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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

20 MINPrep Time
40 MINCook Time
by Giada De Laurentiis
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
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A lot of steps go into putting this cake together but since it starts with a boxed cake mix, none of them is
very difficult. All the effort goes into the creamy-crunchy filling, made from hazelnut brittle that is a delicious
candy all on its own. It makes for a spectacular birthday cake.

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate



Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

40 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate


    For the Cake:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix and any additional 1
  • ingredients needed to make the cake
  • For the Crunch:

  • 1 cup about 4 1/2 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (see Cook's Note)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • For the Filling:

  • 2 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips 1
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest


  1. This recipe originally appeared in Giada's Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis. Clarkson Potter, 2008.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
  3. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the
  4. batter between the cake pans and bake as directed. Remove from the
  5. oven and cool on a wire rack.
  6. To make the crunch, place the toasted nuts close together in a single
  7. layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the granulated
  8. sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over
  9. medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to
  10. boil the mixture until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes.
  11. Remove from the heat and let the bubbles subside, then pour the
  12. caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the
  13. refrigerator and let the nut crunch cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the nut crunch is hardened and cool, place it on a cutting board
  14. and cut into small pieces, saving a few larger ones for decoration. Set
  15. aside.
  16. To make the filling, put the mascarpone, cream, confectioners' sugar,
  17. and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the
  18. cream mixture to soft peaks. Fold the chopped nut crunch into the
  19. whipped cream.
  20. To make the topping, place the chocolate chips, granulated sugar,
  21. and zest in a food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate
  22. is finely ground.
  23. To assemble the cake, put 1 cake layer on a serving plate or cake
  24. stand. Top with a 1-inch layer of the whipped cream‚ hazelnut crunch
  25. filling. Place the second layer of cake on top of the first and frost the
  26. entire cake with the remaining filling. Sprinkle the top and sides of the
  27. cake with the ground chocolate topping and add some shards of nut
  28. crunch as decoration. Serve.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
85 grams
9 grams
44 grams
Saturated Fat
22 grams
91 milligrams
727 milligrams
2 grams
60 grams
Trans Fat
1 grams
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