A Chocolate Cake with Character: Buckwheat, Hazelnut and Applesauce

chocolate cake buckwheat hazelnut applesauce gluten free

Baking with Dark Chocolate

What’s this nice smell?” P. asked as soon as he opened the front door, coming back from the grocery store. “You’ve been baking!

I had indeed.

I had not planned to bake during the weekend though, but then I kept imagining the taste of chocolate in my mouth. For sure, with many other things, bébé will have to love chocolate, dark more precisely.

At least this is what I hope.

My friend K.’s lovely daughter does; she started to develop this strong liking when she was only a toddler. She used to call dark chocolate the adult chocolate.

I used to smile each time I heard her say that, with her mouth and fingers covered with melted chocolate. After all, it is all a question of taste, even if I am still going to praise dark chocolate versus the others.

chocolate cake buckwheat hazelnut applesauce gluten free

So I gave in to the craving and baked a chocolate cake. A very simple chocolate cake using some of the 1 kg piece of Valrhona chocolate Akiko and Pierre kindly gave us during their recent visit, homemade applesauce flavored with vanilla, and buckwheat and hazelnut flours. Out of curiosity, to see what taste I would end up having, and also because buckwheat* flour, like quinoa flour, is full of protein and rich in iron, amongst many other fantastic nutrients (like rutin and zinc). Then, since I also had recently ordered a bag of Valrhona’s Grué de cacao (cocoa nibs), I added 2 tablespoons of those as well.

Note that unlike its name suggests, buckwheat is not related to wheat, and is a gluten free product, for people sensitive and intolerant to gluten.

chocolate cake buckwheat hazelnut applesauce gluten free

The cake did not disappoint. In fact, I loved everything about it. It was extremely moist in texture, with a strong taste of dark chocolate hued by the addition of apple compote, with also just the right amount of sugar to my liking — I tend to not like cakes too sweet. And to finish, a discreet nutty touch came through, complementing the dark chocolate perfectly.

In the end, I was quite glad I had decided to bake, even if the cake did not last for very long. Then, it was really hard to with P. and I always finding clever excuses to have another slice, a few times during the entire weekend.

Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as we all did in our household.

chocolate cake buckwheat hazelnut applesauce gluten free

Dark Chocolate Cake with Buckwheat, Hazelnut and Applesauce

A Chocolate Cake with Buckwheat, Hazelnut and Applesauce

You need:

  • 4.5 oz dark chocolate, 61 % cocoa, Valrhona noir
  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup blond cane sugar+ 1 tablespoon for the egg whites
  • 3 leveled tablespoons light muscovado sugar
  • 1/3 cup homemade applesauce
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Confectioner’s sugar, to serve (optional)


  • Preheat your oven at 350 F. Grease an 8-inch mold. Place a piece of parchment at the bottom, and dust the sides with flour, and tap the excess out.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the two sugars until white in color.
  • Add the applesauce; set aside.
  • In the meantime, put the chocolate and butter in a bowl, and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook until melted. Let cool slightly.
  • Combine the chocolate/butter to the egg yolk/sugar mixture.
  • Add the flours and cocoa nibs if using and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites firm with a pinch of salt. When they are almost done, add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue to beat for 45 seconds, until firmer.
  • Fold the egg whites into the chocolate preparation in 2 times, making sure not to deflate the batter.
  • Pour into the mold, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the blade of a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out almost entirely dry. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges to release the cake, if necessary. Unmold and let cool. When serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Le coin français
Gâteau au chocolat au sarrasin, noisettes et compote de pommes

Ingrédients :

  • 125 g de chocolat noir à 61% de cacao (Valrhona noir)
  • 100 g de beurre non salé
  • 4 oeufs
  • 70 g de sucre de canne blond + 1 càs pour les blancs en neige
  • 3 càs rases de sucre roux de canne Muscovado (couleur blonde)
  • 125 g de compote de pommes maison (125 g)
  • 30 g de farine de noisettes
  • 40 g de farine de quinoa
  • 40 g de farine de sarrasin
  • 2 càs de grué de cacao (facultatif)
  • Pincée de sel
  • Sucre glace, pour saupoudrer (facultatif)

Etapes :

