~by Becky Winkler
Hi, I’m Becky, writer, photographer, and recipe tester at A Calculated Whisk. I love to use real food ingredients to create surprisingly delicious gluten-free and Paleo meals and desserts. I’m so excited to be sharing this grain-free Nutella Coffee Cake here on Healthy Aperture today!
I was an early childhood teacher for six years, so the back-to-school season holds a bit of nostalgia for me. Many of my kindergarteners either ate the breakfast provided by the school, which was usually something like juice, milk, and waffles or sugary cereal, or brought some “breakfast” from home, which was made up of several processed foods in different packages with plenty of added sugar. I even had a six-year-old show up one morning with an extra large coke from Burger King. I know it can be hard to get kids excited about waking up early again for school, but I think knowing this Nutella coffee cake awaits them will put a little pep in their step. In fact, I think once they try a bite, they’ll be much more excited about it than any of the packaged treats kids often yearn for. I wish I’d developed this recipe while I was still teaching—perhaps I could have instituted a swap in which my students could trade in an unhealthy snack for a piece of this wholesome cake.
I remember the first time I tried Nutella. I was 16, and was spending three weeks in Germany as part of a high school exchange trip. Everyone was talking about this chocolate hazelnut spread that I’d never heard of. I didn’t think it sounded like anything special, but by the end of the trip, I was buying little containers of it at almost every store I saw. The stuff is really good.
More recently, when I was planning to make some Nutella cookies in March, I had a hard time finding a store in my neighborhood that sold it. When I finally got my hands on a jar, I was so excited. I made it into some truly addictive cookies, but also took a look at the ingredients list, something I was not in the habit of doing as a high schooler. Spoiler alert: the first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil. That’s okay for the occasional indulgence, but I vowed to make my own the next time I wanted to cook with Nutella.
The Paleo Nutella I made for this coffee cake is darker, richer, more chocolaty, and less sweet than the original. I much prefer it, but then again, I’m a dark chocolate girl. And, of course, this recipe will work with whatever kind of chocolate hazelnut spread you have on hand. If you use store-bought Nutella, you can still feel good about the wholesome ingredients in the cake itself. If you choose to make my Paleo Nutella, you’ll have some extra, which is great for eating straight from the food processor, dipping fruit in, or spreading on toast for a to-go breakfast.
Which reminds me—I should tell you about the coffee cake! It’s basically my ideal breakfast treat. I highly recommend using ghee, since it infuses every bite with its beguilingly nutty flavor (check out this post to see how I make ghee—I use plain ghee for this recipe). Notes of vanilla, the cake’s moist crumb, and the big swirls of nutella make this an irresistible way to start the day or a wonderful mid-day treat. No kid would object to finding a piece of this in his or her lunchbox!
Nutella Coffee Cake
Yield: 16 small servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
1 3/4 cups almond flour, lightly packed
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil
3/4 cup turbinado sugar or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk of choice (I used almond)
1/3 cup Paleo Nutella (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond and tapioca flours, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted ghee, butter, or oil with the sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond or coconut milk, and beat until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix well, and transfer to the prepared pan.
Spoon the nutella over the top of the batter in three or four parallel strips, then use a knife to draw several lines perpendicular to the stripes of Nutella, creating a marbled pattern.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until just set. Cool completely in the pan, then slice into squares and serve.
Nutella coffee cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
1 cup hazelnuts, raw or toasted
2 tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for several minutes. The nuts will first become hazelnut flour and then hazelnut butter. The butter does not need to be totally smooth. Add the ghee or coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and salt and pulse until well-mixed. Finally, add the melted chocolate and pulse again.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups. If you make the Paleo Nutella ahead of time and store it in the fridge, it will harden. Warm it gently in the microwave or over very low heat to smooth it out before eating it or adding it to the coffee cake batter.