Flourless Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Whipped Cream by Jessie Sheehan

I’m actually not kidding when I tell you this flourless hazelnut cake may be one of the best things I have ever made. I LOVE the combo of hazelnut and chocolate – and the Nutella whipped cream that tops this little number is literally the stuff of dreams. I was inspired to develop this cake a few years back, when I read Otto Lenghi’s recipe for a flourless walnut cake in the New York Times. I was intrigued, but not by the idea of a walnut cake. Instead, I imagined that if you substituted hazelnuts for said walnuts, you’d likely have something pretty darn fab on your hands and if you figured out a way to incorporate some chocolate (umh, Nutella) into the mix, well then it’d be off the charts. And I was right. The cake calls for very few ingredients, is easy-peasy to assemble, and is not only the most perfect treat for the gluten-free among us, but really the most perfect treat – period.

To take a peek at the original blog post for my flourless hazelnut cake with Nutella whipped cream,  and to peruse my collection of recipes, click here:

For the cake:

  • 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
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the hazelnut flour, salt, and baking powder. 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 dry ingredients, folding gently 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 peaks form.

Generously spread the whipped cream on the cake, cut into slices, and serve extra cream at the table.

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