I don’t usually make such complicated desserts.  But sometimes you need to pull out all of the stops.


  • 4 cups whole hazelnuts – or 3 cups ground if you can find them! And 1 cup chopped
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar, divided – ¾ cup, 1 cup, ¼ cup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350* Grease two 9” springform pans, put parchment at the bottom, and grease again.  I know I don’t usually ask for parchment, but this cake is so pretty you don’t want to mess it up!
  2. Get your self set up for success. It’s easier to be organized at the beginning, because this recipe is annoying.  If you have extra bowls for your stand mixer, now is the time to use them.  I use 1 mixing bowl and 2 KitchenAid bowls for this cake, plus 2 rubber spatulas.  If you don’t have an extra mixer bowl, don’t stress, just wash the bowl.  If you only have a hand mixer, it will still be perfect.  If you bought whole hazelnuts, you will also need a food processor.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts – spread the whole nuts on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes. You can smell them when they are ready.  If your hazelnuts are skinless, they will toast slightly faster.  When the nuts are toasted, let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.  Tip them out onto a kitchen towel, cover with another towel, and rub.  You should be able to get most of the skin off.  Transfer the nuts back to the baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Leave the oven on at 350*
  4. When the nuts are cool, the fun starts! Measure out 1 cup of the nuts and give them a rough chop.  Set aside for the topping.  Pour the rest of the nuts into your food processor and let it run for about 30 seconds.  Look inside – we want finely ground, but not butter.  Pulse the machine a few times until it is as fine as you are patient enough to do.  Measure out 3 cups and put in a bowl.  Toss the potato starch with the measured nuts.  If there is extra nuts, save for another recipe.  If not enough, don’t worry.
  5. Make the Meringue in a very clean bowl for your stand mixer with a very clean whisk attachment. Put the 4 egg whites into the bowl and start the machine on medium.  Once it is frothy, raise to high.  Slowly pour in the ¾ cup of sugar and run the machine until you have stiff peaks.  Transfer the Meringue to a small bowl.
  6. Using the same bowl and whisk, start making the batter. Put the 8 egg whites in the bowl and start the machine on medium.  Once it is frothy, raise to high.  Slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of sugar and run the machine until you have stiff peaks.   Set the bowl aside, but keep the whisk on.
  7. Using a 2nd bowl for the mixer, beat the egg yolks with a big pinch of kosher salt and 1 cup of sugar. Run the machine on high until the yolks are pale yellow, fluffy, and hold a ribbon.
  8. Now we get to use some arm muscle! With a rubber spatula, fold the ground hazelnuts into the egg yolks in 3 additions.  This will take a few minutes, be patient and thorough.
  9. Next, add 1/3 of the egg whites for the batter (that was 8!) to the yolk mixture. Fold in well so that the batter is lightened.  Add the rest of those whites to the batter and fold well.  No streaks!  Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and lightly shake the pans to smooth the batter.
  10. Dollop half of the Meringue topping over each cake – it does not need to reach all the way to the edges. Sprinkle on the chopped hazelnuts.  Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes.  The cake should be golden and lovely.
  11. Remove the cokes from the oven and put on a cooling rack. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, loosen the ring and bottom, then finish cooling.  Remove the paper.  Serve and enjoy your hard work!

*This is beautiful served with whipped cream and berries or with a mocha mousse.