Hazelnut Meringue Torte – A Gluten-Free Dessert

Yes, there was dessert at the Sunday lunch.  On the Saturday I made a Hazelnut Meringue Torte that is also gluten-free.  You need to make it a day ahead as it’s best served around 12 hours after making it.  I like being able to make desserts a day ahead as it takes a lot of pressure off the day of the event.

Hazelnut Meringue Torte

Hazelnut Meringue Torte

On the Sunday and a few minutes before the guests were to arrive, I asked Carl to help me with photographing the torte and so Carl carried it out onto the verandah and we took some lovely images of it.  I brought it back into the kitchen and was holding the cake stand with one hand while opening the fridge door with the other when I heard a splat and behold!  I looked over to my hand holding the cake stand and there was no torte.  It was, no more.

A lovely light dessert to enjoy after a heavy main course

A lovely light dessert to enjoy after a heavy main course

Casting my eyes further south, there was my torte lying splattered on the kitchen floor.

'A dog's breakfast' - literally!

‘A dog’s breakfast’ – literally!

I screamed. Carl came running. Miss Arabella stepped into the scene and trying to be helpful asked, ‘Do you have time to make another one?’ I was standing there still holding an empty cake stand in my right hand and there was pork roasting on one shelf of the oven and potatoes cooking in duck fat on the other.  ‘No, Arabella, I’m not a magician; I won’t be able to conjure up another torte between now and when the guests arrive in five minutes’. ‘What happened?’ asked Carl. ‘Isn’t it bloody obvious?’ I wanted to scream.  ‘I must have tilted the cake stand ever so slightly when I was trying to get it into the fridge and then the torte, which I thought was pretty much stuck to the platter, just shot straight off like a skier down a mountain’. ‘It can be fixed’, said Carl. Do you ever feel like stabbing an optimist? Carl got down on his hands and knees and used two metal spatulas to gently lift the deflated top layer off the floor.  It hadn’t actually come into contact with the floor as part of it still had the bottom layer under it and the other bit was protected by berries.  The salvaged section was carefully placed onto another platter and put into the fridge. The dogs were brought into the kitchen for a breakfast only dreams are made of and with their wagging tails and smacking lips they knew all their Christmases had come at once. When it came time to serve the dessert, Carl brought out the camera and showed them the photos.  And while they were still salivating over the images, I knocked them back into reality by producing a single-layered, battered and deflated cake.  And they were very kind about it!   

The bottom layer covered in cream and berries

The bottom layer covered in cream and berries before disaster struck

If you make this, either carry it carefully or smear a little whipped cream onto the serving dish then put the first layer down on that bit of cream.  This will help the cake adhere to the platter and help avoid tears in the kitchen. IMG_1595Hazelnut Meringue Torte Serves:  6-8 Degree of Difficulty:  3/5 Cost:  This really is just a few eggs with nuts and sugar.  You can decorate it with any berries you like so best to use whatever is in season.  Blueberries are reasonably priced at the moment but raspberries are highway robbery. Begin this recipe a day ahead.

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups ground hazelnuts
  • 300mls (.6 of a pint) of whipping cream
  • fresh berries

Pre-heat oven to 150C (300F). Grease 2 x 20cm (8 inch) springform pans with butter then line with baking paper. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Beat in half the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.  Fold in the remaining sugar and nuts with a metal spoon, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Divide between cake tins and place in the oven for 40 minutes.  (The cakes should be dry and crisp on the top). Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack and when cool, remove the paper. Whip cream and smear a little on the serving plate.  Place one cake on the smeared platter.  Cover cake in half the cream and decorate with berries.  Place remaining cake on top of the berries.  Cover in remaining cream.  Decorate with berries.  Place in fridge until ready to serve.  (Cake will be at its best if left in fridge for around 12 hours). IMG_1593If you liked this post, you’re welcome to share it.


