1 and 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup unflavored bread crumbs
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
Note: Toasted almonds can be used to make this cake as well.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, 163 degrees Celsius.
Place the toasted hazelnuts with the bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse until finely ground with some chunky pieces remaining. Traditionally, the nuts should be ground very finely. It all depends on your preference. I like to see some chunky pieces of hazelnuts throughout the cake.
Place the ground hazelnuts in a bowl and mix in the corn starch, flour, and salt. Mix well to combine.
Whip the egg whites on high speed using a table top mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. This can also be done with a had held electric mixer.
As the egg whites are whipping slowly pour in half a cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip on high speed until the mixture becomes thick and glossy, or until stiff peaks form.
Transfer the meringue (egg white and sugar mixture) into a large bowl.
Place the egg yolks and remaining half cup of sugar in the same table top mixer bowl fitted with the same whisk attachment.
It is important to whisk the egg whites before the yolks. This will save on cleanup time. If the egg yolks are whipped first, then the bowl and whisk must be cleaned before whipping the egg whites or they will not thicken.
Whip the egg yolks and sugar on high speed until pale yellow and thick.
Fold in a quarter of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it up.
Gently add the yolk mixture to the meringue bowl. Fold it in a little at a time while adding in the nut mixture.
Do not overmix. Once all of the nuts are incorporated and no more white pockets of meringue remain it s ready.
Brush a half sheet baking pan (18 inches by 13 inches) with melted butter and line with a sheet of parchment paper.
Pour all of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top is light and golden and the sides are pulling away from the pan.
Run a knife or icing spatula all around the cake to release it from the sides of pan and cool completely in the pan.
Place a sheet of parchment on the counter and dust with confectioner's sugar.
Depan the cake onto the confectioner's sugar and carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. The parchment paper that it was baked on.
At this point, the cake can be decorated with your favorite icing, jam, ganache, or cut into squares and served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
This cake may be stored in the freezer up t 2 weeks. If storing in the freezer, wrap very well with plastic so that the cake does not absorb any odors.