Yield: 1 chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake // Total Time: 8 hr. 30 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. //
Chocolate cake sandwiched with chocolate ice cream, homemade hazelnut butter, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and topped with a torched swiss meringue.
chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE hazelnuts. And while chocolate isn’t my go-to flavor for most bakes, there’s just something about pairing chocolate with hazelnuts that works (hint: nutella!) This chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake is for those of us who love chocolate and hazelnut, but are looking for more flavor and less sweetness than what you’ll find from nutella. The chocolate cake cake and chocolate ice cream are super delicious and sweet, and are perfectly balanced out with a homemade hazelnut butter. We’re not adding any sugar to the hazelnut butter, so you get this delicious, earthy, nutty flavor that just pairs SO well with the cake. And of course on top we’re going to add a torched meringue, because, well, why not!
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can give you some undesirable results. This kitchen scale is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out! If you don’t have access to a scale, here is the best way to measure flour: fluff up the flour with a fork, then use a spoon to scoop it into your measuring cup. Use a knife to level off the top of the cup, then use as directed.
mix the batter carefully
After adding in your flour, you’ll want to be careful to only mix until that last streak of flour disappears into the batter to avoid over-mixing. Over-mixing your batter leads to developing more gluten in the batter, which will make the cake more tough, chewy and dense rather than light and fluffy.
room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the eggs and sour cream at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. A little hack that I do is to run the eggs under hot water for 1 minute to bring them to room temp. and microwave the sour cream in 5-second intervals until it’s no longer cold (but not hot.)
freeze the ice cream cake overnight
The cake will need to be set in the freezer for at least 6 hours but will be best if it’s made the day before and able to set up overnight.
how to tell when your loaf cake is done.
It’s always a little game with telling if your loaf is done. Sometimes it will look done, but it’s still super wet in the center, and now that you’ve opened the oven door, you risk the loaf collapsing in the middle, which is never desirable. I recommend waiting until at least 40 minutes to start checking for doneness. When checking for doneness, you’ll want to take a toothpick and stick it down the exact center of the loaf. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs, you’re good to take it out! If it’s still a little wet, put the loaf back in the oven, checking in 5-minute intervals for doneness.
swiss meringue tips and tricks
The most important part of any meringue is making sure there’s no egg yolk in the egg whites. If there is, it’s most likely that the meringue will not whip up. While cooking, you’ll want to make sure that you’re constantly whisking the egg whites and sugar, and I mean *constantly* to avoid cooking the egg whites. Once they are to temp, transfer them to a stand mixer to whip them up. Getting to soft peaks usually takes me anywhere from 2-5 minutes, so make sure you’re checking on it often.
ingredients and substitutions
For the chocolate cake:
All purpose flour: for structure.
Baking powder: for leavening and giving that “cakey” texture
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness
Dutch process cocoa powder: I highly recommend using dutch process cocoa powder as it has a deeper chocolate flavor. You can substitute in natural cocoa powder, just note that the cake will be lighter in color and less flavorful.
Espresso: a shot of hot espresso poured over the cocoa helps bring out that ultra chocolatey flavor. You can use freshly brewed espresso from a machine or instant espresso mixed with the appropriate amount of hot water. Hot coffee will also work well here too. If you are avoiding espresso or coffee, you can just use hot water in it’s place!
Vegetable oil: tenderizes the cake. Any neutral oil, such as canola, will also work here.
Granulated sugar: sweetens the cake and helps lock in the moisture.
Egg: contributes moisture to the cake and helps bind the batter together
Sour cream: tenderizes and adds moisture to the cake. I recommend using full-fat sour cream for the best texture.
For the hazelnut butter/filling:
Hazelnuts: I used and recommend blanched hazelnuts (ones that have the skin removed), so that you don’t have to do that process yourself.
Salt: a little bit of salt helps bring out the flavor of the hazelnuts.
Chocolate ice cream: Use your favorite chocolate ice cream! You could also sub in any ice cream flavor you like really, so long as it works with chocolate and hazelnuts!
Chocolate chips: use your favorite chocolate chips for some more texture in the filling.
For the swiss meringue:
Egg whites: make sure there’s no yolk in the egg whites or they won’t whip up properly.
Granulated sugar: needed to stabilize and sweeten the egg whites.
Salt: for bringing out flavor.
Vanilla: for flavor.
how to make chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake
Here are just a few pictures of the process of making this cake. The full recipe is at the end of the blog post!
chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake q&a
what size loaf pan do I need?
I used an 8×4″ metal loaf pan but you can also use a 9×5″. Just note that your cake may take a little less time to bake in a 9×5″ pan. I recommend against using a glass loaf pan but if that’s all you have on hand, note that the baking time may significantly increase.
can I double this recipe?
Of course! Just double all the ingredients and bake them in two loaf pans.
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale.
a note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature and aren’t always at the temperature they claim to be. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
did you make this chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake?
If you made this chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream Cake
- 60 g dutch process cocoa powder (½ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 90 g hot espresso (⅓ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 150 g vegetable oil (¾ c.)
- 200 g granulated sugar (1 c.)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 150 g sour cream room temperature (½ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 180 g all purpose flour (1 ½ c.)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 180 g blanched hazelnuts (1 ¼ c.)
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 qt. chocolate ice cream (4 c.)
- 60 g chocolate chips
- 3 egg whites
- 175 g granulated sugar (¾ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Butter and line an 8×4" loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Brew the espresso. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa and hot espresso.
- Add in the oil, sugar, eggs, and sour cream. Whisk vigorously until well combined.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together just until no flour streaks remain.
- Pour the chocolate cake into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.
- Allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing. In the meantime, make the hazelnut butter.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet or in any baking pan where they can all be in a flat layer.
- Bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Then, let them sit to cool down for 10 minutes.
- Pour 120g (¾ c. + 1 tbsp.) of the roasted hazelnuts into a small food processor or blender, and add in the salt.
- Blend the mixture, scraping down the sides often, until the texture goes from powdery to liquidy. It will seem like it wants to stay in powdered form for a while, but just trust the process!
- Crush up the rest of the roasted hazelnuts to be used in the cake later on.
- Once the cake has come to room temperature, slice it horizontally twice to get 3 pieces. I recommend making the top layer of the cake a little thicker to allow more room for ice cream in the pan.
- *important!* Line the 8×4" loaf pan with plastic wrap to kind of form a hammock for the cake. This will make it way easier to pull the cake out of the loaf once it's completely frozen later on!
- Put the bottom layer of the cake into the loaf pan. Spread half of the chocolate ice cream carefully over the cake.
- Then, add on half of the hazelnut butter and swirl it around into the ice cream. Top with half of the crushed up hazelnuts and half of the chocolate chips.
- Gently top it with the middle cake layer, and carefully spread the rest of the ice cream over it. Swirl in the remaining hazelnut butter, then add on the rest of the crushed hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
- Top it off with the top layer of the cake. Bring the plastic wrap up from the sides to cover the top of the cake, and top with additional plastic wrap as needed just to fully cover the loaf.
- Place the cake in the freezer for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight before slicing.
- Once you're ready to serve the ice cream cake, make the meringue.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat. Whiskthe mixture constantly until it reaches 160°F / 71°C.
- Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Then, add in the salt and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Lift the ice cream cake out of the pan and place it on to a cutting board (You may need to wait 5-10 minutes for it to be soft enough to lift.)
- Pile the meringue on top of the cake, then use a culinary torch to toast the meringue to your liking.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!