Cakes

Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

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Craft our indulgent Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream to elevate celebrations with exquisite flavors and an elegant presentation.
A close-up shot at the cut of Hazelnut Cake shows its 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of filling, Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting on the outside, and decorated with toasted nuts on top and around the bottom. A slice os served on a dessert plate next to the white cake stand.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Our Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting is a dream blend of warm, buttery, mellow-sweet flavors. Rich hazelnuts give the cake a pleasantly earthy note, and Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting blankets the cake in a layer of toffee-like deliciousness. This cake may look fancy, but the prep time is just 45 minutes!

  • Next-level-moist cake: Nut flour ensures moist cake and a meltingly soft and tender crumb. When mixed with all-purpose flour, it achieves the perfect balance of lightness and satisfying texture.
  • Outrageously good frosting: Toasty, buttery, slightly smokey caramel plays off the warm flavor of the hazelnut cake and elevates it with its nuanced sweetness. This fluffy buttercream is as pretty as it is yummy!

Nuts add another flavor element to baked goods, giving irresistibly complex flavor and texture that I adore. After you try this amazing Hazelnut Cake, check out our Flourless Chocolate Torte, Almond Flour Banana Bread, and Almond Flour Muffins Recipe with Applesauce.

Table of Contents

Hazelnut Cake is frosted with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting and decorated with toasted nuts on top and around the bottom.

What is Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting?

  • Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting is a layer cake made with hazelnut flour and topped with a whipped buttercream flavored by salted caramel.
  • The cake is made in three 6-inch (15.25-cm) cake pans. The resulting three layers of cake with two layers of filling create a tall cake with a grander, more celebratory look than typical two-layer cakes.
  • Hazelnut cake originated in the Piedmont area of Italy, where the nuts are plentiful. Torta di Nocciole, a single-layer cake dusted with confectioners’ sugar, is a traditional dessert with ground hazelnut flour as a key ingredient. Our Hazelnut Cake is a layered, frosted, modern twist on this ancient recipe.

Tools You Need

Key Ingredients and Why

  • All-purpose flour

    • All-purpose flour has a protein content of 9-11%, which makes a cake that has enough gluten development to create a necessary structure but still has a tender crumb.
  • Hazelnut flour

    • Hazelnut flavor is made from finely ground nuts. It has a rich flavor and is also high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
    • Feel free to substitute another nut flour, such as almond flour. You can make your own with our recipe, or use store-bought.
  • Baking powder

  • Butter

    • Make sure your butter is softened correctly so it’s easier to blend and aerate the batter.
    • Specifically, you’ll know it’s soft enough when you push the butter with your finger, and it makes an indent, but it doesn’t easily squish right through.
  • Granulated sugar

    • Sugar sweetens the hazelnut cake.
    • Sugar is beaten with the butter until light and fluffy, which incorporates more air and keeps the cake from being dense.
    • Because sugar is hygroscopic, it attracts moisture from the liquid ingredients and holds it in after baking.
  • Eggs

    • Eggs emulsify the cake ingredients, blending them into a cohesive batter. Additionally, they provide tenderness, aeration, emulsification, and structure.
    • Use large eggs at room temperature for the best results. Here’s how to warm up eggs from the fridge.
    • Alternatively, you can use silken tofu or mashed banana. For more details, look at our Best Egg Substitutes Chart.
  • Vanilla extract

  • Whole milk

    • Whole milk moistens the cake, giving it a tender and delicate crumb.
    • Milk also reacts with baking powder, giving the cake a light, airy rise.
  • 1 recipe Salted Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • Prep:
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line three cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Make the batter: 
    • In a medium bowl, whisk all-purpose flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, and salt.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the vanilla.
    • Alternate adding the dry ingredient mixture and the milk into the wet ingredient mixture. Begin and end by adding the dry ingredient mixture.
  • Bake the cake: 
    • Divide the cake batter evenly between the three cake pans.
    • Bake for 30-35 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Let cakes cook in their pans for 10 minutes, and then turn cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
  • Assemble and frost: If your cakes are domed, use a serrated knife to slice the domes off.
    • Place a cake layer on a serving plate and top with a 3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) of frosting. Spread evenly to edges.
    • Stack and fill the next cake layer.
    • Top with third cake layer, and cover the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting.
    • Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
    • Frost the entire cake with the remaining buttercream.

