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vegan hazelnut torte

vegan hazelnut torte_hot for food

This hazelnut torte recipe is a family fave! My mom would make this for every special occasion and I have so many tasty memories of it. Obviously her version was full of eggs and butter, but I figured out a way to substitute these things without compromising on texture. The texture in this 4 layer cake is key, because the cake needs to be uber light and airy. I used a lot of aqua faba in the batter to get it this way, but it was the perfect swap! A perfect vegan hazelnut torte at your service.

The cake batter recipe as written makes 4 layers. You’ll need to take the total amounts that are written and divide them in half to make 2 layers at a time. And, yes, it is necessary to make a 4 layer cake. The 2 layers just don’t cut it as the cakes are pretty thin! So ensure you roast 2 cups of hazelnuts in advance so you’re ready to go. Also, 1 cup of whole hazelnuts is just slightly more than 1 cup of the ground hazelnuts. Ensure you measure everything correctly for this vegan hazelnut torte!

vegan hazelnut torte_hot for food

Try this recipe for an epic celebration of any kind or just to impress your non-vegan pals! They will be blown away, guaranteed. This vegan hazelnut torte will be a new fave for the whole crew! And if you’ve got some hazelnut freaks in the crowd, serve it up with a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate. Drool!

vegan hazelnut torte_hot for food

vegan hazelnut torte
4.75 from 16 votes
Print Recipe

vegan hazelnut torte

This beautiful 4 layer hazelnut torte is a classic family recipe that I made vegan. Light layers of hazelnut cake, coffee buttercream filling, and a creamy mocha coconut whip will have you celebrating in style!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword aqua faba, cake, hazelnut, mocha, whipped cream
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
chilling 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8
Author Lauren Toyota

Ingredients

cake batter (for 4 layers - divide in half to make 2 layers at a time)

  • 4 C whole hazelnuts (makes just over 2 C ground hazelnut meal/flour)
  • 1 1/2 C aqua faba (brine from 2 x 19 oz can of chickpeas)
  • 1 1/2 C + 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil

buttercream filling

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 C confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

mocha coconut whip

  • 2 3/4 C canned coconut cream (about 2 cans coconut cream refrigerated for at least 36 hours)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Place 2 cups of whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet in an even layer. You'll need a second baking sheet for the remaining 2 cups or do this in 2 batches. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes on the same rack, if possible, until the skins are very cracked and much darker in color. If roasting on the middle and bottom racks of the oven, be sure to swap the baking sheets half way through the back time. Let the hazelnuts cool completely.

  3. In batches, lay out hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel. Gather the towel over the nuts and rub together with your hands. The skins will peel right off. If they don't, they probably aren't roasted enough so place them back in the oven. You want to get as much of the skin off as possible, but some remnants are fine. They make the cake bitter if not removed and roasted.

  4. Place cleaned hazelnuts into a food processor and whiz into a fine meal. You will have just over 2 cups ground. You'll use the excess amount to dust the top of the finished cake!

  5. You're going to prepare 2 layers of cake at a time so the following instructions take the total amounts and divide them in half. Measure the aqua faba/chickpea brine exactly to 3/4 cups into a glass bowl. Place it in the fridge or freezer to chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. It should get really cold but not frozen or have any ice chips in it. Be sure to check it after 15 minutes because this really depends on how cold and/or full your freezer is!

  6. Change oven temperature to preheat to 350°F.

  7. Prepare 2 (8-inch) cake pans by greasing them with vegan butter or shortening. Trace the circumference of the cake pan onto parchment paper and cut out 2 circles. Place these into the bottom of each pan, flattening it out to the edges with your fingers.
  8. Add 1 cup hazelnut meal/flour to a mixing bowl with 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 3/4 cups granulated sugar. Stir to combine and set aside.

  9. Beat the chilled aqua faba for about 2 minutes or up to 4 or 5 minutes until foamy and white (soft peaks). Add a 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about another 3 to 5 minutes.

  10. Add in a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or so while you drizzle in the vegetable oil. You'll notice the meringue get thicker and shiny. It will have quadrupled in volume.

