Now Reading
Piemonte Cooking – Torta alle Nocciole

Piemonte Cooking – Torta alle Nocciole

Humble and unassuming but utterly delicious and even indulgent, this is the kind of cake that grandmothers of the Langhe area of Piemonte make specially for their grandchildren.
By Emiko Davies

This is a very traditional cake, made dense with the local hazelnuts. The Langhe area is food and wine lover’s heaven with a landscape that is reminiscent of te well-trodden Tuscany, but more condensed and with a stunning backdrop of the Alps.

On our last visit there we celebrated a friend’s birthday in a trattoria in Grinzane Cavour called Nonna Genia, named after the cookbook that Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini describes as “the most complete and exhaustive cookbook of the cuisine of the Langhe.”

I bought the book immediately. As wonderful as a historical account as it is for its genuine dishes that record the home-cooked cuisine of the area, it is a collection of the recipes of a bygone era dedicated to the writer’s (Luciano de Giacomi) grandmother, Eugenia. First published in 1982, it is a book that keeps alive the country recipes of grandmothers that are normally passed on only by keen granddaughters or daughters who have watched and listened and learned, a ritual that is all too quickly disappearing.

Nonna Genia’s hazelnut cake is a classic recipe. It’s been adapted here with the addition of espresso and rum. This moist cake is perfect to eat on its own, but it can be served with a simple drizzle of honey, a ganache of melted chocolate and cream or a simple espresso icing.

See Also

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Torta alle Nocciole

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Emiko Davies based on a traditional Piedmonte recipe
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


A deliciously moist hazelnut cake traditionally served plain but beautiful also with a chocolate ganache or espresso icing.


  • 200 g/ 7 oz of shelled hazelnuts, toasted
  • 150 g/ 5.2 oz of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g/ 7 oz sugar
  • 125 g/ 4.4 oz of butter
  • 125 ml/ 4.4 oz of strong coffee
  • 125 ml/ 4.4 oz of whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of rum or marsala (optional)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350 F.
  2. Pulverise the toasted hazelnuts until very fine. Combine with the flour and baking powder.
  3. In a food processor or with beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one by one until well combined. Incorporate with the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the milk, coffee, olive oil and rum and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour into a greased and floured cake tin (10 inch or 26cm diameter) with a removable bottom. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy. Allow to cool and serve as desired.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins


View Comments (4)
  • We had an amazing time camping in Piemonte summer – I could use a reminder of it during these dark, cold days! I’ll look out for that book, but I admit your addition of espresso and rum sounds divine. And I think the icing is a must! :-)

  • My Adventures in Cooking group wants to make this cake as a special study on the Piemontese region. But we are all questioning the use of 1 1/2 tablespoons of Baking Powder. We all think that must be a miss print but no one has questioned this on your website???? Hard to believe it wouldn’t leave a bitter taste to the cake? Please advise soon. Our event is next week and we may pick another recipe due to this question.

    Thank You, Susan Bishop

    • It’s not a typo, but follows the traditional recipe from a Piedmontese cookbook, Nonna Genia, but you can indeed get away with using less — 1 1/2 teaspoons, for example.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Scroll To Top