Baking has never been my area of expertise, I still remember the first batch of blueberry muffins I ever made. I was in grade 9, the winter holidays were a bit dull, so I decided to make a batch of muffins. I’m still not sure what I did wrong, but they were so rock hard that when one rolled off the table there wasn’t even a dent on it!
I now bake by following a handful of simple rules, including measuring ingredients exactly, preheating the oven and not overmixing batter. I haven’t had the same disaster since, but I still hold my breath when I take a cake out of the oven. I made this chocolate, almond and ricotta cake for the latest issue of TASTE after being inspired by all the gorgeous citrus fruit available at the moment, especially ClemenGold mandarins.
They are super-sweet, juicy and delicious, perfect for cooking or baking. They also have a fantastic vibrantly coloured, fragrant skin, which is great for making flavoured sugar. Simply add a few pieces to a jar of white sugar, along with a split vanilla pod and some rose essence. It’s delicious sprinkled over this cake or dusted over fresh doughnuts.
Woolworths cardholders currently receive 20% off ClemenGolds, yet another reason to try them out!
- butter, for greasing
- cocoa, for dusting
- 500 g ricotta
- 4 free-range eggs, separated
- 300 g light brown sugar
- 250 g ground almonds
- 250 g dark chocolate, melted
- 10 oranges, zested
- 50 g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23 cm cake tin and dust it with cocoa powder.
- Throughly drain the ricotta by pushing it through a sieve to remove all the excess water, as well as any lumps.
- Add the egg yolks, brown sugar, ground almonds, melted chocolate and the zest of 2 oranges to the cheese, and mix.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Working quickly, fold the egg whites, a little at a time, into the chocolate-cheese mixture, as evenly as possible.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top using a palette knife. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
- Fold the remaining orange zest into the icing sugar and sprinkle over the cake.
Have a great weekend!
Consultant Food Editor, Woolworths Taste Magazine