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
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.