Hazelnut and almond cake with lemon drizzle

by Alison, 21/08/2013

This cake is adapted from a recipe I learned while attending the Dublin Cookery School, courtesy of my mum. It was her birthday and she generously decided that she would like to spend the day with all of us, so we packed our aprons and headed off for a day of middle eastern cooking.

The day long courses run from 9.30-4pm, the timetable is packed and we came out of the course tired and very well fed. The course was very efficient and well organised. They were very generous with their knowledge and their produce. 

I will definitely write more about the course another time, when I have actually perfected making my pittas. Last batch looked a bit more like dinner rolls, though they tasted good. 

Today I want to share the cake we made. The original was a pistachio and almond cake. This was lovely however Ollie is a big fan of hazelnuts so we decided to change it a little. 

Initially, I also thought this would save me time, as I wouldn't have to shell any pistachios. However, while I didn't have to shell any hazelnuts I did in fact roast them, remove the skins and then grind them. It was time consuming but in my mind worth it. The texture is crunchier, and the flavour is nuttier.

I would say to make some extra as roasting the nuts removes some of the water content which will reduce the weight of the nuts. Any extra can be eaten as a snack or frozen in an airtight container for future use.

Ingredients for the cake:
225g / 8oz butter, have it nice and soft to make your life easier
225g / 8oz caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g / 2oz plain flour
100g / 3.5oz roasted and ground hazelnuts, I roasted 150g / 5oz of hazelnuts
100g / 3.5oz ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Ingredients for the lemon drizzle:
zest and juice of 1 lemon
50g / 2oz castor sugar
50g / 2oz whole roasted hazelnuts

gently whipped cream
blueberries (as many as you like)
castor sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C / 320˚F.
Line the bottom of a 9'' springform cake tin with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the tin with butter. Then sprinkle the sides with a little flour. Tap the sides of the tin to remove the excess flour. I had never tried this before this cookery course but it works a treat to keep the cake from sticking.
Spread your hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 6-10mins. Watch them carefully as they can easily burn and stir them so they roast evenly. They are ready when they start to give a lovely nutty smell, and the skin starts to brown, crack and peel away.
When ready allow them to cool slightly before placing them in a paper towel or old tea-towel (I say old as they will stain it) and now rub off the skins.  
Once the skins are removed, weigh out 100g / 3.5oz,  grind the 100g / 3.5oz using a food processor and set to one side.

Now pre-heat the oven temperature to 180˚C / 350˚F.
Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy. I learnt on this course, after watching the teacher leave the kitchen aid on for about 15mins, you cannot over-do this step . 
Add the beaten eggs in gradually (about one egg at a time) beating  well between egg. If you find the mixture starts to curdle, add a teaspoon of flour and continue beating.
First fold the lemon zest, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt into the mixture.
Then fold the hazelnuts, almonds and flour into the mixture.
Use a spatula to spoon the mixture into the cake tin.
Bake in the oven for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out cleanly.

When the cake is nearly ready to come out of the oven, heat the caster sugar, lemon zest and juice. When the sugar is dissolved, add the whole roasted hazelnuts to the syrup.

When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and place on a wire rack. Using a thin skewer make a few holes in the cake. Now pour the syrup evenly over the top of the cake. Leave to cool.

When cooled and ready to serve it is lovely all on its own, with some whipped cream or with cream and glazed blueberries.

To make the blueberries, put a frying pan on a medium to high heat. When hot add a layer of blueberries to the pan and add enough sugar to lightly cover them. Shake the pan until the sugar melts and the blueberries look glazed. Now add a very small amount of water to create a little syrup coating. These are best served immediately.


  1. Hey Alison
    i am gone bake this cake tomorrow. i hope tasted just as well as he looked at your picture i will let you know

    1. Hi Gea,
      I hope it works well for you. I'd love to hear how it turns out :) Looking good is one thing but for me its all about the taste. FIngers crossed it works and you like it.

  2. Hey Alison
    I baked two cakes and both times it was a complete disaster ,don,t know what i did wrong used the wrong ingredients ? i find it hard to translate everything but will try it again

  3. Hi Gea,
    I dont know what's going wrong? I would definitely get Ollie to translate the recipe first to make sure it makes sense and that you are using the right ingredients. After that it could be understanding how your oven bakes best. Some ovens need to use slightly different temperatures and time lengths for baking. I hated the oven in the last house we rented and rarely baked in it because of that. Also baking is a lot of practice and techniques, I'm still only learning and I continue to have a lot of disasters.