  1. Yep. That’s one of my worst nightmares right there! I bet it still tasted fab even though it was just a single layer! xx

  2. Ah!… but happy end at the end in the kitchen. Seems so delicious and also so beautiful… even on the floor too 🙂 Thank you, love, nia

  3. Oh such beautiful ‘before’ pictures…yes you would want to stab something after that happening, but all credit to Carl for coming to the rescue (and your girls were happy pups!).

  4. Oh Charlie!! That really was an excellent but horrifying story (and playing catch up on blog posts I was fortunately not to have to wait long for it!). I can only imagine your despair…and the dogs’ joy. You did well to save the top layer and at least you got the beautiful photographs first, so there are some positives!

  5. You will laugh about this someday! Looked lovely before and after 🙂

  6. Carl to the rescue!! Love that your dogs got a piece of the action too! Great looking cake Charlie, the before AND after 🙂 xx

  7. Oh no! That’s the worst! Glad you were able to grab some photos before disaster struck, though. It is a beautiful dessert.

  8. I am hearing your scream all the way in New York. That’s one of a hostess’ worst nightmares, glad Karl came to the rescue and all ended well. If you didn’t tell, no one would know it was not meant to be only one layer.

  9. Lordy! Happens, though. A potato salad I made for my engagement party in 1977 ended up in a similar position. It was salvaged too (fortunately my floor was SPOTLESS). Your cake is beautiful… and the photos… jaw dropping! xo

  10. This is one of those times in the blogging universe you wish you could put your arms through the screen and give a big hug, Charlie! I would have cried as well.. as I was reading the words I was thinking.. “ooohhh… noooo.. ” as I could guess what would happen next! And I think you’ve got the most awesome husband to have thought to pick up the layer! I think if you hadn’t shown your guests, they’d have never have known it was a newly made cake. I love that this one is gluten-free.. I’m not celiac, but find my tummy much happier without gluten. Your original cake is stunning!!xx

  11. What a beautiful cake, even after it was salvaged. And what a story. You will always remember this dinner party.

  12. Oh no! I can only imagine what kinds of things would have come flying out of my mouth if it were me. So glad one layer was able to be saved. The photos are lovely too.

  13. Oh Charlie, that’s awful! It’s nice that you were able to salvage part of it though!

  14. Awww no, at least there was cake still being served by the end of it! Better than no cake at all!

  15. My scream would have shattered glass. At least the top layer was still salvageable … gotta give credit to the optimist in the family (yay Carl).

  16. it looks yummy!

  17. Oh no Charlie! Sooooo frustrating indeed, and I think you showed great restraint in not stabbing anyone. I once dropped boxes containing 2 dozen Lemon tarts I’d just finished baking- it wasn’t pretty. The neighbors were happy with their slightly squished goodies, but I had to start from scratch too get my orders out to my clients. I feel your pain sweetie, and I’m so glad you could salvage something. Anyway after that crackle I’m sure your guests know you’re a star 🙂 xox

  18. I have shared this post because it’s hilarious to me, so sorry–but the statement “do you ever feel like stabbing an optimist” nearly knocked ME on the floor. 🙂 This is a great dessert and I’m so gld you had your photos taken before the incident. I have several friends avoiding gluten, so I love sharing the recipes. ox

  19. You should have just kept quiet and pretended that’s how it was meant to me. I’m sure it still tasted wonderful. It just meant you needed a bigger slice! I probably would have cried and Will would have been just like Carl saying ‘it will be fine.’

  20. omg! As I was reading, I screamed at the same time you did and startled my pups!!! Honestly, I can’t believe you salvaged it and retopped it to look so pretty!! The most perfect hostess is one who can present any disaster as though nothing happened!! And you are definitely the perfect hostess!! A funny one too!!

  21. What a save, Charlie! I would have freaked!!! I’m certain your battered dessert was still darn tasty. I especially envious of your dogs…lucky fellas 🙂

  22. G’day! Yes ONE DAY you will laugh at this, true!
    I am sure your re-created dessert tasted great too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  23. At least you got the pics! One day, you will laugh but I can’t imagine how upsetting this must have been.

