Baci Birthday Cake, Flourless and Decadent.

I love making birthday cakes for others. Often it’s an excuse to dig into my prized stash of good quality chocolate or ground nuts. Most of us will be celebrating our birthdays without fanfare this year and so a delivered cake becomes a small symbolic mark of recognition in lieu of a family gathering. During this pandemic, I’ve been nervously eagle eyeing my exotic ingredient stash. It’s easy enough to refill the dark cooking chocolate container, which is sometimes subject to a midnight raid, but my hazelnut and almond meal supplies are precious commodities, not so easily sourced. I’ve made two versions of this Italian style torta over the last year. One was a classic Torta di Nocciole, famous in Piedmonte, and light as a feather, with only four ingredients, butter, sugar, eggs and ground hazelnut. This version is much richer, with the addition of dark chocolate. It stays fresh under a glass dome and keeps well for a week. Unlike the classic Reine de Saba which tends to sink and crack a little, this cake is firmer and stands tall, so long as you use the recommended sized tin and just laid eggs. It’s very easy to make for that special person in your life and tastes a lot like Baci. xxx

Torta di Cioccolato e Nocciole (senza farina)  Flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake.

  • 200g dark chocolate, 70%, chopped
  • 150g butter, chopped
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
  • double cream, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Combine chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt gently over a saucepan containing water. Cook over low heat, making sure the base of your bowl doesn’t touch the hot water. Stir until melted and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until thick, pale and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Add hazelnut meal. Beat to combine.
  4. Place eggwhites in another bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, stir one-third of eggwhites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining eggwhite through chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  6. Serve, dusted with icing sugar and cream.

Tanti Auguri a Te, Sig Tranquillo

13 thoughts on “Baci Birthday Cake, Flourless and Decadent.”

  1. To be hospitable… and as an appropriate response to I’ll bring something [from the supermarket] practically I bake cake for visitors but really the only time I like baking cakes is for birthdays… the G.O. asked for banana cake this year… so I made banana, peanut butter chocolate chip layer cake… and then made what I thought was her favourite beetroot chocolate cake a couple of weeks later for his mum’s birthday… the G.O. said I should’ve asked for that.. she said “I really liked that cake you made for Mother’s Day”… a vanilla, yoghurt berry loaf! By then, I’m beginning to wonder WHY it is I like making birthday cakes. But now, thank you… this is the perfect cake for the Ferrero Rocher loving G.O.’s next, 66th.. retirement birthday… and a cake I’ll enjoy too… mmmm… hazelnuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the other rule I have for prolific birhday cake making is if the recipient doesn’t say thank you, they never get another. It does happen. But it sounds like your recipients are over the moon and appreciative. It’s encouraging for the baker. We love thank yous. Two words. My DIL just told me she loved her lemon cake ( another recent birthday cake) so much yesteray, she ate it slice by slice all day and said it was the best birthday. That made me feel so happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m as likely to find a newly-laid egg where I shop as I am to lay it myself. So this isn’t the recipe for me. But baking birthday cakes is truly a wonderful way to communicate!

    be well… mae at


  3. What a good MIL you are, Francesca. Your recipe fits the bill: nice and easy, and I have the ingredients. Just a question. How high does this cake rise. I can’t tell from the picture.


  4. Lovely, Francesca! And yes, as always, the fewer the ingredients the better they need to be…we don’t have chickens, but can luckily buy local eggs that are so fresh I need to use my fingers to separate them as the white clings so much 🙂
    I also love your spray of Hardenbergia – it’s flowering beautifully all through the bush at the moment…


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