Hazel­nut, date and ca­cao mousse cake

donna hay - Fresh + Light - - Light Sweet Treats -

270gchoppe270gfresh­dates(pit­tedan­drough­ly­chopped 3 eggs

⅓ cup (60g) ra­padura sugar

1 cup (100g) hazel­nut meal ( ground hazel­nuts)

⅓ cup (50g) whole­meal (whole-wheat) plain (all-pur­pose) flour 2 cups (480g) re­duced-fat fresh ri­cotta+

1 tea­spoon vanilla bean paste

⅓ cup (35g) raw ca­cao pow­der, sifted, plus ex­tra to serve 1 ta­ble­spoon milk

¼ cup (35g) toasted hazel­nuts, plus ex­tra to serve Pre­heat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the date in a bowl and cover with boil­ing wa­ter. Set aside to soften for 10 min­utes.

Line the bases of 2 lightly greased 22cm spring­form cake tins with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and beat for 6 min­utes or un­til tripled in size. Us­ing a large metal spoon, fold the hazel­nut meal and flour, in 3 batches, into the egg mix­ture un­til just com­bined. Di­vide the mix­ture be­tween the tins and smooth with a pal­ette knife. Cook for 15 min­utes or un­til dry to the touch. Al­low to cool for 15 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing from the tins and cool­ing com­pletely.

While the cakes are cool­ing, drain the date and mash with a fork un­til smooth. Place in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer, add the ri­cotta, vanilla, ca­cao and milk and beat for 4 min­utes or un­til smooth and creamy. Add the hazel­nuts and mix un­til just com­bined.

Line the base and sides of one of the cleaned spring­form cake tins with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Place one of the cakes in the base of the tin. Spoon the ri­cotta mix­ture over the cake and smooth with a pal­ette knife. Top with the re­main­ing cake and press lightly to se­cure. Re­frig­er­ate for 1 hour or un­til set. Care­fully re­move the layer cake from the tin, dust with ex­tra ca­cao and top with ex­tra hazel­nuts. Slice to serve. SERVES 8–10.

+ Re­duced-fat fresh ri­cotta is a firmer style of ri­cotta, avail­able from the deli sec­tion of the su­per­mar­ket.

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