Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Banana Trifle

If you’ve been looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert that isn’t for the kids – this is the answer. It’s got all the right things – chocolate, whipped cream, hazelnuts, bananas, and of course, Frangelico. The recipe seems intimidating, but I promise, it isn’t the amount of work it looks like. You won’t be sorry!

Quick Facts

Makes: One 8 inch trifle
Serves: 12-14
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours


Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee, at room temperature


  • ½ cup (about 2½ ounces) hazelnuts
  • 4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup (about 6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup hazelnut butter (or Nutella)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (if using Nutella, use only 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 ripe bananas


  • ½ cup Frangelico, divided


  • Two 8 inch round cake pans
  • Fine mesh sieve
  • 3 Mixing bowls
  • Stand mixer with bowl and whisk attachment
  • 2 bowl scrapers/spatula
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Double boiler (or a glass/stainless bowl that fits nicely on top of a pot)
  • Trifle dish (obviously! Or use a Tupperware like we did if you’re less fancy, like us!)

To make cake layers:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly coat two 8 inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, and baking soda together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar on high speed until thickened and light in color, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the oil and continue to mix until evenly combined. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, then gradually add the dry ingredients and coffee, alternating between the two until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until the batter is smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Leave the oven on. Let the cakes cool until they are cool enough to handle, then carefully invert the pans over a sheet of parchment paper and let cool to room temperature.

To make filling:

  1. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put in the oven to toast until the nuts are light golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Roughly chop them and set aside.
  2. In the top of a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate chips. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnut butter, and stir until smooth.
  3. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment, whip 1½ cups of the cream until soft peaks form. Transfer the cream to another bowl and set aside.
  4. Whip the remaining 2½ cups of cream to medium peaks and set aside.
  5. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt on high speed until lightened in color and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the chocolate and hazelnut mixture, and quickly fold together until evenly combined. Add the 1½ cups of whipped cream and gently fold until smooth. Set the mousse aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble:

  1. Peel and cut the bananas into ½ inch thick slices.
  2. Spread half of the mousse in the bottom of a trifle dish, cover with one-third of the whipped cream, sprinkle with about 8 teaspoons of the hazelnuts, and layer with one-third the bananas. Firmly press one cake layer over the bananas and generously soak it with ¼ cup of the Frangelico. Repeat the steps to assemble a second layer. Top the trifle with the remaining whipped cream and decoratively arrange the remaining banana slices and chopped hazelnuts on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. Mousse (Layer 1 of 2)
  2. Whipped Cream (Layer 1 of 3)
  3. Hazelnuts (Layer 1 of 3)
  4. Bananas (Layer 1 of 3)
  5. Cake (Layer 1 of 2)
  6. Frangelico (Layer 1 of 2)
  7. Mousse (Layer 2 of 2)
  8. Whipped Cream (Layer 2 of 3)
  9. Hazelnuts (Layer 2 of 3)
  10. Bananas (Layer 2 of 3)
  11. Cake (Layer 2 of 2)
  12. Frangelico (Layer 2 of 2)
  13. Whipped Cream (Layer 3 of 3)
  14. Banana (Layer 3 of 3)
  15. Hazelnuts (Layer 3 of 3)

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