The holiday season is a joyous time spent with friends, family and community. Here is a delicate, lovely cake to serve or give, that will impress with flavor and presentation.
While in Italy this summer, I perfected baking the torta (cake) using fresh Ricotta cheese (bought at local Tuscan farms), with freshly picked (by me!) lemon and wild blackberries.
Updated for the winter season, this recipe utilizes rich orange flavor topped with jewel-like red berries for a festive touch!
Orange Ricotta Torta
Serves 6 - 8
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Zest from 1 orange
1/8 cup orange juice
1 Tsp pure orange extract
3 large cage-free eggs, separated
1 cup full fat Ricotta cheese (very fresh)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Powdered egg white mix or fresh egg white
Prepare sugared fruit for decoration:
Place berries in one layer on a sheet of parchment paper. Using either powdered egg white mix or fresh egg white, place in a small bowl and lightly beat. Next, lightly brush fruit with egg white. Roll fruit in sugar to evenly coat; shake off excess. Spoon berries onto a sheet of parchment paper and let dry for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add orange zest, orange juice and extract; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, then add ricotta cheese, combine with mixer until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredient mixture to dry; beat until just combined.
Wash beaters well, beat 3 egg whites in a small bowl until stiff.
Gently fold egg whites into batter; spoon into prepared baking pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes until center comes out clean when a tester (or toothpick) is inserted. Allow cake to completely cool. Gently open sides of pan then careful run a long knife underneath to release it from the baking pan. Carefully transfer cake to a serving plate or cake board. Garnish the top with sugared berries.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve or carefully wrap torta in cellophane, tie with ribbon and give!