Laura Wright from The First Mess has pretty much ruled Pinterest since uploading the photos from her Chocolate Hazelnut Torte recipe. My jaw hit the floor when I first saw it. It had the words ‘salted date caramel’, ‘hazelnut’ and ‘coconut cream’ in the title. It was vegan. And gluten free! I read through the ingredient list and method. It is pretty hefty but this did not deter me in the slightest. I had to have this cake.
Making this cake is a little bit of an ordeal, so I would consider it to only be a special occasion cake. I can attest that it absolutely tastes as good as it looks and is well worth the effort. Not only is it the greatest vegan cake I have ever tried, it is amazing in its own right – vegan or not. If you have a birthday or celebration approaching, look no further.
You need a couple of days to prepare the varying layers of amazing-ness, so planning is vital. Also, once assembled, a bit of extra time in the fridge will help the hazelnut mousse hold when you are slicing and serving.
I have a couple of pointers so you (hopefully) don’t run into any trouble;
* Do not over process the hazelnut mousse once the coconut cream has been added – it could curdle.
* When purchasing coconut cream, shake the can. Go for the one with less liquid.
* To make whipped coconut cream it is best to keep your coconut cream in the fridge. Do not shake the can before use, carefully scrape the solid layer from the top, set the remaining liquid aside to use another time. If you are having trouble whipping the cream, you can add a little cornflour to thicken it.
* Brown rice flour would make a suitable replacement for the GF oat flour.
* Raw caster sugar would make a suitable replacement for the coconut sugar.
* Make your own cashew butter by soaking cashews overnight. Drain then grind them in a food processor until smooth. Add a few splashes of water to assist in the blending.
Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salted Date Caramel and Coconut Cream
Thanks to The First Mess for this knockout recipe. I adapted it just a little.
chocolate brownie base ingredients:
1 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds + 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup gluten free oat flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped vegan dark chocolate
hazelnut mousse ingredients:
1/2 cup toasted + skinned hazelnuts
1 400 ml can full fat coconut cream (shaken)
1 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of fine sea salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp psyllium husk in 1/4 cup water
salty date caramel ingredients:
10 soft pitted dates + boiling water to cover
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch or 2 of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
coconut cream whipped with maple syrup (to taste)
chopped toasted hazelnuts
Start 2 nights before if you are making your own cashew butter. Soak cashews in water overnight.
The next day, drain cashews and blend to make cashew butter. As mentioned in the notes above, you might need to add quite a few splashed of water. Set aside in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and prepare a large (28cm) springform baking tin.
Combine chia seeds with water, set aside to form a gel. Make the chocolate cake base by adding the almond meal, oat flour, salt, baking soda, cacao powder and sugar to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre, add the chia seed gel to the well, along with the vanilla extract and almond milk. Melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate together, stir to combine then add to the well. Stir everything together until fully incorporated. Pour this into the prepared pan and smooth over with a spatula. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the top is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, wrap and place in the fridge overnight to cool further still.
The following day make your hazelnut mousse. Place the hazelnuts into the coconut cream and set to soak for 15 minutes.
Blend together (I used an immersion blender) until smooth. Set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to the cashew butter you have made the previous day, add only a tablespoon or 2 of the psyllium husk water. Blend together until smooth – add the hazelnut/coconut cream mix and blend again, but only until just combined. Be careful not to over do it, it can curdle! Set mousse aside.
Make the salted date caramel. Blend the soaked dates with the remaining ingredients (again, I used an immersion blender), adding the soaking liquid bit by bit, until you have reached a caramel like consistency. The caramel needs to be viscus, yet pourable. Set aside.
Now to assemble. Remove the cake base from the fridge. Using a spatula, spread the hazelnut mousse onto the base. Pour the caramel over the mousse, smooth over as well as you can with your spatula, until it covers the entire surface. Place in fridge.
Whip your coconut cream together with the maple syrup (as described above). Once it looks stiff enough to sit on a cake, pro this on top of the caramel layer, smoothing over evenly again.
Decorate with chopped roasted hazelnuts. Place back into the fridge until ready to serve – a bit of resting time will make serving easier.