wholemeal ricotta cake
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I do pine for ricotta cakes because I never get to make them. The Weather Man, otherwise open minded food-wise, has a peculiar bias against some foods and, weirdly, it’s mostly about the words themselves.
He won’t touch semolina. Not that it’s a particularly appealing food article on its own, but mention a semolina cake and he’ll recoil. The closest he will get to the luckless grain is when it’s involved in pizza dough making. But then the word ‘pizza’ magically opens doors.
He has issues with polenta as well; God knows why as otherwise all things Italian usually meet with unquestioning approval. But cleverly I’ve taken to calling it ‘cornmeal’ and that seems to have worked a treat, thus allowing me to make the wonderful lemon and polenta cake among other things.
Stews – he’ll run a mile, but casseroles are okay. Pilchards (no way!) are commonly called sardines everywhere these days so we’re saved there too.
And then there’s ricotta.
No, I can’t call it cream or curd cheese cause that makes it even worse (cream cheese red light alert). He’s not adverse to savoury employment of ricotta but definitely has a thing about cheesecakes. So I have to adopt the coaxing approach, pointing out the ricotta content is next to invisible and by the way, one of his all-time favourites is the hazelnut ricotta torte (which it is).
This cake didn’t require much lobbying as it has other virtues: wholemeal cake! sugar-free! with poppy or chia seeds for crunch! He’s quite a hipster these days you see, is the Weather Man…
The recipe comes from the NY Times Cooking.
wholemeal ricotta cake
- 380g wholemeal flour (sieved if coarse or stoneground)
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 145g butter, melted
- ½ cup runny honey
- 3 eggs
- 300ml buttermilk
- 170g ricotta
- 1 ½ tbsp. lemon extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest grated from 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
- For the icing:
- 100g icing sugar
- juice from ½ lemon
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Brush a Bundt or a large loaf pan with melted butter and lightly dust with flour. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
Beat the eggs, buttermilk, ricotta, melted butter, honey, lemon extract and vanilla well together, by hand with a whisk or in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the flour mix and beat on low speed until well combined and smooth. Stir in the lemon zest and the poppy seeds.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool.
It will certainly benefit from a drizzle of icing as there is no sugar in the cake. So unless you want to stick to sugar-free, make icing by beating the lemon juice into the icing sugar until smooth and runny – add a drop of water if it’s too thick. Pour or drizzle the icing over the cake and leave to set.