heaven and hell cake with peanut butter nutella purgatory mousse

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! What did you do for your sweetie? In typical baker fashion, I made Patrick a cake.

But not just any cake, an epic 5 3/4" cake of towering awesomeness. Imagine if you will, layers of rich dark devils food, paired with their polar opposite, light and fluffy angel food cake. Then intersperse layers of creamy peanut butter and nutella mousse. Then frost that bad boy with a devilishly thick layer of chocolate nutella ganache.

heaven and hell cake with peanut butter mouse, gluten-free

Let me just say damn. DAY-UM!

This cake was all the right kinds of ooey gooey decadence but was a beast to make. Luckily, I had my little sister (aka the baking munchkin) to help me assemble, style, and later eat the cake.

Once we finished making the cake (which was pretty much a three day process), I realized it wouldn't fit in the the 4" tall cake box I brought to transport it home. In order to get the Valentine's Day cake to my intended eater, I ended up preslicing it and transporting the slices on a paper plate inside the box. The rest, I donated to the baking munchkin who readily volunteered to eat a slice a day. Hope your Valentine's Day is filled with gluten-free joy!

heaven and hell cake with peanut butter nutella purgatory mousse

Recipe Type: dessert
Serves: 10-12
Recipe adapted from Saveur magazine.



  • 1 lbs. milk chocolate, such as Valrhona, chopped
  • 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cups nutella


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract


  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs


  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cups nutella, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream


  1. Make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; pour cream over the chocolate and let sit to melt for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, combine the chocolate and cream. Stir in nutella. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let rest for 4 hours.
  2. Make the angel food cake: Heat oven to 325°. Line bottom of a 10" round cake pan with ungreased parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar, flour, and xanthan; set flour mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a handheld mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase mixer speed to medium, sprinkle in sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle half of the confectioners' sugar–flour mixture over egg whites; using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.
  3. Make the devil's food cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10" round cake pan with shortening and dust with flour to coat; shake out excess flour and set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan, baking soda, salt, and baking powder; set flour mixture aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth; set coffee mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture to the bowl in 3 stages, beating to combine after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 30–35 minutes; transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  4. Make the peanut butter mousse: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, nutella, and confectioners' sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture; set mousse aside in the refrigerator.
  5. Assemble the cake: Using a serrated-blade knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer of the devil's food cake on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse over the top with a butter knife. Top mousse with a layer of the angel food cake and spread with half of the remaining mousse. Repeat with the remaining devil's food cake, mousse, and angel food cake. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. Stir ganache until smooth and spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake with a butter knife. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing.



Hi Charissa Fleischer,
This cake looks delicious and yummy..!!
I read your blog its really amazing and your tips for cake with peanut butter is truly unique and easy to make.
I love peanut butter cake most and cake is perfect for celebrate Valentines.
Thanks For Sharing….

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