March 6, 2024

Flourless Chocolate, Hazelnut and Espresso Cake

Recipe: Vanessa Perrone

“Chocolate lovers rejoice—this one’s for you. This flourless cake is inspired by the classic Caprese torte and is made from fiber-rich hazelnuts, pulsed into a flour for an almost brownie-like dessert. I like to add a hint of espresso powder, as it enhances the flavor of this cake beautifully—coffee is an always-welcome pairing with chocolate.” – Vanessa Perrone


  • 1½ cups skinless hazelnuts, plus 2 tbsp to garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp espresso powder
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder


Yield: Serves 10 to 12

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In food processor fitted with steel blade, grind hazelnuts until they resemble coarse meal.
  3. Melt chocolate in microwave, slowly, at 20-second intervals. Once melted, whisk in oil and espresso powder. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. In large bowl and using electric mixer, beat egg yolks with sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until pale yellow and airy. Add chocolate mixture and ground hazelnuts and stir to combine, using rubber spatula.
  5. In clean bowl and using (cleaned) electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and salt for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whites into chocolate mixture by mixing from bottom to top.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until top is firm to touch.
  7. Let cool completely before unmolding. Using fine-mesh sieve, dust cocoa powder and sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp hazelnuts over cake. Any leftovers can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in freezer for up to 2 months.

Excerpted from Everyday Mediterranean Vanessa Perrone. © Vanessa Perrone. Photographs by Ariel Tarr. Published by Appetite Books by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved