Hazelnut latte cake

Hazelnut latte cake

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 25 mins plus cooling and chilling

A challenge

Serves 16

Give coffee cake the ultimate upgrade - layer with chocolate hazelnut frosting, add a creamy topping and sprinkle with crushed nuts

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal544
  • fat36g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs45g
  • sugars33g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.3g
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    For the cakes

    • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 100g bag chopped toasted hazelnuts
    • 300g light brown soft sugar



      Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

    • 6 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tsp fine instant coffee powder (see tip)
    • 6 large eggs, at room temperature



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • 2 tbsp cornflour
    • 175g plain flour

    For the coffee syrup

    • 50g light brown soft sugar



      Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

    • 1 tsp fine instant coffee powder
    • 1 tbsp Frangelico (hazelnut) liqueur, or use Kahlua or Tia Maria

    For the frosting and nuts

    • 400g mascarpone
    • 300g hazelnut chocolate spread (Nutella has the best texture for this)
    • 1 tbsp fine instant coffee powder
    • 50g chopped toasted hazelnuts

    For the latte topping

    • 150ml pot double cream
    • 4 tsp icing sugar
    • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tbsp fine instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water


    1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Generously butter two 20cm sandwich tins (ideally about 4.5cm deep or deeper) and line the bases with baking parchment. Put the hazelnuts into a food processor with 2 tbsp of the sugar, then pulse until finely chopped. Don’t expect them to go as fine as ground almonds and avoid over-processing, as this can make the nuts greasy.

    2. Put the butter, milk and coffee powder into a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Set aside.

    3. Now start the sponge. Crack the eggs into the bowl of a tabletop mixer, add the rest of the sugar and beat for 5-10 mins (or beat with an electric hand mixer in a large deep bowl for 15-20 mins) or until thick and billowy, and the mixture leaves a trail that holds for a couple of seconds. It is really important that the mixture has thickened, almost doubling in size, in order to achieve a light sponge.

    4. Mix the cornflour, plain flour and 1/2 tsp salt, and sift onto the whisked mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold in very carefully. Sprinkle in the ground nuts, then fold these in too. Pour the warm milk mix around the edge of the bowl, and fold this in. Don’t rush the folding, and continue with a light lifting and cutting motion until ribbons of liquid stop appearing. Divide the batter between the tins, then bake for 25 mins until risen to the middle and a burnished gold.

    5. Loosen the sides of the cakes with a palette knife, then cool in the tins on a rack for 20 mins (the cakes will level off, and possibly go a bit wrinkly, but that’s normal). Carefully remove from the tins and cool, paper-side down.

    6. Make the syrup and the frosting while you wait. Put the sugar and 4 tbsp water into a small pan. Bring to the boil and leave for 1 min then take off the heat. Stir in the coffee and alcohol. Beat the mascarpone, hazelnut chocolate spread and coffee together with a wooden spoon, until silky and even.

    7. To assemble, cut the cold cakes horizontally across the middle, using a long serrated knife. With a pastry brush, dampen the cut surfaces all over with the syrup. Use it all. Put one cake layer onto a plate or stand, cut-side up. Spoon on 3 generous dollops of the frosting, then spread to the edges with a palette knife. The frosting should be about 5mm deep. Repeat with the next two layers. When you come to the final layer, place it cut-side down, so that the top of the cake is smooth. Paddle the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. The layer on the top can be thin. Clean the knife then use it to press a neat ring of nuts into the frosting on the side of the cake. Brush any excess away.

    8. For the topping, put 3 tbsp of the cream, 1 tsp icing sugar and 1 tbsp milk into a small bowl. Put the rest of the cream, milk and sugar, plus most of the dissolved coffee into a larger bowl. Whip the white cream, then the coffee cream, until they look like soft cappuccino froth, thick but still able to flow from a spoon. Pour most of the coffee cream onto the cake and push it out to cover the top. Whisk a little more coffee into what is left, so that it turns a few shades darker.

    9. To decorate with a characteristic latte ‘tree’ shape, load a pointy teaspoon with a little of the white cream. Start at the base of the tree, just right of the centre of the cake. Push the spoon into the coffee cream and let the white cream flow slowly. As it flows, drag the spoon then pull it gently away, to make a leaf-like shape. Repeat with more white cream on the left to make another leaf, then repeat 3-4 times, working up the cake top graduating from large to small leaves. Use the same technique to sweep a couple of arc shapes around the edge of the pattern.