  • Préchauffez le four à 180 C. Beurrez un moule à manqué de 20 cm. Mettez un morceau de papier sulfurisé rond au fond et farinez les bords du moule; enlevez l’excédent de farine en tapotant sur le moule.
  • Dans un bol, ou en utilisant un mixeur, battez les jaunes d’oeuf avec les deux sucres jusqu’à blanchiment.
  • Ajoutez la compote de pommes, et mélangez.
  • Pendant ce temps, faites fondre le beurre avec le chocolat au bain-marie. Laissez un peu refroidir.
  • Ajoutez le mélange chocolat/beurre à la préparataion oeufs/sucre.
  • Ajoutez ensuite les farines, sans trop travailler la pâte et le grué de cacao, si vous en utilisez.
  • Dans un autre bol, montez les blancs en neige avec une pincée de sel. Une fois qu’ils sont presques fermes, ajoutez 1 càs de sucre pour les serrer davantage.
  • Ajoutez délicatement cette neige à la préparation au chocolat, en deux fois, en prêtant attention à ne pas faire tomber la masse.
  • Versez dans le moule et enfournez pendant environ 30 minutes, jusqu’à ce que la lame d’un couteau insérée au milieu en ressorte presque entièrement sèche. Sortez le gâteau du four et laissez-le refroidir sur grille avant de le démouler — si nécessaire, passez une lame de couteau autour des bords pour mieux le démouler. Au moment de servir, saupoudrez de sucre glace.
Posted in Breakfast, Cakes, Chocolate, Dessert, Gluten Free


  1. I’ve just bought buckwheat flour and dark chocolate. I’m so sorry I didn’t bring the hazelnut flour home… This cake looks delicious!

  2. Sounds delicious! Looks delicious! I hope I can make it some day! I love your use of “other” ingredients!

  3. Delicious! Dark chocolate is my fav flavours. And the cake is a great way to showcase its flavour!

  4. This looks phenomenal! Where do you buy hazelnut flour? Do you think I could substitute almond flour or hazelnuts ground in a food processor?

  5. hi I’d love to make this but I’ve never seen hazelnut flour, could I use ground hazelnuts or ground almonds instead? Claire, Wales UKxx

  6. I am bookmarking this recipe for sure Bea. It must be nutty and hearty and moist from the applesauce. Lovely!

  7. I love the combination of flours you used in this cake! I am adding to to my “to make” list! Thanks for making another great gluten-free recipe!:)

  8. Ce gâteau a l’air extra, fort en saveurs, et délicieux. Je note cette recette, à faire urgemment 🙂

  9. This cake looks so fluffy!
    This morning I’ve made the brownies+cheesecake with your recipe..can’t wait to taste them for dinner! ciao from Italy

  10. Yeah! Another gluten-free cake recipe! Merci beaucoup, Béa.

    P.S. Have you ever seen the blog, “Under the high chair”?

  11. This looks and sounds perfect. My 5 year old is a dark chocolate lover too. I can’t wait to try making this cake. Do you think it would work with almond flour as well?

  12. J’ai envoyer de suite la recette a mon papa! Je vais surement lui faire pendant leur prochaine visite anyways! Looks and sounds perfect with a cup of tea!

  13. I have been having that chocolate cakey feeling the last few days. Your recipe looks like it might do the trick!
    I just love it when kids like good food. The other day I heard a mother and young daughter discussing the contents of their shopping cart. The little girl was as excited about sardines and curries as many kids get about hot dogs and hamburgers. I hope I have a kid like that.

  14. This does indeed look dellcieux! In addition to the question of the almond flour substitution, where can one find quinoa flour? Can I just grind up the grains?

  15. That sounds like just the type of chocolate cake I would like! And coincidentally I just made a chocolate cake too! I love dark chocolate and if I had a bebe I am sure I would try to win him/her over to the dark chocolate side too 🙂

  16. J’aime beaucoup l’idee de la farine de sarrasin et de la compote de pomme dans ce gateau Bea, vraiment inhabituel et vraiment tres tentant.
    Bonjour a bebe 🙂

  17. this look really good! My gf love dark chocolate so she will be more than willing to make this! btw, great photo shots too! 🙂

  18. Hello everyone, once again, thanks for stopping by to say hello.

    A few answers. You can easily substitute hazelnut flour with almond flour — I simply tend to like the taste of hazelnuts more. And of course, you can easily make hazelnut flour/meal yourself. Dry roast hazelnuts first and then grind them extremely finely — I would tend to think you need a powerful grinder/mixer to do so. I typically buy mine, although I have made it before too. I hope you enjoy it.
    Also, you can find quinoa flour at Whole Foods, in the US, and if not there, in many online stores. I do not think grinding the grain will give you flour — I have personally never done it.

  19. I was looking for chocolate cake with different variety, your chocolate cake is excellent, Addition of apple sauce had added extra flavour.

    Thanks for posting.


  20. Oo La La! Sounds wonderful! As great lovers of chocolate, I’m going to try this one over the Holidays.

    Merci beaucoup!

  21. It looks wonderfully light and moist. Love the sound of the buckwheat flour adding a nutty touch

  22. I have used applesauce in my baking instead of butter and I love the results, but I’ve never used both; it has to be delicious.

