Nobody should be denied a little pleasure in life. Nobody should have to make do with insipid desserts or cake just because they have an allergy, a food intolerance, or a medical condition. Where there’s a will, there is always a way to be inclusive and leave everyone else none the wiser, with a fabulous cake or dessert.
This is pretty much the way my cake logic works all the time. Whether I’m working on my fitness recipes, recipes suitable for various allergies and food intolerances, or to suit those with health issues, particularly diabetes. I know what it’s like to have allergies and food intolerances from my own experience. I am also a fitness freak … and I have numerous friends who fit into one or both of those camps. I also have family and friends with various forms of diabetes. It’s not always a lifestyle disease … particularly for those with Type 1 diabetes as children, or women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Sometimes it will disappear post partum. Not always. That leaves you with quite a lot of adjustments to make to your lifestyle and diet, often during a period when you’re not getting enough sleep and have a new baby to look after. That’s also a time when everyone around you wants to celebrate, what with the new arrival and all, right? Egads.
So I made this cake for a dear friend (let’s call her P) who has recently given birth to her third gorgeous little boy, but who had to make some big adjustments to her diet during pregnancy. It can be frustrating to measure your blood glucose and find that it rarely or never comes down to normal levels, despite making all the dietary changes you need to make. It was amazing to find that after a slice of this cake, her blood glucose levels dropped considerably. That’s double the joy … chocolate cake and a healthier blood glucose reading. This cake is a bit magical like that. I can’t promise it will do the same for everyone, but the worst thing is that you get a delicious slice of chocolate hazelnut torte.
How bad can that be? (The correct answer would be “Not at all”)
Why chocolate and hazelnut? Because she loves chocolate and hazelnut. I like to be surrounded by like-minded individuals 🙂
This is for you, P. I’m rather overdue with this recipe, but I hope I will be forgiven!
This cake is naturally very low in carbohydrates and sugars, obviously. It is suitable for anyone with diabetes, following a low carb or ketogenic diet.
It is also gluten and wheat free and suitable for anyone with fructose (and fructan) malabsorption. So it is a good option for a range of people.
I have not made this torte dairy free, although it can be adapted to be so fairly simply. A lot of people would instinctively substitute coconut butter for the dairy butter and coconut cream for the dairy cream. I would advise against that in this cake, as the coconut imparts a very strong flavour profile that will interfere with the whole chocolate hazelnut thing going on. A better substitution would be to substitute an equivalent amount of cacao butter for the dairy butter and some homemade hazelnut or almond cream for the dairy cream.
I was playing chocolatier earlier today so I made some chocolate curls to decorate the cake along with some roasted hazelnuts I dipped in chocolate. This cake would be lovely plain, topped with a simple ganache, or decorated with fresh berries and served with some lightly whipped cream or yoghurt.
It has a rich flavour but also a lovely lightness due to the use of cacao powder instead of melted chocolate. It forms a little crust on top hiding a moist centre.
Nobody should be denied chocolate cake. Enjoy 🙂
Feel free to substitute sugar for the stevia sweetener used in this recipe, if you prefer. I would highly recommend using coconut sugar, rapadura, or a rich brown sugar for the flavour.
Feel free to add flavourings of your choice - spices, grated citrus zest and juice, or a little chilli! You can even substitute almonds, cashews and walnuts for the hazelnuts, if you prefer. The recipe will work well with all of them.
You can decorate this cake however you choose. Leave it plain or cover with raspberries, chocolate curls, roasted hazelnuts, etc.
60 grams unsalted butter
50 grams unsweetened cacao powder (I used Valrhona)
5 large egg whites
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
175 grams Natvia Baking (or alternative granulated stevia-based sweetener, or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
185 grams cream (35% fat)
250 grams hazelnut meal, sifted
Natvia Icing Mix or granulated sweetener, extra (or icing sugar)
unsweetened cacao powder, extra
Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin with silicone paper on the base and sides. Set aside.
Melt the butter and add the cacao powder, mixing well until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a mixer and whisk just until they start to reach the firm peak stage.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, sweetener (or sugar), and vanilla. Whisk until the sweetener is dissolved and the mixture is pale and gains volume.
Add the cocoa and butter mixture to the cream and add to the egg yolk mixture, along with the sifted hazelnut meal.
Gently fold together until well combined. Do not beat the mixture.
Finally, fold through the egg whites, taking care not to deflate the mixture too much, until no streaks remain.
Transfer to the prepared cake tin and bake at 180℃ for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out relatively clean with no uncooked batter.
Do not overbake the cake.
Let cool on a wire rack before turning out to decorate.
Pulverise the granulated sweetener until it is as fine as icing sugar.
Sift the sweetener (or icing sugar) with the cacao powder over the top of the cake.
You can add whatever flourishes you like ... berries, fruit, roasted hazelnuts, chocolate curls, or a simple ganache.
Serve at room temperature.
This cake keeps well, if stored in an airtight container, for several days.