I must confess the first time I heard someone refer to their Gluten-Free diet I immediately lumped it in with all of the other crazy diets people seemed to try, like the blood group diet or the maple syrup diet.  It wasn’t until I talked to someone with Celiac disease that I began to understand that not only was this not a fad diet, or at least should never be treated as such, it was in response to a very painful and frustrating condition that can lead to life-threatening complications.  So while neither my husband nor I have to adhere to a Gluten-Free diet I do have some friends and a family member with the disease so it has made me more aware about what I am cooking.

It was actually my husband that came across this recipe looking through Allrecipes.com and he asked me to give it a try. I am glad he did because not only will this recipe be a perfect addition for someone with a Gluten-Free diet but it is also wonderful for someone like myself that is not a fan of sweet cakes.  It is dense and nutty without being too heavy and dry.  Next time I make it I will be sure to add a layer of fresh strawberries which I think think would make a delicious addition to the nutty flavor. If you enjoyed this recipe please check out my blog, Small Wallet, Big Appetite, where I share recipes as well as money saving tips so you can enjoy the food you love without breaking your budget.

Gluten-Free Hazelnut Cake
12 oz. hazelnuts, ground very fine
2 tsp. baking powder
8 eggs
1/2 c. white sugar
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Grind hazelnuts until very fine, to ensure that it is the right consistency sift into your bowl to make sure that any larger pieces don’t get into the final mixture. Add baking powder and set aside

Divide 6 of your 8 eggs separating out the yoke and whites and allow the white to warm to room temperature before handling them. In a large bowl, whip the egg yolks plus the 2 whole eggs with the sugar until pale yellow in color. Beat in the ground hazelnut mixture.

In a separate clean bowl, whip the room temperature egg whites with a whisk until stiff. This is easier to do with an electric hand mixer.  As mine broke and I would prefer to wait to purchase a new one after my big move in two months I had to tough it out by hand. Then gently fold in 1/3 of the the egg whites at a time into the hazelnut mixture until no streaks remain. If you are struggling getting the egg whites just right take a look at this video for guidance.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when lightly tapped.

Cool on wire rack. When cake is cool, slice horizontally into 2 layers.

To make the whipped cream icing, whip the cream and the powdered sugar until stiff. If you have never done this before be aware that it takes a long time to do and can be a bit tiring.  But the result is well worth the effort.

Spread generously between layers and on top of the cake. Like I said earlier this would be fantastic with layers of fresh strawberries or really any other fruit of your choice.

Small Wallet, Big Appetite