Friday, 25 January 2008

Almond, Ricotta, and Orange Cake

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 oranges
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup ricotta
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 cup firm-packed almond flour or meal
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup marmalade

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.
  • Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.
  • Place sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest both oranges over it. 
  • Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other three halves.  Set aside 1/3 cup of the juice.
  • Add butter to large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use same beaters you just did for egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add sugar and then egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. 
  • Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. 
  • Gently fold in egg whites.
  • Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and then cook for 5 more minutes. The final cake is extremely moist.
  • Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. 
  • Heat marmalade until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut squares.
  • Delicious served with an extra dollop of ricotta, creme fraiche or barely sweetened whipped cream. The cake keeps at room temperature or the fridge.