Monday, 25 May 2015

Lemon Ricotta Cake

I just can’t resist anything that contains lemons, and this cake is one that is packed full of intense lemon flavour, but without being too sharp on the palate. It’s very adaptable, perfect for eating as it is or served as a dessert at room temperature with a dollop of cream and some homemade lemon curd or soft fruit on the side. In fact, how could anyone resist it?

Made with ricotta and a good amount of lemon juice, the cake is beautifully moist and very moreish to eat. Because of the inclusion of ricotta, cooking king purists might consider this a cheesecake and although moist and slightly creamy in texture, this cake does not have the same density as a classic baked cheesecake would have. It really is more like a cake than a cheesecake.

Recipes like this one always appeal, because they are so simple to make, yet produce such elegant looking and delicious results.
 
For those readers, who feel I am relentlessly bombarding you with lemon recipes, I apologise, but this IS a great cake, which even those who are ambivalent about lemon will love. It keeps well covered and refrigerated, but do let it come back up to room temperature before serving.
 

Ingredients:

175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 4 lemons
3 large eggs, separated
250g fresh ricotta
100g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
100ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas mark 4. Butter the base and sides of a 20cm round spring-form cake tin (about 6-8cms deep) and line the bottom with some non-stick baking parchment. Place on a baking tray and set aside.
2. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat in until they are fully incorporated.
3. Drain any liquid off the ricotta and using a wooden spoon, stir into the butter mixture.
Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk until they form stiff peaks.
4. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and along with the ground almonds, fold into the cake batter using a large metal spoon.  Add the lemon juice and stir through so that it is well mixed in.
5. Add a quarter of the egg whites and stir through the batter, to loosen it and then fold in the remaining egg whites, trying to retain as much air as possible, but do ensure that they are mixed in fully.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared spring-form tin and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes. Check the cake after 30 minutes and if it is browning too much cover loosely with some tin foil. The cake is ready when a thin skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin, before removing. Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar just before serving.

Serves 8-10.