Hazelnut and Saffron Cake with Honey Drizzled Figs

It was just about three years ago that we started Green Kitchen Stories. I remember the process we went through to register the domain name. GreenKitchen was already taken. So was OurGreenKitchen. We talked about how we wanted a short personal story to go with each recipe. “Hey, let’s try Green Kitchen Stories.” And there it was.

This was intended to be some sort of playground for us. We wanted to improve our cooking and photographing skills. To learn more about health and nutrition. And to have fun. I know it sounds like a cliché, but we didn’t for a second believe that anyone would find their way here. We uploaded a few photos on recipe sites like foodgawker and tastespotting, mostly for fun. And two days later we received an email that we had a comment awaiting approval. Our first comment!

So much has happened in three years. We had a daughter. Together we travelled the world. When we got back we made an app. And all of a sudden we were signed to do a book. The impact that this blog and all of you readers have had on our lives has been massive. Thank you for standing by our side. Thank you for your comments, likes and tweets. And thank you for cooking with us.

Three years have passed, three more will come. We are looking into the future with hope, excitement and – quite honestly – a certain amount of fear. Where will this road lead us? We have already gone so much further than we could ever imagine. Hopefully you will always be there to hold our hands.

Now let’s have cake!

If you look in the ingredient list you will notice how this cake is filled with middle eastern flavors like saffron, honey, figs, dates and roasted nuts. But where the middle eastern desserts often goes über sweet, this cake is more on the fresher side. Most of the sweetness is kept to the roasted hazelnut and date crust. The saffron is used in a frozen yogurt filling that is bursting with flavor but still tastes very light. And the whole shebang is topped with ripe figs that are drizzled with honey. We recommend eating the entire cake at once (but maybe not by yourself). If you try too refreeze it once it has thawed, it won’t look half as pretty the second time. We got some proof of that in our freezer.

Hazelnut cake with Frozen Saffron Yogurt and Honey Drizzled Figs
Serves 10-12

Crust
2 1/2 cups (350 g) raw hazelnuts (save some for the topping, see instructions)
1/2 tsp sea salt
15 fresh soft dates, pitted
2 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
1 tbsp drinking water

Filling
3 cups (720 ml) plain full- fat turkish or greek yogurt, unsweetened
1 cup (240 ml) full-fat coconut milk
4 tbsp runny honey + some extra for topping
1 gram (0.035 oz) powdered saffron (2 sachets)
8 small fresh figs, halved

Preparing the crust: Toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray on 180°C (350°F) in the oven, for 8 – 10 minutes or until skin cracks. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove skin by rubbing the nuts between a rough kitchen towel. Add hazelnuts (save some for the topping) and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse for about 10 seconds. The nuts should be coarsely chopped, but not powdered. Pour the nuts into a separate bowl and set aside. Add the pitted dates, coconut oil and water to the food processor and run it on high speed until the mixture comes together to a sticky paste. Add the chopped hazelnuts and run until everything is combined into a sticky pebbled mixture. Place in a 20 cm (8-inch) spring-form cake tin and flatten it out with your fingers. Put in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Making the filling: Place turkish yoghurt, coconut milk and honey in a medium size mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the powdered saffron very gently with a spoon. Remove the spring-form cake tin from the fridge and pour the saffron filling on top of the crust. Then place the spring-form in the freezer for minimum 2 hours (you can keep it in the freezer for days but then you have to let it thaw for about 15-20 minutes before serving it). Top the cake with fresh figs, drizzle with honey and finely chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.

Note: The texture of the frozen yogurt layer can turn out a little icy, because it’s not made in an ice cream maker. Make sure to use a full-fat yogurt to avoid the icy texture.