Recipe: flourless hazelnut chocolate cake

A dreamy dessert with a delicious mousse-like texture from Liberty Mendez’s debut cookbook

Liberty Mendez’s flourless hazelnut chocolate cake
Mendez’s flourless hazelnut chocolate cake is dairy and gluten free
(Image credit: Lizzie Mayson/I’ll Bake!: Something Delicious for Every Occasion)

Light and fluffy, this flourless hazelnut chocolate cake from food writer and chef Liberty Mendez’s debut cookbook has a delicious mousse-like texture and is not overly sweet. It’s really dreamy. It also happens to be dairy and gluten free!

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 125g, plus 2 tbsp, caster sugar
  • 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (dairy free if needed)
  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 100ml strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 80g ground toasted hazelnuts (if you can’t find any ground toasted hazelnuts, buy some blanched hazelnuts, toast them in a hot frying pan and leave to cool, then blitz them to a powder in a food processor)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the cocoa powder with the 2 tbsp of caster sugar. Grease a 23cm loose-based round cake tin with oil and line the base with a circle of baking paper, then brush more oil on top. Tip the cocoa mixture into the tin and rotate the tin around so you have a thin coating all over. This will help it to rise.
  • Put the chocolate, oil, coffee, vanilla and salt into a large, heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan containing a little water (making sure the water isn’t touching the bowl). Put over a low heat and melt everything together. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Put the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and an electric whisk). Whisk on a slow speed for around 2 mins until the egg whites turn foamy. Turn the speed up to medium and slowly add the remaining 125g of sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until you have a smooth, thick, glossy meringue – don’t over whisk, otherwise it’ll be difficult to incorporate.
  • Whisk the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture, then stir in the ground hazelnuts until combined. Stir in a third of the meringue mix to loosen the chocolate batter. Tip in the rest of the meringue and fold in using a spatula until you have a light chocolatey batter. Tip into your prepared tin and spread it evenly.
  • Bake for 40-45 mins until risen and a skewer to the centre comes out clean. Run a small, sharp knife around the edge of the cake when it’s hot, as this will help it sink evenly – the sponge will sink and crack significantly as it cools. Leave to cool completely, then turn out, dust with cocoa powder and serve. Store in an airtight container (or wrapped) for up to four days.

Taken from ‘I’ll Bake!: Something Delicious for Every Occasion’ by Liberty Mendez, published by Pavilion Books at £22. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £17.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit

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