I was strolling home from work the other night, my mind filled with thoughts as to what to make for tea (admittedly, not the most exciting narrative to be running through my head despite it being a very close contest between a salmon stir fry and a spring veg risotto) when Simon Mayo and chums on Radio 2's Drivetime Show began discussing this cake.
Regular listeners of Radio 2, all 15,568,000 of us, may know that each week resident cook Nigel Barden makes everyone feel rather hungry on their way home as he describes and demonstrates a weekly dish. All thoughts of our supper swiftly disappeared as I listened to Nigel, Simon et al devour this very tempting sounding cake. And when they mentioned it was created by one of my all time favourite American cookery writers, the brilliant Debs from Smitten Kitchen, well, I was sold. And within ten minutes of arriving home, via a quick pit stop to pick up a pot of ricotta and a punnet of raspberries, the oven was on, the spatula sticky and egg shells were littering the work surface.
I was not disappointed. The ricotta adds a cheesecake-like creaminess, the olive oil a depth of flavour and the raspberries a tangy sweetness. And the best thing is the versatility of this brilliant recipe. The original suggests a red grape coulis, but I simply spread a layer of raspberry jam from the lovely Pen Y Lan Pantry and decorated with the fruit.
The full recipe can be found right here, I adapted it somewhat, as follows.
Olive Oil, Ricotta and Raspberry Cake
(adapted from Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen Cookbook- Recipes from a New York Kitchen/Random House)
For the cake:
250g full fat ricotta
80ml olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
190g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp table salt
For the decoration:
1 punnet raspberries
1 tbsp raspberry jam
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160fan/Gas Mark 4/350F
2. Grease and line a 23cm springform tin with parchment paper
3. In a large bwol whisk together the ricotta, olive oil, sugar and vanilla
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition
5. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold in until just combined (be careful not to overmix)
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for thirty minutes until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes before removing onto a wire rack to complete cooling
8. Once cooled, spread the top of the cake with the jam, decorate with the raspberries and dust a over a little icing sugar
- No fresh fruit? Radio 2's Nigel suggests splitting the cake in two, dolloping the centre with a spoonful of jam and finishing with a dusting of icing sugar. The result: an intriguing, rather posh Victoria Sponge.