Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands {gluten-free}

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands are gluten-free and deliciously light and nutty, drizzled with a zingy blood orange icing.

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box

Friands are lovely light little cakes, usually made from ground almonds, icing sugar, melted butter, a little flour and egg whites. They are incredibly quick and easy to make and the best thing is that you can pretty much grab any friand recipe and adapt it to become gluten-free with minimal effort and no compromises. This is because friands don’t actually require a lot of flour anyway since their main structure comes from ground nuts, usually almonds. You then suffer no losses if you switch up the flour for any flour of your choice, even the regular gluten-free flour which can be found in any supermarket.

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box with a few next to it

I have had great success using all manner of gluten-free flours in place of the regular wheat flour in friands but I have found buckwheat flour is the absolute perfect choice in these Blood Orange Hazelnut Buckwheat Friands. Buckwheat is a delightful gluten-free flour (no wheat involved despite it’s confusing name) and has a wonderfully earthy wholegrain flavour which pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the hazelnuts and wholesome citrus vibe of the blood oranges.

overview of Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box

A traditional friand is made with ground almonds sitting alongside the flour, but I have switched them up for hazelnuts which are just gorgeous here. You will probably have to grind the hazelnuts yourself, so go with the regular blanched hazelnuts and just pulse them in a food processor until they are as fine as possible before they start releasing their oils (only a minute or so). You’ll probably find they come out a little nubby but it just adds to the texture of these friands.

overview of Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box

A friand usually requires melted butter in the batter but this recipe has gone one step further and made browned butter. All you need to do is melt your butter a little longer than you would normally so that the milk solids turn brown, almost caramelising them. The result is a deliciously nutty flavour which adds another layer to these friands. I have to say there is a lot going on here but the flour choice, the change up of the nuts, the sparky warmth of the orange zest and now the nutty butter all come together perfectly. These Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands are such a special tea time treat. Let no one tell you gluten-free baking has to be boring.

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box with a few next to it

Unless you make a lot of friands so have made the investment then it is unlikely you have a friand tin. I love my tin and use it a lot but you certainly don’t have to get one, you could just use a regular muffin tin instead.

close up of a Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands split in half

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If you make these Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own cake creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

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Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands resting on a wooden box with a few next to it

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands {gluten-free}

Blood Orange Buckwheat Hazelnut Friands are gluten-free and deliciously light and nutty, drizzled with a zingy blood orange icing.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 12 friands
Calories: 346kcal

Ingredients

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 115 g buckwheat flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g ground hazelnuts + 20g extra to decorate
  • zest 1 blood orange
  • 290 g egg whites about 8

Blood Orange Icing

  • 240 g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 blood orange
  • 1 blood orange to decorate

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and grease a 12 hole friand tin.
  • Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. The butter will melt. Listen carefully and the butter will start hissing and cracking and forming little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. You want to wait until the noises start to subside, the butter smells toasty and is turning a darker colour. Remove from the heat as soon as it gets to this stage so it doesn’t begin to burn. Pour the butter into a heatproof container and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, you don’t want it too hot when you add to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Sift together the buckwheat flour, icing sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and the blood orange zest.
  • Pour in the browned butter and stir until completely combined.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a separate clean bowl until light and foamy.
  • Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter until combined.
  • Divide the batter between the friand moulds then bake for 25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Make the icing by beating together the blood orange juice gradually with the icing sugar until the icing is just pourable. If the icing is a little thick then add a drop or two of water to achieve the right consistency.
  • Spoon the icing over the cooled friands. Sprinkle over the extra ground hazelnuts and decorate with a segment of blood orange and leave to set.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Coffee and Walnut Financiers in Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh (amazon affiliate link)

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 0.9mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

I use this KitchenCraft MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Friand Tin, 35.5 x 26.5 cm to make my friands. The tin is extremely hard wearing and it’s very easy to get the friands out. Just wobble the edges with a small palette knife and you can more or less just slip your friands straight out of the tin.

Speaking of small palette knives, I use this little guy Dexam Spatula with Wooden Handle 10.5cm in almost all my baking – there is usually a need for him. Like in this case, easing my friands out of my tin. You really can’t use any other implement as it won’t damage the cake tin or cut into the friands at all. I also use it for icing cupcakes, large cakes, releasing almost all cakes out of their cake tins. Because it’s not that big it’s easier to wield with more control than a larger palette knife.

For these friands I used Wholefood Earth Organic Buckwheat Flour, 1 kg which is a really lovely brand of buckwheat flour. It’s a very softly textured flour which really helped lighten up these little friands.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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gooseberry friands on a napkin on a wooden table

Blood Orange Rosemary Polenta Cake

 

This Blood Orange Rosemary Polenta Cake is both gluten-free and dairy-free. Whole oranges are boiled then pureed to create an incredibly moist and intensely citrusy cake spiked with a hint of rosemary.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake {gluten-free}

This Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is beautifully moist, rich with extra chocolate and hazelnuts and completely grain-free.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake on a plate

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.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake on a plate

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.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake on a plate

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.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake on a plate with a slice cut

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.

