The Best German Hazelnut Cake Recipe | Haselnusskuchen 

This German hazelnut cake is so moist, delicious, and full of nutty flavors. You will love this easy and flexible recipe.

This hazelnut cake is moist and full of nutty flavors. While hazelnuts may not be that common in the US, it is well worth trying to find them (more on that below). Perfect as a fancy birthday cake, a sweet breakfast, or any time you want a delicious cake you will want to make this recipe again and again. 

Germans actually use a fair amount of hazelnuts also called filberts in all sorts of dishes.

My husband loves being my cake tester and he is nuts about nuts (sorry … couldn’t resist …). I am very proud to present you with the ultimate recipe. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to youYou can read my full disclosure.

German hazelnut cake on white platter with hazelnuts, knife, cinnamon sticks, and tea towel

What are the ingredients

This is what you need to make this German hazelnut cake:

  • Butter: Butter will add flavor and moisture. I love using Kerry Gold butter or my homemade butter.
  • Sugar: I use regular granulated cane sugar but not too much. 
  • Eggs: I always recommend using the highest quality ingredients you can afford. Therefore, I prefer free-range eggs.
  • Flour: Any all-purpose flour is great.
  • Breadcrumbs: My “secret” ingredient to make this cake extra moist. It’s the perfect use for stale bread.
  • Hazelnuts: I buy whole roasted hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s but you can also find hazelnuts online.
  • Baking powder: Just a little bit makes this cake fluffy.
  • Salt: Adding a bit of sea salt always brings out the sweetness.
  • Rum: I love the combination of the rum and hazelnut flavor. If you’re worried about the alcohol, just know that it evaporates during the baking process. 
ingredients for the German hazelnut cake: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, breadcrumbs, hazelnuts, butter, eggs, and rum

Useful tools and equipment

Here are my favorite tools to make this recipe:

  • Food processor: Especially if you use whole hazelnuts, a food processor makes grinding these nuts very easy. I have tried doing that in my Vitamix high-speed blender but the nuts come out almost like a paste. 
  • Kitchen scale: I highly recommend you use a kitchen scale. A digital kitchen scale is very affordable and will last you a long time. Even though you could make this recipe with cup measurements, you will achieve more consistent results with weight measurement.
  • Hand mixer: While you could make this in a stand mixer, I prefer using a handheld mixer. It gives me more control over the mixing process.
  • Loaf pan: A rectangular loaf pan is my preferred baking dish for this nut cake. However, you can absolutely make this in a springform pan or bundt cake pan. 

Substitutions and variations

Here are some ideas for substitutions:

  • Flour: You can easily use spelt or einkorn flour in this recipe. Even a whole-grain flour would work well but you may have to add a bit more liquid.
  • Hazelnuts: If you can’t find hazelnuts, you can use almonds, too. Most stores carry ground almonds or almond meal. While I haven’t tried making this cake with walnuts, I imagine they might work as well.
  • Rum: Instead of rum you can use milk. It doesn’t matter if it’s cow’s milk or plant-based milk. 
  • Glaze: For some reason, I really enjoy the cake as is. However, it would be perfect with a chocolate glaze or chocolate ganache. Sometimes I like to add a rum glaze (if we’re not serving it to kids).
  • Extra add-ins: You might like to add some dark chocolate pieces, morello cherries, or some vanilla extract. A little bit of lemon juice adds some brightness to this cake. 

How to serve

This German hazelnut cake is perfect at any time!  While it is super delicious while still warm, the flavors actually develop best the next day or even on the third day (if you won’t devour it before). 

Traditionally, Germans love to have their cake with coffee in the afternoon. You might like to add a dollop of whipped cream to your cake slices. 

Or you could serve it for breakfast with your favorite fruit or some chocolate syrup.

German hazelnut cake sliced open on white plate with hazelnuts and cinnamon sticks

Make ahead of time?

Given that this cake tastes best on the second or third day, you can make it ahead of time and just wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum. With the hazelnuts and the breadcrumbs, it stays fresh and moist for about one week. 

You can also cut the cake into slices, wrap them tightly and keep them in the freezer for about 4 months. 

Common Questions

What’s the best way to grind hazelnuts?

I prefer using my food processor but you can also do it in a high-speed blender or a coffee grinder.

Can I use almond flour instead of ground hazelnuts

Yes, you can. You might even use chopped and ground walnuts.

Should I use salted or unsalted butter in the recipe?

I always prefer using unsalted butter because I have better control over the total amount of salt in a recipe. However, if you only have salted butter you can use that too, and just don’t add any extra salt.

How can I tell when the cake is fully baked?

Simply insert a knife or toothpick. They should come out clean.

Can I make the cake ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes, you can either freeze it whole or cut up into slices in an airtight container.

