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Piedmontese-Style Hazelnut Cake

Piedmont-style hazelnut cake, like most old-school Italian recipes, is based on cucina povera, Italy's waste-free "poor cooking" method. Due to the exorbitant expense of flour, the Piedmontese decided to forego it entirely and start making cakes out of one of the region's most famous delicacies: hazelnuts. Locals would hunt the woods in the autumn for any remaining hazelnuts from the enormous summer harvest, and thus the torta di nocciole was born.

Nowadays, there are dozens of variations of this beloved delicacy, many of which use flour. The Tonda Gentile Trilobata IGP from the Langhe, recognised by many as the best in the world, is Piedmont's most popular hazelnuts.

For two 9″ pans


3½ oz./100 g. Piedmont Hazelnut paste PGI

7 oz./200 g. Piedmont Hazelnut flour PGI, sifted

7 oz./200 g. Piedmont Hazelnuts PGI

10½ oz./300 g. butter, softened

6½ oz./180 g. sugar

14 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

1 Tbsp./15 g. baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Separate the yolks from the egg whites.

  3. Whip the butter with 5 oz./140 g. sugar and the hazelnut paste.

  4. The crucial step: Gently add the yolks, one at a time, until they are completely absorbed.

  5. Add the sifted hazelnut flour. Once incorporated, add the hazelnuts and baking powder.

  6. Start whisking the egg whites, add the remaining sugar, finish whisking.

  7. Gently mix the egg whites with the rest of the dough, ensuring the mixture is properly whipped.

  8. Grease a baking pan with butter then dust with flour. Pour the mixture into the baking pan then place in the oven. Lower the temperature to 335°F and let cook for 40 minutes. Allow cooling before serving.


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