  23. forcément… avec un tel descriptif, je ne peux que fondre et pour une fois, prendre le temps de te dire que je n’oublie pas de visiter régulièrement ton petit univers, toujours aussi parfaitement accueillant

  24. Bea–Your gluten-free recipes have been my favorites since I recently started cooking for a man with celiac disease. And, yes, I thought I would let you know that you can grind the quinoa into flour. I used my coffee bean grinder and ground small batches. The flour was used to make the chocolate banana bread recipe that you created. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

  25. The cake looks amazing! I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut as well. This recipe reminds me of my recent discovery of hazelnut butter, a non dairy product of ground hazelnuts. Any thoughts on how to substitute butter with the hazelnut butter to give it a more pronounced nut flavor?

  26. Wow! Absolutely one of the best “sweet” blogs out there…(and sometimes it feels like I´ve seen them all!) Great photos as well!
    Will definately put a link from my blog to yours!

    / john

  27. I am going to try this with oat flour in place of the buckwheat flour and with erythritol in place of the sugar to cut back on the carbs. It looks lovely!

  28. Thank you, once again, to you all!

    Andrea, many thanks for the lovely feedback, it makes me really pleased to hear, and so happy also that you gave the quinoa tip. I want to try now myself — although I am lucky to have quinoa flour extremely accessible! 😉

    Diana, I would combine half hazelnut butter and canola oil for example. I’ve made a chocolate cake before using almond butter and it really worked well too. I have yet to post the recipe!

    John, so sweet, thank you!

    Lauren and Dana, thank you. Erythritol? What is this? You are intriguing me….

  29. That cake looks and sound totally delicious Bea. And with the different flours and applesauce, I can convince myself it’s a super health food 🙂

  30. @ Lauren: whole buckwheat flour actually has blood-sugar lowering properties, so it would be better for low-carb baking than oat flour.

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  32. Je dois faire un gâteau d’anni ce week-end et je vais essayer celui-ci. Il a l’air délicieux. Quelle farine de noisettes utilises-tu ici aux USA? J’ai de la farine de Bob’s Red Mill. Elle n’est pas particulièrement fine. Est-ce qu’elle fera l’affaire ? Merci et bises,

  33. MC, j’utilise aussi celle de Bob’s Red Mill Ca marche sans problème. Bonne pâtisserie !

  34. The more I browse your blog the more baking I know I need to do. Is chocolate cake breakfast food!
    Buckwheat flour is something I have been trying to incorporate more so I am happy to see this recipe.

  35. I was looking for ideas for a buckwheat/hazelnut flour baked good (I adore buckwheat!), and this looks decadent – I look foward to trying an adaptation of this recipe to fit my own allergies! thanks, as always, for such a marvelous recipe.

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  37. I made this cake for a friend who can’t eat wheat. We couldn’t find any quinoa flour, and ended up with barley flour. The cake was wonderful, so wonderful that absolutely everyone liked it. In fact, someone called to tell me how good it was and then came over when he discovered there was some left. This is an absolutely brilliant cake and I highly recommend, especially if you like dark chocolate.

  38. Oh thankyou 🙂 I’m so often reading your blog and browsing the beautiful recipes and imagining making them… yesterday I made your vanilla crepes with a gluten-free flour blend (which turned out beautifully) and tonight spur of the moment made this beautiful cake. I had no quinoa flour so instead used extra of the buckwheat and hazelnut, and the result was a gloriously brilliant, dense, not too sweet chocolate cake. We dusted it with icing sugar in the shape of a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick’s Day.

  39. Back again – I made the cake the other day for another event, and this time used almond flour made from almonds ground in a coffee grinder. The cake was even more amazing than the last time – I couldn’t have thought it possible!!

  40. I found your website and this recipe in November and have been making it ever since. It is fabulous and well received. I made one for my pastry chef friend who adored it and the flavors – she said she would never have known it was gluten free cake. I have had to make modifications to the recipe because I often don’t have the time to make sure I have apple compote on hand. Plus I don’t like things too sweet. So my major modification was using my Beaba BabyCook to make a naturally sweet apple sauce with a little vanilla bean paste. So now, I can meet two needs – apple sauce for this beautiful cake and feeding my 10 month old some apple sauce with lovely flavors. Thank you for sharing!

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  42. Just tasted it. With one word: HEAVEN!…It’s absolutely amazing, I have tried so many of your recipes and they never e v e r fail! In fact they are always a wonderful surprise for everyone. Thank very much!

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  49. just letting you know Bea that I am making this for my nephew’s birthday today, he is 2! I’m sure he will LOVE it as I do whenever I make it 🙂 x

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