Mandarin, Almond and Ricotta Cake

It's Friday, so let's eat cake! I need no other excuse.

How has your Friday been? Mine are always brimming and they fly by. Today was spent in cake prep, deliveries, a spot of birthday shopping for my Mr Nearly-Five, lunch with Mum at a cafe we're eyeing and then more baking for tomorrow's orders. I'm looking forward to a glass or two of wine tonight! And possibly some of this delightful mandarin cake for dessert.

The texture is moist and light and almost cheesecakey. It's quite different to anything I've made before. It could be a pudding. I'm tempted to make an orange caramel, spoon it over the top and serve the whole thing warm with icecream. And maybe a glass of Botrytis. Cheers to Friyays!

Mandarin, Almond and Ricotta Cake
(Serves about 12)

125g butter
125g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs at room temperature, separated
Zest and juice of 2 large mandarins
Zest of 1 lemon
125g almond meal
60g self-raising flour
200g fresh ricotta cheese
Icing sugar to serve

Preheat oven to 180C.
Brush the insides of a Bundt, ring or Kugelhopf tin with melted butter, then dust with flour to ensure the cake doesn't stick.
Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy (about five minutes). 
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until combined each time before adding the next.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Add the zests, self-raising flour and almond meal and fold through.
Whisk together the ricotta and mandarin juice until frothy like a milkshake. Fold this through the cake mix.
With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir half the egg whites into the cake batter, then gently fold through the remaining egg whites.
Spoon the mixture gently into the prepared tin (you want to preserve the air in the batter), then lightly jiggle it and give it a small tap on the bench to make it even.
Bake for 45 mins or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before turning onto a wire rack. 
Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar. I had some edible flowers in my fridge (of course I did!) so I kind of tore them up and scattered them around because flower confetti is a thing and everyone should have more of it in their lives.


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