Following our trials and tribulations as we attempt to remove all grains, many starchy vegetables and most sugars from our diet while maintaining our love of good food! We strive to make all of our recipes GAPS and/or SCD compliant. Note: We didn't know about "Grain-Free Gourmet" when we chose our name. We are not affiliated with those good folks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hazelnut Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I just turned 40. I wanted to have a special cake to celebrate. This one was a hit with everyone. There was only one piece left over, and I had to hide it to keep it safe ;)

Ingredients for cake

2 2/3 cups hazelnuts
8 Tbs. honey
8 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt


Lightly toast hazelnuts in a 350 degree (F) oven. This takes about 15 minutes. They will just start to smell fragrant when ready. Allow to cool slightly. Place hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove most of the skin. This does not have to be perfect. Discard skins. Finely grind skinned hazelnuts in a food processor. Use the pulse function to avoid over-processing (you don't want hazelnut butter).

Set oven to 300 degrees (F). Butter two nine inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper as well.

Combine egg yolks, two tablespoons honey, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in ground hazelnuts and set aside. Make sure this mixture stays at room temperature.

In a clean dry bowl, with clean dry beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 tablespoons honey. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy.

Fold two tablespoons egg white mixture into hazelnut mixture. Continue gently folding in whites a tablespoon and a time.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Slide knife around edge of pan and gently pry up parchment paper. Turn out first layer onto platter. Thinly frost with coffee buttercream. Top with second layer, and frost more thickly with additional buttercream.

Ingredients for Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-4 Tbs. honey
1-2 Tbs. strong espresso, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Method for Frosting

Cream butter and lesser amount of honey until light and fluffy. Taste. Add more honey, if desired. With mixer running, slowly beat in lesser amount of espresso. Taste. Add more espresso, if desired. Beat in vanilla. Must be used at room temperature, but may be stored in refrigerator.


  1. How many cups of hazlenuts do you end up with after it's ground up? I might try making it with store bought ground hazlenuts being as I don't have a food processor, but need to know how much to use.... Thx!

  2. Hi,

    I didn't measure the ground hazelnuts, but I have noticed that slivered blanched almonds end up being about the same amount when they are ground up. Given that, I'd start with 2 1/3 cups of the ground hazelnuts. I think this recipe could easily tolerate slight variation.

    Please let us know how it turns out.

    Good luck!

  3. That looks amazing! And it's really so simple too. Happy birthday. :-)

  4. I made the frosting recipe and it was amazing!

  5. This looks fantastic! Such height on a grain free and bicarbonate free cake. I love the combination of honey, cinnamon, hazelnuts and coffee - very German...

    x x x

  6. do i have to use honey or can i use agave?

  7. If you're following the GAPS diet, then yes you need to use honey (agave isn't allowed). If you're not on GAPS then agave should work fine.

  8. I like the look of this recipe, so many grain free baking recipes are so complicated with 3 or more different types of flour and then baking soda etc.. can't wait to give this a go! I've never heard of using hazlenut flour that's interesting! I'll use stevia in mine and see how I get on.
    Take care,

  9. This looks so yummy. And the frosting looks great! I was trying to make a butter frosting that used egg whites and I messed it up. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Personally I found the frosting too buttery. I needed a thickener of some kind--I need to explore this further. THe cake itself is remarkable.

  11. Birdontheroad, thank you for the compliment on the cake. I am especially pleased with this formulation, because it was a big departure from anything I had done before. You may have experienced that baking is one of those things that can be disastrous when you fool around with an established recipe ;)

    Sorry you didn't enjoy the frosting. Did it separate, or did you just not like the taste/texture? If it separated, try using less espresso next time. If you're not on GAPS, you can make a classic buttercream. If you are on GAPS there are not too many options in the frosting department. Some people like a nut butter frosting, but I'm not really fond of it. You could make a caramel sauce with honey and butter (and coconut milk, optional) and pour it over the cake (German chocolate style). I have been meaning to try this, but haven't yet.

    Or you might like the marshmallow frosting we have on this blog. It might work with some espresso added to it (try using a small amount of frosting first, so you don't ruin the whole batch if it doesn't work). You could definitely add cinnamon or maybe even espresso powder (from instant--not GAPS legal, but maybe worth it for a special occasion). Let us know what you come up with. Maybe we can add it to the recipe!

  12. Hi, can I use ground almonds instead of hazelnuts? Andrea

    1. I'm sure you could. It would be nice to add a few drops of almond extract if you go that route. Let me know if you try it and how it works out.



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