a real nutty punch with a great crumb… I ended up using a springform pan, splitting it into two layers and then filling and topping it with ganache. Rave reviews all around :) May try it with almonds next time. Thanks so much!

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