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.