Despite my love of baking and my very sweet tooth, I'm not actually a big cake-eater. I'll devour a brownie any day, and I can never resist a slice of pie, but I usually avoid cake. Particularly if there's icing involved - it's very tricky to get the icing-to-cake ratio correct so that your mouth doesn't get stuck together with sugar. However, no two cakes are baked the same so it would be unfair to tarnish every one with the same brush. This cake, for example, is a cut above the rest.
The idea for this cake came to me as I was sitting at my desk, like a little bolt of sugar-coated lightning. Like all good ideas, of course, it was not an original one - probably planted there by Pinterest or the endless scrolling of food blogs that makes up my spare time. It felt like a flash of inspiration, though - a cake made with almond and ricotta and subtle citrus flavours. It's almost a pudding, rather than a cake, and is delicious chilled or covered with cream and served with berries. This isn't stodgy and sugary, it's creamy and light, with a delicious crunch of toasted almond flakes on top. And even me, with my cake aversion, cannot resist that.
- 120g softened unsalted butter
- 225g golden caster sugar
- zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 4 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 200g ground almonds
- 250g ricotta
- big handful flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare a round cake tin by greasing lightly with butter and lining the base with greaseproof paper.
- Beat together the butter and 150g of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the zest and vanilla to combine.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well in between.
- Fold in the ground almonds and ricotta until well combined.
- Whisk the eggs and remaining 75g sugar in a separate bowl until the mixture forms stiff peaks. This is easiest with an electric mixer but can be done by hand.
- Fold a spoonful of the egg whites into the cake batter to loosen, before gently folding in the rest until combined and smooth.
- Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden around the edges. The middle will still be wobbly, but will firm up as it cools.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before serving. Dust with icing sugar or serve with a drizzle of cream.
Adapted from The Little Loaf