Festive Apple Hazelnut Cake with Cinnnamon Crumble

Crumbly, creamy, cinnamony.

I love easy bakes full of flavor but quick to prepare, without a ton of steps to follow. However, there are occasions where something more soffisiticated is just the right thing to do. While watching a baking show, I came across this gorgeous combination of ingredients and textures, which tingled my baking nerve. The single components aren’t difficult to prepare and with the proper timing it won’t take long until you have a scrumptious festive cake to serve to your guests.

The recipe itself is long enough, therefore I won’t spend too much time writing non-recipe text 😉 . Just some quick notes on the ingredients you may wish to swap:

  • whole-grain flour: I wouldn’t swap this unless you are very experienced in swapping flours with -for example- a gluten free option.
  • hazelnuts: use the nuts you like but be aware that nuts with a more delicate flavour may “disappear” taste-wise.
  • Amaretto (or other spirit): you can replace this with any liquid you want.
  • apples: well, without apples it wouldn’t be an apple cake but you can for sure use pears or other fruits you like. Be careful to add enough starch to bind the juices, otherwise the cake will get soggy. And no one wants a soggy cake.
  • raisins: any other dried fruits you like is fine.
  • unfiltred apple juice: normal apple juice or any other liquid you think that suits well should work too.
  • cinnamon: feel free to experiment with the spices. Cardamom, anis seed or a Spekulatius mix…
  • mascarpone/ricotta: you can use 500g of just one of them or mix them in the proportion you like. Full fat quark may work too, but has a little bit of sourness. You can also try to replace them with (double) cream cheese (the one you use for cheesecake) but it may lose some of the “lightness” of the ricotta/mascarpone combination.

Again, don’t be afraid of the sheer number of ingredients and steps. You can prepare the different components on separate days if you feel it’s too much for a single day, and every component in itself is really easy to make. Have fun!


Cake Batter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 grams whole-grain flour
  • 125 grams icing sugar
  • 50 grams ground hazelnuts
  • 30 ml water
  • 30 ml Amaretto or other spirit of your choice
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
Apple Filling
  • 2 large aromatic apples, cut in small chunks
  • 20 grams butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 30 grams raisins (soak them in calvados or rhum for approx. 8 hours)
  • 225 ml unfiltred apple juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1,5 tbsps starch (like Maizena)
Mascarpone-Ricotta Cream
  • 250 grams mascarpone
  • 250 grams ricotta
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsps cream stabilizer
  • one vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Crumble
  • 100 grams butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 160 grams plain flour
  • 1,5 tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


Whole grain hazelnut cake base
  1. Preheat your oven to 2o0°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Whisk the eggs together with a pinch of salt and the icing sugar in a food processor at high speed for 5 minutes.
  3. At low speed add water, amaretto and the oil.
  4. Turn the food processor off and carefully incorporate he flour, baking powder and ground hazelnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture in the prepared cake tin and and bake about 30 minutes at 200°C.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit to cool down and firm up before removing from the tray.
  7. You can store the cake wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for a couple of days.
Apple Filling
  1. Roast the apple chunks in butter, add the sugar and the calvados or rhum you used to soak the raisins. Stir well and bring to boil.
  2. Mix the starch with 2 tbsp apple juice an mix well until smooth.
  3. Pour the remaining apple juice to the apple chunks and bring again to boil.
  4. Add the starch-apple juice mixture and cinnamon and stir well.
  5. Incorporate the raisins and let it cool.
  6. You can store the filling in a tupperware in the fridge for a couple of days.
Mascarpone-Ricotta Cream
  1. Mix mascarpone, ricotta, icing sugar and cream stabilizer to a smooth cream.
  2. Scrape the seads of the vanilla bean or add the vanilla extact into the cream and mix well.
  3. If the cream is not stiff enough add some additional cream stabilizer.
  4. Store the cream in the fridge until you need it.
Cinnamon Crumble
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Add flour, sugar, butter (cut into cubes), cinnamon and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Rub together with your fingertips until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
  3. Sprinkle the crumble on a baking traxy lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes or until nice and golden.
  5. Leave them to cool. You can do them in advance but they may become soft and lose the nice crumbly texture.
Assembling the cake
  1. Place the cake base back into the 20cm tin (it should have a lose bottom).
  2. Pour the apple filling on the base and spread it evenly.
  3. Do the same with the mascarpone-ricotta cream over the apple filling.
  4. Let the cake set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Before serving remove the cake tin, sprinkle the crumbles over the cake and dust with some icing sugar.


We did not calculate the macros for the cake because it’s quite annoying and it is usually eaten for a special occasion where calories should not matter. If they do, I would search in the calorie database for a cake having 400-500kCal per portion and that’s it.

Enjoy baking and let me know in the comments below how it turned out!

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