Does that hazelnut oil in the picture look familiar to you? That’s right! You saw it in my Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies where I lavishly praised its name. Hazelnut oil is simply too good to let sit unused in the refrigerator, so I wanted to put it to use. And since I love the flavor of hazelnuts, why not make it something really hazelnutty? If you’re a hazelnut fan like I am, you’re going to love this cake! It combines just the right amount of orange and chocolate to still allow the hazelnut to shine through as the starring (and might I add, oscar-winning) character.
Oh, and did I mention that this Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Bread is made with 100% whole grain flour? Yep, and you won’t be any less “wowed” by it! Quite the contrary, the rich earthiness of the whole wheat or spelt flour combines beautifully with the hazelnuts to bring you a truly delicious treat.
Hazelnuts are grown commercially here in Washington and in Oregon. Evidence has been found on the island of Colonsay near Scotland that hazelnuts were cultivated at least as far back as 7000 BC. Hazelnuts are also known as Filberts, the name believed to have come from St. Philibert’s Day (August 20) because it is around that time that hazelnuts mature. Some historians believe that the name derived from the German vollbart, meaning full beard, an image resembling the appearance of the husked shell of the hazelnut.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. They also contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy fats, and are especially high in vitamin B6 (essential for red blood cell and protein metabolism and immune health) and thiamine (essential for cardiac health).
Combine these beautiful nuts with chocolate and orange and a few other ingredients and just look at this gorgeous outcome!
Ready to make this Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Bread?
Then let’s get to it!
Grind the hazelnuts (use raw hazelnuts for maximum flavor).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and brown sugar.
Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs, hazelnut oil, and vanilla extract.
Beat until combined.
Zest the orange.
Add the zest and buttermilk and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture.
Use a rubber spatula to combine the mixture. Some lumps of flour will remain and that’s okay.
Use the rubber spatula to fold in the ground hazelnuts.
Next, prepare the topping & swirl mixture. Chop the hazelnuts.
Combine the chopped hazelnuts with the chocolate chips, brown sugar, and flour.
Spread 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan.
Sprinkle evenly with half of the topping & swirl mixture.
Add the remaining batter on top.
Spread the batter out evenly using a rubber spatula.
Sprinkle with the remaining topping & swirl mixture.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean but moist. Be careful not to over-bake or the cake will be dry. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
And don’t forget to check out these delicious Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies:
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup ground hazelnuts
- 2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For Topping & Swirl Mixture:
- ⅓ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs, hazelnut oil, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add the orange zest and buttermilk and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until combined. Stir in the ground hazelnuts.
- Prepare the swirl mixture by combining all ingredients.
- Pour ⅔ of the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle evenly with ½ of the swirl mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and spread with a rubber spatula to even it out. Sprinkle with the remaining swirl mixture and gently press it into the batter.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean but moist. Be careful not to over-bake or the bread will be dry.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.