Baci Cakes

Inspired by Elizabeth David's recipe for flourless chocolate cake in French Provincial Cooking, these gorgeous little Baci Cakes are a wonderful combination of chocolate and hazelnut. 


  • 12 hazelnuts
  • 285g cooking chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g ground hazelnuts (sometimes labeled hazelnut meal)
  • 3 teaspoons coffee
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)

Chocolate ganache

  • 375g cooking chocolate (70%cocoa), broken into pieces
  • 190g butter, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan. Double line a regular muffin tray with paper patty pans.

Spread out the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast them on to the centre shelf of the oven for 6-9 minutes or until they have started to colour. Place the nuts in a clean tea towel and, while still warm, rub quite vigorously to peel away as much of the dark skin as you can. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove and cool to tepid. 

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Beat the butter and sugar until combined, but do not cream. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well after each addition until smooth.

(TIP: If you add the egg yolks to the butter mixture in one go, there is a chance it will curdle, which will affect the texture and flavour.)

Add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture, a little at a time, and mix well. Fold in the ground hazelnuts, coffee and rum (if using). Now fold in the egg whites, a third at a time.

Spoon or pour the batter evenly into the patty pans and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the cakes are done. Remove the cakes from the tray and turn out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely, upside-down.

While the cakes are baking, make the ganache. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until thickened but not yet solid. It should be used at room temperature.

(TIP: In very cold weather, increase the butter in the ganache by 10% and reduce the chocolate by the same amount. In very warm weather, reduce the butter and increase the chocolate by about 10% to achieve a ganache that will set.)

Put a tray under the rack of cooled cakes (to catch the drips), remove the paper cases and spoon over some of the ganache. Using a small palette knife heated in boiling water then wiped dry, spread the ganache over the base and sides of each cake, then decorate with a single hazelnut. Allow the ganache to set (this will take about an hour), then serve the cakes with coffee.

The cakes will keep in an airtight container for a few days. 

Makes 24.

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