250g roasted hazelnuts, plus a handful roughly chopped for decoration*
100g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
125g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
60 ml freshly brewed espresso, cooled
125 ml full-cream milk
90g dark chocolate, finely chopped
100ml heavy cream
Nocciola del Piemonte is a variety of hazelnut that grows in the Piemont region of Italy. We source our hazelnuts from Pepo Farms in Northern Victoria, but they taste just as good (maybe even better). This cake is a subtly sweet, earthy celebration of those hazelnuts. Traditionally it’s made without chocolate ganache, but we couldn’t help ourselves; feel free to dust the top with icing sugar if you’re not an icing person. It would also be great with some berries or poached apricots and cream on the side!
Torta di Nocciole – Hazelnut Cake
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line a round spring-form cake tin (approximately 23 cm in diameter).
Pulverise the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble a sandy texture. Place in a large bowl with the flour and baking powder.
Beat the butter and sugar together in another mixing bowl until creamy and pale, this will take about 6 mins of constant beating.
Separate the eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks, set aside.
Add the yolks to the butter and sugar and mix. Next, add the dry ingredients, then the cooled espresso and milk, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
Gently spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the top is springy and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
To make the ganache
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer – do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot! Turn off the heat and scatter the finely chopped chocolate over the cream, then let it sit for 3 mins to gently soften the chocolate. With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. If your ganache splits or appears oily, gently warm some milk and add it in 1 tsp at a time, stirring gently until the texture is silky and homogenous.
Pour ganache over cooled cake, use a spatular to even it out, sprinkle with remaining chopped hazelnuts.
This cake keeps well in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
Hints and Tips
*hazelnuts are the prominent flavour in this cake; therefore, you must use freshly roasted, crunchy, delicious nuts. Have a taste before you begin the recipe to ensure your nuts aren’t bitter or rancid to avoid disappointment!
Recipe by Emiko