January 20, 2012

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with a Dark Rum Ganache

When mother nature decides to deal some crappy weather, it is important to eat chocolate in order to keep your spirits high. For me, chocolate is an everyday food. I like to eat a square or two daily. I find it mentally soothing. When mother nature dumps on me, I need something more than a piece of chocolate to lift my spirits. I need something a bit more complicated, with a chocolate factor of at least 9. Chocolate hazelnut cake with a dark rum ganache totally fits into this category. 

It has been snowing in Seattle since Saturday. That's seven whole days of mother nature's wrath. If I was back home this amount of snow would be considered piddly, but because I live in Seattle, it's a big deal. I've been trapped in my house since Saturday, because there are no plows to plow the side streets, no shovels to clear the side walks. There's been a nice mixture of snow and rain, which combined with frigid temperatures has left a thick layer of ice on top of snow on top of ice. Today it is raining, and the temperature has risen. Now all the snow is melting and turning into slush. Rain boots are a necessity.

On Monday, the snow was light and fluffy and beautiful. People were clearing their steps with leaf blowers. Passerby's were wearing spring coats and ski goggles. Others were carrying umbrellas. People were cross country skiing down the streets while others rode their bicycles. Today I saw a man wearing a winter coat and a pair of Hawaiian shorts. Mother nature brings out the bonkers in people. This week, I haven't really left my apartment. I stayed inside the warm and toasty confines of my living space and ate chocolate hazelnut cake for dinner. Mother nature has also given me a reason to not workout. For that, I love her. Before I bid adieu, I have to tell you a few important things about this cake. This cake is made up of four parts. A devils food cake made with a hint of coffee, a whipped hazelnut ganache filling, a thick layer of chopped hazelnuts, and a dark rum ganache outer layer. This cake is the cake of all cakes. It's sexy and divine.


2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup dutched cocoa powder
2 cups superfine or caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup strong coffee
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped 

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnut butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp dark rum

Chocolate cake
Preheat oven to 350º F.

Line the bottom of two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper and sides of the pans with a non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder. Next add the sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir with a wire whisk until all of the ingredients have been combined. Set to the side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on low speed, for 20 seconds. Add the oil and beat for one minute. Add the milk and beat for one minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for two more minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add one cup of coffee. Mix until combined.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until moistened. 

Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.

Remove the cake pans from the oven and let cool for 10 - 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently lift out the cake with a spatula. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack.

Whipped ganache
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from the stove and add 8 ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir with a wire whisk until the chocolate has melted. Add the hazelnut butter to the cream and chocolate, and whisk until combined. Cool the mixture until it is room temperature. Once cool, beat until the mixture has thickened to a similar consistency to buttercream icing.

Place one of the cake layers onto a circular piece of cardboard cut into the same shape of the cake. Spread 1/2 of the whipped ganache on top and smooth it with a spatula. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and then place the other cake layer on top. Cover the top and the sides with the rest of the whipped ganache icing. Smooth it out with a spatula and then place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Chocolate ganache
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from the stove and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the rum. Let the chocolate cool until it is room temperature.

Place the cake on a cooling rack that has been placed over top of a baking pan. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake making sure to cover the sides. The excess chocolate should drip into the baking pan below the rack.


  1. Heather, the photo of that chocolate dripping is pure food evil. I must have this cake! :) Love your photos (as usual)!

  2. The pictures tells it self that this cake is not only awesome but it is yummy.

  3. Oh my gosh. Sandy you're so kind.

  4. I would love to have that slice right now! it's simply perfect

  5. This looks amazing, my mouth is watering!

  6. Thanks beri. Funny, I still have one slice left ;)

  7. This dish looks great! I would love it if you linked up this recipe to my comfort foods blog hop for a chance to win a Wilton donut pan: http://bit.ly/yMcu5R

  8. Hazelnuts and chocolate, what a perfect combination. That cake looks so heavenly and your pictures are gorgeous!



  9. Hi,
    I saw your delicious cake pictures and checked your recipe out, it sounds perfect to make for my boyfriend for valentines who is a large chocolate/hazelnut fan. However I don't know what hazelnut butter is I was wondering if you could help out. Is it like Nutella?
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Katt! Hazelnut butter is similar to peanut butter or almond butter, instead, it uses hazelnuts. If you can't find any, try using some natural almond butter instead. Good luck.