Hazelnut Date Cake

Most hazelnut cakes are primarily made up of thick hazelnut chocolate spread.  But for some who like the hazelnut flavour but with less overpowering sweet chocolate taste, dates might offer a good alternative.  This dry, semi-sweet cake holds up well and makes a delectable tea cake or a less imposing dessert than a Nutella pie for example –but with similar taste undertones.  Can even be a good solid base for birthday cakes instead of the plastic cake mixes often used.

Time:

About an hour and a half

Serves:

8

Good for:

  • Afternoon Tea
  • Standalone dessert
  • A good sponge for cake to be decorated

Ingredients:

  • 100g Dates, chopped
  • 125ml very hot coffee
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g Nutella or any other chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150g Nutella
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 40g toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Kitchen things you’ll need:

  • 2 Large bowl
  • Sieve
  • Spatula
  • Hand mixer
  • Whisk
  • 2 cake tins (8” round or 8×8 square)

Making it:

  • 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 for a smooth paste consistency, then set aside.
  • Beat the eggs with half the sugar until pale and creamy in color.
  • 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 150g Nutella. Mix till consistent.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) 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. 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.

Tips/notes:

  • Always toast the nuts before chopping them, to avoid burning of any small chopped pieces.
  • If you are using unsalted butter, remember to add a pinch of salt into the eggs.
  • When refrigerated can stay for a good week.

 

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