Other cake recipes you might like

The Easiest Streuselkuchen Ever (Crumb Cake)

Sourdough Lemon Cake

Poppy Seed Streusel Cake (Mohnkuchen)

German Plum Cake

Sourdough Carrot Cake

Rustic Apple Oat Cake with Sourdough

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Digital kitchen scale

Electric Hand Mixer

Glass Loaf Pan

Whole roasted hazelnuts

How to make this dish

This is how to make this German hazelnut cake: 

Prepare the hazelnuts

  1. If you are using whole, raw hazelnuts, I highly recommend roasting them in the oven at 350˚F until fragrant and golden brown. Let them completely cool down. 
  2. Grind the nuts in the food processor. It’s up to you if you want to have little pieces and chunks in there or grind them very finely. Set them aside. 

Make the hazelnut cake

  1. With a pastry brush or your hands, grease the loaf pan. Add a little bit of flour and shake the pan until the whole pan is coated.
  2. Allow the butter to come to room temperature. Cut it into chunks and add them to a large bowl.
  3. With your handheld mixer, blend the butter until creamy and white.
  4. Add the sugar and mix on the highest speed until creamy.
  5. Add the eggs one by one. Blend on high until each egg is completely incorporated into the butter mixture.
  6. Add the ground hazelnuts to the butter-egg mixture and blend to combine.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and sea salt and mix them well.
  8. Add a bit of the flour mixture and blend. Then add some of the rum and mix again. Continue until you have used up all the dry ingredients. Add just enough rum to make the cake batter drop down heavily from a spoon. Germans call this “schwerreissend”.
  9. Transfer the cake batter to the loaf pan. 

Bake the cake

  1. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 325˚F for about 90 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  2. Let the cake cool down on a wire rack for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cool enough to touch. 
  3. Place a dinner plate upside onto the cake and carefully flip the cake over. It should fall easily out of the loaf pan. If it sticks, return it back to upright and carefully run a small knife around the edges and try again.
  4. For extra rum flavor, you can poke some holes in the top of the cake and drizzle or brush rum over the still-warm cake. You can also mix some rum with powdered sugar and spread that over the cake.
step-by-step instructions to make German hazelnut cake

Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

How to Make a German Hazelnut Cake
german hazelnut cake sliced open on white plate
Print Recipe
4.34 from 9 votes

German Hazelnut Cake

So delicious, moist, and full of nutty flavors, this German hazelnut cake is easy to make and a very flexible recipe.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 433kcal
Cost: $10

Ingredients

  • 225 g butter
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 150 g AP flour
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 200 g hazelnuts, roasted and ground
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 150 ml rum

Instructions

  • With a pastry brush or your hands, grease the loaf pan. Add a little bit of flour and shake the pan until the whole pan is coated.
  • Allow the butter to come to room temperature. Cut it into chunks and add them to a large bowl.
  • With your handheld mixer, blend the butter until creamy and white.
  • Add the sugar and mix on the highest speed until creamy.
  • Add the eggs one by one. Blend on high until each egg is completely incorporated into the butter mixture.
  • Add the ground hazelnuts to the butter-egg mixture and blend to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and sea salt and mix them well.
  • Add a bit of the flour mixture and blend. Then add some of the rum and mix again. Continue until you have used up all the dry ingredients. Add just enough rum to make the cake batter drop down heavily from a spoon.
  • Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 325˚F for about 90 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool down on a wire rack for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cool enough to touch. 
  • Place a dinner plate upside onto the cake and carefully flip the cake over. It should fall easily out of the loaf pan. If it sticks, return it back to upright and carefully run a small knife around the edges and try again.

Notes

  • for best results used roasted hazelnuts
  • if you can’t find hazelnuts, you can also use ground almonds or almond meal
  • you can replace the rum with milk
  • for extra rum flavor, you can poke some holes in the top of the cake and drizzle or brush rum over the still-warm cake. You can also mix some rum with powdered sugar and spread that over the cake

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @ourgabledhome or tag #ourgabledhome!

6 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Well I made this recipe. I used 325 degrees for the oven temperature, but 90 minutes seems way to long. There is no moisture in my cake. It takes good, but it’s much too dry. Since it’s so dry, it goes well with ice cream. If the temperature and time can be corrected, this would be 5 star recipe.

    1. Depending on the flour you use and your breadcrumbs you might have to adjust the amount of liquid. Hope you’ll give it another try ~ Anja

  2. Hi Anja,
    The video on You Tube says to cook the cake at 350 degrees. The instructions, above, say 325 degrees. Which is correct?
    Thanks,
    Greg

    1. Good catch! Since recording the video I found that 325˚F gives me a lighter crust when I bake it in the big rectangular loaf pan. If you were to use a springform or bundt cake pan you can bake at 350˚F ~ anja

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for offering this recipe. Just made it with milk. It is wonderful. I did have to adjust your recipe (wet to dry ratio) for high altitude. Other than that I followed the recipe as written and had all ingredients on hand so preparing batter was quick. Now looking through your lovely site for a Bavarian hazelnut based kugelhopf recipe. Danke für das tolle und einfache Rezept.

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