Chocolate & hazelnut cake

Chocolate & hazelnut cake

Torta di cioccolato e nocciole

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
8-10
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Our chef friend Antonella Secciani’s father used to grow two hazel trees in his garden. These trees supplied the family with hazelnuts for her mother to use for cakes such as this. Antonella brought this rich and decadent cake as a present to us one Christmas as it is gluten-free, and we asked if we could include the recipe in the book. The sugar quantity is low as Giancarlo is diabetic, but the chocolate contains sugar, so the sweetness is just right.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g hazelnuts, blanched or with thin skins on
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200g salted or unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (optional)
6 medium eggs, separated
25g caster sugar
75ml cold espresso
3 tablespoons cognac
whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24 cm springform cake tin with butter, or, if you don’t have a springform tin, line the base of a shallow cake tin of similar dimensions with baking parchment.
  2. Put the hazelnuts in a roasting tray and roast for 5 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and melt together, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain, and set aside. (This can also be done in a microwave.)
  4. When the hazelnuts are cool, blitz them to a fine powder in a food processor or chop them by hand. The choice of texture is up to you – smooth or crunchy.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl for 4–5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the hazelnuts to the bowl and whisk to combine, then pour in the espresso, Cognac and melted chocolate mixture, and whisk through.
  6. Beat the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks, then fold them into the cake mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch and doesn’t wobble. If the cake wobbles, bake it for a little longer. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Serve with whipped cream and a shot of strong espresso.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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