April 19, 2010

Hazelnut Cake

I rarely read a cookbook from cover to cover. In fact, Platter of Figs by David Tanis may be the only cookbook I devoured like a novel. Between the artistry of Tanis' delectable menus and Christopher Hirsheimer's gorgeous photographs, I couldn't put the book down.

Tanis' Hazelnut Cake is simple and versatile. The roasted nuts provide a depth of flavor, yet the cake is surprisingly light.  I cannot help but take a dessert to a decadent level, so I enjoyed the cake most when when I doused it with a splash of rum and slathered it with sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Tanis also recommends using the cake as a base for tiramisu - this I must try.

On a healthier note, the cake itself is actually rich in protein and relatively low in sugar so we don't feel indulgent eating a leftover slice for breakfast with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. 

from David Tanis' Platter of Figs
  • 1 pound shelled hazelnuts
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cake flour (GF folks, I use Pamela's bread and flour blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400. Place hazelnuts in hot oven for about 10 minutes until nuts are lightly toasted and the skins are blistered. Remove from oven and put nuts in a dish towel. Rub to remove skins.

Turn oven down to 350.

Coarsely grind nuts in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

Separate eggs.

In a standing mixer, blend egg yokes and sugar until creamy. Then add juice and zest from one lemon. (At this point the aroma of the lemon and the roasted nuts is incredible!) Also, add salt, flour, and chopped nuts to the mix and blend all ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. Add 1/3 of whites to the nut mixture and blend. Finally, gently fold the remaining 2/3s of the egg whites into the batter.

Line the bottom of a 10 inch spring-form pan with a round of parchment, or butter and flour the cake pan. Pour in batter and place in 350 oven for 15 minutes.

Turn oven down to 325 and bake another 25 minutes or so. A toothpick inserted into the cake will come out clean when the cake is done.

Let cake cool completely on a rack before removing from the pan.

While the recipe is not difficult, I seemed to use every utensil in the kitchen and made a huge mess...


  1. Looks good!

    I made hazelnut cookies today and it reminded me how yummy hazelnuts are - must use them more. Maybe in this cake...

  2. yeah, no problem!! i like the rest of your blog as well :)

    the dandelion jam tasted really amazing, but i'm having trouble getting it set up nicely. i've added about 4-5 oz of pectin, but i did 1/2 recipe from what you posted. any suggestions?

  3. Hey veggievixen,
    About the dandelion jelly...I know we had one batch that was firm and one loose. Ah, the mysteries of preserving;)
    Let me ask my husband. It's his recipe and he is the jammer in our house.

  4. the hazelnut cake....yum...
    it looks so beautiful....I'm so craving it right now....just a small piece with my tea would be nice... :)

  5. bella and i are drooling over the hazelnut cake. fun to look at food blogs with my girl. can't wait to make this. love, p

  6. This looks amazing. I love simple cakes that aren't too sweet. Looks like a really versatile dessert too - a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg during the holidays, some roasted apples in the fall, or a drizzle of dark chocolate anytime.

  7. Thanks you guys! This cake is so fun to play with. This morning I am eating a warmed slice with cream cheese and pears. Yesterday I had some with yogurt and orange. P, ate some topped with caramel. And, Arugulove, your thoughts of roasted apples and chocolate would be delicious.

  8. love anything with hazelnut in it...cake looks lovely

  9. This looks so good! I'm definitely going to try it out. I've been trying to find a hazelnut cake recipe that is just mainly hazelnuts (most have chocolate, mocha, peanut butter, etc added)

  10. I just bought some hazelnuts yesterday and now I know what to do with them! Yummy cake!

  11. I hope you guys enjoy the cake... here's to delicious hazelnuts!

  12. Loved "Platter of Figs" too! That cake looks phenomenal and the pictures of the hazelnut and the set up are perfect!

  13. Do we need to whisk the whites till it forms a soft peak?

  14. Hi Anonymous, go ahead and whisk the whites until peaks form and the egg white are stiff. The air in the whisked whites will add volume to the cake.
    I hope this helps. Enjoy the cake!

  15. Pure "YUM"...I will make this by the weekend as hazelnuts are my favourite nut....Regarding the quantity of them...is your measurement for shelled nuts or un-shelled nuts?..Thank you for a beautiful post and blog!

  16. Hi Donna, I love hazelnuts too! The quantity for this recipe is for shelled hazelnuts.
    Please feel free to ask any other questions:)

  17. Oh I love it, can't wait to try! Do you think this would work with almonds just as well?

  18. Hi Anonymous,

    I think almonds could be a really wonderful substitute. I'm sure the flavor and texture would be different, but probably just as delish! If you do try the cake with almonds, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.


  19. Hi Erin,
    I tried your hazelnut cake yesterday. It is so good that I want to make it last through various applications (tried it with greek yogurt last night). So please forgive what might be a sacrilegious question to a foody...Can I slice and freeze it?

    1. I haven't tried freezing the cake, but I think it's worth a go. Let me know how it works for you... I'd love to hear.

  20. Yummy, this sounds delicious. going to make this today, thanks for sharing.



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