Ground Hazelnut and Olive Oil Cake

by Jacqueline on June 13, 2013

Italian Hazelnut Sponge made with Olive Oil

Ground Hazelnut and Olive Oil Cake

I have talked before about how much I love and respect my dad and how he had to overcome some difficult challenges in his life to bring my sister and I up single-handedly. This Sunday marks Father’s Day and in a fitting tribute I have decided to put my baking skills to the test. Yes, I have decided to venture into the murky world of baking once more. But fear no more for this is a pretty fail-safe recipe. I have adapted it from La Cucina Italiana Magazine.

When offering cake to my father, he is easily pleased. Subtle, unadulterated flavours will suffice. No need for buttercream toppings or fillings of fruit and cream. Simplicity always brings about a nod and a smile. When it comes to desserts we have quite similar tastes. I appreciate it is yet ANOTHER recipe using hazelnuts but they were calling me from the store cupboard, two bags full, so you see, I simply couldn’t resist!

If you cannot muster up the strength to unpeel all those hazelnuts click here to find a quick and painless way of doing it.

I’ve often wondered how a cake made with olive oil would turn out and I must say, I am suitably impressed. A nice alternative to butter and not overly moist. I even caught myself having a slice of this cake for breakfast this morning! I’ve significantly cut down on the amount of sugar and olive oil used in this recipe. I couldn’t bring myself to pour 75ml of oil into a cake, even if it is a healthier alternative to butter! I’ve also used semi-skimmed instead of whole milk.

Ground Hazelnut and Olive Oil Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 8-10

A relatively light and moist hazelnut sponge cake using olive oil instead of butter. Just the thing to complement an afternoon cup of tea.


  • 50ml of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cake tin
  • 150g of hazelnuts, shelled
  • 150g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g of white granulated sugar
  • 75ml of semi skimmed milk


  1. Put the shelled hazelnuts in the oven at 180°C and bake for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove and set aside to cool down.
  3. When the hazelnuts are cool enough. Use a grinder or food processor to grind them further until they are finely ground but not a powder.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and the ground hazelnuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together to make a yellow foam for about 2 minutes.
  6. Gradually add the sugar to the eggs until a thicker consistency is achieved. This should be around 4 minutes.
  7. Gradually add the hazelnut and flour mixture, then the olive oil and the milk, beating 1 minute more to combine.
  8. Take a 9-inch diameter cake tin and brush the bottom and the sides lightly with some olive oil.
  9. Transfer the batter contents to the cake tin and bake in the oven at 180°C until golden for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  10. Oven temperatures can vary so observe the cake after 1 hour and use a tester to insert into the centre. If it comes out clean, remove from the oven and cake tin and place on an airing rack to cool down.


Baking times may vary according to oven temperatures. Check regularly after 1 hour in the oven.

I served my cake with some macerated strawberries and a large mug of tea!

Freshly Baked Ground Hazelnut and Oilve Oil Cake

The cake serves 8-10 people and can be cut and frozen if you feel you won’t manage to tuck all the way through it over the next couple of days. Ideal cake for afternoon tea or picnic lunches as it is easily portable.

Cutting through the Ground Hazelnut and Olive Oil Cake

I’m entering this into Four Season’s Food Challenge jointly owned by the lovely French residing ladies Louisa at Chez Foti and Anneli at Delicieux. This month the host is Anneli and the theme is Summer.

Four Seasons Food

I’m also entering this into the Made with Love challenge hosted by Javelin Warrier. The cake has been made from scratch ( and with a whole lotta love!) and I’ve been wanting to take part again for some time!

Do you have any special dishes you will be preparing for Father’s Day? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Louisa Foti June 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

I’m loving the sound of this cake, sounds very sophisticated and grown up! I’ve baked a few cakes with olive oil and they’re always delicious….and obviously healthier too. I bet the hazelnuts are a wonderful addition too. A fabulous entry to our first #FourSeasonsFood event, thanks so much for entering!


2 Jacqueline June 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

Hi Louisa,
Welcome to my blog! It’s always nice to get new visitors. Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s a pleasure to take part in the #FourSeasonsFood event.


3 Mich Piece of Cake June 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

I love how healthy this cake is… using hazelnut meal and egg whites… it sounds and looks delicious!


4 Jacqueline June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

Thanks Mich- there are egg yolks as well just for good measure :-)


5 Sarah June 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

Any cake that you can eat for breakfast must be a winner, especially served with fruit – but this one does look especially good!


