Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Very Nutty Chocolate Orange Cake

Large Cakes | 20th February 2010 | By

What, I have been wondering this week, would go well with the black bottom cupcake frosting that I didn’t use last week. Whilst perusing Linda Collister’s Divine, I found a recipe that would be just the thing: a nut cake. I would be making it on Valentine’s Day after all and CT is particularly fond of nuts. So, for the last few days I have been imagining the house filled with the scent of roasting hazelnuts. So picture my disappointment when I came to make it – I had forgotten to buy any hazelnuts – bah! Luckily, I had some cashews in stock so I substituted those instead – not quite such a wonderful aroma, but beggars can’t be choosers. Not being too fond of coffee, I decided to replace it with orange as the flavouring. I also used a different preparation method to the one in the book. In short, the recipe was an inspiration rather than an exact copy. The cake was not meant to be iced either, but well, that was the point after all.

This is what I did:
  • Roasted 100g cashew nuts in the oven at 160C (gas 3) for just over 5 mins until golden and left to cool.
  • Melted 100g spicy orange chocolate (I used co-op’s fairtrade version) with 125g unsalted butter. Stirred and left to cool slightly.
  • Whisked 2 duck eggs (hoorah they’re back) with 125g soft brown sugar until thick and creamy.
  • Sifted in 50g wholemeal spelt and 1/2 tsp baking powder and folded in.
  • Ground cashew nuts and added these in.
  • Finely chopped (but not ground) 100g walnuts and added these.
  • Added 1 tbsp water and chocolate mixture and stirred to combine.
  • Spooned into a 22cm round cake thingie and baked at 160C (gas 3) for 35 mins.
  • Creamed 100g icing sugar with 50g unsalted butter until well incorporated.
  • Mixed in 125g ricotta cheese.
  • Spread on top of the cake and then dusted lightly with cocoa powder.

I was so right, the chocolatey crunchy nut cake and the cream cheese icing was a great combination. In fact, I was really pleased with this creation. Using cashew nuts worked absolutely fine. I now have a good excuse for making this again to see if it is even better (is this possible?) with hazelnuts. The cake was cooked to perfection – not something I always achieve – evenly cooked but beautifully moist. It also tasted quite delicious. CT was duly impressed. Five days on, the cake tasted even better – it certainly keeps well.


  1. Kath

    20th February 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Looks absolutely gorgeous, lucky CT. Glad it all worked out so well, despite the lack of hazelnuts. I love the big chunks of cashew in that slice.

  2. Suelle

    20th February 2010 at 5:38 pm

    That looks lovely Choclette, particularly with the dusting of cocoa on the white frosting. I’ll be interested in what you think if you make it with hazelnuts, as to me they taste a lot more distinctive than cashews.

  3. katkats kitchen

    20th February 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Oh my I have a serious problem with this before I make it…………. I am drooling all over my keyboard.

  4. Choclette

    20th February 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Kath, we are both seriously impressed with this cake. Although the chunks you can see are the walnuts – the cashews I ground up.

    Suelle – Yes, I agree with you. The ground cashews gave a good texture to the cake, but they didn’t give a particularly distinctive flavour. The walnuts more than compensated for this though.

    Katkat – don’t recommend drooling over your keyboard, but having just had a look at your latest chocolate creation it is hard to stop one’s mouth watering.

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    20th February 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I think you could really count this as an original recipe, Choclette – you’ve practically rebuilt it from scratch! 🙂

    I adore baking with duck eggs and have never thought to use ricotta as an icing before, great idea!

  6. Lucie

    21st February 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I love cashew nuts, combined with chocolate and orange I am sure this was divine! Lucie x

  7. ARUNA

    22nd February 2010 at 4:29 am

    It is gorgeous n tempting!

  8. The Caked Crusader

    22nd February 2010 at 8:56 am

    I do that – take a recipe as a starting point and add what I like to it! Your cake looks lovely

  9. Choclette

    22nd February 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Aruna – thank you, it’s amazing we managed to make it last the week.

    Caked Crusader – it’s more fun that way!

  10. Chele

    22nd February 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Looks pretty good to me I have to say. I reckon the best recipes are the ones you make to suit your own needs.

  11. Fimère

    24th February 2010 at 9:37 pm

    un très joli blog et de magnifiques recettes moi qui adore et qui suis fan de chocolat je trouve mon bonheur chez toi
    bonne soirée

  12. Choclette

    25th February 2010 at 7:21 am

    Chele – I agree with you

    Fimere – Merci bien pour visiter mon blog. L’amour du chocolat est mondiale.

  13. Natasha

    26th February 2010 at 6:40 am

    I like the sound of adding hazelnuts…yum!

    Best wishes,

  14. Mommy Gourmet

    27th February 2010 at 4:19 pm

    That looks amazing. AND you used on of my favorite flavor combo’s that I think is totally underrated, orange and chocolate!!yummmmm

  15. Choclette

    27th February 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Natasha – hazelnuts, especially when roasted are particularly good.

    Mommy Gourmet – I agree, a great flavour combination. I have used it quite a lot


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