Flourless cakes stress me out.There. I said it. Given that my pet hate, when it comes to baking, is when cakes don’t rise enough, the idea of a cake that isn’t supposed to rise should be totally my jam! But that’s just it! Flourless cakes are so moist, so dense and decadent that I simply do not know what to do with them! I constantly second guess myself; is it cooked properly? Did I fold the egg whites correctly? Why does this stress me out so much when it is so damn easy?!
This bout of cake related neuroses is probably why I only make this cake when requested. Sure, the mix of zesty lemon with the creamy ricotta and flakey almond IS pretty friggen amazing. And YES, if you’re gonna hound me about it, maybe I did eat 2 or 3 slices while I was taking these photos. But really, is the completely self-inflicted stress that comes with making this cake worth it in the end? (Yes! YES! A thousand times YES!)
… touché dear readers. You know me too well. Maybe this is more about my own insecurities, than any actual problems with flourless cake. I’m so glad we talked this out. Now let’s celebrate this breakthrough with
my 4th a slice of delicious lemon, ricotta and almond cake!
- 120 grams of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cups of caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1/4 cup of lemon zest
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 1/2 cups of almond meal
- 300 grams of ricotta
- Flaked almonds
- Icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160 degree celcius and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
- Place the butter, 165 grams of the caster sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in an bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating in between each addition, until fully combined.
- Add the almond meal and beat to combine. With a spoon or spatula, fold the ricotta through the almond meal mixture.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (using a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Add 1 third of the egg whites to the cake mixture and gently fold to combine/ Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
- Sprinke the top with almond flakes (or place in a pattern) and place in the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes or until firm to touch.
- Allow to cool completely in the cake tin. To serve, dust with a generous helping of icing sugar.
(Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine)