Remember the ricotta based no-bake cake I blogged about a few days ago? In the blog post I mentioned that you can substitute chocolate with hazelnut spread. With another birthday coming up on the same week, and given the success the cake had achieved, I made it again, but I doubled the ingredients to make it taller, as I had many more people attending the birthday party and needed to make more slices out of one cake. So, with the exception of the ingredients needed to make the butter and biscuit base, I doubled everything else.
There is one thing that needs to be taken into consideration here, and it’s the texture. Even if melted, a chocolate bar will solidify again. A chocolate spread, instead, even if stored in a fridge, will never get equally hard. So if you substitute solid chocolate with a spread in a no-bake cake, you need to consider that the cake might end up too creamy even after hours in the fridge, as it will keep the creamy quality of the spread, instead of taking up some structure from the hardened chocolate. There are two ways of fixing this: either adding more gelatin, or serving the cake frozen. Or both.
As I have already mentioned while writing about this mousse cake in my previous post, I am finding mysef in Italy at the moment, in the intoxicating heat of Rome in July. It’s too hot for regular cakes, people would rather have some ice cream for dessert. So I wanted to try a frozen version of this cake.
As I said, to make the actual cake I have doubled the ingredients. For the recipe and directions please refer to this post, but with this variation:
- 500 g ricotta cheese
- 400 g heavy cream
- 250 g hazelnut spread
- 4 gelatin sheets
As hazelnut spread I used Nutella. It’s so hot in the house that it blended wonderfully without the need to warm it up a little to make it runnier. As for the gelatin, in the original, lower version of the cake I used 1 1/2 sheets of gelatin; to make this cake hold a bit more I added some more: 4 sheets. This to ensure the cake would hold decently, but I wanted it to be soft enough to freeze it and still be able to cut it easily.
This time, I decided to decorate it with chocolate ganache, which I allowed to spill over the sides in order to achieve this nice decoration. I didn’t freeze it immediately, but I left it in the fridge for about 4 hours at first, in order to allow the gelatin to harden properly. Then I moved the cake to the freezer for one hour just to let it harden some more in order to take it out of the cake pan more easily. The decoration with the ganache did not take too much time, as I didn’t want to keep it out of the freezer too long. Once decorated, I put it back in the freezer for three more hours.
Frozen, the cake was great: it cut like butter, still each slice held its shape perfectly. It’s hot in here, so I didn’t need to take it out of the freezer long before serving it, but according to the temperature of the room where the cake is to be served, it might be necessary to take it out some minutes before, to cut it through with the knife more easily. It tasted great – like Nutella ice cream!
Keeping it on the table for a while, during the party the cake thawed completely, so I couldn’t put the leftovers back into the freezer. I stored them overnight in the fridge. The following morning what was left of the cake was still holding its original shape. Only, digging it with a knife or spoon one notices a creamier and softer texture, as opposed to the harder quality it had when it was frozen. When it’s softer it’s just more like a mousse, like in the original version of this cake.