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Hazelnut ricotta torte

Updated: Fri, 12 August, 2022

Hazelnut and ricotta torte is one of the best cakes I have made: it tastes light though it’s quite rich, with a hint of cheesecake thanks to ricotta, and a crunch of poppy seeds.

hazelnut ricotta torte

What’s a torta when it’s at home?

I’m serious: it is easily one of the nicest little cakes I've ever baked. I'm not entirely certain actually whether it is a cake? A tart? A gateau?

The Italians call it torta which means broadly cake but not quite as we know it, since torta can also be savoury. Also, other European tortas usually refer to layered, filled and frosted compositions so it’s quite confusing.

Whatever you call it, it's gorgeous.

hazelnut ricotta cake

All credit to Jamie

It’s one of the earliest Jamie Oliver’s recipes and possibly one of his best, at least in the baking department.

I could not trace it to any Italian originals, as Torta di Nocciole e Ricotta, commonly featuring online, is a quick ricotta cake with full content of flour and an added handful of chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips. That sounds plain, while Jamie’s is a sublime, exquisite affair.

It is faintly evocative of baked cheesecake (the only kind that matters in my books). But it has a strong nutty base because there is only a tiny amount of plain flour in it. Plus, the poppy seeds are an excellent addition.

The topping is outstanding: a layer of apricot jam covered with grated dark chocolate, quickly setting to a lovely shell.

You might think there is so much going on it will be overbearing: ricotta and nuts AND poppy seeds AND the top layer! Not at all, in fact it is a very harmonious whole.

It tastes smooth with a poppy crunch, like velvet dipped in golden glitter. It is very rich but tastes light, so you‘re tempted to have another slice, and another. It takes a moderate effort to make but the outcome pays off.

hazelnut torte jamie oliver

How to make the hazelnut torte

This one is a grown-up cake, none of that bish-bash, mix-everything-together nonsense.

You have to separate the eggs and if you're inept you might want to chill them beforehand, then bring the separated yolks and whites to room temperature.

The buttered tin needs to be chilled in the fridge, so the cake batter doesn’t catch to the sides of the tin too much – a simpler equivalent of baking cheesecakes in a water bath.

It’s also good to weigh out and prepare all the ingredients beforehand so you can add them one by one while the mixer is running. And yes: I’m afraid it will be hard, hard work without an electric mixer or a food processor.

hazelnut torte ingredients

The latter is needed to grind the hazelnuts unless you can buy them ready ground in your locality. Otherwise toast them lightly for five minutes to release the fragrance, then blitz in a spice grinder, a clean coffee grinder or said food processor. Don’t overmix – you don’t want them to turn into hazelnut oil!

ground hazelnuts

The cake base starts with butter and sugar to which egg yolks are added, followed by everything else but the egg whites.

Those need to be beaten stiff, then folded very gently but thoroughly into the batter, so no blobs of meringue are visible.

cake batter

Then baking, and the cake will puff up and rise impressively, only to collapse and flatten when out of the oven – but that’s how it should behave, so don’t fret.

While it cools a little, warm up the jam with water and I’m afraid it is worth passing it though a sieve. You don’t want huge apricot moguls to mar the surface of such an elegant confection.

jam glaze

I like to grate the chocolate over the jam while it’s still warm, so it melts and sets into a glossy sheet. But if you prefer, wait for it to cool completely, then shower the surface with fluffy chocolate shavings. Either way, the best way to do it is over the sink as grating chocolate makes an absolutely awful mess.

glazed torte

More hazelnut cake recipes

Hungarian flourless hazelnut cake, gluten-free. This hazelnut Hungarian torte is layered with almond buttercream and a topping of apricot jam and chocolate shavings – guess where I got that idea!

Devil's food cake with hazelnut praline by Yotam Ottolenghi. Chocolate and fudgy, frosted with malted cream and hazelnut praline topping, this cake is stupidly good.

hazelnut and ricotta cake

More Italian cake recipes

Classic and easy lemon ricotta cake Italian style. This is an easy recipe for baked lemon ricotta cheesecake, light and fluffy.

Orange flavoured ciambella with dark chocolate glaze is Italian ring-shaped breakfast cake. This one is made without butter but with olive oil; serve it for an indulgent breakfast or for dessert.

torta di nocciole e ricotta

Hazelnut ricotta torte

Servings: 12Time: 2 hours


  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g (1 scant cup) blanched hazelnuts
  • 125g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 30g (4 tbsp) plain flour
  • 125g (½ cup) ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 heaped tbsp of apricot jam
  • 50g (4 oz.) good quality dark chocolate, chilled in the fridge


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Butter and line with parchment a round 23cm tin and chill it in the fridge until the cake mix is ready.

2. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5 minutes until golden and fragrant. Cool them slightly and whizz in a food processor or a spice grinder to a fine powder.

3. Beat the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating. Add the orange zest, sift in the flour, crumble in the ricotta and add the ground hazelnuts and poppy seeds. Mix briefly until it comes together.

4. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold them very gently into the hazelnut mix.

5. Pour the batter into the chilled tin and bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

6. Cool the cake in the tin for at least 20 minutes.

7. In the meantime bring the jam to the boil in a small pan with 4 tbsp of water.

8. Remove the cake from the tin but keep it on the parchment. Brush the jam over generously. Immediately grate the chocolate over the jam – it will set into a lovely thin shell. Serve with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Originally published: Mon, 25 May, 2015

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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