I’m actually not kidding when I tell you this may be one of the best things I have ever made. I LOVE the combo of hazelnut and chocolate (see my hazelnut florentines filled with Nutella and my hazelnut-butter milk chocolate cookies to see my love in action).
And last spring when I read an Ottolenghi recipe in the New York Times for Walnut cake, all I could think of was how much better the cake would be with hazelnuts – and a Nutella whipped cream (Sorry, Mr. Ottolenghi, world renowned chef and baker, but I’m just being honest: nothing against your version with walnuts, which I’m sure is great . . . ).
I little internet research, okay a lot, ensued, and it turns out I am not the first to think of making a flourless cake with nothing more than hazelnuts, eggs and sugar. However, perhaps I am the first to spread it with Nutella whipped cream (which is TO DIE, by the way). This cake calls for very few ingredients, is easy-peasy to make, and is just the most perfect sweet treat for the gluten free among us.
- 3 cups, 12 ounces, hazelnut flour (or you can grind 12 ounces of whole hazelnuts into flour, in the food processor; no need to skin them first)
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray or butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the hazelnut flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the yolks, the two sugars, and the vanilla on medium high speed for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is light and thick.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the hazelnut flour mixture to it. Fold the dry into the wet with a rubber spatula. This will be hard to do, and once done, it will seem as if the batter is overly thick and stiff and dry. Do not worry: once you add the beaten whites, it will loosen.
- Whisk the whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a hand mixer on high (or transfer the hazelnut-yolk mixture from the stand mixer bowl to another large bowl, clean the stand mixer bowl, and use that) until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the whites into the hazelnut mixture, a third at a time, until combined. The first and even second addition of the whites will just start to loosen the batter, but by the time you add the third addition, the batter will be much less thick and almost pourable.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 33 to 37 minutes, until the cake is puffy and is just beginning to come away from the sides of the pan, and a tester inserted in the center comes out with almost no crumbs.
- Let the cake rest on a cooling rack until the pan is cool enough to handle. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake, remove the sides of the pan, invert the cake onto a cooling rack, and then flip it right side up. Let cool completely.
- Once cooled, make the whipped cream. Place the cream and Nutella in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium high speed until soft to medium peeks form.
- Generously spread the whipped cream on the cake, cut into slices, and serve extra cream at the table.