Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

This is my version of the popular Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse cake from Gourmet magazine, February 2006.  I like a thicker, richer mousse and sturdier, easier to cut through crust.

Everyone seemed to just love this mousse, sure to be a winner.  Make your slices thin, this thing is RICH!  I like to garnish it with fresh, thinly sliced strawberries but a light dusting of dutch process cocoa and/or powdered sugar makes for a great, simple decoration.

Shortbread Crust

  • 4 tablespoons hazelnuts
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt


  • 1/4-oz envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 13-oz jar hazelnut spread such as Nutella (5 oz)
  • 1 cup mascarpone (1/4 lb)
  • 3 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons sugar


  • 2/3 cup plus heavy cream
  • 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

You will need one 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan; parchment paper


Make shortbread base:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the spring-form pan with a 1″ tab.  Close spring-form with tab going through the bottom of the pan.  Coat pan with baker’s non-stick spray.

Bake hazelnuts at 350°F in a small pan for ~10 minutes.  Remove hazelnuts and wrap in a towel.  Let sit for two minutes.

Massage the towel to remove the skins from the toasted hazelnuts, not all skin will remove.

Pulse hazelnuts with sugar in a food processor until hazelnuts are finely chopped. Add flour, butter, cocoa, and salt and pulse until dough forms..

Press dough evenly onto bottom of springform pan with your fingers. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until edges are dry with the center still slightly moist.

Remove from oven and let cool., about 30 minutes.

Make mousse while shortbread cools:
Sprinkle gelatin over water in  a medium sized heavy saucepan and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat and stir gelatin just until melted over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate hazelnut spread until combined and remove from heat.

Add mascarpone to the chocolate hazelnut mixture.

In a large, chilled bowl, beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar with an electric mixer at low speed, increasing speed to high and beat until cream holds soft peaks.

Line the sides of the springform pan with parchment paper, feel free to use bakers tape on the exterior side of the parchment paper to keep the paper together.

Fold in whipped cream mixture into the hazelnut mixture in the saucepan until well combined. Spoon filling onto shortbread base in pan, gently smoothing top with an offset spatula.

Cover and chill in a freezer for 2-3 hours or until center is firm to the touch.

Make ganache and glaze cake:
After mousse if firm… Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan and remove from heat. Slowly and with even distribution, add chocolate pieces. When chocolate has begun to melt into the cream, slowly whisk until completely melted and smooth.  Allow ganache to chill for 15 minutes before pouring over chilled mouse.

Add any garnish, sliced strawberries, raspberries, chopped hazelnut, etc.

Place covered mouse back into freezer or refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour before serving.  For a firmer, easier to serve mouse, use the freezer.

Release springform sides from the cake base and peel parchment paper from the sides of the cake. Using the tab from the parchment paper, pull the cake from the springform base and onto a serving plate.

Slice cake with a chilled knife, cleaning blade between each piece.

One thought on “Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

  1. This reminds me of spaghetti, Champagne and Sex and the City…. and how much I wish you lived here still!

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