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Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Torta di Nocciole)

Simple and uncomplicated this Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is just the right thing with afternoon tea.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian cake, chocolate cake, hazelnut cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12
Author Jean | Lemons + Anchovies

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature plus more for pan (if using salted reduce salt by half)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts toasted, skinned and finely chopped (See Note)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or 1 cup all purpose and 1 cup spelt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a nine-inch nonstick baking pan and set aside. Or, you can use a 10-inch round skillet pan like I've done here.
  2. Using a hand mixer (and a large bowl) or an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, three to four minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each yolk has been thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the hazelnuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour(s), cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Then sift the mixture once again into the wet mixture. Fold the dry ingredients gently into the batter. The batter will be very stiff, like cookie dough.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until the egg whites are somewhat stiff but not dry. This will take about three minutes.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the batter until no more white patches are visible in the mixture. The batter will still be thick but will be thinner than the cookie dough batter.
  6. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan (or skillet) and flatten the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for five minutes then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of hazelnuts along the outer edges of the batter, pressing them slightly into the batter with a spatula. Return to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway into the baking time. Baking time will take roughly 40-45 minutes. If baking with convection like I do, I preheat the oven to 350ºF and reduce the temperature to 325º and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Recipe Notes

1. Recipe: The base recipe was adapted from Patricia Wells' Toasted Hazelnut Cake. I reduced the sugar, added chocolate and used whole grain flour.
2. Hazelnuts: I use Trader Joe's roasted and unsalted hazelnuts. I toasted them in the oven at 350ºF for 10 minutes then rubbed them with a dish towel to rub off as much of the skin as I could. Then I transferred them to a storage bag and pounded with a mallet.