Torta di Nocciole with Zabaglione Sauce (Hazelnut Cake with Custard Sauce)

Torta di Nocciole with Zabaglione Sauce (Hazelnut Cake with Custard Sauce)

Torta di Nocciole with Zabaglione Sauce 

Hazelnut Cake with Custard Sauce


For the Torta di Nocciole (makes one 8-10” cake, depending on pan size) 


3 eggs, yolks and whites divided

130 grams coconut sugar (or granulated sugar) 

250 grams toasted & cooled hazelnuts

2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)

30 grams unsalted butter, melted & cooled

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of 1 orange (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º F, and parchment line the bottom of an 8 or 10 inch springform baking pan, then grease with butter and set aside.


Using a food processor or blender, blitz the hazelnuts and half (65g) of the sugar into a fine flour, stopping to scrape the sides down as needed. Be very careful not to take this too far or you will wind up with hazelnut butter! It’s ok if there are a few bigger hazelnut pieces in there. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the baking powder, and set aside. 


In the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they form stiff peaks (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside. Reusing the mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks with 65 grams of the sugar and whip on medium speed until the mixture is airy, has turned a light caramel brown (or yellow, if using granulated sugar), and the sugar has dissolved (about 2-3 minutes).


Add the hazelnut flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the melted butter and mix again until combined. Add the whipped egg whites and mix on a low speed until the batter loosens up and becomes smooth. 


Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles, and set on a baking sheet. Bake for 35–45 minutes, or until just cooked through (test by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of the cake - if it comes out clean, it’s ready!). Allow the cake to cool completely before running a knife around the sides and removing it from the tin. Dust in powdered sugar if you’d like, then cut into slices and serve with the zabaglione sauce and a strong pot of coffee! 


For the Zabaglione Sauce (makes approx ¾ cup, enough for about 2-3 people) 


This sauce is very simple, and you can really make it your own by using different liquids. The sauce should be made last, as it comes together very quickly and is best when served immediately after it is made. The basic formula for zabaglione sauce is equal parts egg yolk to liquid to sugar. One egg yolk is approximately 1 tablespoon, so scale your recipe based on that! As noted, a two yolk recipe makes about ⅓ cup of sauce. 


2 egg yolks 

1-2 tablespoons sugar (you can use honey, maple syrup, granulated sugar, or coconut sugar if you’d like a malty flavor)

2 tablespoons white wine (or sherry, whisky, rum, coffee, etc.) 

2 teaspoons espresso (optional) 


Bring an inch or two of water to a simmer (not a boil) in a shallow saucepan. In a heatproof bowl (stainless steel prep bowls work great for this) that can sit on top of your saucepan without touching the surface of the water, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. When the yolk mixture becomes airy and pale yellow, whisk in the liquid and set the bowl over the simmering water, whisking constantly. The mixture will quickly begin to froth and expand in the bowl. Whisk vigorously for several minutes, making sure the water in the saucepan never gets above a simmer. When ready, the sauce will be thick, doubled in volume, and when the whisk is lifted out of it, there should be a trail that lasts for 2-3 seconds. Serve the sauce immediately while warm. 


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