    10. Use the dark cream to add detail to each leaf – you can paint this on with the tip of a teaspoon or a clean cocktail stick. Use a cocktail stick to drag the points of each leaf up and outwards. Draw a line down from the top of the ‘tree’ to the bottom to finish. The cake will keep for up to 2 days. Loosely cover any cut edges but avoid covering the cake directly as you could damage the decoration. Serve from the fridge or at cool room temperature.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    13th May, 2020
    This was a really nice cake! The sponge was nice and light and it rose well. The chocolate icing was nice (and quick to make); I decreased the amount of Nutella to 200g and it made just enough icing for the cake. The chocolate icing held the cake together well without sliding (although I did store it in the fridge while preparing the cream topping). Be careful that the cream on top doesn't run down the sides- I'd recommend using a tablespoon to distribute the cream over the top of the cake instead of just pouring it onto the cake, to stop it from running.
    29th Nov, 2019
    I'm a keen baker and I've never had a disaster like this cake. no rise. Dense. Rubbery. Inedible. Don't use this recipe.
    31st Oct, 2018
    Very tasty cake but I think the icing needs a bit chilling. I used a bit more mascarpone and a bit more Nutella (which is delicious). I don't know if i did something wrong but I had to leave the cake in the fridge for hours otherwise the icing was melting! As a result the sponges were quite dry!!
    Ella Costinas's picture
    Ella Costinas
    26th May, 2018
    Made this with exact measurements and technique but I got no rise. Both cakes were flat as a pancake and very dense, soggy at the bottom and the topping was difficult to make. I don’t know what went wrong!
    22nd Apr, 2017
    I have made this twice now and would say the sponge is lovely and light and the fondant lovely and tasty but does not hold up as in the image. Was far too soft and loose so had to use dowels to hold the cake together as it was sliding apart and that was on my second attempt where I added quite a lot of icing sugar to the mix. I'm not sure how to stabilise it, perhaps gelatine might work, other than that a very tasty cake
    9th Apr, 2017
    I've tried this a few times and always my cakes come out of the oven like pancakes. Rubbery bottom full of nuts and no rise at all, even if i use self raising flour. I wish the eggs like it says and it just doesnt work! What am i doing wrong?
    28th Mar, 2017
    My husband made this for me for mothers day. He made the whole thing as described in the recipe and it was utterly delicious and drew many, many compliments from our family.
    14th Jun, 2016
    I only made the cakes and Nutella filling so I cannot comment on the 'soak' or 'latte topping' but what a fantastic recipe! My cakes were light and airy and rose to perfection - the trick is definitely whipping the eggs and sugar for a good 20 minutes, no skimping! I made my Nutella frosting with mascarpone, cream cheese and a touch of creme fraiche (making 1.5 times the amount in the recipe) and it filled my cakes beautifully. It went down an absolute storm! Will definitely be making this one again.
    26th Oct, 2015
    I made this for my daughters birthday. It was totally amazing. Everyone was very impressed with it. Fantastic flavours and textures. If I could I'd put a photo on this comment.
    15th Apr, 2015
    Made this last night, not difficult but very time consuming and expensive. I used half the quantities and baked in a single 18cm cake tin with very satisfactory results - the cake's total height was 2-3" and perfectly adequate. The latte topping was, for me, totally superfluous and far too fiddly at this stage of cake assembly (Getting a bit fed up with it by now). Also my printout wasn't very clear and I wasn't sure what the end' latte tree' result was supposed to look like - having revisited this site all has become clear. Would I make it again? Probably not, despite its impressive look, it was too bland tasting for me. Give me a carrot cake any day.


    19th Feb, 2015
    I am planning to make this cake next week but I do not understand the finishing decorating technique, is it possible to make a video for us? It would be much appreciated.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    19th Apr, 2019
    Thanks for this suggestion. We'll ask our video maker if she's able to create this one. Unfortunately we won't be able to do it for next week though.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    2nd Mar, 2015
    Hi emmajanelek, thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear you're having difficulties with this recipe. We don't have a video for this technique but we may be able to provide you with some additional step by step photos. If you would like to contact us by email enquiries@bbcgoodfoodmagazine.com and we'll do our best to send you some additional info. 
    18th Apr, 2019
    I dont understand the decorating technique either. Definitely needs a video or pictures. Could you please supply me with some.
    14th Jun, 2016
    Whip the eggs and sugar for 20+ mins if you can and make double the filling if you want to ice the outside of the cake with the Nutella frosting (I didn't have enough!)
    25th Feb, 2015
    I needed double the amount of the coffee syrup
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