Donna Hay's hazelnut, date and cacao mousse cake - The Grace Tales

Donna Hay’s hazelnut, date and cacao mousse cake

It's hard to go past a recipe that has the words 'mousse' and 'cake' in its title. And it's even harder to pick a favourite recipe from the latest issue of donna hay’s Fresh + Light #5 which has just hit stands...

The hazelnut, date and cacao mousse cake is just one of our favourites. It’s a delicious, nourishing treat for the whole family to enjoy. Here’s how to make it…

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270g fresh dates+, pitted and roughly chopped
3 eggs
⅓ cup (60g) rapadura sugar
1 cup (100g) hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
⅓ cup (50g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 cups (480g) reduced-fat fresh ricotta+
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
⅓ cup (35g) raw cacao powder, sifted, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon milk
¼ cup (35g) toasted hazelnuts, plus extra to serve


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the date in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften for 10 minutes. Line the bases of 2 lightly greased 22cm springform cake tins with non-stick baking paper. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6 minutes or until tripled in size. Using a large metal spoon, fold the hazelnut meal and flour, in 3 batches, into the egg mixture until just combined. Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth with a palette knife. Cook for 15 minutes or until dry to the touch. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tins and cooling completely.

While the cakes are cooling, drain the date and mash with a fork until smooth. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer, add the ricotta, vanilla, cacao and milk and beat for 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the hazelnuts and mix until just combined.

Line the base and sides of one of the cleaned springform cake tins with non-stick baking paper. Place one of the cakes in the base of the tin. Spoon the ricotta mixture over the cake and smooth with a palette knife. Top with the remaining cake and press lightly to secure. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Carefully remove the layer cake from the tin, dust with extra cacao and top with extra hazelnuts. Slice to serve.  Serves 8–10.

+ A high source of soluble dietary fibre, dates are great for digestion. They are also known to be high in bone-strengthening vitamins. Fresh dates are sold loose with their seeds intact, in supermarkets or greengrocers.

++ Reduced-fat fresh ricotta is a firmer style of ricotta, available from the deli section of the supermarket.