Experiment: Ricotta Cake w/ Dates, Chocolate & Hazelnuts

I had a big bag of dates hanging around and some leftover ricotta cheese.
I searched for a cake recipe in which to combine the two.

I found many recipes on BBC websites using that beautiful golden caster sugar, which I was out of.....and it seems like date cakes are a big Christmas thing in the UK, so there were many recipes to choose from.

I experimented and combined some English recipes with this wonderful Italian ricotta cake to make a rich, gorgeous delicious cake.

My husband, taste tester said it was one of his favorites.

I cut the recipe in half to make a 9" cake, vs. a big 12" cake.

Ricotta Cake w/ Dates, Chocolate & Hazelnuts (loosely adapted from Italian Food Forever and some BBC sites):

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of almond flour (or almond meal)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 oz. (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 large egg

Ricotta Mixture:
16 oz. (2 cups) of fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur or Grand Marnier
1 large egg
3/4 cup of pitted dates, chopped
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup of toasted hazelnuts, chopped (optional)

I guess I didn't read all the recipes thru, and got mixed up with the UK recipes and this one, so I just mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. I promise, the results were amazing.

The UK recipes want you to soak the dates in the liquor which I did for 15 minutes.

Add the dry into the wet, and then mix in the nuts, chocolate and dates w/ the liquor....there's a lot going on here.

The batter seemed very heavy, I must admit, and I was a bit nervous about it. Would it bake thru? Did I waste all those luscious expensive ingredients because I felt over confident?

Next step: (ignore my side notes, I like to talk to myself).

Pour into a greased and parchment lined 9" springform pan.

I baked at 325F for 30 minutes (all the UK recipes said to bake at a low temperature), then turned up the heat to 350F for 20 minutes more until golden.

I let completely cool in the pan then unmolded. I sprinkled with my usual powdered sugar and stencil spoons.......waited, wasn't sure what the results would be.

I let the cake sit about 6 hours, and waited to serve after dinner. A bit nervous, but hey, how bad could it be?

We loved the results!
The hazelnuts w/ the chocolate and dates made for a rich, complex gorgeous cake.

I rarely follow the rules, even when it comes to baking (which is supposedly a science), and rarely do I get into trouble.


Anonymous said…

this looks Gorgeous!! must try!
sixty-five said…
yum! Most unusual! Another good source of date-using recipes is Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang of the wonderful Flour bakery in Boston.
Irene said…
Stunning result ..... I would expect no less from you .... The baking queen
Keep up the great work, we are watching you from down here in sunny hot South Australia