Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rum Cake

Happy September! September is an awesome month because that’s the month my hubby and I were married. 😉 Last week we celebrated 12 years of marriage! I’ve been having this little tickle in my brain to recreate our wedding cake for a while now. I hope you enjoy this recipe for Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rum Cake. 🙂

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake I remember that our wedding cake was AH-mazing! I recall the basic flavor components and what it was called. I could’ve ordered an anniversary cake from the bakery that originally made our cake, but quite frankly I was too lazy to drive into the city to get it. Plus, not to brag… I’m not a bad baker. LOL! I will say this though, if you ever find yourself in Chicago and you have a desire for some delicious European baked goodness then Oak Mill Bakery is your place. My entire family loves it and has used them for many special occasions. In fact, my brother’s only requirement for choosing a reception venue for his own wedding was based on whether or not the facility used Oak Mill.

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake

Since my recollection of the precise layering and filling of the cake was vague, I just kind of winged it. I got the major components… there was chocolate, there were hazelnuts, and there was RUM! First I made a chocolate cake, then a yellow cake with toasted hazelnuts, and chocolate mousse. Oh, and each of those components has rum in it. Then to finish the cake off I made a silky, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake

After I made the cake I thought it would be cool to incorporate my actual wedding dress in the pictures. The dress and veil you see behind the cake was all handmade by my grandmother. She was an insanely incredible tailor! She not only made my dress, but all 10 of my bridesmaid dresses, my mom’s, my mother-in-laws, my other grandmother’s, and her own. Bringing out my dress for this reminded me so much of her and all the amazing things that she had made not just for me, but so many others. <sigh> As I was editing the photos I realized that a little finger swiped through the frosting. My grandmother would’ve found that hilarious and hey, what is a cake without a little 3 year old having left their mark to make sure that frosting is tasty. 😉

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake

Yes, this cake is not the kind of cake you just whip up in 30 minutes, but I promise that you will love it! And you don’t have to wait for a wedding or an anniversary to make this cake… I think your family will love you forever if you bring it to their house for the next party or holiday. 😉


P.S. I decorated this cake by piping swirls all over it. I was going for a wedding-esque look and I wanted to practice my piping skills. Much of what I learn when it comes to decorating a cake comes from YouTube. A few key things to keep in mind that will help you up your homemade cake decorating game is doing a crumb coat, chilling the cake, and cleaning off your spatula of excess buttercream. Here is a great video with a simple decorating technique using just an offset spatula.

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Roxana
Prep time: 2 hours 30 mins
Cook time: 2 hours 15 mins
Total time: 4 hours 45 mins
Serves: 1 8″ round cake
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp rum
  • 1/2 c hot coffee
  • Hazelnut Cake
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp hazelnut extract
  • 3 Tbsp rum
  • 1 2/3 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • 1 3/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 oz milk chocolate chips
  • 3 oz strong coffee
  • 1 Tbsp rum
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp flavorless gelatin
  • Buttercream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep 2- 8″ cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray and lightly flouring.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment), whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on a low speed, add the milk, oil, egg, vanilla, and rum. Increase speed to medium just until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Reduce to low speed again and slowly add the hot coffee. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl using a rubber spatula to make sure all the dry ingredients have incorporated.
  4. Pour the cake batter in one of the prepared pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Hazelnut Cake
  1. While the chocolate cake bakes prepare the Hazelnut cake.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the hazelnut extract and rum.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk, in 3 additions. Mix only until just until they are incorporated scraping down the bowl as needed.
  7. Just before the last round of dry is incorporated add the sour cream and mix for about 10 seconds. Turn off the mixer. Fold in the toasted hazelnuts. (To toast the hazelnuts place them in a small baking dish and bake at 350 for about 8 – 10 minutes.)
  8. Pour the batter into the other prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Chocolate Mousse
  1. Chill a medium sized metal bowl and the beater bars from a handmixer in the freezer.
  2. In a double boiler combine the chocolate chips, coffee, rum, and butter.
  3. Place the double boiler over barely simmering water and melt the chocolate, mixing constantly.
  4. When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove from heat and continue to stir. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour 1/4 c heavy cream into a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin into the pan and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, turn on the heat to low and gently, swirl the pan continuously. Do not mix the gelatin with a spoon and do not let the cream come to a boil. Take it off the heat as soon as you see that the gelatin has dissolved into the cream. Stir this mixture into the chocolate and set aside.
  7. In the chilled mixing bowl, beat the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  8. Mix about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
  9. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in 2 batches. Do this gently as you do not want to deflate the cream too much. It’s OK if some white streaks remain.
  10. Cover the mousse and chill for at least 2 hours. (You can also make this the night before.)
  1. In a double boiler, whisk the egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt. Continue whisking over simmering water for about 3 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and is warm to the touch. You can test it be rubbing it between your fingers, it will be smooth and thin. Be careful not to cook the egg whites because this will result in gritty frosting.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beginning on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high, whip the egg white mixture until stiff glossy peaks form and it has cooled. This takes approximately 7 minutes.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment. Cut up the butter, 1 stick at a time, into the mixture and beat briefly for 30 seconds on medium speed between each addition. When the last stick of butter has been added, scrape down the bowl and mix on medium high speed. When you add the butter the meringue deflates, but don’t panic. Keep mixing and in about 2 minutes the mixture comes together and looks like silken goodness.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing.
  5. Add the vanilla and beat until it is completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  1. If needed, trim the tops off of both the chocolate and hazelnut cakes to level.
  2. Tort both cakes by evenly slicing them in half.
  3. Place a dollop of buttercream on the bottom of a cake plate/stand or cake board. Place the bottom of the chocolate cake layer on the stand or board.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the mousse evenly over the cake. Unlike most filling, this mousse is thick enough that you can spread it out to the edges.
  5. Place a hazelnut cake layer over the first layer of mousse and then evenly spread another 1/3 of the mousse onto that layer. (tip: when placing a cake layer over the mousse gently press it from the center out to the edges, make sure the cake is even as you build the layers by checking it at eye level.)
  6. Place the second layer of hazelnut cake over the second mousse layer and evenly spread the remainder of the mousse over it.
  7. Finally place the second chocolate cake layer over the last mousse layer.
  8. The layers will be as follows beginning from the bottom: chocolate cake, mousse, hazelnut cake, mousse, hazelnut cake, mousse, chocolate cake.
  9. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the cake to even out any mousse that may have come out.
  10. Place the cake in the freezer to set for about 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the freezer and apply a crumb coat. A crumb coat serves to even the cake out and “seal” the crumbs in. Just start by working the buttercream off the top of the cake and down the sides. Don’t worry if any cake shows through. This is an even, thin layer of frosting.
  12. Place the cake back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  13. Finally apply the remaining buttercream over the entire cake. Always start at the top of the cake, moving the spatula back and forth, move the excess buttercream off the edge and work it down the sides and around the cake. To even out the top edge after you’re happy with the sides, just pull the frosting in to the center of the top of the cake.
  14. Cake should be chilled in the refrigerator until about 15 – 20 minutes before serving. Keep any left over cake in the fridge.

Happy baking friends!

xox Roxana- The Red Eye Baker

Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Rum Cake

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I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!