I love simplicity and what could be better than a flourless, four ingredient (three actually as one is optional) cake?
You know when your daughter looks at you with her big expressive eyes and asks what happened? Why didn’t you bake a cake when you know she was coming back from school and her tummy hurts?
You reason and tell her if her tummy hurts then she should not have cake. To which she answers, surprised and shocked that you seem to have forgotten, that cake is the best cure for tummy problems. What to answer to that? You may be inclined to point out that that must be the most illogical argument you ever heard. But then you look at her loving expression and you can only give in, you even want to agree and tell her of course, how could you have forgotten?
So you smile, enter the kitchen and look around. Something fast, you think, after all you are so tired the last thing you wanted was to bake. You open books at random and then there it is, a 4 ingredient cake, 3 if you think one of the ingredients is optional. I must admit I was doubtful, no flour, no baking powder, no milk, no butter, I was afraid of what might come out. But what a pleasant surprise!
It is hard to explain, the flavour is rich and sweet and the hazelnuts just balance everything nicely. I also love the moistness of the cake. I loved it so much that I decided to try it with almonds too (just use the same amount) on game night and it was an even greater success. My friend who is lactose intolerant was delighted and grateful and when the others asked to try it, it soon disappeared. Walnuts or a mixture of almonds and walnuts could also be a possibility, one I will for sure explore in a near future. This recipe was adapted from a recipe by the wonderful Claudia Roden.
Flourless Hazelnut Cake
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional) or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line a 23 cm/9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In an electrical mixer, beat the egg yolks and the sugar until creamy. Pour in the vanilla extract if using and mix well. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks and fold into the batter. Then fold in the hazelnuts.
- Pour the batter into the mould and bake for 45 minutes. You know it is ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- You can serve it with whipped cream or apricot jam. Enjoy!
And yes, my little girl was delighted. We picked a colorful blanket, spread it under our favourite tree in the garden and enjoyed the cake with hot chocolate which is always a good companion. While we sat there and watched the birds and the cute but also naughty squirrels that stubbornly try to steal our figs every year, my daughter finally sighed and said that now I could see she was right, no more tummy pain!