This Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake has a chocolate cake base and a center of chocolate and hazelnut HemisFares gelato that’s wrapped in a layer of crushed hazelnut cookies. Finally, it’s enrobed in a layer of hazelnut-studded chocolate the creates a hard, candylike shell.
Hollywood just had it’s biggest night. No, not the Oscars (ok, that too and yay to my favorite film of last year for winning Best Picture! And, now there are so many more films I’ve added to my must-see list… including everything starring Rita Moreno). It was also the night that I figured out how to put the finishing touches on this Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake. A cake that might have been inspired by a certain hazelnut chocolate candy.
When I first envisioned this chocolate hazelnut cake, it was going to be a simple ice cream bombe. It would feature layers of chocolate and hazelnut gelato, and when cut, you’d be able to see the striated layers. But, then I started to dream bigger. And bigger. And now the super decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake was born. And it now lives in my freezer where I have to try and not eat whole darn thing this week. Anyone want a slice?
What Is an Ice Cream Bombe?
Originally known as a bombe glacée, and popularized by chef Auguste Escoffier, a bombe is a French dessert made with layers of ice cream frozen within a mold. Ice cream molds used to come in all sorts of shapes and even a cursory look at antique ice cream molds will return a wild array of forms, from turkeys to old boots. Yummy!
Eventually, simplicity won and the hemispherical (read: round) ice cream bombe was born. I surmise that’s because while wild turkeys are cute, they’re not exactly versatile. How many times can you really bring a turkey ice cream cake to a party before you start being known as “that person who brings the turkey cake”? (The answer is once.)
The concept is simple. To make an ice cream bombe, simply freeze layers of different ice cream layers in a round shape, release the ice cream from the mold, and serve. This Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake is a play on that and it isn’t really that much more complicated.
How to Make a Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake
To create this Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake, you’re going to need Chocolate and Hazelnut ice cream or gelato. You can make your own… but I recommend grabbing some HemisFares gelato from your Ralphs’ (or nearby Kroger) freezer. Buying the frozen filling will save you so much time! While gelato doesn’t harden up as much as ice cream does, I love it for this recipe because it’s so airy and creamy.
Also, since this dessert is already super rich, I felt like density of ice cream would take it too far over the top. Also, I’m so in love with the hazelnut flavor of HemisFares gelato. When I was visiting Italy’s Amalfi coast a few years ago, one of my favorite things to do was to get a scoop of handmade stracciatella or hazelnut gelato from the local gelateria and wander around town. And HemisFares gelato tastes just like those!
Make the Ice Cream Bombe Center
You’ll start making the Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake by lining an 8-inch freezable bowl with plastic wrap. This is so you can easily unmold the center when you’re ready to put the cake together. Spread the chocolate hazelnut rolled wafer cookies in an even layer in bowl. Make sure to go all the way up the sides. Place the bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes to let the chocolate hazelnut cookie layer harden.
Meanwhile, remove the chocolate gelato from the freezer so it can soften. Remove the bowl from the freezer and spread about 3/4 of the pint of softened chocolate gelato all over the inside of the cookie layer. Place a six-and-a-half-inch bowl (nesting bowls come in handy for this recipe) on top of the gelato layer and put it in the freezer for one hour or until the gelato has hardened. After 30 minutes, remove the hazelnut gelato from the freezer to soften.
Remove the bowl from the freezer and remove the smaller bowl. Some gelato might come with it. That’s ok. Put those bits back on the layer or eat them. Then, fill the space with about half the pint of hazelnut gelato. Place a four-and-a-half-inch bowl on top and fill in gap between gelato and top of smaller bowl. Place bowl back in the freezer for one hour. After 30 minutes, remove the chocolate gelato from the freezer to soften.
Remove the bowl from the freezer and remove the smaller bowl. Fill the remainder of the bowl completely with chocolate gelato. I waited until the gelato had fully melted and poured the gelato in so it filled the bowl all the way to the top. Put the bowl back in the freezer and let it harden completely.
Make the Chocolate Cake
Meanwhile, bake the chocolate cake layer. Use your favorite chocolate cake recipe or use a boxed chocolate cake mix. (If you use a boxed cake mix, halve the recipe on the back and only use half of the prepared cake mix.) Bake the cake in a 8 or 9-inch round pan and let it cool completely. If you’re not an expert cake maker, I recommend a 9″ pan, because it will give you room for error when it comes to the next step.
Assemble the Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake
When the gelato has hardened (as far as it will), flip the bowl and place it in the center of the chocolate cake. Remove the bowl and carefully peel off the layers of plastic wrap. If you baked a 9-inch cake, use a serrated knife to carve off the extra chocolate cake. Place the Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake in the freezer.
Make the chocolate hazelnut candy coating by melting chocolate chips – like these delicious Private Selection chocolate chips – in the microwave at half power for 3 minutes, stopping to stir every minute. When the chocolate chips are fully melted, stir in melted coconut oil and chopped hazelnuts. Then stir in heavy cream until the mixture has fully combined. Let it cool at room temperature or put it in the fridge to speed up this process.
Remove the Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake from the freezer and use a spatula to cover the entire cake with the chocolate hazelnut candy coating. Put it back in the freezer and let it harden before serving.
I realize there are a lot of steps to this Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake recipe, but I promise even if you’ve never baked a cake, you can do this! I am not a master at decorating cakes (promise), so if I can do it, you can too.
If you have any questions, post a comment below or send me a message on Instagram at @letseatcakeblog!
Chocolate Hazelnut Candy Cake RecipePrint Recipe
- 13 oz. chocolate hazelnut rolled wafer cookies (crushed into paste)
- 2 pints HemisFares chocolate gelato
- 1 pint HemisFares hazelnut gelato
- ½ box chocolate cake mix (or ½ favorite chocolate cake recipe)
- 8 oz. chocolate chips (such as Private Selection chocolate chunks)
- 6 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
- ¼ cup hazelnuts (chopped)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Line 8" bowl with plastic wrap.
- Spread chocolate hazelnut rolled wafer cookie paste in bowl. Make sure to go all the way up the sides. Place bowl in freeze for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove chocolate gelato from freezer.
- Remove bowl from freezer. Spread chocolate gelato over cookie layer.
- Place 6½" bowl on top of chocolate gelato layer and place in freezer for one hour. Remove hazelnut gelato from freezer after 30 minutes.
- Remove bowl from freezer. Remove smaller bowl. Fill space with ½ pint of hazelnut gelato. Place 4½" bowl on top of hazelnut layer. Fill in space between hazelnut gelato and top of smaller bowl. Place in freezer for one hour. Remove chocolate gelato after 30 minutes.
- Remove bowl from freezer. Remove smaller bowl. Fill bowl with chocolate gelato so until gelato is even with top of bowl. Place in freezer until gelato has hardened completely.
- Meanwhile, bake the chocolate cake layer in an 8" or 9" round pan. Let cool completely.
- Remove the bowl from the freezer and flip it onto the center of the chocolate cake set on cooling rack.
My background is in publishing (I've worked at Parade, Men's Journal, Us Weekly, Stuff, Blender, Beachbody, and more), mostly with a focus in health, fitness, and entertainment. I've also run my own baking company and competed on Cupcake Wars, so hit me up with your baking questions!
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