I was so proud on how kind I’ve been to my body lately by totally removing gluten from my life which I had been completely failing to do since Cole was born nearly a year ago (eek!), so I thought it was cause to celebrate with a totally delicious, decadently rich Chocolate Hazelnut Cake which is both gluten and grain-free. However, it is sugar-full so let’s not pretend I’m being some sort of a martyr here.
I’m trying to develop more gluten-free recipes for my cake stall at the moment as since that is where my heart lies it seems only natural to explore that baking arena.
There are only a handful of gluten-free bakes on this site as up until now I couldn’t really see the point. I don’t eat foods containing gluten on a daily basis but if I’m treating myself and am prepared to reap the consequences then I usually wouldn’t mind helping myself to a cheeky slice of wheat led banana bread or shortbread or maybe a scone or a bit of cheesecake. Ooh, how about a huge great slice of victoria sponge with jam and fresh cream and…evidently I could go on.
At the moment though I really want to see what cutting out gluten for the long term can do for me and how far I can take it. I’m feeling the best I’ve done since giving birth, my back problems, foot problems and general tiredness are at bay for now, I have even been attempting to get back into running and so living a gluten-free life will hopefully contribute to my well-being.
This Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is amazing and is a perfect weekend treat if you’re following a gluten-free existence or not. It is pretty much just chocolate and ground hazelnuts with just a touch of espresso to lift all that chocolate and nuts so it is luxurious and satisfying. If you don’t mind separating the eggs and whisking the whites to fold in at the end then it is a very simple batter to put together as well.
However I do like to soak the sponge, whilst warm, with a chocolate syrup. It isn’t wholly necessary but does add another layer of chocolatiness and added succulence to the crumb. A third layer of chocolatiness is then spooned on top in the form of a glossy and decadent chocolate glaze. If you can resist not helping yourself to the majority chocolate glaze with a large dessert spoon before it’s put on the cake then more power to you.
The final piece to the puzzle is the salted hazelnut praline scattered over the top of the cake. I can’t resist the crunch a good salty praline gives to the main event and can often be found throwing it hither and thither over most of my cakes at the stall. My cakes don’t tend to cater too well for nut allergists I’m afraid.
This cake doesn’t really need to be tagged with the Gluten-Free moniker as it should stand on its own without being solely classified in the ‘special diets’ category but for the sake of hoping as many people enjoy it as possible then I am proud to call it my celebratory Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. It’s pretty darn anygood.
Oh, and for the sake of trying stuff out I can also confirm that if you take a slice, warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave then drizzle some single cream over the top then that’s also an acceptable way to serve it.
Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
For the cake
200g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g golden caster sugar
250g ground hazelnuts
20g cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon espresso powder
50ml whole milk
For the chocolate soaking syrup
45g soft light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the salted hazelnut praline
2 tablespoons caster sugar
A pinch of sea salt
50g roasted and skinned hazelnuts
For the chocolate glaze
150g dark chocolate chips (I used 70%)
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and line and grease a 20cm round cake tin.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or a bain marie then leave to cool slightly whilst you get on with the rest.
- Whisk up the egg whites in a food mixer or by hand until they hold a stiff peak and set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture and beat in to combine thoroughly.
- Add the ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder, baking powder and espresso powder and mix well. Stir in the whole milk to slacken the mixture.
- With a metal spoon add a third of the egg whites into the batter gently folding it in until just combined then fold in the remaining whites.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 10 minutes then turn the oven up to 160°C and continue baking for around 35-40 minutes until firm to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and leave in the tin whilst you prepare the chocolate soaking syrup.
The Chocolate Soaking Syrup
- For the chocolate soaking syrup heat up the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has melted and it has reached a gentle boil. Whisk in the cocoa to dissolve then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Poke holes in the surface of the cake with a cocktail stick, pour the syrup evenly over and let the cake cool in the cake tin before removing.
The Salted Hazelnut Praline
- To make the hazelnut praline heat the caster sugar in a medium sized saucepan, without stirring, until it has all melted and is turning a golden brown. Add the sea salt then very quickly pour in the hazelnuts, turning into the melted sugar, then pour out onto baking parchment.
- Leave the praline for about 5 minutes until just cool enough to handle then pull the nuts apart so that the caramelised sugar is pulled into strands. Then roughly chop some of the hazelnuts. Leave to cool whilst you prepare the chocolate glaze.
The Chocolate Glaze
- To make the glaze mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until it has all melted together and smooth.
- Remove from the heat then pour over the cake, allowing some of the glaze to drip down the sides.
- Sprinkle the whole nut praline and the chopped nuts onto the top of the cake. Leave for the glaze to set then serve.