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Piedmont-style Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake:
Torta Gianduia

What's the big idea?

This is very much a speciality of the Piedmont region of northern Italy, and is typical of their love of chocolate!

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 9oz whole blanched hazelnuts
  • 7oz unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 7oz dark chocolate, broken into squares
  • 6 medium eggs, separated
  • 7oz caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 5oz chocolate & hazelnut spread

What To Do

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes, giving the pan a shake halfway through, until they are golden brown
  • Remove and leave them to cool for a few minutes
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  • Grease a 9 inch springform cake tin with butter and line the base with baking parchment
  • Place 7oz of the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend them until they are fairly finely ground
  • Set the remaining 2oz hazelnuts aside
  • Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it above a pan of gently simmering water
  • Stir occasionally, and as soon as nearly all the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat
  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and leave to cool for 5 minutes
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar together with an electric hand-whisk for at least 5 minutes until pale and creamy
  • Stir into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined
  • In a clean bowl (and using a clean whisk), whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form
  • Stir the amaretto into the chocolate mixture
  • Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of the whisked egg whites and stir until thoroughly combined, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 3540 minutes or until the cake is well risen and firm
  • Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and allow it to cool completely
  • When the cake is cold, spread it with the chocolate and hazelnut spread and sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts either whole or chopped

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