one cake, three very different ways to eat it. i adapted a few different almond cake recipes i have made before, and morphed them into this hazelnut cake, which is completely grain and gluten free. i am very, very proud of this recipe, because it turned out beautifully and perfectly. i have never eaten a hazelnut cake before, but i knew exactly what i wanted this to turn out like, and it provided. i wanted a nutty taste, but a light and delicate texture. i was also seeking something that would facilitate not only chocolate frosting, but also tart, sweet jams. i wanted something rich and versatile. i’ve made almond cakes before, but they always required wheat flour as an addition to the almond meal. i decided to substitute coconut flour here to make it grain free. in general, coconut is a very dry, fibrous flour. but when mixed with the right amount of other sticky and fatty things, it can be a wonderful and nutritious addition to baked goods. i should say that the coconut flour added a really subtle sweet flavor to the cake, without tasting “tropical”. i enjoy the unique flavor the coconut contributes.
this cake is perfectly sweetened. i really love cake, though find it difficult to enjoy an entire slice because it is almost always overly sweet. if you like a super sugary cake, you could probably do 3/4 cup to 1 full cup of sugar. you would not taste the nuts at that point, though, and would lose out on the natural sweetness of this recipe. you could also do what i did and drizzle some honey or jam over the top of the cake if you are not frosting it. it was soooo good that way.
this was an easy cake to make, and i was lucky when dreaming it up that i already happened to have everything i needed for it, with exception to the 4 cups of ground hazelnuts. i bought them at wholefoods and ground them in my food processor. you can do the same with almonds, if you decide to make an almond cake, instead.
if you are not concerned about gluten or grains, you can sub in wheat flour, if you wish, instead of coconut.
for a layer cake, double the recipe like i did.
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, room temp
2 cups ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
grind hazelnuts in food processor until it resembles flour. it will not be dry like wheat flour, but will get pretty fine. you can also purchase hazelnut meal in specialty stores.
preheat oven to 350f. prep 8″ round cake pan by greasing it up, and fitting a round sheet of parchment paper to the inside.
in large bowl, mix together hazelnut meal, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
with electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar, until it is whippy and fluffy like frosting would look. add in milk and vanilla until combined. add in eggs next, and mix until it is mostly uniform.
by hand, mix dry ingredients into the wet until well incorporated, without over blending.
spread batter into prepared pan. batter will be thick. and delicious. save soiled bowl, spatula, and mixer attachments for you licking enjoyment. i’m not joking.
bake for 40 minutes. watch it carefully, this could burn easily. cake should just begin to pull away from sides of pan, but toothpick should come clean from center when done. the sides of my cake were pretty dark, but the flavor was not effected. seems like coconut flour burns quickly.
cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. slide small knife around side of pan to loosen. invert onto cooling rack; cool for an hour or so before cutting into it. cool for a few hours before frosting it.
for the birthday cake:
while cake was cooled for 30 minutes, i gently spread 1/2 cup nutella onto the top of my bottom layer, then stuck it in the fridge for a few hours before frosting with butter-cream. after cooled, i spread a nice layer of butter-cream as a second filling on top of the nutella, then stacked the layers and frosted.
for the chocolate hazelnut butter-cream:
1/2 cup nutella
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional, but delicious)
with mixer, combine nutella, butter, coffee granules, and vanilla until well mixed. stop mixer, add about half of the sugar. slowly mix until combined. stop mixer and add other half of the sugar and milk. mix until combined, then whip it to a good consistancy for spreading. you’ll want it light and fluffy. if it is too wet, add a little more powdered sugar. if it is too dry, add more milk. if it is too dense and thick, you just need to keep whipping. faster, faster!!!!
this made waaayyy more than enough for my 2 layer cake., including using it as a filling.
i truly mean it when i say this cake is good on it’s own. i’ve eaten many slices with jam, with honey, with butter-cream, and on it’s own. i have loved it all ways. i recommend making 4 cakes so you can try it in all of it’s glorious manners.