A slice of Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake {gluten-free}

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 Chocolate Hazelnut Cake {gluten-free}

This Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is beautifully moist, rich with extra chocolate and hazelnuts and completely grain-free.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 488kcal

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 200 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175 g golden caster sugar
  • 250 g ground hazelnuts
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 50 ml whole milk

For the chocolate soaking syrup

  • 50 g water
  • 45 g soft light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the hazelnut praline:

  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 50 g roasted and skinned hazelnuts

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 150 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

The Cake

  • 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 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 5.4mg

If you would like more information on baking with nut flours then do visit my blog post all about… baking with nut flours, part of my Gluten-Free Flours series.

Gluten-Free Flours: Nut Flours

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Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake

Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake (gluten-free)
This cake has become one of my favourite cakes of the season and is an absolute winner on my cake stall on a Sunday. It’s one of those all-rounder cakes which is good any time of the day; for breakfast, elevenses or a tea-time treat. It’s also elevated by the fact that it is gluten-free and dairy-free so it is perfectly amenable to the most common of food intolerances. I even had a lady come to my stall on Sunday who couldn’t eat any fat and this one perfectly ticked the box for that dietary requirement too. And did I mention that it’s deliciously moist, packed full of spicy fruity flavour and gilded with a crunchy golden praline too? Well it is.

Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake

Although my experiments with gluten-free flour and gluten substitutions are ongoing, I have found that my most successful gluten-free cakes are the one that are created without any thought at all in the direction of flour. I know of one cake company that specialises in ‘accidently gluten-free’ cakes which I think is a lovely way of describing that their cakes were never intended to go anywhere near gluten in the first place. These cakes have an identity of their own, without feeling like inferior substitutes of the real thing.

The secret ingredient of this cake, well actually it’s not so secret as I’ve put it right there in the title of the recipe, is a spiced pear butter. You may recall a couple of weeks ago I was waxing lyrical about the apple butter I used as the main ingredient of my Toffee Apple Cupcakes, well this pear butter is made in much the same way and is just as delicious. It feels almost criminal to take the pear butter and use is solely for this cake, despite how wonderful the cake is, but don’t worry I’ve amped up the quantities of the butter in the recipe below so it should be enough to make two cakes, or you can use the rest to spread on a crumpet, dollop on your granola with a bit of yoghurt or even serve with your Sunday roasted pork joint. These are round and about the same uses I suggested for your apple butter, if the ideas were good the first time then I have no problem in recycling them.

The pear butter replaces the fat in the cake and is whizzed up with egg yolks and sugar to form the base of the batter. Ground hazelnuts, which I ground myself by whizzing up roasted and blanched hazelnuts in the food processor, are used to thicken the batter and give it body. Then finally, whisked and stiffened egg whites are folded in to aerate the batter and to ensure the height of the cake is kept during the bake.

Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake

Now this cake cannot help but sink a little in the middle during the end of the bake, do not fear this is natural, and once it is decorated with the hazelnut praline and icing then it’s not noticeable at all. However, I have found a way of slightly counteracting how much the cake sinks by, and this is a new trick that I have incorporated into a lot of my cakes recently, including my brownies and my loaf cakes. To ensure an even bake you want to forget about the ubiquitous 180°C that is bandied around in recipes. In fact I went to a culinary salon with Rosie Lovell who suggested that 180°C is entirely too high and when she submitted her first book to her publishers she had to fight with them to maintain all her recipes at 170°C. It seems that the food industry is reticent to change but I agree entirely with her. In fact, for some of my cakes, like this one, I would even take it further. I like to bake this cake at 150°C for the first 10 minutes, then turn the temperature up to 160°C for the next 40 minutes until the cake is risen, is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. There is nothing wrong with low and slow as far as baking goes, not all our cakes have to be in and out of the oven in half an hour. The only thing I would say about this method is to check the cake after the first 20 minutes and you’ll probably notice that it’s reached its colour peak. So just cover the top of the cake with a bit of domed tin foil for the rest of the time to ensure that it doesn’t burn.

Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake

200g pear butter (recipe below)
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g golden caster sugar
250g ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon baking powder

For the hazelnut praline:
2 tablespoons caster sugar
50g roasted and skinned hazelnuts

For the glaze:
125g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons almond milk

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and line and grease a 20cm round cake tin.
  2. Whisk up the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until pale and thick.
  4. Mix in the pear butter.
  5. Add the ground hazelnuts and baking powder. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Stir a third of the whites into the batter to slacken it off, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 10 minutes, turn the oven up to 160°C and continue baking for around 40 minutes until firm to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the cake tin before removing.
  9. 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. Very quickly add the hazelnuts, turning in the melted sugar, then pour out onto baking parchment.
  10. 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. Sprinkle the whole nut praline and the chopped nuts onto the top of the cake.
  11. To make the glaze mix the icing sugar with the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the almond milk. Add some more almond milk if needed until the icing is just runny enough to drop over the cake. Decorate the cake with the icing any way you would like.

Pear butter
6 soft conference pears
200ml perry or pear cider
2 tablespoons of brandy
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the pears are soft.
  2. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  3. Once the pears are soft, then blend the pears and cooking liquid together until completely smooth.
  4. Pour into a deep roasting tray and place in the oven.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes with a fork until the butter is dark and as thick as clotted cream.
  6. Allow to cool then place in the fridge to chill until needed.