Monday, 13 July 2015

Date and Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge Cake

I don't often make layer cakes, mainly because I don't often want the extra calories added when the layers are stuck together. Even if the top is only dusted with icing sugar, the simplest filling will involve too many calories, whether it's just a layer of jam, or something more complex. However, I will make an exception for celebrations such as birthdays, and both I and my son celebrate our birthdays in the first half of July.

Unfortunately, the cake I chose to make, this Date and Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge Cake, from the Waitrose website, promised more than it delivered. On the plus side, it was perfect for a layer cake, as it rose evenly and made two firm layers which were so deep that I could have cut them in half to make a four layer cake, if I had wanted to.

The biggest problem was that the cake itself didn't have much flavour. If it hadn't been for the cocoa in the fudgy frosting, it wouldn't have tasted of chocolate at all! It didn't taste of dates, either - the only flavour which came through clearly was that of hazelnuts, and I've made better tasting hazelnut cakes! I think the combination of the date purée, coffee and the small amount of chocolate in the chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) combined to make a new, unidentifiable flavour which was pleasant, but definitely not chocolate. If the recipe had been called a Date and Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Frosting, it would have been a more accurate guide to the flavours to expect.

Another problem was that the frosting didn't work for me - it started to split as the boiling water and Nutella was worked into the butter, cocoa and icing sugar mixture. Adding more icing sugar didn't solve the problem, nor did adding more Nutella. It was only when I beat in some cold milk that everything amalgamated properly to make a smooth frosting.

By then I'd added about 75g of extra ingredients, but the quantity of frosting still looked a little meagre against the depth of the cake, particularly the amount between the layers of cake.

Despite these deficits, the cake was still pleasant to eat, as long as you didn't think too hard about whether or not it tasted of chocolate. The texture was light but moist and firm, which was presumably thanks to the date purée. I'd like to think that using the date purée cut down on both the fat and sugar needed in the cake batter, but when you take account of the amount of these  two components in the Nutella, I think it looks as if the date purée was added for texture, volume and flavour - not for health reasons!

1 comment:

Snowy said...

it looks very impressive, but what a shame it didn't come up to your expectations.