Flourless Gianduja Cake (a.k.a. the best Nutella cake in the Universe)

Ever since I returned from India last week I have been feeling sickish intermittently. I woke up this morning feeling more drained than usual, so in an effort to cheer myself up I decided to bake.

I walked over to the neighborhood Public Library, which, by the way, happens to be 2 minutes away from my apartment, and checked out Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess”. I browsed through the book and when I came upon her recipe for “Torta Alla Gianduja”, well I was quite excited to say the least. You see, I have loved Nutella for most of my adult life with an unhealthy, even disturbing fervour and devotion. (I would have loved it as a child, but I grew up in India at a time when “foreign products” were difficult to come by. My parents brought me chocolate from all over the world because they traveled quite a bit, but for some reason they never did buy me nutella. Even peanut butter I only chanced upon when my American cousins brought a jar with them on their visit to India. (Needless to say I was smitten, but that ramble is for another blog-post.))

Back to the recipe, the Nutella cake seemed fairly simple to make- so I decided to give it a try. I modified the recipe a bit, and the icing I used (the recipe for which can be found in my next post) was quite different from the one Nigella recommended. You can find her original recipe here:

What follows is a blow-by-blow account of how the experiment went, complete with amateur pictures taken with my iPhone.

What you will need:

Equipment:

A 23 cm spring-form pan, two large bowls, two smaller bowls, a hand-held or stand-alone mixer or a whisk, a food-processor or mortar and pestle, and a tea towel.

Ingredients:

6 free range eggs (I insist on free-range after seeing some horrific videos of how chicks and hens are treated in “egg factories”.

A pinch of salt

1 stick of salted butter (the recipe calls for unsalted butter, but I like a little bit more salt in my chocolate recipes than most, I find it balances the flavour well. In addition, salted butter is cheaper at the super-market by mine (for some mysterious reason). Therefore, I decided to use salted butter.)

1 375g jar of Nutella

1 Tbsp Jamaican Rum (the recipe calls for Frangelico, but my neighborhood LCBO (for my non-Ontario friends, this is the only store that sells alcohol in Ontario, apart from the beer store and a few random wine stores that sell only Canadian wine) (it’s weird I know!) didn’t have any.)

100 g Hazelnuts

100g Lindt dark chocolate ( with at least 70 % cocoa solids)

To begin with, I made sure to lay all the ingredients out on my dining table. When you’re baking, unless the recipe otherwise specifies, it is best to use all ingredients at room temperature. Next, I turned on the oven and preheated it to 375 degrees farenheit (that’s 180 celsius).

Preparing the hazelnuts: I toasted the nuts in the oven at 375 farenheit for about 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice in-between. Next, I let them cool a bit and then placed them in a tea-towel. Then I rubbed the nuts against the towel until their skins peeled off. Then, I put the nuts in a food processor (you could also use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle) and processed them till fine.

Preparing the chocolate: I melted the chocolate over a double boiler (you can use a microwave, but be careful not to burn the chocolate then).

I was now ready to begin! What follows are step-by-step instructions to re-create the delish cake I made today! Enjoy!

The first step of the baking process involved separating the whites and yolks of 6 eggs. (Make sure to put the whites in a large bowl). Some people think separating the egg white and yolk and beating them separately is a waste of time. But it isn’t if your recipe does not call for baking powder/soda. Your cake will not rise properly if you don’t beat the whites properly in that cake.

After separating the whites and yolks, add the pinch of salt to the whites and then beat them until they are ‘stiff but not dry”. What this means is that you want to be able to make the foamy whites rise to a peak with your finger. Another way to test this is to take a clean dry egg and try to float it on top of the egg-white foam. If it sinks you’re not done. If it floats completely you’ve overdone it. If it sinks just a quarter of an inch- well you’re egg-whites are perfect then! Make sure the bowl and the whisk you use are perfectly clean- i.e. they are free from oil and water.

Stiff egg-white
Next, beat the Nutella and butter together, until they are well-mixed and creamy. Then add the rum. Beat. Next add egg yolks. Beat. Finally beat in the ground hazelnuts.

