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Chocolate & candied hazelnut mousse cake

This chocolate and candied hazelnut mousse cake is the perfect, decadent dessert for any occasion. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free!
Course Dessert, Sweet
Cuisine American, French, World
Keyword cake, chocolate, gluten-free, hazelnut
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 12 -14
Calories 602 kcal
Author The Hungry Bites


  • For the almond cake:
  • 3/4 cups (125 grams) almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 3/4 cups (100 grams) icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 2 egg whites from large eggs (60 grams)
  • 1/4 cups (60 grams) heavy cream, 35% fat
  • 2.1 oz (60 grams) chopped dark chocolate 55% cocoa, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional
  • Pinch of salt

  • For the chocolate/hazelnut mousse:
  • 2 cups (300 grams) hazelnuts, roasted
  • 3/4 cups sugar

  • 2/3 cups (160 grams) milk, warm
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream 35% fat, warm
  • 10.6 oz (300 grams) chopped dark chocolate, 55% cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) very cold cream 35% fat

  • 2-3 tablespoons brandy or cognac for brushing the almond cake, optional

  • For the ganache:
  • 4.2 oz (120 grams) chopped chocolate, 55% cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream, 35% fat
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a pan with baking paper.
  2. Make the cake: Transfer all the ingredients for the almond cake in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Pour the mixture onto the pan and spread it with a spatula to form a 10x8 inch ( 25x12 cm) rectangle. Bake for 17-20 minutes.
  3. Caramelize the hazelnuts: Put a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium/high heat and pour over the sugar. In the meantime, warm the hazelnuts in the oven for 5 minutes (this will also freshen up their aroma). When the sugar starts to melt, shake gently the saucepan to help the procedure. You can stir it with a wooden spatula, only after most of the sugar is melted. Stir until amber in color. Add the hazelnuts to the caramel and stir gently to cover completely. Transfer the candied hazelnuts to a pan lined with baking paper and let them cool for 3-5 minutes. Be careful because caramel is extra hot!
  4. Make the mousse: Reserve 1 cup of the candied hazelnuts and transfer the rest to a blender. Warm the milk and the cream in a saucepan (or microwaves) until hot to the touch but not boiling, and add them to the blender (you want it warm enough to melt the chocolate, but not hot because it may cause the lid to open). Also add the vanilla, honey, salt, and chopped chocolate and blend until smooth. Let it cool.
  5. Whip the cold cream with the one tablespoon icing sugar in a bowl until soft peaks form. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and fold gently with a spatula (at this stage you can crash some of the reserved candied hazelnuts and add them to the mousse for extra texture).
  6. Assemble the cake: Line the bottom and sides of a 10x4 inch loaf pan with baking paper. Pour half of the chocolate/hazelnut mousse into the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut a strip of almond cake just a little smaller than the dimensions of the loaf pan (you don’t need to be very precise). Place the almond cake strip on top of the mousse and (optionally) brush with some brandy. Pour the rest of the mousse into the pan and top with another strip of almond cake. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  7. Make the ganache: In a saucepan over gentle heat (or in the microwaves) melt the chopped chocolate with the cream and the honey. Set aside until cooled but still pourable.
  8. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and peel off the baking paper. Pour the ganache over the cake. Roughly chop the reserved hazelnuts and sprinkle over the ganache.
  9. Eat!

Recipe Notes

You can skip the step of caramelizing the hazelnuts and use them as-is.
For best results, use finely ground almond flour. If you can't find almond flour, make your own by processing raw almonds in the food processor until very finely ground. Stop when you notice they just start to become pasty.
You can also make this into a round cake/torte, using an 8-inch (20cm) round spring-form pan. You’ll bake the almond cake in the pan and when cooled you’ll just pour over the chocolate-hazelnut mousse in one layer. Cool in the fridge, unmold, and top with some extra hazelnuts.
Prep time doesn't include refrigeration time.