Rocco Forte Hotels

As mornings get frosty and the festive season approaches, the warmer, sweeter things in life take the stage, from mince pies to Christmas pudding. For some, it can be a challenge to cook for those with dietary intolerances, so we spoke to Hotel Astoria’s Executive Chef Marius Ackermann. This speciality hazelnut cake is a delicious alternative that’s easy to make, lactose-free and suitable for coeliacs.

Ingredients (makes one medium cake)

200g sugar
400g ground hazelnuts
10 eggs
Icing sugar to serve 


Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line bottom of a spring form pan roughly 30cm wide (at least 3 inches tall) with parchment paper.

Separate the egg whites and yolks, making sure no yolk gets into the whites. (Tip: It’s easier to separate the eggs when they’re cold, right out of the fridge.)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and half the sugar until pale.

In an additional mixing bowl, beat the egg whites at medium low speed until foamy. Add the remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk until it forms stiff peaks.

Using a spatula, add a third of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and gently fold them in until mostly smooth. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until the mixture is completely smooth.

Add ground hazelnut into the batter in 3 stages, whisking the batter well after each stage. Pour the batter into the previously-prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes; check it’s done by inserting a toothpick. Once the toothpick comes out clean, it’s cooked.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then, run a knife around the edges and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely and decorate with icing sugar before serving.

Taste our hazelnut cake at Astoria Restaurant in St. Petersburg by booking a stay at Hotel Astoria. Email or call +7 812 494 5770.