I always remember having ricotta in the fridge as a child – my parents would make it on weekends, eventually to be eaten in a pie or simply on toast the following morning with fresh tomato and olive oil. I remember walking down to the beach to help them collect the seawater used to make the cheese. I love how something so simple can evoke strong memories and emotions.
This lemon cake is a one-bowl wonder, super fast and made with ingredients that are usually always in the cupboard and fridge. It is even delicious just with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of double cream, if you’re strapped for time or ingredients. I do love this cake with lashings of the lemon-perfumed ricotta icing, and for something a bit extra, a little lemon curd.
This cake looks especially beautiful with berries, if they are in season, and Amarena cherries, which of course are available all year round. Add the cherries just before serving as they sit in a ridiculously delicious syrup that will run down the cake very quickly. Whatever you do, eat with the seasons – your tastebuds and wallet will thank you! Poached rhubarb in winter, or fresh figs during the autumn months will look and taste as beautiful!
For the Cake
200g caster sugar
200ml olive oil
2 lemons, zest, and juice
300g self-raising flour
For the ricotta icing
300g firm ricotta
40g unsalted butter, softened
180g icing sugar
1 lemon, zest only
For the lemon curd
125ml lemon juice
100g unsalted butter
5 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
In a large bowl, place the sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest and juice, and milk. Beat with a whisk until well combined. Sift over flour and continue to whisk until all flour is incorporated and there are no lumps.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake withdraws clean. Cool in tin for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled, gently smooth over the ricotta icing, top with the raspberries and cherries. Serve individual slices with a generous dollop of lemon curd.
For the lemon curd
In a heat proof, non-reactive bowl, place yolks and sugar and beat to combine. Set aside.
In another heat proof, non-reactive bowl place the lemon juice and butter. Sit the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until butter has melted. Pour this mixture over the egg mixture and whisk until all incorporated.
Place this bowl back onto the pot of simmering water, and using a wooden spoon, continuously stir until curd thickens (approximately 10 minutes). Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
For the whipped ricotta
In a food processor, whip the butter and ricotta until smooth and there are no lumps. Slowly add the icing sugar until it is has reached a thick consistency. Mix in the lemon zest.
HUGE THANKS Julia Busuttil of OSTRO for sharing her amazing sweet recipes with us this month, and to Eve Wilson for the gorgeous shots!