New recipes and updates

Get new recipes
in your inbox

Cuisine Fiend

Find a recipe by ingredient

Hungarian hazelnut torte

Updated: Tue, 14 March, 2023

Hungarian flourless hazelnut torte, light nutty sponge layers filled with simple hazelnut buttercream and topped with chocolate swirls. With a hint of apricot jam.

hungarian hazelnut torte

What’s Hungarian about this cake?

The cake is a riff on the famous, elaborate Esterházy torta, a cake invented and popularised in the times of Austro-Hungarian empire. It was named after Prince Paul Esterházy, a 19th century Hungarian aristocrat, him obviously of a sweet tooth.

This isn’t nearly the same confection: Esterházy torte has several layers and boozy buttercream filling. But the common element is the flourless hazelnut sponge, which might suggest the Prince was gluten intolerant, maybe? Just joking.

This, as mentioned, is a far more modest rendition and so I call it a Hungarian cake rather than Esterházy.

It is just two layers, filled with a simple nutty buttercream. Still, it’s delicious enough to tempt a prince, I promise.

hungarian hazelnut cake

How to make the hazelnut sponge?

Ground hazelnuts are not as easily available, at least in the UK, as almonds for instance. I guess ground almonds, or almond flour (which really is the same thing) is more commonly used in recipes.

But you can easily grind your own, using a food processor or a coffee grinder.

The latter does not even need to be meticulously cleaned before or after grinding the nuts: neither a little coffee flavour in the cake nor slight nuttiness to your next portion of coffee are anything bad.

If you grind your own hazelnuts, I advise to go for unblanched ones. The flavour and the colour in the baked sponge will be immeasurably better.

Mill them to as fine a powder as you can, adding a spoonful of flour to prevent producing hazelnut paste instead of flour.

Measure out a small portion for the buttercream and don’t fret about the flour addition – it won’t be at all discernible in the frosting.

The rest of the process is standard: beating egg yolks with sugar, adding the hazelnut mix to them, then folding in egg white meringue, stiff-beaten in a separate bowl.

This is a light, butterless sponge and not very sweet either, which is why the buttercream balances out the sugar content of the whole cake perfectly.

hazelnut sponge

Simple buttercream

The easiest, simplest buttercream is made by beating softened unsalted butter until fluffy, then beating it with gradually added icing sugar, in a copious quantity. It is a buttercream after all, and if you cut down on the sugar, it will all disappointingly taste like butter.

The buttercream is made with the reserved ground hazelnuts and I like to toast them until crunchy and golden, for a boost in texture. You may use them as they are since they had been toasted whole in the first place, it’s entirely up to your preference.

Either way, the nuts are folded into the buttercream at the very end.

hazelnut buttercream

Assembling the cake

Cooled sponge should be sliced horizontally in half.

I am always reluctant to bake two separate sponge layers because sliced surface absorbs and melds with the filling much better than a crusty, separately baked layer.

It is easily done in this instance with either a cake wire, a large bread knife or simply a very sharp kitchen knife.

slicing sponge

Once sliced, it is good to spread some apricot jam over the base, not just for an extra flavour hit but to smoothen the crumbs before adding the buttercream frosting.

The finishing touch is a little more jam spread over the top, so the decorative chocolate whirls, should you choose to sprinkle them, stick to the cake better.

hungarian flourless hazelnut cake

More nutty cake recipes

Devil’s food cake with hazelnut praline and mascarpone cream is unbelievably good. Just the recipe for the next birthday occasion.

Flourless sponge cake with ground walnuts and a layer of apricot jam with grated dark chocolate topping: exquisite, elegant, delicious and gluten free.

Hazelnut ricotta cake with apricot and chocolate glaze is smooth with a poppy crunch, like velvet dipped in glitter. It is rich but tastes light, so you‘re tempted to have another slice.

hazelnut torte

More flourless cake recipes

Lemon polenta cake, tender and not too sweet, wonderfully crunchy on the bite. It’s gluten free, easy to whip up and it looks like a round of delicious sunshine on the plate.

King Oscar II cake is also known as Swedish almond tart. It's an almond macaron style cake filled with almond buttercream, easy to make and absolutely delightful.

Almond cake with fresh raspberries, flavoured with cinnamon and lemon zest. It’s flourless, dairy and gluten free, yet wonderfully airy and soft.

hungarian hazelnut cake

Hungarian hazelnut torte

Servings: 12Time: 2 hours


  • For the cake:
  • 400g (3 cups) unblanched hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp plain flour (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 125g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • For the buttercream:
  • 50g (½ cup) ground hazelnuts, from above
  • 100g (7 tbsp) butter, softened
  • 180g (1½ cups) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • For finishing:
  • 3-4 tablespoons of apricot jam
  • chocolate whirls or coarsely grated dark chocolate


1. Toast the hazelnuts in a medium oven for 10-15 minutes, until they are fragrant and the skins start to crack. Grind them to a fine powder in a food processor or a nut grinder. Measure out 50g for buttercream and set aside. You might add a teaspoon of flour to the mix to stop the nuts from clumping as they grind, unless you want it to be gluten-free. Stir the baking powder into the ground nuts and keep to one side.

2. Prepare a 23cm/9 inch round cake tin by buttering and flouring it thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3.

3. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the hazelnut mix.

4. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with a balloon whisk until stiff peaks form. Add a third of the egg whites to the nut batter to loosen it up, then fold in the rest of the egg whites taking care not to deflate it much. Make sure though that no lumps of the nut mix remain.

5. Transfer the batter to the cake tin and bake for about 60 – 70 minutes until the top springs back when gently pressed. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.

6. While the cake is cooling prepare the buttercream: first toast the 50g ground hazelnuts set aside from the cake batter preparation in a dry frying pan, tossing often, until coloured a little. Let them cool down.

7. Beat the butter with a hand or in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment until fluffy, keep beating while you add the icing sugar in three or four batches. Add the lemon juice at the end.

8. Stir the toasted hazelnuts into the buttercream.

9. Slice the cake horizontally using a wire cake cutter or a very sharp knife.

10. Spread a little apricot jam over the bottom half, just to smoothen the crumbs, and spread the buttercream over it. Replace the top half and press gently. Spread another spoonful of the jam over the top and sprinkle the chocolate over it.

Originally published: Wed, 2 March, 2016

NEW recipe finder

Ingredients lying around and no idea what to cook with them? Then use my NEW Recipe Finder for inspiration!

Recipe Finder

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published

Characters left 800
Recipe rating
Email address*
Web site name
Be notified by email when a comment is posted

* required

Cuisine Fiend's

most recent

About me

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.


Sign up to receive the weekly recipes updates

Follow Fiend