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Gluten-Free, Paleo, Diabetic-Friendly Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

I currently live in Bombay and work as a freelance photographer and writer. My interests vary from organic farming to natural health.

Follow the recipe below for this hazelnut chocolate cake!

Follow the recipe below for this hazelnut chocolate cake!

How Can a Cake Be Diabetic-Friendly?

About a year ago, my husband, my mother-in-law, and I decided to go paleo. Paleo is a dietary choice that aims to eliminate things like grains, sugars, and dairy products. It's supposed to be an effort to eat like cavemen in the Paleolithic era did: lots of veggies, nuts, and meat.

While many sweet dishes that aren't just fruit are usually not strictly paleo, most of us allow ourselves a sweet indulgence once in a while. During my family's experimentation, we developed this adapted version of a German hazelnut cake that doesn't contain grains, only nuts and eggs.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

1 hour

1 hour 10 min

1 medium-sized round cake

The ingredients for the cake

The ingredients for the cake


  • 4 eggs, organic
  • 150 grams hazelnut, ground
  • 80 grams coconut pulp, dried
  • 120 grams coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, organic extract
  • 1 bar pure dark chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Ingredient Notes

This recipe was made for a medium-sized springform pan. But you can easily vary the quantity using this simple ratio: Use 50 to 60 grams of nuts/egg and 30 to 40 grams of sugar/egg.

As you see, we have substituted some of the hazelnuts with dried coconut pulp, a by-product of making fresh coconut milk at home. This makes our cake a bit less fatty and a bit more economic since we get to add in another nutritious resource.


  1. Separate the egg whites carefully from the egg yolks.
  2. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla in a big bowl.
  3. Mix your hazelnuts and coconut pulp, and keep them ready.
  4. When the egg whites are very stiff, put them on top of your sugary egg yolks. Now drop the hazelnut mix on top.
  5. Carefully fold the nuts into the whites, and make sure that all the ingredients get mixed well. Be careful not to mix too vigorously; otherwise, your egg whites will collapse. You might need to add some sugar to your whites when beating them. If you do, don't use coconut sugar because it can make your whites break!
  6. Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F).
  7. Line your springform pan with baking paper. Fill the pan with the dough, and use a spoon to create an even surface. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 180°C (355°F). Use a wooden toothpick to determine if the cake is ready. Prick it in the center, and if no dough sticks to the pick, the cake is done.
  8. Let the cake cool, and add chocolate icing. You can add "icing" by melting some dark chocolate (75% or above) and drizzling it on the cooled-down cake for some extra chocolaty indulgence.

Photo Guide

Here's what the beaten egg whites should look like.

Here's what the beaten egg whites should look like.

Ready to go in the oven

Ready to go in the oven

Finished and beautiful!

Finished and beautiful!

A Cake for My Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law used to be a severe diabetic, taking three different medications and an injection every day and had her sugar levels running out of control nevertheless. When we switched to paleo, she finally managed to control her diabetes. She is currently only on half a pill a day with mostly superb sugar levels!

Nevertheless, for occasions like birthdays and the lot, we were looking for something sweet and sinful that would be tasty—but not send her sugar levels through the roof. And we happily ended up with this hazelnut (with optional chocolate) coconut cake, which is now an all-time favourite.

Coconut sugar claims to have a much lower glycemic index than other sugars.

Coconut sugar claims to have a much lower glycemic index than other sugars.

How We Manage the Sugar

Part of the secret is that we use a lower amount of coconut sugar than most recipes call for. By now, we find regular recipes far too sweet, anyway. The coconut sugar we use is said to have a lower glycemic index (and thus has a gentler impact on my mother-in-law's sugar levels). And it pairs nicely with the recipe because of its caramel-like flavour.

If you are diabetic, you should still treat this cake as a dessert and be aware that it will raise your sugar. But it is far superior to anything you will find ready-made. Though I'm not a master baker, the taste has been superb every single time I've made this, and it is a truly simple cake to bake. Have fun baking!


I hope you enjoyed this recipe. You could easily vary it by adding cocoa powder, coffee, honey, or other nuts. Share your favourite variations with us!

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