Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Torte excerpted from The Vegan Bridge: Expanding Plant-Based Cuisine by Romain Avril and Richelle Tablang. Photography by Igor M. Aldomar.

The Vegan Bridge: Expanding Plant-Based Cuisine by Romain Avril and Richelle Tablang.

For the meat-eater looking to incorporate vegetarian options into their repertoire; for the novice chef trying to develop new techniques; for the home cook who wants to dazzle with recipes that are bold, flavourful, and totally unique – French-trained chefs Romain Avril and Richelle Tablang want to introduce you to the Vegan Bridge.

From simple snacks and sides that add a vegan twist to a flexible meal, to show-stopping vegan mains that will captivate vegetarians and omnivores alike, Romain and Richelle demonstrate how incorporating vegan meals into everyday life can be done easily, without sacrificing taste or presentation.

Everyday staples like Vegetable Chips, Garlic Roasted Chickpeas, and an array of dips, smoothies, and salads provide the perfect entry-point for cooks of all skill levels, while impressive entrées like Chive Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms Florentine, Deep-Fried Tomatillo Tacos, and Cauliflower Tikka Masala bridge the gap between a garden-variety meal and plant-based perfection.

Including over 100 recipes in all, along with menu plans, pantry and kitchen tips, and unique insights from two accomplished chefs, The Vegan Bridge is an essential guide to integrating vegan cooking into your meals.

The Vegan Bridge: Expanding Plant-Based Cuisine by Romain Avril and Richelle Tablang is available at, and     

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Torte

Although classified as a cake, a torte has a richer, denser texture and flavour profile, relying less on flour and more on ground nuts. Slathered with chocolate ganache, you’re really indulging in decadence with this one! But hey, we threw some bananas in, so . . . that makes it healthy, right?

Makes one 8-inch (20 cm) torte

1¼ cups (310 mL) hazelnut flour
11/3 cups (330 mL) all-purpose flour
½ Tbsp (7 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1½ cups (375 mL) mashed fresh bananas (about 4½ medium- to-large bananas), divided
+ 1 ripe banana
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon zest
1¾ cups (435 mL) aquafaba
1-1/3 cups (330 mL) sugar, divided
½ tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 oz (30 g) Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60 mL) hazelnuts, toasted, for garnish
¼ cup (60 mL) banana chips, for garnish hazelnut

Pastry Cream
2¾ cups (685 mL) almond milk
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
5 Tbsp (75 mL) corn starch
2 Tbsp (30 mL) melted cocoa butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) hazelnut praline paste (see note)

Chocolate Ganache

1¼ cups (310 mL) coconut cream (full fat)
1 cup (250 mL) dark chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line four 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.

In a large frying pan, gently toast the hazelnut flour over low heat, stirring often, until it turns a soft golden brown. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, toasted hazelnut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, add ½ cup (125 mL) mashed bananas and stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the aquafaba and whip on medium speed until it becomes foamy. Gently sprinkle in 2/3 cup (160 mL) sugar and the cream of tartar until medium- stiff peaks form.

Scoop a quarter of the aquafaba meringue into the mashed banana mixture and stir to combine. Scoop half the remaining meringue into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together. Gently add the banana mixture to the batter, continuing to fold. Finally, add the remaining the meringue and fold until just combined.

Divide the batter equally into the 4 pans and bake for about 20–25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pans.

In a small pot over high heat, combine 1 cup (250 mL) water and the remaining sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, to create a syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, then stir in the liqueur. Cover the pot with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Hazelnut Pastry Cream

In a medium pot, bring the almond milk, sugar and corn starch to a boil. Continue to cook, whisking continu- ously, for 2–4 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the melted cocoa butter and hazelnut paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

In a medium pot, carefully heat the coconut cream over low heat until just simmering; stir often to ensure it does not burn. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 2 minutes before stirring gently (you want to fully emulsify the ganache without incorporating too many air bubbles). Let the ganache cool completely, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Before use, remove from the fridge and use a hand mixer to whip to a spreadable consistency.

Banana Leather

Preheat oven to 76°C (170°F). Peel the ripe banana and purée in a high-speed blender. Spread the banana paste thinly on a silicon baking mat and bake for about 4 hours, or until tacky and easy to peel off the mat. (If you are using a dehydrator, thinly spread the banana on a silicon baking mat and set to 54°C/130°F for 6–8 hours, until you can peel it off easily, then transfer the banana to mesh dehydrator sheets and dry for another 2–4 hours.)


Just before building the cake, add the remaining 1 cup (250 mL) bananas to a bowl and mix in the lemon juice.

Place the first layer of cake down on a cake board or stand. Using a brush, soak the layer with the brandy syrup. Spread a layer of hazelnut pastry cream overtop with an offset spatula, followed by an even layer consisting of a third of the bananas and lemon juice.

Add the second layer of cake on top of the first, repeating the process, then repeat again with the third layer. Top with the final layer of cake. Spread the whipped chocolate ganache on the sides of the cake to enclose it. If the icing gets too soft, place it (or the whole cake) back in the fridge to firm, then continue.

Save some ganache and transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a medium- to-large star tip. Pipe rosettes on top of the cake and garnish with banana leather (arranged however you like), toasted hazelnuts and banana chips.

NOTE: If you do not have easy access to hazelnut praline paste or do not want to make your own: Crush and toast ¼ cup (60 mL) hazelnuts, then throw them in a medium pot with the almond milk. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover with a lid and steep for 20 minutes at room temperature. Strain out the hazelnuts and use the infused milk in place of traditional almond milk for the pastry cream, making sure to add more milk for any lost during the cooking process.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Whitecap Books.

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