Torta di nocciole – hazelnut cake

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Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, Valeria's glorious torta di nocciole recipe is the perfect autumnal treat. Made from freshly toasted hazelnuts, this gluten-free cake is best enjoyed with a dessert wine or strong coffee.

First published in 2018
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Torta di nocciole is an iconic cake from the Langhe region in southern Piedmont. This area is indeed particularly known for its excellent hazelnuts, the most prized variety of which is the Tonda Gentile delle Langhe, which holds IGP status and is prized for its subtle flavour and perfect texture.

Though it looks rather impressive, this is in fact a fairly simple cake, consisting of just hazelnuts, sugar, eggs and butter. Some versions throw a spoonful of cacao into the mix; others use flour to make it more stable. Both additions are rather unorthodox, though, and add very little to what is ultimately a perfectly delicious cake.

Locals serve it at the end of a meal with a dollop of boozy zabaglione and a glass of Moscato – a pairing I highly recommend.




  • 3 medium eggs, yolks and whites divided
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 250g of hazelnuts, toasted
  • 2 tsp baking powder, gluten-free if necessary
  • 30g of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • icing sugar, for dusting (optional)


  • Food processor or blender


Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 26cm springform baking tin with butter and set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with half of the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the eggs are airy and pale yellow. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks
In a blender, blitz the hazelnuts with the remaining sugar to a fine flour. Add the hazelnut flour plus the baking powder to the egg yolks and stir to combine. Stir in the melted butter, then gently fold in the egg whites
Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until just cooked through. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin. Cut into slices and serve

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Valeria Necchio is an Italian food writer and photographer with roots in the Venetian countryside.

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