ricotta and orange olive oil cake

Sometimes what I bake is determined by what's in my fridge. I bought some ricotta to make baked pasta shells with a spinach and ricotta filling and didn't want the leftover ricotta to go to waste. I looked through my recipe books and came across this Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe 
from her latest cookbook, Around the Table. When I realised I had all the ingredients on hand, the decision was made.

The cake is designed to be served without adornment but I felt like gilding the lily, so I topped the cake with some whipped ricotta cream then served it with some orange syrup.

Here’s the recipe for you, adapted from a Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Ricotta and Orange Olive Oil Cake 
165g caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
2 eggs
60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
165g fresh full-fat ricotta
165g self-raising flour

Ricotta Cream
100g ricotta, well drained
100 ml whipping cream (35% fat)
20g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste

Orange Syrup
⅓ cup (75g) caster sugar
⅓ cup water
1 strip orange peel
½ (used) vanilla pod (optional)
40ml orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line a 17cm round cake tin.
Place the sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Rub the orange zest into the sugar until it is damp and fragrant. Whisk in the eggs until combined. Add the orange juice and pour in the olive oil. Add the ricotta and whisk it all together, then gently mix in the flour until just combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and continue to cool on a wire rack. 

Ricotta Cream
Whip the ricotta with half the sugar until very smooth and creamy. Gently whip the cream with the remaining sugar and the vanilla seeds or paste until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the ricotta into the whipped cream mixture, then fold the whipped cream mixture back into the ricotta mixture until just combined.

Orange syrup
Place the sugar, water, orange peel and vanilla pod (if using) in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until just combined. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Carefully add the orange juice and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove the peel before using.

To serve
Once the cake has cooled completely, top with the ricotta cream and serve with the orange syrup. The cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

Easy to make and as expected, the cake was beautifully moist and packed with the flavour.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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