A delightful cake from Piemonte, Torta di Nocciole (also known as Italian Hazelnut Cake) is a flourless cake that you can serve the whole year-round. Enjoy it with a dusting of powdered sugar or with a scoop of ice cream — you are definitely in for a treat!
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Piemonte, a region in northern Italy, has (arguably) one of the best hazelnuts in the world, and they sure know how to showcase them with this authentic Italian dessert — torta di nocciole.
Minimal ingredients but certainly packed with flavor; that’s an apt description of this hazelnut cake. Excellent for snacks, dessert, or even breakfast!
IF YOU WANT TO TRY MORE PIEMONTESE TREATS, THEN YOU WOULD LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Sugar – regular white sugar is excellent for this torta di nocciole recipe.
- Eggs – medium eggs at room temperature.
- Salt – (not included in the image above); all you need is a pinch.
- Hazelnuts – whole hazelnuts, including the skin; there is no need for you to blanch or toast the nuts for this Italian hazelnut cake recipe.
Oh! In case you’re not aware, the same set of ingredients (minus the salt) can also be used to prepare a traditional cookie from Piemonte. 🙂
Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F) and preparing an 8-inch cake pan by greasing it generously with butter and dusting it with flour. Set aside.
Using a food processor, combine hazelnuts and sugar (photo 1).
Pulse until they resemble a ‘sandy’ texture, then transfer it in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add egg yolks and a pinch of salt (photo 2).
Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they reach a stiff peak (photo 3).
Take a third of the beaten egg whites into the hazelnuts mixture and fold to combine (photo 4).
Do this repeatedly until all the egg whites are combined.
Pour hazelnut cake batter into the prepared cake pan (photo 5).
Tap the cake pan gently on the countertop to remove bubbles (photo 6).
Place the cake pan in the oven for about thirty-five to forty minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least twenty minutes.
Remove the cake carefully from the pan.
Sprinkle your Italian hazelnut cake with powdered sugar (if desired), then serve.
- Do not over-process the hazelnuts. You can certainly process it more than I did, but not too much, or you’ll end up with hazelnut butter.
- Fold the beaten egg whites gently into the cake batter to combine. Hence, adding it in portions for easier folding.
- When removing the cake from the pan, it is better to loosen the sides first (even if you are using a springform cake pan).
There’s not much variation you can do, except on how you prepare the hazelnuts:
- You can blanch them and remove their skins.
- Or simply roast them (with the skin) before processing them with the sugar.
Alternatively, you can do both at the same time when you scrub their skins with a clean kitchen towel after roasting. But not all skins would be removed with this approach, compared to blanching.
I don’t recommend it.
This recipe is excellent for an 8-inch cake pan; anything bigger than that will result in a thinner cake.
You can serve it with some whipped cream or simply dust it with some powdered sugar — which is my preferred way.
During warmer months, though, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is an excellent choice.
So, what do you think? Tempted to give Italian hazelnut cake a try? Then let me know in the comment section below! 🙂
Torta di Nocciole Recipe (Italian Hazelnut Cake)
- 1 & 3/4 cup whole hazelnuts, (250 grams)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 medium eggs, separated (63 to 73 grams each)
- pinch of salt
- butter and flour, for preparing the cake pan
- powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Grease an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust it with flour. Set aside.
Preparing hazelnut cake batter:
- Combine hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor.
- Pulse until you get a 'sand-like' texture.
- Transfer nuts and sugar into a mixing bowl.
- Add egg yolks and a pinch of salt, then mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they reach a stiff peak.
- Take a third of the beaten egg whites into the hazelnuts mixture and fold to combine.
- Repeat until all the egg whites have been combined with the rest.
- Pour hazelnut cake batter into the prepared 8-inch cake pan.
- Tap the pan gently on the countertop to remove bubbles.
Baking flourless torta di nocciole:
- Place the cake pan in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake carefully from the pan by loosening the sides of the cake first.
- Sprinkle your hazelnut cake with powdered sugar, if preferred.
- Cook’s Tip #1: Do not over-process the hazelnuts. You can certainly process it more than I did, but not too much, or you’ll end up with hazelnut butter.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Fold the beaten egg whites gently into the cake batter to combine. Hence, adding it in portions for easier folding.
- Cook’s Tip #3: When removing the cake from the pan, it is better to loosen up the sides first, even if you are using a springform cake pan.