Tuesday Treat

Almond, Pear and Ricotta Cake

This is the most delicious, delicate tasting cake. It’s not overly sweet and is quite light, but be warned it is very moreish! I have taken this recipe from Nina Parker; she mentioned that she first tasted it in Capri, where she had it for breakfast….So, how could I resist, I had to try it myself for breakfast, and yes, it’s indulgent, but, oh my, it really is a great start to the day – try it! In her recipe, Nina poaches fresh pears for the filling, however I have tried it with both fresh poached and tinned pears, and there really is little difference, so now I always make it with tinned pears, which of course makes life a lot easier. The cake itself is rather flat looking, don’t expect a risen ‘victoria sponge’ like cake, but as you know looks can be deceiving and in this case they really are – it is a dream cake and it’s gluten free!

190g caster sugar

5 eggs, 4 separated, 1 left whole

170g ground almonds

1 tablespoon rice flour

½ teaspoon almond extract

For the filling:

250g ricotta cheese, drained of any water

100ml whipping cream

A few gratings of nutmeg

Seeds from ½ vanilla pod

Zest of a lemon

70g caster sugar

400g tin pear halves, drained and cut into small cubes

Icing sugar to dust

*2 x 10 inch cake tins

  1. First of all grease two 10 inch cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
  2. Using an electric whisk, whip the 4 egg whites until just light and fluffy and then slowly begin whisking in the sugar until it is all mixed in.
  3. In a separate bowl lightly beat together the 4 egg yolks, 1 whole egg and the almond extract, then add the ground almonds and rice flour – the mixture will be dry.
  4. Use a spatula to mix in ¼ of the egg whites, to loosen the mixture and to help get rid of lumps. Carefully add another ¼ of the egg whites and finally, fold in the remaining whites until the mixture is well combined – it may still appear a little ‘lumpy’, but don’t worry too much.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in a preheated oven, 170’c fan, for about 25 minutes until they are light and springy to touch and golden on top. Allow to cool completely on cooling racks.
  6. Meanwhile make the ricotta filling. Whisk the ricotta, whipping cream, nutmeg, vanilla pod seeds, zest of lemon and the caster sugar until it forms soft peaks, the consistency of whipped cream, then gently fold in the cubes of pear.
  7. Spread the ricotta cream over one of the cake bases and place the remaining cake on top. Dust generously with icing sugar and serve. (This cake keeps well in the fridge)

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