Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake

2013 ate me alive. This should have come as no surprise, as 13 carries major bad vibesfor me. It began with yay! my dreams continue to come into fruition! my life is sooooooo glamourous! Apparently, I didn’t get the memo that working for yourself is excruciating. Things were MUCH easier when someone was always telling me what to do. In my past life, my 8 hour days consisted of scratching my pen against paper with a check-mark motion weaved in with avalanches of wasted time. Repeat. Forever. On the flip side, it’s not even just a bit dusty, it’s kind of muddy. Why did no one tell me this? I thought the yellow brick road awaited me, with each golden brick seamlessly in place because well, duh, I work for myself.

Reality check! In the beginning, my reality was stress, confusion, doubt, and questions. Hold up, am I really relying on this sometimes lazy brain to invent my work, rule the show, and pay my bills? Is said shitshow worth it? Am I supposed to be this tired, always, like permanently for the rest of my existence…. WTF, I don’t even have kids yet. Can my brain be filled with anything other than business? Most importantly, am I making a difference? Am I using the gifts I’ve been given by the universe to their potential? Is this what I’m supposed to do?

And, the kicker: is completely changing my life from security to the unknown the most moronic thing I’ve ever done?

When you and your intuition are one, confusion dissipates and the path turns clear. You won’t know what the path will look like in ten years, in one year, in a week, or even tomorrow. But as you continue to do your life’s true work, each moment arranges itself into the next. All you have is this instant, to move and think and have your mind make your body take appropriate action for what’s to come.

As much as I complain, I love what I do. I am in love with letting desire be my fuel over worry, complacency, and fear. Isn’t that the most important thing? I know each of my accomplishments this year have been gifts. I’ve also learned that even if you don’t know how to do something, if you act and believe like you’ve been doing it for thirty years even if you haven’t spent that much time on this planet, you can do it. With the grace and ease of a swan, which happens to be my spirit animal. I guess competency-fast-forward is a thing.

My load has lightened. Or, perhaps I’ve grown equipped to dextrously handle whatever is thrown at me only because I believe I can. Things are not easy, but they never will be. That was my expectation: that one day I would reach a place where my mind could go into buddha mode, where thinking or trying were nonexistent. I thought that successful people glide through life like eagles. Rude awakening: that’s the opposite of the truth. Successful people feel fear constantly, they’re in the mud, they work their butts, faces, necks, hands, feet, and noses off, and they do everything they need to despite fear. They plow through like machines. They turn every situation into an opportunity for growth and give fear a five fingered slap. Hard. work. And it just gets harder.

But it’s also worth it and super fulfilling. It lets your being know you are doing the right thing right now. Which is all we have. What’s on the other side of the coin? Being kinda lazy and moseying through life, not sure that what you’re doing is making a difference? Leaving the planet not having spread your wings or your gifts onto it? Blah. I think it’s our duty. To be dense with meaning, rich with purpose.

This cake is all that. It’s dark as night and intense. A few bites of this will send you over the moon. It’s also gluten free! Shhhh, we know how wary some people can get with that label. This is the only dessert my mother requested at our Noche Buena dinner. If you know my mother, that speaks volumes of this cake.

All in all, it’s so excellent to be and feel powerful. To stay constantly hungry. To know you are in charge of you. I intend to make 2014 more bold than the last year has been. So should you.

Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Notes: I used Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread instead of Nutella. I listed the option below.  Justin’s has significantly less sugar and no dairy. Both work well.

Hazelnut flour can be found at supermarkets, but it’s just hazelnuts ground to a powder. It can be done in a food processor.


6 large eggs (separated)

1 pinch of salt

9 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

13 oz nutella (1 large jar) // OR // 15 oz Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread + ½ cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon frangelico (or rum), optional

1 cup hazelnut meal

4 oz bittersweet chocolate (melted)

1 cup hazelnuts (peeled weight)

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon frangelico (or rum), optional

5 oz bittersweet chocolate


Set the oven at oven at 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan (or normal cake pan) with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you’re using), egg yolks and hazelnut meal.

Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then, little by little, fold in the egg whites.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan, and let cool on a wire rack.

In a dry skillet, toast the hazelnuts over medium heat until you begin to smell the toastiness, shake the pan around a bit to let them brown on all sides. If your hazelnuts have skins on them, transfer them to a slightly dampened tea towel and rub them while they are still warm to remove the skins. Let them cool to room temperature. (This is important, you don’t want to be putting hot hazlenuts on your chocolate ganache.)

In a medium bowl, place the hot chocolate. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream with the frangelico, if using. Once the cream begins to boil, add it to the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit for five minutes, then whisk until they are combined.

Frost the cake with the chocolate icing, letting it fall over the sides. Arrange the hazelnuts into a cute decorative pattern. Slice, serve, and eat.

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