chocolate hazelnut ricotta cake

I've had this Ottolenghi and Helen Goh recipe bookmarked ever since I purchased Sweet. This recipe is adapted from the Baked hazelnut ricotta cheesecake recipe in the book. 
They describe it as a cheesecake but really it's just a cake that's has ricotta as an ingredient, hence the name change. I decided to make a single cake rather than the small cakes in the book so changed the proportions a little and added a little bit of baking powder to ensure the cake rose. This is my second time making the water ganache. The first time I made it the mixture seized but this time it worked like a charm.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm 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 20°C.
Ottolenghi chocolate hazelnut ricotta cheesecake – makes one 17cm cake
150g toasted skinned hazelnuts
20g (1½ tbs) plain flour
80g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
50g almond meal
½ tsp baking powder
113g (4oz) room temperature unsalted butter, cubed
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, separated
200g ricotta cheese 
pinch salt 
Water ganache  
50g 70% dark chocolate roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces
20g sugar
20g light corn syrup or glucose
35mls water
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes. 
To serve 
Icing sugar 
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, conventional. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm cake tin with baking paper, which should rise 2cm above the sides of the pan, then set aside. 

Roughly chop 25g of the cooled nuts and set aside—they will be used to garnish—and place the remainder in the bowl of a food processor, along with the flour. Process until finely ground, then tip into a medium bowl. Place the chocolate in the food processor, pulse to form large crumbs and add these to the hazelnuts and flour. Add the almond meal and the baking powder mix together and set aside; the texture is a bit rustic here, which is what you want.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the speed to low, add the chocolate-nut-flour mixture and continue to mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the machine and stir in the ricotta and salt. Transfer the cake mixture to a separate large bowl and set aside. 


Wash and dry the bowl of the electric mixer very well before adding the egg whites to it. Beat the whites on medium-high speed until stiff and then use a large spatula to fold the egg whites, in two or three batches, into the cake mixture. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, leveling the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out more or less clean; it might have a few crumbs attached but should not be wet. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan, peel away the paper and set aside. If you are making one large cake and it is a bit cracked on top, don’t worry; just turn it upside down leveling the base of the cake if needed. 

To make the water ganache, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Put the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and, when the sugar has melted, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring gently from time to time. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes, until the color is a pale amber. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the water; don’t worry if the mixture seizes. Return the pan to the heat, add the vanilla bean paste and stir gently and continuously until it returns to a boil.

Remove from the heat and wait for a minute before pouring the water-caramel over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and then whisk to combine. Add the butter, a couple of cubes at a time, whisking after each addition. Continue until all the butter has been added, whisking to combine until the mix is smooth and shiny. I needed to warm the mixture over a double boiler to ensure the butter melted. Set aside to cool and thicken before using. 


Just before serving sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar then spoon the ganache over half the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with the reserved hazelnuts and serve. 


The cake will keep for 3 days covered in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature just before serving. 

The cake was very well received at work with one colleague saying it tasted like a light and fluffy Ferrero Rocher.

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

Bye for now,



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