Four thin, airy layers of hazelnut torte are sandwiched between billowy, lightly sweetened whipped cream. This hazelnut cream cake is one of the easiest cakes you can make, and it will have everyone thinking you bought it at a bakery.
This hazelnut cream cake has been sitting in my desk for a couple of years now. I’m spoiled though, I never have to make it because my cousin’s mother-in-law always does, so I get to enjoy it on the regular. Now, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might recognize her: Mama Dorosch.
If you know Mama Dorosch, then you know her carrot cake. If you don’t know her carrot cake, you NEED to know it. I can honestly promise you that it is the best carrot cake you’ll ever have. It won me first prize at Carrot Fest, which yes, is a thing.
This hazelnut cream cake is something special. And you’re going to think it’s weird too, once you see the ingredients. You are just going to have to trust me, make it, and then you’ll understand. The cake layers are spongy and airy, but not at all dry, holding up incredibly well against the frosting, without absorbing any of it.
The frosting is nothing more than just lightly sweetened whipped cream. This isn’t the kind of cake that makes your teeth hurt, it’s the kind you can’t help going back to for seconds. Just a few handfuls of ground hazelnuts sprinkled onto the side of the cake, and it looks straight out of a bakery window, with hardly any effort.
- 6 eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (plain)
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts, divided
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. Grease two 8" round pans and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of sugar, then continue beating to stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a second large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), beat the egg yolks until very thick and lemon coloured. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until blended (it will be thick, and light yellow in colour). Add the flour, breadcrumbs, and 2/3 cup of ground hazelnuts. Mix to combine, so there are no streaks of flour left.
- Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the egg whites. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the mixture together. Be careful not to just stir it, as you want the mixture to be light and airy. It's finished once there are no streaks of white remaining, but take your time!
- Pour the batter equally among the two pans, and bake for 40 minutes. When done, a toothpick will come out from the center clean, and the tops will be a golden brown and spring back when you touch them.
- Invert the cakes out of the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the cakes are completely cooled, use a bread knife to cut each one in half, creating your four layers.
- Place the whipping cream in a large bowl, and whip on high speed until almost thickened enough to spread. Add the vanilla and icing sugar. Continue to whip until light fluffy, and it holds a peak when you pull out the beater. Be careful not to over beat it.
- Frost as you would any cake. Use the remaining 1/3 cup of ground hazelnuts to decorate the sides of the cake. See notes for an easy way to do this.
- Serve the same day that you frost the cake, and keep it refrigerated once frosted! You can bake the cake a day ahead - just let it cool completely, then wrap with two layers of plastic wrap.
To make the cake easier to transport and to decorate with the ground hazelnuts, I spread a thin circle of nutella on the serving plate before I put my first cake layer down. This makes the cake stick to the plate.
When I'm done frosting, I can hold the cake plate in one hand, over a rimmed baking sheet to catch run off. I tip the cake at a slight angle (the nutella keeps it from slipping), then I just sprinkle on the ground hazelnuts. Super easy!