A close-up shot at the cut of Hazelnut Cake shows its 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of filling, Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting on the outside, and decorated with toasted nuts on top and around the bottom.

Can I Make this Hazelnut Cake in Advance?

Yes, you can make this Hazelnut Cake in advance.

  • Bake and freeze cake layers: Wrap baked and cooled cake layers individually in plastic wrap, put in a freezer bag for additional protection, and freeze for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature before assembling.
  • Bake and store cake layers in the refrigerator: Individually wrap baked and cooled cake layers and refrigerate for up to four days.
  • Bake and store cake layers at room temperature: Individually wrap baked and cooled cake layers well and keep them at room temperature for up to two days.
  • Assemble and frost cake ahead of time: 
    • Assemble and frost the cake.
    • Cover and keep at room temperature for up to two days or in the fridge for up to three days.
    • Note that storing the frosted cake at room temperature is not advisable if it is very warm in your kitchen.

How to Store Hazelnut Cake Leftovers

    • Cover the cake well and store it at room temperature for up to two days or in the fridge for up to three days.
    • Note that storing the frosted cake at room temperature is not advisable if it is very warm in your kitchen.

FAQs

  • Can I use skim milk if I don’t have whole milk?

    • Yes, any kind of milk will work in this recipe, but skim milk is fat-free and has a higher water content than whole milk. Note that this difference may affect the texture and flavor of the cake.
  • Can I make this cake egg-free?

  • I don’t have the right-sized cake pans. Can I use a larger pan?

    • Yes, you can use larger pans. Note that the cake will be shorter and wider than your cake will be shallower and may have a shorter baking time.
    • Begin checking for doneness about three-quarters of the way through the minimum suggested bake time.

A close-up shot at a slice of Hazelnut Cake shows its 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of filling, Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting on the outside, and decorated with toasted nuts on top and around the bottom.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • When making a cake, be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature so they combine better.
  • If you want to make your own hazelnut flour, simply grind hazelnuts in a food processor until fine. Be sure to stop before the mixture becomes an oily paste. Check out my post about making your own homemade nut flours.
  • You can replace the hazelnut flour with another nut flour of your choice, either store-bought or homemade.
  • To boost the hazelnut flavor, you can replace the vanilla extract with hazelnut liqueur.
  • Instead of caramel buttercream, you can frost this with my Best Ever Chocolate Buttercream.

More Layer Cake Recipes

Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

No ratings yet
Craft our indulgent Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream to elevate celebrations with exquisite flavors and an elegant presentation.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Craft our indulgent Hazelnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream to elevate celebrations with exquisite flavors and an elegant presentation.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Hazelnut Cake

  • cups (8¾ oz/247 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2 oz/57 g) hazelnut flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (6 oz/170 g) butter, softened
  • cups (12 oz/340 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) whole milk

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 recipe Salted Caramel Buttercream

Instructions

To Make the Hazelnut Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line three (6-inch) round cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a medium bowl and a handheld electric mixer) beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and stopping just as soon as everything is evenly mixed.
  • Divide the batter between the cake pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To Decorate the Cake

  • Cut the domes off the tops of the layers (if any) to allow for even stacking.
  • Place the first layer on a serving plate and top with ¾ cup (6 oz/170 g) of frosting. Spread evenly all the way to the edges. Stack and fill the next layer. Top with the third layer and then cover the whole cake with a very thin layer of frosting to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to seal the crumb coat.
  • With the remaining buttercream, frost the top and sides of the cake until completely covered.
  • Serve immediately or store, covered and at room temperature, for up to 2 days or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

  • When making a cake, be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature so they combine better.
  • If you want to make your own hazelnut flour, simply grind hazelnuts in a food processor until fine. Be sure to stop before the mixture becomes an oily paste. Check out my post about making your own homemade nut flours.
  • You can replace the hazelnut flour with another nut flour of your choice, either store-bought or homemade.
  • To boost the hazelnut flavor, you can replace the vanilla extract with hazelnut liqueur.
  • Instead of caramel buttercream, you can frost this with my Best Ever Chocolate Buttercream.
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Danielle
Danielle
25 days ago

Looks amazing, can’t wait to make this (with the chocolate buttercream) but I’m lazy 😀 and we do not love lots of icing. What do you think the baking time would be if it’s just a 9×13 cake? Maybe start checking doneness at 20 minutes?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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