  24. What a bummer, but I love how you manage to pull it off! The pictures are lovely and the beginning cake and the final cake both look delicious. I’ve never seen a cake made of just hazelnuts, egg whites and sugar. What a great cake!

  25. I am sure it still tasted seriously delicious, but you held it together so well!
    Happens to the best of us!


  26. You are one talented baker, Charlie! You would do well to hone up your balancing skills but, as a baker, you’re just incredible. Even after the mishap, that torte looked fantastic, far better than anything I’d create. You’ve real talent here.

  27. That is devastating. It was a good save. Personally I probably would have served both halves and kept quiet about it.

  28. I’m laughing so hard I’m crying.

    “What happened?” LOL

    “It can be fixed.” even bigger LOL

    You poor darling after working that hard. I should have been there to give you a hug. You would have needed one.

  29. Oh dear! That’s the sort of thing I would do. Actually I did do that once when I was making a cheesecake and we couldn’t pick up half of it, it was alas totally not fit for consumption. Well done saving it!

  30. This looks so delicious.

  31. Oh, Charlie, poor you. I would have screamed as well. At least you saved it and the result was beautiful.

  32. Sorry this happened, but you tell it in such a funny way! One of the things I always liked about Julia Child is she frequently said that no matter what happens in the kitchen, only you need to know about it. Obviously Carl takes her creed to heart! Fun post – thanks.

  33. Oh my, what a story! It’s a good thing you had Carl to help you salvage the cake…after all, it certainly was the 10 second rule! I have never been quite that fortunate, when I cook or bake the floor becomes a mess and JT doesn’t usually sweep and steam it until after I’m entirely done! Glad it worked out in the end.
    It certainly does look like a lovely gluten free cake.

  34. What a shame! At least you got photos before disaster struck. Great save too. There is always a silver lining and that was for the dogs this time.

  35. Awww poor you Charlie it’s happened to me before! But it still looks awesome and there’s always a 10 second rule so don’t worry I bet it still taste awesome 🙂

  36. Because I don’t make cakes enough I didn’t even think that this could happen. I should be extra careful next time… If/when this happens, I think I’d just quick making cakes being depressed! Poor Charlie, but glad you captured the beautiful torte!

  37. A hostess’ worst nightmare… but you were great at problem solving!

  38. Oh, Charlie,I’m laughing with you because I have broken more than one cake/dessert. One, when I had my bakery/restaurant and had just called the woman to come pick up her custom cake..another when I lived at home and we were expecting guests.I, too, salvaged the unspoiled part and served it sliced…and I would have gotten away with it had my sister not made an exaggerated version of what happened the night’s entertainment!
    I am so glad you saved some of this.I LOVE hazelnuts,,,great recipe!

  39. WHEW, that was some quick thinking! Glad you were able to salvage some if your tart at least! It was beautiful! I’m wondering if I could use pecans almonds for this? I am starting the “Blood Type Diet” and I can only have certain kinds of nuts…

  40. Well even the single layer was gorgeous! And what do you mean you’re not a torte magician? I think you work plenty of magic! 😉

  41. Could I ice this cake all over? Would there be an issue with the cake “breathing”?

    • Hi Heather, Happy New Year! You definitely can ice the cake all over but the crunchy shell of the meringue will become softened. It’s really up to you how you want to present the meringue – either soft or a little crispy.


  1. […] a batch of Lorraine’s Lemon Curd. Quite by chance I had made Hotly Spiced’s Hazelnut Meringue Torte and had 6 yolks left over so I was very happy when Not Quite Nigella’s 2014 round up post […]

  2. […] first saw this torte over on Charlie’s blog Hotly Spiced and if you hop over there you’ll find a hilarious back story to what happened when she made […]

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