What are the best fillings for a homemade chocolate cake?

2 Jun 2023

Food + Drink

Elevate your homemade chocolate cake with fabulous fillings and Hotel Chocolat bars and batons

There’s nothing more satisfying than baking the perfect chocolate cake. It’s a simple act of kitchen creativity that is equal parts love, therapy and opulence. And if a cake is a smile with icing on it, then a homemade chocolate cake is a big beaming grin. So imagine the oohs and aahs of delight when you present your next cacao-packed creation with one of these delectable chocolate cake fillings.

From chocolate ganache to irresistible praline, let’s explore some of the best fillings for chocolate cake, featuring high-quality, cacao-rich chocolate

chocolate cake with decoration

Filling ideas for homemade chocolate cake

Everyone knows that a homemade chocolate cake is the best kind of cake. Rich, fudgy and satisfying, it’s the ultimate cacao comfort. Baking embraces a little of everything, from the science of applying heat to ingredients to bake something delicious to the fun and creativity of creating new flavour profiles.

And there’s nothing better than homemade cake. You control the ingredients, so you can use the best quality everything, including cacao and chocolate. The result is a cake with an incomparable flavour compared to a store-bought one. And if you bake from scratch, you can get funky with flavours and keep honing your skill to dazzle family and friends with more crowd-pleasing creations.

But it’s the chocolate cake fillings that elevate a home bake into something unique. So let us ignite your imagination with our ideas for fillings, frostings and chocolate pairings.

Simple homemade chocolate cake ingredients and recipe

The best chocolate cakes start with the finest quality ingredients. And that means using the best quality cooking chocolate and cacao powder. We suggest aiming for 60% cacao solids or higher depending on the recipe. Our 70% Dark Chocolate Batons are ideal for ensuring depth of flavour without excess bitterness.

There are so many chocolate cake recipes available that it’s challenging to choose just one. For simplicity, we love Nigella’s all-in-one old-fashioned chocolate cake. Or try the Guardian’s straightforward recipe for the perfect chocolate cake. These simple-to-bake desserts are the ideal foundation for being smothered in one of our fabulous chocolate cake fillings.

Classic chocolate ganache

Who doesn’t love chocolate ganache? From truffles and fondues to the ultimate chocolate cake filling, ganache is easy to make and has endless, incredibly tempting uses. Take a look at our chocolate ganache guide for tips on getting the most decadent results.

We suggest using 50/50 double cream and your choice of our Slabs and Batons. Contrast a rich, dark cake with milk or white chocolate ganache, or go all in with 70% cacao content chocolate for the ultimate indulgence. If you have a real passion for the deep notes of dark chocolate, you could even try our 85% Chocolate Batons.

Chill the ganache well before spreading a thick and generous layer. Or whip gently to create a mousse-like texture that pairs beautifully with a lighter cake. Just be careful not to over-whip and end up with chocolate butter. 

Delicious chocolate ganache

Creamy vanilla buttercream

Vanilla buttercream and dark chocolate cake is a study in contrasts. Dark and light, bitter and sweet, smooth and rich. We love pairing a fudgy chocolate cake and an airy vanilla buttercream. Still, there’s nothing vanilla about the plethora of buttercream styles you can choose from.

Traditional or American Buttercream is just good butter and icing sugar with a dollop of the best vanilla bean paste and maybe a splash of milk or cream. Once you’ve mastered buttercream basics, you can move on to Swiss or Italian Meringue versions — a blend of cooked meringue and butter — or German Buttercream made with a creme pat base.

For a perfect patisserie, try French Buttercream, a frothy sabayon of egg yolk and sugar blended with butter. Or, for a quick, rich and very milky fix, combine equal parts condensed milk and softened butter for a Russian Buttercream.

Zesty fruity fillings

It’s no surprise that chocolate and fruit are a match made in paradise. You only have to explore our Exuberantly Fruity range to discover plenty of zingy chocolate cake filling inspiration.

Whipped cream and lusciously ripe berries are an English summer classic and make a fruity filling for a chocolate cake. Alternatively, dollop on a layer of fruit curd before you add cream for a twist on a Victoria sponge. We love the bright, citrus flavours of lime, lemon and passionfruit with dark chocolate.

For a flavour explosion of tastes and textures, whip up that delightfully British dessert of Eton Mess and use this to sandwich your chocolate cake. The crunch of meringue, sweetness of strawberries and soothing cream is an indulgent contrast in a fudgy Devil’s Food Cake.

Nutty delights

Pralines; peanut butter; hazelnut spread; almond cream… If your mouth is watering, why not use our Nut Chocolate collection as inspiration for indulgent chocolate cake fillings?

Nuts bring everything to the table when it comes to partnering with chocolate. First, there’s the crunch and texture of roasted nuts against the cacao creaminess. Then the pleasing savoury element kicks in to contrast with the richness of chocolate, highlighting the interplay of sweet-salt flavour.

Consider distinctively flavoured nuts like hazelnuts or almonds for a dark and sophisticated pairing with a decadent mousse cake. Hazelnuts or peanuts are a classic combination with milk chocolate, and a slick of hazelnut chocolate spread is all you need to take a family chocolate birthday cake to the next level. If you like a hint of bitterness, try a walnut and coffee buttercream with a white chocolate cake.

Nut fillings for a chocolate cake can also be vegan* and vegetarian-friendly. Our Nutmilk Batons are so creamy and nutty that you’ll reach for them every time you need a richly textured filling that’s a total crowd-pleaser.

*Please note that we believe our Nutmilk chocolate is suitable for vegans. However, as it is made in the same environment as our milk chocolate, we cannot guarantee it is free from milk. 

Jar of nut butters with spoons

Cream cheese filling

Did you know that Cream Cheese Frosting Day falls on both the 31st of March and the 13th of December? That’s a lot of love for this mild yet tangy cheese filling — and we can see why. It’s indispensable in a cheesecake but it also makes a light, fresh-tasting filling that’s the icing on the cake for cinnamon rolls, brownies and delectable chocolate cakes — no matter the time of year.

Imagine layers of moist, dark chocolate cake sandwiched and frosted with pure white cream cheese filling for a real showstopper. It’s a breeze to make, with just three main ingredients and the flavouring of your choice.

Play up the sharpness with lemon or orange to create a zingy contrast. Try a Grasshopper Cake by flavouring your cream cheese filling with mint — syrup for the kids and creme de menthe for the grown-ups. Or reach for the espresso and create a coffee filling that’s a flavour bomb with dark cacao.

Decadent caramel

No consideration of the best fillings for chocolate cake would be complete without including golden, buttery caramel. Drizzle luscious salted caramel between your cake layers for a moreish, savoury hit. Why not add crushed roasted nuts and ganache to create a crowd-pleasing chocolate bar cake?

We’ve curated an entire collection of caramel chocolates and other treats, including our indulgent Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur (perfect for soaking your cake layers for an adult birthday cake).

Ready to create a Bake Off-worthy ultimate showstopping chocolate caramel cake? Fill your cake with a chocolate ganache using Salted Caramel Chocolate Puddles. Add a drizzle of luscious salted caramel sauce on every layer. Then coat with whipped cream flavoured with Salted Caramel Velvetised Chocolate Cream before adding an on-trend caramel drip. The final flourish? Pile on our Caramel Cheesecake Macarons

A stream of caramel dripping into a pan of caramel

Baking with Hotel Chocolat

Can’t wait to hit the kitchen and start creating chocolate cake magic? Then you need the best-quality baking chocolate. And the best chocolate cake fillings begin with our collection of Slabs and Batons for flavour combinations to satisfy every cacao lover.