The ultimate chocolate showstopper that's guaranteed to impress your friends and family! This delicious layer cake is sandwiched with white chocolate icing and Nutella icing and topped with a super crunchy (and beautiful!) hazelnut praline. Chocolate cakes really don't get better than this!
- Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180ºC, fan 160ºC. Lightly butter 3 x 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tins, and line the bases and sides with nonstick baking paper.
- Put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat until combined with an electric hand whisk. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a separate bowl. Beat the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, following each addition with a spoonful of the flour mixture.
- Put the chocolate, treacle and hazelnut or vanilla extract into a small bowl, placed over a pan of gently simmering water and leave to melt (or melt in bursts in the microwave). Remove from the heat when melted and set aside to cool slightly, then carefully fold into the cake mixture.
- Fold in the remaining flour mixture, then mix in the milk until smooth. Divide evenly between the 3 tins, smooth the surface, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 mins. The cake is cooked when it springs back when lightly pressed with a finger or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 mins. Remove carefully from the tins, discard the baking paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the icing, use an electric whisk to beat the softened butter, icing sugar and vanilla or hazelnut extract together in a bowl. Whisk in the cream. Divide the mixture in half and put one half in a separate bowl. Fold melted white chocolate into one half and Nutella into the other half.
- For the topping, toast the hazelnuts in the oven at gas 4, 180ºC, fan 160ºC, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden, remove and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, melt the sugar in a large frying pan, shaking the pan occasionally until it has melted and turned amber. Add the toasted hazelnuts and sea salt and shake the pan to coat with the caramel.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet. Pour the hot caramel and nuts onto the baking sheet and leave to cool, then break into small clusters. Blitz three-quarters of the clusters to small crumbs. Reserve the remainder for decoration.
- Slice each cake in half horizontally. Put one of the cake layers onto a large cake stand or serving dish. Spoon a third of the hazelnut cream right to the edges, scatter with a little of the crushed praline. Top with another cake layer and spoon over a third of the white chocolate cream. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a white chocolate layer. Decorate the top with the remaining crushed praline, shaved chocolate curls and reserved nut clusters.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 1 month.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving.
If you wish to add icing or decoration, add them after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.
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As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.