Hazelnut cake from Piedmont
Torta di nocciole delle Langhe
This hazelnut cake from Langhe Roero in Piedmont was a challenge as there is neither flour nor butter and oil among the ingredients.
We have just returned from a trip to Langhe Roero in Piedmont, where the local tonda gentile IGP hazelnuts are almost as cherished as the white truffles and the Barolo wine. Hazelnut bushes dot the hilly landscape in intricate patterns with the striped vineyards, and we came across this hazelnut cake without flour or butter again and again. Most notoriously in Cortemilia, where a visit to the Canobbio bakery is a must. Their hazelnut cake is a speciality the father, Giuseppe Canobbio, makes after a recipe, he learned from his grandmother, and the entire house smells of roasted hazelnuts.
Papà Giuseppe did not share his inherited recipe in detail, but tastewise this hazelnut cake comes pretty close to the original. I was a bit shocked by the copious amounts of sugar and nuts used, but the result is delicious. A sweet, aromatic kind of sponge cake that was too brittle and crumbly to get top marks for appearances, but compensated in taste and texture.