hazelnut chocolate ricotta torta

When I made the blueberry hazelnut ricotta cake last month I noted it was originally made with a chocolate topping the cake rather than blueberries. As hazelnut and chocolate is a match made in heaven I went on the hunt for a cake recipe that also included ricotta.

I found a hazelnut chocolate ricotta torta recipe from the River Cafe which ticked all the boxes. I changed the proportions to fit my tin and set to work.

The flavours and technique are quite similar to my Mum's almond cake, so I was keen to try the finished product. As the cake contains such a small amount of flour I decided to make the torta gluten free by using a GF flour mix. As I made this to bring to a work birthday morning tea, to make it look more celebratory I topped the cake with chocolate ganache and some extra toasted hazelnuts. None of these additional steps are necessary.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17 cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC.

Hazelnut chocolate ricotta torta - inspired by a recipe from The River Cafe
100g skinned hazelnuts
85g unsalted butter, softened plus extra to grease
100g caster sugar
100g ricotta
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3 eggs, separated
70g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), grated
25g plain flour, sifted
a pinch of salt

60mls cream
60g dark chocolate, finely chopped

To decorate
Extra roasted halved hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 17cm spring-form tin that is at least 5cm deep, and line the base with baking paper.

Spread the hazelnuts out in a small baking tin and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor until they resemble rubble. Don’t blend them too far, you want them as quite identifiable chunks.

Beat the butter and sugar together with the ricotta, vanilla and the lemon zest until pale and light. Add the egg yolks, one by one, beating well. In a separate bowl, combine the chopped nuts, the grated chocolate and the flour. Fold the nut mixture into the ricotta mixture.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a clean dry bowl until they form soft peaks. Fold in the whisked egg whites, starting with one spoonful to loosen the mixture, then add the remainder, being careful not to over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until set. Place on a cooling rack and run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin and discarding the paper. If desired, top with chocolate ganache before serving.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream to boiling point. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few moments until the chocolate starts to melt. Stir the chocolate until its smooth then put ganache to one side to thicken a little. Reattach the spring-form ring to the base and pour the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake.  Gently smooth with a spatula then gently tap the cake to level the topping. Decorate with the halved hazelnuts. Allow the topping to completely set then run a knife around the cake before unmoulding.

The torta keeps for up to 2 days. Store covered in a cool place, or freeze for up to one month.

Despite it's appearance, the cake is deceptively light and tastes very grown up. t's definitely a keeper.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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