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A Rich and Delicious Lemon, Almond and Ricotta Cake

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March 5, 2017 / Italian / By
Anna

On the whole, cakes in Italy don't impress me. I love a little pastry for breakfast, but that's about the extent of it. However, I was recently introduced to a cake that takes its inspiration from Italian cakes. The original recipe comes from the famous River Café, but this version is slightly simplified.


It is not a difficult cake to make, and produces a heavy, moist cake that will feed ten or more people. It certainly has a luxurious feel about it and is worth making for special occasions. It is also possible to freeze it for up to a few weeks. I had to do this recently as my guests did not make much of a hole in the cake and I did not feel that the tall guy (TTG) and I would benefit from being alone with what was left in the middle of a gloomy winter.

 
Freezing what was left was supposed to work in terms of impulse eating the same way that freezing your credit card in a block of ice works to reduce impulse buying, and it did.


Some people with dairy or casein allergies may be able to eat this, as the ricotta is made with sheep's milk in Italy. It also has no flour; polenta is cornmeal.


Lemon, Almond and Ricotta Cake

  • 225 grams softened butter
  • 250 grams of sugar
  • 250 grams of ground almonds
  • 100 grams polenta
  • Zest of 5 lemons
  • 6 large eggs
  • 300 grams ricotta
  • Juice 3 lemons
  • Icing sugar to dust

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time beating well each time. Mix the ricotta and lemon juice together then add to the butter, sugar and egg mix. Then add the dry ingredients - polenta and almonds. Finally, beat the egg whites and fold into the mix.

Grease a 23cm baking tin, preferably one with a loose bottom. If you do not have a loose bottom tin, line with baking paper and grease.

Bake at 150 for 40-50 minutes. It is a wet heavy mix so do check it is cooked with a skewer.

Cool, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar.

The first time I made this cake, I elicited the help of TTG to zest the lemons. He was very enthusiastic; he loves his kitchen gadgets, does TTG, and the resulting strips of zest were very thick and chewy. On subsequent occasions I have used a microplane grater to get a more desirable texture. 

I serve this with a dob of plain yogurt, but if you can get good, whippable cream and don't have a presbyterian concscience about using this, go right ahead. A little tip for Italian-dwelling expats, who are fed up with non-whippability of Italian cream (panna): add a couple of tablespoons of fresh marscapone to the cream, then beat. I think you'll find that will do the trick quite nicely.


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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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