italian hazelnut cake in pan

Italian Hazelnut Cake from the Bleu Ribbon Kitchen

The Newest Kitchen Chick: Sydney Anderson

Blonde woman in kitchenToday, we’d like to introduce you to a fellow Kitchen Chick, Sydney Anderson. Sydney is from Texas and currently studies at Le Cordon Bleu. She is a fabulous baker and can make ANYTHING taste delicious. (Trust us! We’ve had her pecan pie and it’s to die for!) As head baker for a dallas-area bakery, Sydney has perfected her process down to a literal science, so when she presented the idea of baking for Kitchen Chicks, we JUMPED on the opportunity. How could we not?

“I asked one of my mentors, Chef Choe, for the best dessert recipe in the Bleu Ribbon Kitchen files and he suggested the Italian Hazelnut Cake,” said Sydney during one of our kitchen chats. Chef Choe was right! You guys are going to LOVE this recipe. This cake is delightful and comes with a simple syrup topping that was perfect! We ate the entire pan in one sitting. Feeling fat later was totally worth it for this warm and comforting cake. Not only is the taste perfectly balanced, the difficulty level is not advanced. Anyone with a bit of experience should be able to make this cake and love the outcome.

NOTE: If you’re interested in making this recipe at Le Cordon Bleu, make sure to check out the school’s Italian Series Workshops.

A little bit of info on the hazelnuts in this recipe

Something to remember about this recipe is that you will need toasted hazelnuts to make this work. You can toast the hazelnuts in the oven (which takes a bit longer) or in a pan. The shells should start to crack a bit and the color will be a slightly darker brown. Then, add them to the flour according the recipe.

“When they start to smell toasty, they’re toasted” – Sydney

toasted hazelnuts process

The Bleu Ribbone Kitchen Italian Hazelnut Cake Recipe

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, divided
  • 8 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 zest of an orange
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

How to Make the Cake

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour an 8 x 2.5 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. (We used a bread pan and the result was still great!)

STEP 2: Place the flour, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor; pulse the machine a few times to begin grinding the nuts and then run it until the hazelnuts are finely ground into the flour (about 30 – 45 seconds). Set aside. It should look something like this:

How to grind hazelnuts into flour

Step 3:  Finely chop the remaining 1/4 cup of toasted hazelnuts and set aside.

Step 4: Using a stand mixer with a peddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar (You can use a hand mixer and a bowl if you do not have a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier). Mix on medium speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy (or about 3 – 4 minutes).

Step 5: Reduce the speed to low and start to incorporate the eggs, and the egg yolk, one at a time ensuring that they are completely incorporated into the mixture between each addition. You may need to scrap the sides of the bowl to make this happen, chicks.  Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix to combine. (Never zested an orange? See below).

zesting an orange

Step 6: With the mixer set on low, add in the flour and hazelnut mixture in three parts,  and the milk in two parts, alternating with the milk, and beginning and ending with the flour. (In other words: flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).  Mix until the batter is just combined, then stir in the remaining chopped hazelnuts (from step 3).

Step 7: Pour your batter into the prepared cake pan, and baked for about 30 minutes. The cake should set and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the middle.

Step 8: While the cake is baking, prepare the simple syrup.  Add simple syrup to the top of the warm cake.

Step 9: Once the cake cools, remove it from pan and set on a serving dish (if you can wait that long. We couldn’t!)

italian hazelnut cake in pan

Ingredients for the simple syrup

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs of water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs orange liqueur (we used orange extract and it worked just fine)

How to make the simple syrup

Step 1: Place a small pot over medium-high heat with the and sugar. Bring up to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the liqueur or extract. Leave to cool.

Step 3: Once the cake comes out of the oven, brush the simple syrup on top while the cake is still warm. Set the cake aside and let it cool completely

hazelnut cake glaze

Optional (but recommended because it was awesome)

After the cake cools,  dust the top with powder sugar to your likely and then EAT!

blonde chef in kitchen with bread

italian hazelnut cake loaf cut

slice of italian hazelnut cake edited

Fast and Easy Chicken Stir Fry

Fast and Easy Chicken Stir Fry

If you’re like me, you’ve been pinching a few pennies to get ready for school to start.  I’ve really been trying to eat at home to cut out the expense of eating at a restaurant. It’s easy to get in a rut and say, “Let’s just go out to eat.”  While eating out is easier and can be fun, doing a lot of it is hard on your pocketbook and not always as nutritious.  So my husband and I decided to start planning our meals at home.  You know what?  We think they taste better too! Continue reading

Cheesy Crock pot pork chops

Cheesy Crock Pot Pork Chops

Do you ever have one of those days when you look in your refrigerator and sigh.  That was my day yesterday.  I knew I needed to go grocery shopping, but I just didn’t have the energy.  So, I began looking through my refrigerator and pantry for something to make for supper.  Here’s what I found: Continue reading

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

3 Smoothies You Shouldn’t Miss!

I’ve been feeling so bloated, stuffed and heavy since I’ve been off this summer. It’s been fun, but it’s time to get back on track. I decided that what I needed to do is start a new regimen for when I go back to school, so I checked out the book More Smoothies For Life from the library.   This book talks a lot about how certain foods help you digest and get proper nutrition. And, of course, it has a lot of great smoothie recipes. Here are 3 you shouldn’t miss!

This delicious shake was taken from the book More Smoothies For LifeIt has a deliciously tropical taste and keeps you full all day long.

  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  •  2 Tablespoons coconut oil

This was absolutely delicious.  My husband slurped this right down without even knowing how healthy it was.  🙂

This smoothie tastes like an oatmeal cookie.  It gives you that great oatmeal fiber and like the first one, keeps you full all day long.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seed
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Not only does this smoothie taste great, but the flax seed is helpful in keeping a healthy prostate for the guy in your life.

 Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
 Orange Vanilla Smoothie This last smoothie is an orangey, sweet drink that even your kids will like.  It’s packed with vitamin C and gives your day a real kick in the pants.


  • 1 can mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup ice

Throw all of the ingredients into the blender and whir until smooth.  It’s really got to be almost fun in the mornings putting together these nutritious and wonderful tasting drinks.

I would highly recommend More Smoothies For Life.  Although I didn’t follow the recipes exactly, she provides great food information and also provides a nutrition label for each smoothie.  My plan is to drink a smoothie every morning and for lunch eat fresh vegies and an egg for protein and then a sensible dinner.  Here’s to better health–for ALL of us!

Continue reading

Chocolate PB Smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

If you’re looking for a smoothie that will fill you up and keep you that way for several hours, this is the smoothie for you.  It has the added benefit of chocolate and peanut butter and is packed with protein to keep you moving.  The recipe is made with protein powder, so depending upon the brand that you use, you may have a slight after taste.  To me it tasted like a chocolate shake, but my husband couldn’t get past the slightly bitter after taste.  However you feel about that, I do promise, you WILL feel full.  This protein packed shake has got it all!  I drank a cup of coffee with mine and it went perfectly with the chocolaty flavor. Continue reading