Hazelnut-Pear Torte from Healthy Holidays
This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, with just a little sugar because syrup makes it too gummy.
¼ cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil, if preferred)
1 cup unsweetened almond or other plant milk
1 Tsbp apple cider vinegar
½ cup maple syrup or agave
1 tsp vanilla essence or flavoring
1 tsp hazelnut essence or flavoring
Generous pinch of salt
2 cups finely ground hazelnuts
1 ¼ gluten-free flour blend – I use Namaste brand, available at CostCo
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 generous Tbsp xanthum gum — I got mine from Target!
2 ripe pears, peeled, cut into ½” dice, PLUS one pear (any type) sliced lengthwise for garnish
Note: Use two 8” springform pans, each oiled, with baking paper to line the bottoms.
Filling: Vegan Chocolate buttercream (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil two 8” springform pans, with a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each.
- Place two cups of whole hazelnuts in food processor, and pulse (in two batches) until they’re reduced to fine powder – this should yield about 2 cups. If not, grind some more!
- Melt the coconut oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the plant milk to the same bowl along with the vinegar, vanilla/hazelnut flavorings, salt, and ground hazelnuts.
- Sift in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and xanthum gum (which helps hold the cake together).
- Mix well, adding a splash more plant milk or (optionally) almond or noisette liqueur if the mixture is too dry.
- Pour a quarter of the batter into one pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the pear pieces on top of this layer, then the remaining half of the batter. Pour the other half in the second pan, smoothing it to the edges. (It will look like there is not enough batter, but there is!)
- Slice one pear in thin lengthwise slices, and arrange in an overlapping circle on top of one pan to make a sunburst design. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely on racks.
- Place the undecorated cake on a serving platter, upside down; spread thickly with the chocolate cream and carefully place the decorated cake on top. Serve in thin wedges.
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream
2/3 to ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water, or for 15 minutes in hot water
1 oz cocoa butter or thick coconut cream
1/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste
Scant ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2-4 oz melted 72% chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
Generous pinch of salt
Optional: 1 fl oz of coffee liqueur, such as Tia Maria or Kahlua
- Drain soaked cashews and add to a food processor or blender along with all the other ingredients.
- Add minimal plant milk and process until completely smooth. I use a NutriBullet for this.
- Taste and adjust flavor until it is balanced between salt, sweetness, and chocolate. If desired, add a slug of coffee liqueur.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and place in the fridge to harden slightly before using it to fill and ice the cake.
Note: This amount will actually provide generous filling for two cakes (if you only put it between layers so that you can see the pear sunburst on top). However, it’s about right for filling AND frosting (top and sides) if you don’t use the pear on top.
Click HERE for the .pdf file.