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.

Chocolate & Almond Cake

Mother’s Day! Another opportunity to try out a new cake. A friend had posted a comment a few weeks ago giving a recipe for a flourless and what looked to be a rather rich and delicious cake which had come via way of her aunt. I have to say I was rather looking forward to giving this one a go.

When I’d first noted the recipe I assumed it would be dead easy as there were only 5 ingredients involved. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t look at the method that closely and with only a couple of hours to go before having to leave with the finished cake, I realised that the “wretched” creaming method was involved again. Given that this was to be a special cake I thought I’d better do it just so. Faced with a lump of rock hard butter, I proceeded to do some serious ‘working out’ – my arm ached during and after the whole procedure. I think it all paid off in the end, because it was a truly delicious cake – rich, chocolatey and smooth textured. Voted by the foreman of the jury as the best so far. In fact, it would make a great pudding served with clotted cream.
This is what I did:
  • Melted 200g dark chocolate (100g 70% +100g 85%) in a bowl over hot water.
  • Creamed 200g of unsalted butter with 150g light muscovado sugar (the less said about this the better).
  • Mixed in 4 egg yolks and 200g ground almonds.
  • Added chocolate.
  • Beat egg whites with a 1/4 tsp salt until firm then fold into the cake mixture.
  • Spooned into 23cm round tin and baked at 170°C (gas 3/4) for 40 mins.
  • When cool, turned out and dusted top with cocoa powder