6 Jacqueline June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

Thanks Sarah. I have been a bit naughty having it for breakfast but the temptation was too strong when it was just staring back at me!


7 Angela June 13, 2013 at 10:31 am

Every now and again I just crave something plain and simple to go with a cup of tea – this cake looks perfect.


8 Jacqueline June 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

Sometimes, simplicity is all that is required :-)


9 Camilla @FabFood4All June 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

What a perfectly baked cake which I’m sure your dad would love. I’m sure I have some bags of nuts lurking in my cupboards but fear they are Almonds, maybe that might be an adaption too far! Well done for making this cake even healthier, I’m not a huge fan of buttercream either and do tend to wince at the cakes these days which seem so very top heavy and laden with it.


10 Jacqueline June 14, 2013 at 6:02 am

I love almonds too so why not? You may need to add more olive oil through as I suspect there is more natural oil in hazelnuts. I can’t really take buttercream. A bit too rich for me.


11 Franglais kitchen, Nazima June 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I have had a chocolate cake with olive oil, polenta so I know this one must taste lovely too. Like you I am one for simple cakes as I am rather too impatient for piping and decorating. This one looks perfect with a cup of tea (or coffee for the Italians I guess!)


12 Jacqueline June 14, 2013 at 6:03 am

I’d quite like to have a taste of that Chocolate Cake with polenta . Sounds like an interesting combo!


13 Katharine June 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Nice to see dads celebrated – I always feel they get slightly overlooked sometimes! This is a gorgeous cake – it looks perfect, moist and nutty, not too sweet, just perfect with my mid-morning espresso!


14 Jacqueline June 14, 2013 at 6:04 am

Yes, fathers do seem to get overlooked…don’t they? All the more reason to spoil them on a special day!
The mid morning-espresso would be a great match for the cake Katharine :-)


15 Javelin Warrior June 14, 2013 at 12:24 am

I love the sound of this cake with the hazelnuts and olive oil. I’ve baked with olive oil a couple times and I really do like the flavor and texture it brings. And it really does help keep things moist… A very tasty cake.


16 Jacqueline June 14, 2013 at 6:07 am

Thanks JW, that means a lot from someone that bakes often! Thanks for featuring my post in your fab round up :-)


17 Jayne June 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Wow, I love this! I’m a big fan of olive oil cakes and make a lemon and a chocolate version but this sound amazing! Will have to try it!


18 Jacqueline June 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thanks Jayne. I thought using the olive oil would be interesting to try and I’m so pleased I did. Quite a revelation!


19 Janice June 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm

What a lovely tribute to your Dad and the cake looks great. My Dad isn’t with us any more but I used to bake for him too, he loved cakes!


20 Jacqueline June 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Thanks Janice. My dad spends too much time running after everyone else. It’s nice to spoil him from time to time :-)


21 Chris June 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I wouldn’t complain, should this be served to me in that way with strawberries and a cup of tea. Sadly I have to wait for both the strawberries to be ready in the garden and for this to happen.
I like hazelnuts in cake and I have tried using olive oil in baking as well as I heard from someone she was just using olive oil for her baking now. I liked the olive oil in the cake, too.
Well, I would appreciate a slice of cake now …


22 Jacqueline June 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I look forward to seeing what you make with your very own home-grown strawberries Chris!


23 Rebecca June 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Looks lovely hope you got to give to him in person hugs


24 Jacqueline June 17, 2013 at 3:43 am

Very shortly! Visiting Scotland at the end of the month. Eek! Very excited!


25 Caroline Taylor June 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

This sounds so good. I’m yet to make an olive oil cake but I want to try one soon. Love the idea of the hazelnuts.


26 Jacqueline June 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

I urge you to try it Caroline. You will be impressed with the results :-)


27 Katerina June 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I think a good dad is as treasured as a good mom for a child! The best gift for someone as dear!


28 Jacqueline June 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Thanks Katerina. Time spent with our parents is very dear indeed.


29 Maggie June 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

Mmm I can taste Italy now. I like a cake recipe which in uncomplicated and all about taste. The texture and crumb looks good too. Fabulous strawberries and fab cake can’t be beaten, but make mine a coffee please.


30 Jacqueline June 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

Yes, I’m sure coffee will also complement the cake. Thanks Maggie!


31 Rebecca- thiswomansstyle June 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

This cake looks light, fluffy and quite frankly perfect! I’ve never heard of an olive oil cake I’ll definitely be trying this xx


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