I had purchased a packet of hazelnuts a few days back in Crawford Market, Mumbai. Since then I was looking for an inspiring hazelnut cake recipe that would make me jump up from my seat and make it. I was browisng through several blogs, but none felt like a Do-it-now kinda thing. But then there was this one on the Waitrose website, which had a perfect combination of hazelnuts, dates and some coffee. The classic.
I was skeptical of using a recipe from a marketing website, but I could already taste the nutty coffee date flavor in my mouth. And boy, the cake turned out so well. Roasted hazelnuts on the top. Then a chocolate and hazelnut frosting , and then the super soft, porous date filled cake. Since I had used castor sugar, I was afraid it wouldn’t be moist enough. But the coffee and date paste gives it enough moisture to be soft on the inside and crisp on the outside.
We were celebrating the birthday of my husband’s closest friend and so I had to make a bigger cake or 2 smaller cakes for his gang of friends. This cake serves 8-10 people. And stays beautifully well in the refrigerator even for a week.
Total Preparation time : 1 hour
Baking time : 30-35 minutes
- 100 gm Dates, chopped
- 125 ml very hot coffee
- 150 gms castor sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 150 gms salted Amul butter, at room temperature
- 150 gms Nutella or any other chocolate hazelnut spread
- 250 gms plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
For the frosting and topping:
- 60 gms Amul butter, at room temperature
- 100 gms icing sugar
- 50 gms cocoa powder
- 150 gm Nutella
- 3 tbsp boiling water
- 40 gm toasted and chopped hazelnuts
- Chop the dates to small 2cm pieces and put them in a bowl. Make about one cup (125 ml) brewed or instant black coffee without sugar. Pour the hot, boiling coffee over the dates. Cover and keep aside for half an hour for the dates to soften and pick up the flavors. Then blitz it in the food processor to form a smooth paste, then set aside.
- Beat the eggs with half the sugar until pale and creamy in color. Then in a separate large bowl, whisk the remaining sugar with the butter until pale and fluffy. The more you beat , the fluffier the cake.
- Combine the eggs and sugar mixture with the butter and sugar mixture, along with the date paste and 150 gm Nutella. Mix till consistent.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line two 18 or 20 cm baking tins with parchment/butter paper. Brush the sides lightly with some vegetable oil.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together, 2-3 times, to incorporate air into the flour and to distribute the baking soda and baking powder evenly.
- Using a rubber spatula fold the flour into the egg-butter-sugar mixture and incorporate well. The mixture might look a bit lumpy, but don’t worry, it will bake perfectly.
- Spoon evenly into the two prepared cake tins and bake at 180°C for 30-35 minutes till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let it cool completely before spreading the frosting.
For the frosting :
- Whisk the butter until soft, then gradually whisk in the icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the cocoa powder and 3 tbsp boiling water and mix until you have a paste, then add the Nutella and combine until smooth.
- Spread on the cakes, covering the sides and then layer it fully with chopped toasted hazelnuts.
1. Always toast the nuts before chopping them, to avoid burning of any small chopped pieces.
2. If you are using unsalted butter, remember to add a pinch of salt into the eggs.