I love ricotta cheese, especially in cakes. I also believe orange zest and chocolate are made for each other. Period.
Recipes by Melissa Forti
Photographs by Danny Bernardini
Torta di ricotta, arancia e cioccolato (ricotta, orange and chocolate cake)recipe from The Italian Baker
FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING
- 500g (1lb 2oz) ricotta cheese
- 250g (1¼ cups) caster (granulated) sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 225g (8oz) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
FOR THE CAKE
- 200g (scant 1 cup) butter, plus extra, softened, for greasing
- 300g (scant 2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 95g (¾ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 200g (1 cup) caster (granulated) sugar
- 250ml (1 cup) double (heavy) cream
- 2 eggs
- Icing (confectioner’s) sugar or good-quality cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 23-cm/9-inch cake tin and line with baking parchment.
For the filling, place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and press the ricotta through using the back of a spoon. Add the sugar, orange zest and chocolate chips to the bowl. Stir and set aside. Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a separate bowl and set aside.
Put the butter, sugar and half the cream into another bowl and heat in the microwave until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Stir, then add the remaining cream and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, until pale and creamy. Fold in (or beat in on a low speed with the stand mixer) the sifted flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the butter and cream mixture, until fully incorporated. Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared tin and, using a spatula, spread it out evenly.
Fill a piping bag with the ricotta mixture and pipe it across the centre of the cake mixture in the tin. Spread it out a little using a spatula, but try not to reach the sides of the tin. Add the remaining cake mixture on top of the ricotta mixture and spread it out evenly.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin before inverting on to a plate. Dust with either icing sugar or cocoa powder, depending on preference.