  11. Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue gently with a wide spatula until just combined. Do not over mix.
  12. Divide the batter between both cake pans and spread out in an even layer to the edges with a spatula. Shake it side to side and tap it gently onto the counter to ensure it's even.
  13. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350°F or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

  14. Once baked, remove the cake pans onto wire racks to cool for 15 minutes. Take a thin knife or icing spatula and run it around the edge of the cake. You should notice that the cake has already slightly come away from the edges of the pan, but go around once more to ensure it's not sticking. Place the wire rack on top of one cake pan and flip it over gently tapping it if necessary to remove the cake. Remove the parchment paper on top and allow cakes to cool completely before icing and assembling.
  15. Don't forget! Now you'll repeat the above steps for the additional 2 layers of the 4 layer cake. You can also make the cakes a day ahead, then frost and assemble on the day of serving. Once cooled, you can store the layers of cake between parchment paper in a container or on a plate covered in the fridge overnight.
  16. For the buttercream filling, combine the water and instant espresso together. You could also you 3 tablespoons of strong brewed coffee or espresso rather then mix the instant powder. 
  17. Beat the softened vegan butter until smooth with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer. Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and continue beating. While beating, add in half the coffee and vanilla extract. Then add in more sugar while still beating the frosting and continue adding the remaining coffee and sugar in portions while beating the mixture together until it's well combined and smooth. It should form a frosting that's the consistency of pudding. It's not super thick or stiff.

  18. Place one cake layer on your cake platter or serving dish top down. Then take a third of the buttercream and spread it out to the edges in an even layer with an icing spatula. Add another cake layer top side up and ice another layer on top. Then add your third cake layer top side down and repeat with the remaining frosting. Add your final layer top side up.

  19. Refrigerate the cake while you prepare the mocha coconut whip. If any filling is dripping down the sides of the cake, just use your spatula to spread it around the edges. Once refrigerated, it will become a little more solid and you'll cover it up with the whip anyway.

  20. To make the mocha coconut whip, you need to use only the thick cream from cans of coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk. It's best if you can refrigerate the cans for at least 36 hours. Sometimes I find overnight doesn't get it separated enough. Because of how much you need for this, it's best if you can find coconut cream in a can as it's mostly all the thick stuff with very little liquid!

  21. Scoop out the thick cream without any liquid getting into the mix and place it all in a cold glass mixing bowl. Whip it for a few minutes with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Then add the cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract and continue to beat together until smooth and well combined.

  22. You'll use all of this coconut whip to frost a thick layer all around the cake. This does take some practice, but using a large icing spatula for the majority of the frosting works best and then get in with a smaller icing spatula to get the bottom edge nice and smooth. You can clean the edges of your cake platter with a damp cloth once you're done frosting the cake.

  23. Decorate it as you wish, but I added shaved dark chocolate and more of the ground hazelnuts to the top! Keep the cake refrigerated until serving.

Recipe Notes

The written recipe makes a 4 layer cake. You need to divide the amounts in half for the cake batter and make 2 layers at a time.

22 comments

  • Antonia Tamer 2 years ago

    Holy moly is this delicious… i added cocoa powder to the filling, which made it taste a lot like nutella. So very yummy! Thank you, Lauren!

  • Duygu Murat 2 years ago

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing! Just one question, 2 cups of hazelnuts is for 2 layers or 4?

  • Stephanie Lederman 2 years ago

    Hi Lauren,
    This looks great! I don’t have a hand mixer, but I do have an immersion blender with a whisk attachment. I’m wondering if this would be an ok swap? (for this recipe and in general) Thanks! – Stephanie

  • Kaitlyn Pye 2 years ago

    Looks gorgeous! Think I might make this for my birthday in December 🙂 Question about frosting and coconut whip, I’ve had the issue a few times where my vegan margarine will separate when I whip it with sugar, especially if I add any liquid, as if the sugar creates a
    syrup that separates from the fats. I’ve had a similar issue when making coconut whip! Any ideas on what might be causing this or possible ingredients to avoid? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Astrid Geertsen 2 years ago

    Hi Lauren, I made this torte yesterday. It was quite some work for me as a starting vegan baker, but my o my the result was really very good. I shared it with a few vegans from my town and they all were very excited. So I think I probabely going to make this more often. Only thing that I would like to change is the sweetness. Can I substitute the confectionars sugar for a more ‘healthy’ sweetener perhaps? Thanks for your lovely recipe! Lots of love from the Netherlands.

  • Tyler Mendes 2 years ago

    For anyone thinking about making a gluten-free version, it still turns out pretty well! I subbed the all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour, and the cake was just a little dense and sticky. But overall it still tastes amazing! Love the coffee and chocolate flavors.

  • Juliette Payer 2 years ago

    Wow. This was a success for me! However, I didn’t have many coconut lovers among the group so I ended up with leftover (double yay). Cooking with roasted hazelnuts is kind of a revelation. No more nutella, no more Ferrero Rocher, I got this amazing recipe that will go in my gold cook book. Good job lady!

  • Ida Gedda 2 years ago

    This was an amazing cake! Sooo tasty and it was a complete success. Even my husband who’s not into sweets loved it.

