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

Nutty Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Icing

Nutty Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Topping.

Large Cakes | 20th February 2010 | By

This delicious nutty chocolate cake smothered with a mascarpone topping is wonderfully versatile. Roast and grind your favourite nuts, then choose what chocolate you want to pair them with. Enjoy it at morning break, for afternoon tea or even as dessert.

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 I thought would be just the thing: a nut cake. I needed it for Valentine’s Day and CT is particularly fond of nuts.

Nutty Chocolate Cake

So, for the last few days I’ve 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. Come to think of it, I’m incapable of following a recipe exactly anyway. The cake was not meant to be iced either, but well, that was the point of it after all.

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.



First thing is to roast the nuts. You can use whatever nuts you like. Almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and hazelnuts are all delicious. I mostly use cashews though as they give a nutty flavour and texture, but don’t overpower everything else. They’re also really easy to roast. Mostly because you don’t have to skin them as you do with hazelnuts.

So roast them for about eight minutes when they should be golden, but not too dark. Then blitz them. Don’t worry if there are different sized bits. It’s almost impossible to get a fine flour type consistency. And in any case, you want some texture in the cake. Really you do.

Roasted Cashew Nuts

I tend to use a coffee grinder to do this, but a blender or food processor will work too.


I’ve given the standard creaming method for this cake, but I’ve actually made it in several ways and the differences are only slight. The easiest method is to melt the butter, chocolate and sugar together as you would when making brownies. Then beat in the eggs followed by the dry ingredients. This gives a slightly denser texture.

Nutty Chocolate Cake just out of the oven and before icing.

For a slightly lighter texture, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they’ve tripled in volume. Electric beaters are best for this. Melt the butter and sugar, and carefully mix into the eggs. Then fold in the dry ingredients.

Mascarpone Icing

The mascarpone topping is just dreamy. It’s also very easy to make. As long as your butter is soft, that is. Just cream the icing sugar and butter together until really light and fluffy, then beat in the mascarpone. That’s it, a simple three ingredient topping.

Nutty Chocolate Tart

I like to dust mine with a little cocoa powder. But you could go wild and grate some chocolate on instead. Or just leave it plain. The choice is yours, as they say.

Chilli & Orange Nutty Chocolate Cake

Divine do a lovely dark chocolate bar with chilli and orange. I used it in the nutty chocolate cake you can see in the photos on this post. It’s a great combination. I added ½ tsp cayenne pepper to boost the chilli content, the grated zest of an orange and a tablespoon of orange juice instead of the water.

Other Nutty Chocolate Cake Variations

It’s best to use a high cocoa content dark chocolate for this nutty chocolate cake. Because without it, it won’t be particularly chocolatey. But other than that, use whatever flavour you like. Or just keep it plain. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Almond & Raspberry. Use almonds instead of cashews and swap the orange chocolate for raspberry.
  • For an extra nutty chocolate cake, add fifty to a hundred grams of finely chopped walnuts.
  • Sea Salt & Walnut. Swap the cashew nuts for walnuts and the orange chocolate for a bar of sea salt chocolate. Or use plain chocolate and add half a teaspoon of sea salt.
  • If you’d like more of a chocolate hit, add a tablespoon of cocoa powder along with the flour.
  • Coffee & Hazelnut. Use hazelnuts instead of cashews and coffee chocolate instead of orange. Swap the tablespoonful of water for strong coffee.
  • If you’re feeding a crowd, you’ll need a larger cake. Just double the quantities, use a slightly larger tin and bake for an additional ten minutes or so.
  • Brazil Nut and Toffee. Swap the cashews for brazil nuts and use a bar of dark toffee or butterscotch chocolate.

Other Chocolate Nut Bakes You Might Like

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make a version of this versatile nutty chocolate cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Nutty Chocolate Cake. PIN IT.

Nutty Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Icing.

Nutty Chocolate Tart – The Recipe

Nutty Chocolate Tart
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes

Nutty Chocolate Tart

A delicious nutty chocolate cake smothered with mascarpone icing. It's wonderfully versatile. Just roast and grind your favourite nuts, then choose what chocolate you want to pair them with. Enjoy it at morning break, for afternoon tea or even as dessert.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, cashews, chocolate, icing, mascarpone, orange, traybake
Servings: 12 modest slices
Calories: 349kcal


  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 100 g spicy orange dark chocolate - broken into pieces (I use Co-op's fairtrade version or Maya Gold)
  • 125 g unsalted butter - softened
  • 125 g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 orange (optional)
  • 2 large eggs (I use duck eggs when I can get them)
  • 50 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder

Mascarpone Topping

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter - softened
  • 125 g mascarpone cheese, or ricotta if you're feeling a bit more virtuous
  • cocoa powder for dusting


  • Roast 100g cashew nuts in the oven at 160℃ (320℉, Gas 3) for just over 8 mins until golden. Leave to cool.
  • Melt the  chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of hot, but not boiling water. Leave to cool slightly.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then grate in the orange zest, if using.
  • Beat the eggs in, one by one.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in. Throw any bits of bran left in the sieve into the bowl.
  • Grind the nuts in a blender or food processor (I use a coffee grinder for this), then stir in.
  • Add 1 tbsp water or orange juice, if using. Stir in together with the melted chocolate until just combined.
  • Spoon into a 20cm sq or round silicone cake mould or lined tin. Level the top and bake in a preheated oven at 170℃ (338℉, Gas 3) for 35 mins, or until the cake is well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Leave to cool for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Mascarpone Topping

  • Cream the butter and icing sugar together until nearly white and fluffy.
  • Beat in the mascarpone or ricotta cheese.
  • Spread on top of the cake and then lightly dust with cocoa powder.


For an extra nutty chocolate tart, add 50-100g finely chopped walnuts.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 205mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg



  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

  16. Christina Conte

    16th March 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Oooh, I’d pick the coffee and hazelnut version! Sounds and looks totally decadent especially with the icing! Yum!

    • Choclette

      16th March 2020 at 4:04 pm

      The icing is totally yum and I you’re not alone wanting that coffee and hazelnut version. It’s a popular flavour combination.

  17. Sisley White

    24th March 2020 at 1:01 pm

    I know what I’m making this weekend. I love nutty cakes and the idea of mixing with chocolate is absolutely heavenly.

    • Choclette

      25th March 2020 at 7:42 am

      Nuts are just brilliant in baking, especially when ground. They give texture as well as flavour.

  18. Janice Pattie

    28th March 2020 at 6:59 pm

    This looks delicious, I do like the use of a little icing!

    • Choclette

      28th March 2020 at 7:10 pm

      It’s been quite fun rediscovering some of my old recipes as I remake them and update the posts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *