chocolate cake with hazelnut ganache & vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

This chocolate cake with hazelnut ganache & vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream is the cake I am making for a friends wedding this month. I am going to make it big enough to serve 80 people and build two tiers. The bride wanted lemon and raspberry flavour but the groom wanted Nutella involved, so I told them they couldn’t have both. They agreed to settle on the latter and so I conceptualized the cake I would make. Having done a delicious Nutella ganache in my second cookbook sweet, I knew I would modify that for the filling. I also wanted to try the Magnolia Bakery Devils Food cake for the sponge component because it’s a spectacular recipe and I’m a long time fan of this cute and iconic bakery in NYC. And because it’s a wedding and the cake was going to be very rich, I decided on a modified Swiss meringue buttercream to cover the outside. It has a silky smooth texture that is a dream to work with, perfect for a wedding cake and is not cloyingly sweet like a buttercream frosting.

This was the trial cake I made and comprises 3 layers of sponge and is the full recipe from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. It will also be the top tier of the actual wedding cake. I’m going triple the recipe in total to get me to the final wedding cake. After much Googling and research I have established that this is the size cake that will feed 80 people.

I have no problem with the baking, assembly and icing part of the cake. Even though I have never made such a big cake before, I follow enough cake makers on Instagram to know how it’s all done. Watching cake-icing videos is therapeutic for me and I have all the equipment. What I am very stressed about is transporting such a huge cake in my mini over two hours out of Cape Town in summer. Visions of them toppling over as I ascend up Sir Lowry’s pass have crossed my mind, so I have decided to assemble the cake on-site at the wedding venue. I keep telling myself that I have worked on over 90 TV shoots on location so putting together a cake will actually be child’s play for me. Wish me luck!


  • 360gm flour (3 cups)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 170gm salted butter (11/2 sticks or ¾ cup) *if you are using unsalted butter then add in ¾ tsp salt
  • 380gm sugar (2 cups) – I used half white and half firmly packed dark brown sugar (the original recipe calls for 2 cups light brown sugar)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 250gm dark chocolate 70% (9 oz)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Nutella hazelnut ganache

  • 250ml cream
  • 180gm chocolate – 70%
  • ½ cup + ¼ cup Nutella
  • 80gm-toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 3 large free-range egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 200gm room temperature butter
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
full instructions please see : drizzleanddip.com

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