    A few comments as I couldn’t make it exactly according to the recipe:
    1) Cream of tartar is extremely hard to find here in Sweden, but a teaspoon of white vinegar replaced it and it worked a charm.
    2) Standard cake molds here are about 22-24 cm in diameter (20 cm is used in the recipe), so the cakes were pretty flat. It still worked, although I think I’d dare to consider making the four layers into two. I’d then use the first batch in one cake pan and the second in another. 3) For the butter cream icing I found it hard to measure butter in tablespoons, the butter packaging here is marked with grams along the paper line so I used about 50-75 grams and didn’t use up all the confectioners sugar. I don’t like coffee so added some cocoa powder instead. I had to add a few tablespoons of oat milk (which is common here, any other milk would work the same way) to get the right consistency though.
    4) I had two different cans of coconut cream (hadn’t tried either brand before as I wanted to try a new one due to failed coconut cream before) and one didn’t work, but the other was perfect and one can was enough to cover the cake. This was a slightly larger can than the standard though, but worked just fine.

    I very rarely bake because of the science it involves – I like to shoot from the hip – so was very nervous. I think the tricky thing can be the aqua faba, but as long as you follow the instructions it should be fine. The butter frosting can be adjusted with more butter/sugar/liquid etc, so that’s fine too. The tricky thing is to be lucky with the coconut cream, but that’s not related to the recipe instructions.

  • danielle ⓥ 2 years ago

    I made this for my dad’s birthday, and for me there are equally good and bad things to say about it. The mocha coconut whip was delicious; even if you typically don’t like icing made of coconut milk, the cocoa covers the flavour perfectly. However, I found the cake to be overly sweet, which is rare because I typically love really sweet desserts. The cake didn’t come out as fluffy as I thought it would. The coffee icing was delicious and looked like a true buttercream icing when I added in the first half of the icing sugar, so I would recommend only adding half. After I added the second half, it got runny and tasted overly sweet. Once I cut into the cake, I could see that the coffee icing and cake layers had sort of blended together, not separate like in the pictures. You also couldn’t even taste the coffee when eating the cake. Overall, my parents liked the hazelnut flavour and the mocha whip. If you like really really sweet cakes, this may work for you.

  • Amanda Ashford 2 years ago

    I made this on my Birthday (Jan 13th) and it was amazing!! 10/10 would make it again.

  • Mia Minigo 2 years ago

    lauren thank you for inspiring me to start baking! i was always afraid but now people get crazy over my baked goods. cant wait for the cookbook!!!! i love this cake, the only complaint is that the buttercream is too sweet for me (but i also dont like buttercream in general so i make a different, lighter and less sweet frosting) but besides that this cake is the. real. deal.!!!

  • Shirly 8 months ago

    Thank you for this great recipe!
    I always have trouble peeling hazelnuts, but when I found peeled hazelnuts in the bulk section of the supermarket I had to give this cake a try!
    On first try I found the cake a little too sweet for my taste and the coconut whip not sweet enough. Second time around I used 1/2 C sugar in the cake and twice as much sugar for the whip, and it was perfect.
    Thanks again for coming up with my new favorite cake!

  • Christine geleta 8 months ago

    I’m giving this a 5 because it tastes amazing BUT I wish you put the total amount of the ingredients for the layers not just half. I got what I needed according to the list of ingredients ( as with every other recipe) only to find out I can only make two layers. It’s a holidays here so I couldn’t go out and get the other half of the ingredients with the stores being closed.

    • Lauren Toyota 8 months ago

      sorry about that! It was created that way when I developed the recipe but I can see how it could be confusing. But one should always read the whole recipe before starting it. I’ve changed it to the total ingredients now.

  • Daniel 8 months ago

    Maybe I am clueless, but where is the recipe…?

    • Oliva Brown 8 months ago

      Hi Daniel! Sorry about that, and thanks for the comment. The recipe is back up. Enjoy the torte!

  • Melida 8 months ago

    Could I used almond flour instead of hazelnut flour?

    • Lauren Toyota 7 months ago

      yup I believe some other people have done that!

  • kimberly 7 months ago

    hi Lauren ,
    I’m very confused with the recipe. does this make a total of 4 layer cakes? I only have two 8inch pans so wanted to make the batches in different timing but I just wanted to double check. if so, would I have to divide the recipe in half to make two layers?

    • kimberly 7 months ago

      sorry, one more question; how much oil do I need to drizzle?

  • Patrick 4 months ago

    Is it actually 2 tbsp of butter in the filling? You’re video looks like you use a lot more than that.

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