Nutella batter!
Then, fold in the dark chocolate. Next, add a dollop of the egg-white-foam and beat it in. Finally, slowly and gently fold in the rest of the foam. This is important- don’t be rough at this stage- because we want to preserve the airy-ness and lightness of the foam. Here is a video that shows you how to do it:

When you’re done folding the foam in, pour the batter in a greased and floured 23 inch springform pan.

Batter in the pan
Slide the pan into the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. I would go and check on it towards the tail-end of this period. The cake is done when it starts separating from the sides of the tin. You can do the tooth-pick test to confirm (insert a toothpick gently in and see if it is clean when you pull it out).

When it’s done, take it out and cool it on a cooling rack. I don’t have one so I made a makeshift one:

My cake cooling!
And when it’s cooled remove the sides of the pan:

As you can see, I couldn
Now the cake is ready! I am off to go make some chocolate ganache to ice it with now. Yay! You can find the recipe for the icing in the next post. Also, a little tip- if you’re going to store the cake for a while, make sure to heat it up quickly in the microwave when you take it out of the fridge. Just heat for 20-30 seconds on low- both the cake and the icing taste waaay nicer that way.

Oh and by the way, since the cake is flour-less it’s gluten-free!

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Megha
    Am delighted with this. I will try out the cake and the frosting/icing and let you know how it turns out. I will have probably also to wing it and find alternatives in case we do not get all the ingredients here in Hyd. And what tea are you plg to serve? I forgot I need to buy a oven first!!
    Ciao Mom

    1. choconutmeg says:

      Hi Mom!

      You posted the first comment ever on my blog! It’s only fitting, since you’re my biggest fan 😉

      We can bake this when you visit me 🙂 In the meantime, I will make sure to post recipes of desserts you can make without an oven. My next experiment will be chocolate truffles I think.

      Talk soon!
      XOXO
      M

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good idea, Bloggie! And yes, a verrrry fitting first recipe post – it would’ve been weird and unsettling to read a post not involving nutella 🙂

    Zoë

    1. choconutmeg says:

      Thanks for the support Z!

  3. Anonymous says:

    megs…you’ve made me hungry! and there is no way i can make nutella cake in my room. ill just have to go and drown my sorrows in a jar of nutella…(there are worse punishments… 😉 )

    1. choconutmeg says:

      Ha ha. I know who this is, even though you didn’t sign off with your name, we’ve been friends too long!

      Bake it when you’re back in Delhi! Although, will you be able to get your hands on hazelnuts easier there? I’ve never looked, so I don’t know.

  4. vnarayanan says:

    Since you are interested in the state which chickens are kept, you can actually avoid eggs altogther without loosing its baking/cooking qualities. I use Orgran “No Egg” as replaement for eggs. There are many advantages, one, it does the same job as egg in all baking applications, second it costs about 4 for the equivelant of 66 eggs!!, third it keep in the pantry for a long-long time, and means you dont have to rush to the store to get eggs when you have a bake crave at 2am in the morning!! I’m assuming you live in Australia, not sure if this product is available in other countries.

  5. choconutmeg says:

    Thanks for the tip! I shall research this!

    Also, why do you think I am in Australia? I am not, but I am curious why you thought I was.

    1. Venkat N says:

      Not sure why I thought that you live in Australia. Probably because nutella is such a common product here in Australia. Plus I live in Australia so I naively assumed you did too!!

      1. choconutmeg says:

        Ha ha. Nutella is ubiquitous now. You can get it in Canada, the US, most of Europe and all over urban India.

  6. Bruno Seemer says:

    Really clear website , thankyou for this post.

  7. paninigirl says:

    I am definitely making this! My favorite flavors are chocolate and hazelnut-thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  8. Carly says:

    Wow, this look so delicious! Baking always cheers me up, there’s nothing like creating something out of nothing and it always makes others happy as well -C x

    1. choconutmeg says:

      It makes me happy too 🙂 Like winter sunshine, or the beach, or a lovely book it makes me smile 🙂

  9. An entire jar of Nutella! I bet it tastes amazing!

    1. choconutmeg says:

      Ha ha, it does 😛

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