Dione Lucas’s Flourless Hazelnut Roulade

A Fancy Yet Rustic Rolled Cake that is Naturally Gluten Free

In a Nutshell_Hazelnut Roulade_2

When the new book, In a Nutshell, came across my desk I scratched my head in wonder than no one had written a book on nuts before. They add so much to our baked goods and desserts, from simple muffins and quick breads to fancy tortes and cakes. Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian have written a compendium featuring savory and sweet dishes, including this elegant yet rustic roulade and Upside-Down Cranberry-Pistachio Muffins.

Reprinted from In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seedsby Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentl & Hyers. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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This is a classic. Codified many years ago by the English chef Dione Lucas, this flourless cake, rolled and filled with sweetened whipped cream, may have slipped out of prominence, but we believe it deserves a second look. Dione Lucas was the first woman to graduate from the Cordon Bleu in Paris and the first to host a TV cooking show. Many a midcentury housewife tried to perfect this roulade, and we believe it can be easily done. First, understand that the “cake” portion of this recipe is like a fallen soufflé, made from a base of egg yolks and hazelnuts and leavened with airy beaten egg whites. Next, you need to cover the baked and fallen cake with a damp towel as it cools, so you can roll it without cracking it. Make it the day you plan to serve it—it is not known for its longevity. Thanks to Bonnie Slotnick for passing on the original recipe. We have adapted it slightly, using hazelnuts instead of walnuts.


BAKING TIME: 15 to 18 minutes, plus 1 hour 15 minutes to chill

EQUIPMENT: 1 rimmed baking sheet, buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper 

Dione Lucas’s Flourless Hazelnut Roulade
Makes: One 16-inch roulade, 10 servings
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 11⁄2 cups (5 1⁄4 ounces) hazelnut flour or ground hazelnuts
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 11⁄2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk the egg yolks on medium speed. Gradually sprinkle in 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar and whisk until the eggs are thick and a pale buttercup yellow, about 10 minutes. Stir together the hazelnut flour and cinnamon. Fold this mixture into the lightened egg yolk, place in a clean bowl, and set aside.
  3. Clean the mixing bowl and the attachment and whip the egg whites on high speed until they are frothy and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar and whisk until the egg whites are stiff but not dry, about 3 more minutes. Scoop a heaping spoonful of the whites into the egg yolk mixture and stir them together. This will lighten the egg yolk mixture and make it easier to fold the remaining whites into the yolks while maintaining the most airiness.
  4. In 2 batches, fold the whites into the yolks. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Using a spatula, level the top of the batter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the puffy top feels firm and the cake is a light golden brown. Dampen a kitchen towel and wring out all the extra moisture. Place the cloth over the cake and cool it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When it is completely cool, remove it from the fridge, take off the towel, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar on top.
  5. Make the Filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk the chilled cream with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and sour cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  6. Stretch a piece of aluminum foil 20 inches long on the counter. Turn the sugared side of the cake onto the foil and remove the parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream over the cake, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border all around. Working with an 18-inch edge farthest from you, lift the long edge of the foil up with the edge of the cake. Begin rolling the cake into a log, using the foil as your guide. Roll it toward you as tightly as you can. Twist the ends of the foil shut and refrigerate the roulade for 1 hour or overnight. When you are ready to serve, unwrap the foil, trim the ends, and dust the top of the roulade with confectioners’ sugar. Slice it into 11⁄2-inch pieces and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers, wrapped airtight, for up to 1 day.

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2 Responses to Dione Lucas’s Flourless Hazelnut Roulade

  1. kaTje January 3, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    A HIT !!
    I put a thin layer of hazelnut/chocolate paste under the cream filling, replaced about a third of the cream with mascarpone and drizzled about 1 tbsp of hazelnut liqueur over the rolled-up cake. Heaven…

    • Dede Wilson January 3, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      Nice ideas and thank you for the report! I would have liked to be at that dessert table!

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