How to make a gorgeous hazelnut chocolate cake that you won’t even realise is gluten-free

A cake that is every Nutella-lover's fantasy come true. The lady to thank is Melanie Johnson.

‘Hazelnuts and chocolate will always be the best of friends’ says our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson — something with which anyone who’s had Nutella will surely agree.

Melanie even has a recipe for her own home-made Nutella. Simply toast 240g of blanched hazelnuts in a frying pan and process until a smooth, creamy consistency. Then add 75g icing sugar, 25g cocoa powder, 60ml mild olive oil, one teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt and process again to combine.

Finally, pour in 125g of melted 70% dark chocolate and process until smooth before pouring into a clean, lidded jar.

You can serve it in time-honoured fashion on toast or pancakes… or in equally time-honoured fashion, by sneaking naughty spoonfuls when nobody is watching.

For a showstopping recipe that uses these ingredients, Melanie has also shared her flour-free chocolate and hazelnut cake recipe — equally delicious for those who tolerate flower and those who don’t. If you are making it for gluten-free family or friends, take care when choosing your chocolate and cocoa powder, since some varieties do contain some gluten.

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Recipe: Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake with chocolate hazelnut ganache


  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 300g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 75g cocoa
  • 200g hazelnuts, processed until finely ground
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1tspn instant coffee
  • 1tbspn vanilla paste
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 4 eggs

For the ganache

  • 200g semi-sweet chocolate (chips or a bar broken up)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g Nutella (hazelnut spread)
  • 50g chopped roasted hazelnuts


Preheat your oven to 160°C fan/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and line the bottom of a loose-bottomed 25cm (10in) cake tin with baking paper.

Use a microwave or a bain-marie to melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir through the cocoa powder, ground hazelnuts, caster sugar, coffee, vanilla and salt, then mix again until combined. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then whisk them into the cake batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40–45 minutes. The cake should still have a wobble in the middle, but be more solid around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the tin.

Once cooled, remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate.

Make the ganache by placing the chocolate in a bowl. If using a bar, finely chop the chocolate so that it melts evenly. Heat the cream to the shivery stage — just below boiling — and pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for five minutes without stirring and then, with a small whisk, mix until smooth. Stir through the Nutella until glossy.

Wait for the ganache to cool to a spreadable consistency and then spoon it over the cake in an even, decadent layer. Scatter the top with chopped, toasted hazelnuts and serve. For the ultimate indulgence, add a dollop of whipped cream.