Italians know that the best hazelnuts come from Piedmont, where this humble cake was also born as a way to use up excess nuts. Some like to include a spoonful or two of cocoa powder, but I prefer the nutty flavour of hazelnuts with just a splash of espresso added.
125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g raw, shelled hazelnuts
100g plain flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
125g granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
60ml freshly brewed espresso, cooled
125ml whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a round springform cake tin approximately 23cm in diameter. Pulverise the hazelnuts in a food processor to a fine, sand-like texture. Place in a large bowl with the flour and baking powder.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in another mixing bowl until pale and creamy.
- Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside.
- Add the yolks to the butter and sugar and mix. Next, add the dry ingredients, then the cooled espresso and milk, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
- Gently pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is springy and deep golden brown – a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
TIP This cake keeps well for up to three days – store any leftovers in an airtight container or covered in a cool place.
Now buy the book
Our recipes are from Torta Della Nonna by food writer Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant, £16.99). Emiko has lived in Florence for more than a decade and the book is a collection of some of her beloved Italian desserts. To order a copy for £14.95 until 28 March, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £20.