Flourless Hazelnut Cake

Flourless Hazelnut Cake

My mother’s birthday is the day before Halloween. Her childhood, no surprise, was filled with Halloween-themed birthday parties. “All I want is a pink cake like every other little girl,” she repeatedly told my grandmother. But her plea went unanswered and consequently, in her adulthood, she hates having her birthday associated with anything that even implies the holiday. No ghosts, no goblins and especially no witches.

Clearly, she was traumatized.  When I was 4 years old, my father and I went to the local bakery to get my mother’s birthday cake.  I not knowing any better, after all I was only 4, picked out a cake decorated with a witch. My father got in all kinds of trouble, since he was the adult and should have known better. And 37 years later, I still hear this story.

A year later we moved and near us was a phenomenal German bakery, Bauer’s, that I’m sure I will mention repeatedly. Of the many things they did well, my mother’s favorite cake was a hazelnut torte. It had apricot jam between the layers and was frosted with a coffee-flavored buttercream. So while I still have no idea how it was made, I altered this recipe I found online for Hungarian Flourless Hazelnut Cake. It will hopefully evoke the spirit of this beloved and now missed cake. And perhaps it will make up for picking the witch cake so many years ago.

Flourless Hazelnut Cake

Yields 1 9-inch Cake, 12 to 18 Servings

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For the cake:

Adapted from Hungarian Flourless Hazelnut Cake

3 1/2 cups hazelnut meal/flour (or 12 ounces of hazelnuts ground finely into a meal)

2 teaspoons baking powder

6 eggs, separated

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon table salt or cream of tartar

For the Coffee Syrup:

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons coffee liquor (such as Kahlua)

For the Coffee Whipped Cream:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons strong coffee

To assemble:

12 ounces apricot preserves


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan with the white or brown rice flour or spray it with a non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first two ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are broken up.
  4. Add the melted butter and whisk until combined.
  5. Add the sugar and whisk until all the sugar is melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  6. Add in the hazelnut mixture in three parts. Stir with a spatula each of the three additions until thoroughly combined. The mixture will seem very dry but do not panic. Tip: You may want to use your hands in the end instead of the spatula.
  7. In a CLEAN medium mixing bowl, with CLEAN whisks, whip the egg whites on a low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add 3/4 teaspoon table salt or cream of tartar and whip until firm peaks form. Click for Egg Whites 101.
  8. Quickly stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture, then quickly fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter .
  9. Pour the batter into the springform pan and bang down the pan a few times to level the batter.
  10. Place the pan on the center rack and bake for 60-70 minutes or until it is well risen and the cake has come away from the sides or the pan. If you press the cake lightly with your finger, it should spring back.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the outer ring.
  12. For the Coffee Syrup:
  13. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Tip: Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
  14. Allow the mixture to cool and then add the liquor. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  15. For the Coffee Whipped Cream:
  16. Brew a cup of very strong coffee.
  17. Measure 3 tablespoons of that coffee into a large mixing bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  18. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and stir to combine with the coffee.
  19. Whip the mixture until soft peaks form.
  20. To assemble:
  21. When cake is cool, slice it horizontally into 3 layers.
  22. Place the bottom layer on your cake plate and brush it with the Coffee Syrup.
  23. Spread ½ the apricot preserves on top.
  24. Spread ¼ of the whipped cream on top of the preserves.
  25. Cover it with a second layer and repeat.
  26. Place on the top layer and brush it with the Coffee Syrup. Cover it and the sides of the cake with the remaining Coffee Whipped Cream. Tip: Put little squares of wax paper around the edges to keep the plate clean.
  27. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.


  • Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top for decoration.

  • Cut the cake into squares, rectangles, or diamonds for pretty little pastries. You can even try making the cake in a square pan if you are going this route. However, make sure you line the pan with parchment paper as this cake trends to stick.

Flourless Hazelnut Cake

7 thoughts on “Flourless Hazelnut Cake

  1. This sounds fabulous. Just thought I’d mention that I do a cake called Ilse’s Mocha Nut Cake. It was also flourless and had a to die for mocha frosting. It was one of the first posts I ever did, but the frosting is incredible. She was beloved for her baking! And she never put a witch on hers!

  2. Thanks for posting. I think my mom ground coffee to put in her cake, which was probably based on an Austrian variation. We use a berry jam for the filling. We’re going to make it this week so was excited to find this!

  3. Looks delicious, I enjoy using almond meal and will have to try hazelnut meal. And since you referred to it in your bundt cake recipe… any chance of a Jewish apple cake recipe and have you ever cooked with cold extract coffee like using a Toddy? Cold extract produces a very strong clean low acid brew but it takes 12+ hours to make.

    1. Oh definitely try hazelnut flour. It is so good, especially in the chocolate cake. No chance of another apple cake any time soon. Perhaps next fall. I have never used a cold coffee extract. Not as fun as the liqueur. 🙂

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