Simple Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Simple Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Serves 12

This is my all-time favourite, healthier chocolate cake. It’s protein-rich, gluten-free, super easy to prepare and not overly sweet … make it once and I’m happy to bet it will become your go-to chocolate cake recipe.



  • 150g butter, cubed (see Tips)
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (see Tips)
  • 140g (2/3 cup) coconut sugar or rapadura sugar (or you can use brown sugar)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 200g (2 cups) hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder, for dusting (optional – see Nutrition Note)


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (160 fan). Grease a 20cm round cake tin. Line base with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Gently melt butter and chocolate (either in a heavy-based saucepan over stovetop or in a microwave-proof bowl in the microwave), stirring occasionally until just melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add melted chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add hazelnut meal and baking powder and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared tin. Bake for about 45 minutes or until just cooked (cake will appear slightly soft in the centre). Allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with maca powder (if using) before serving.


If you prefer, you can replace half of the butter with oil, such as macadamia oil or a lighter-flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Simply add the oil with the eggs in step 3.

You can use a dark baking chocolate (around 40 per cent cocoa solids) or a more bitter dark chocolate (70-80 per cent cocoa solids). I prefer the more bitter dark chocolate with the higher cocoa content because it typically has less sugar and more polyphenols.


Nut-free chocolate cake: Omit the 200g hazelnut meal and replace with 50g pepitas, 50g linseeds, 50g sunflower seeds and 50g desiccated coconut, placed into a food processor or high-powered blender and processed to a fine consistency (similar to nut meal). Add this ground seed mixture in step 3 in place of the hazelnut meal.

Nutrition Note

Maca is a vegetable from the brassica family and is a source of protein, fibre, iron, calcium and potassium. You can buy maca powder from some supermarkets and health food stores. It makes a nourishing alternative to icing sugar for a pretty dusted look.