This Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is rich and a little fudgy but somehow light. With a wonderful nutty flavour from ground hazelnuts it’s a little like Nutella in cake form. What’s more, it’s accidently gluten free.

After first tasting a flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant, I had to recreate it and this one is now a favourite. Along with my Flourless Lemon Cake and Flourless Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake, it joins a bunch of flourless cakes on the blog.

A chocolate cake on a white and timber platter dusted with cocoa.

How do you make a cake without flour?

Actually, it’s incredibly easy to make a flourless chocolate cake. The main body of the cake is made up of ground nuts and eggs. There’s some cocoa and some good, dark Chocolate in there to make it uber-chocolatey and then all the required bits for a gorgeous, can-I-have-some-more-please chocolate cake (aka butter and sugar).

Ingredients in flourless chocolate cake

Ingredients for chocolate flourless cake on a white marble background.
  • Hazelnuts: A large part of flourless cakes is finely ground nuts. In this one I use hazelnuts but you can swap them for the more often used almonds too.
  • Cocoa and chocolate: I add both in this recipe to make sure it has an intense chocolate flavour.
  • Butter: Is a cake a cake without it.
  • Sugar: I recommend just using regular white sugar. If you swap for brown, the cake may be a little too moist.
  • Eggs: You’ll use 4 eggs and they are separated. The whites are whipped up to add air to the cake.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract has a wonderful way of intensifying the chocolate flavour.
  • Salt: This is also to intensify the chocolate flavour and to add balance.
  • Baking powder: This just adds a little lift to the cake.

How to make it

6 images in a collage showing the steps to making flourless chocolate cake.
  1. For my flourless chocolate hazelnut cake, I like to make my own ground hazelnuts or hazelnut meal. This way I can toast (photo 1, before and photo 2, after) them first which adds extra flavour to the end result. You can absolutely use pre-ground hazelnuts though and this will still be delicious.
  2. After grinding your nuts (photo 3), you’ll start to turn it into a cake by creaming together some butter and sugar.
  3. Next, you’ll add the egg yolks and a touch of vanilla followed by melted chocolate (photo 4).
  4. Now you add your dry ingredients and gently mix them in.
  5. The last step is to beat the egg whites to soft peaks and then carefully fold them into the batter (photo 5).
  6. Tip it into a lined 8 inch spring form tin and level it out (photo 6), then bake for 45-50 minutes.
A slice of chocolate cake on a white cake plate with cream and raspberries.

Give it time to cool

Once it’s baked, just allow your cake cool almost completely before removing the ring from the springform tin (I love this Le Creuset 20cm spring form tin).

It’s a delicate cake so removing it too early could result in it breaking or cracking. In a cake using flour, the flour develops gluten which helps to hold things together. A flourless cake is much more delicate when it’s still warm as it doesn’t have that gluten to bind it all.

Once cooled though, it holds together no problem.

It’s best to let it cool completely before carefully transferring your perfect flourless chocolate cake to a cake plate.

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A chocolate cake cut into slices on a white platter.
A slice of chocolate cake on a white cake plate with cream and raspberries.

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Closeup of a chocolate cake cut into slices on a white platter.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

4.16 from 20 votes
This Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is a wonderful combination of flourless chocolate cake and finely ground hazelnuts. An accidently gluten free chocolate cake with a wonderful hazelnut flavour.

Ingredients

  • 240 g hazelnuts, skinless (1 ¾ cups / 8.5oz) (notes)
  • 200 g white granulated sugar (1 cup / 7oz)
  • 226 g unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks / 1 cup)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 50 g finely chopped dark (50-70%) chocolate, melted (⅓ cup / 1.8oz)
  • 45 g unsweetened cocoa (½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Extra cocoa, for dusting

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease the sides of a 22cm (9 inch) round springform cake tin and then line the bottom and sides with baking paper.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper, then tip the hazelnuts onto the tray in one, even layer. Toast in the oven, shaking the pan every 5 minutes or so until golden all over. Allow the hazelnuts to cool for 5 minutes, then grind them to very fine crumbs in a food processor. Keep an eye on them as if you blend too long, they will release their oil and become wet instead of the dry ground hazelnuts you need.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then add the vanilla and the yolks, one at time until fully combined and the mixture looks fluffy. Finally add the melted chocolate and mix through.
  • Mix the ground hazelnuts, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. With the beater on low, slowly pour it into the butter mixture until combined.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and mix through. Add the last 2/3 in 2 parts but just fold through in gentle, measured folds until all combined. Keep the mixing to a minimum to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
  • Bake for 50 – 55 minutes until the top looks dry and a toothpick comes out with just a moist crumb or two.
  • Allow to cool almost completely in the tin before removing. Transfer to a cake plate and allow to cool completely.
  • Dust with cocoa right before serving

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. You can use pre-ground hazelnuts (aka hazelnut meal) to save on time. You can also use almonds or almond meal.
  4. I love this Le Creuset 20cm spring form tin
Have you tried this recipe?Rate or comment below and let us know how it was!