Who doesn't love a little something chocolately for dessert, whether it's a cookie or decadent tart or, one of my favorites... cake! This recipe is adapted from a recipe in one of my very favorite recipe books, "Small Plates and Sweet Treats" by Aran Goyoaga. Beautiful and filled with recipes that are gorgeous, delicious, and fitting for the season, this is a go-to book for finding baked goodies to make. I made a few adjustments to the chocolate, hazelnut & buckwheat cake recipe, and it came out just perfect.
This delightful dessert has a rich chocolate flavor with nutty overtones thanks to the toasted hazelnuts, and coconut thanks to the coconut oil. With a denseness and moistness similar to a fluffy brownie, no one would ever know this is a gluten-free, low sugar recipe. But you can spill the details since that means everyone can enjoy it with a bit less guilt! We actually ate slices that were still warm from the oven and it was deeelicious. But it was also great the next day as the cake stays super moist and the flavors get even more bold. The leftovers freeze well -- I wrapped up several slices in foil and placed them in the freezer to enjoy later!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes one 8-inch cake

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake


  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1//4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place on middle rack for 5 minutes or until they become fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove, and pour in the center of a dry kitchen towel. Rub the hazelnuts to remove the skins. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. Fill a medium pot with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a medium bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate chips and coconut oil. Set the bowl over the pot and let the ingredients melt. Once melted, remove and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar. Add the yogurt, vanilla extract, chocolate mixture, almond flour, buckwheat flour and salt. Whisk until just combined.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form semi-stiff peaks. Slowly add the remaining coconut palm sugar while whisking, and whisk to stiff peaks. Gently fold a few large spoonfuls of the meringue into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining meringue as gently as possible, trying not to overwork the batter. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
  5. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides with cooking spray or butter. Pour the batter into the pan. Place the pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure not to over-bake. Remove the cake pan and place it on a wire rack to cool slightly, so the edges of the cake pull away from the pan. Invert onto a platter, allow to cool completely, slice and enjoy!

two chocolate cake slices

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (gluten-free)
This rich yet not overly sweet chocolate cake is a perfect dessert, especially since it boasts healthier ingredients than the average cake recipe!