Gloomy, dismal weather is always a good excuse to indulge in something ultra sinful. Ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, chocolate, coffee and butter figure prominently here. Combine them with a handful of other ingredients and we are able to create an amalgamation of gorgeous tastes and textures that form this marvelous dark chocolate cake. It is sophisticated enough to impress your friends and yes, for those concerned, this one’s entirely gluten and grain free.
Soft, moist, dark, rich, dense and nutty in all the right ways, this cake is a chocoholic’s dream. The underlying coffee and kinako (roasted soybean flour) notes make this decadent dessert all the more potent. The ground hazelnuts contribute to the earthy flavour and gritty texture of the cake, while the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate sits on your tongue as each bite melts slowly in your mouth.
While entirely an optional addition, one of my favourite ingredients used in this cake is kinako. Made by finely grinding roasted soybeans into powder, it is used as a healthy topping or flavoring in many Japanese sweets and cakes. I would like to justify my decision to add some of it to this cake by insisting that it has an absolutely gorgeous flavour reminiscent of peanut butter and its light, nutty fragrance is extremely comforting. The flour is perhaps a little difficult to purchase outside of Japan, but you may be able to find some at your local Japanese grocery store. I urge you to try adding some kinako to this dreamy chocolate cake. It gives it that extra something.
Gooey and fudge-like in consistency, I think this cake is so rich that small portions are the way to go, or you might end up in a chocolate coma. If there ever exists a method of drowning yourself in chocolate, this is it. Pair a warm slice with a large glass of milk and you have the ultimate comfort food combination.
Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake
a self-indulgent gluten free and grain free recipe.
1 cup hazelnut meal
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons kinako (roasted soybean flour), optional
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/3 cup milk, warm
150g dark chocolate*, melted
150g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, separated
Some extra cocoa powder, for dusting
* I used Lindt Dessert 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate.
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base of a deep 8 inch across springform cake pan with non-stick baking paper.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, hazelnut meal, soy flour and salt. Mix well, set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, coffee granules and warm milk. Stir until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved.
- Stir the melted chocolate and butter into the cocoa/coffee mixture until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- In 2 or 3 increments, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about one hour, checking often after 45 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, remove cake from oven.
- Let the cake cool in the pan completely before inverting onto a wire rack.
- Dust with cocoa powder and serve with chocolate sauce or thickened cream, if desired.