Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Italian Ricotta Cake

So this is the Easter cake I promised, and although it wasn't too difficult, it also wasn't fabulous.  I'll post the recipe the way I made it, but in the cookbook the Golden Book of Chocolate, the recipe calls for orange peel in the ricotta filling, and I just don't like chocolate with fruit very much.  Aaron gave it a 4, because he doesn't like cake and this wasn't a fabulous cake, Owen gave it an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 7.  It wasn't very chocolatey, and although I cooked it for the time called for, my cakes were a little done and dry.  I'm still trying to figure out this oven of mine ;)  Anyway, for 24 servings, the calories per slice are 329.

Italian Ricotta Cake

1.5 c almonds, finely ground
2/3 c flour
2/3 c cocoa
2 t baking powder
large pinch of salt
8 large eggs, separated
1.5 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c milk
chocolate curls or chips

Ricotta Filling:
1 c heavy cream
1 lb ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
1/2 c powdered sugar
dash of vanilla and almond extracts

Chocolate Topping:
2 c heavy cream
2/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c cocoa
1 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 and butter and line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper.  Grind the almonds in a food processor, then add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and process together.  In a mixer bowl, beat egg yolks, 1 c sugar, vanilla and almond extract together until pale and very thick.  Turn mixer to low and gradually beat in the dry ingredients alternating with the milk.  In another bowl, mix together the egg whites until frothy, then beat the egg whites with 1/2 c sugar until the whites are stiff and glossy.  Fold the egg whites into the batter, then divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes (I baked mine for 23, they were too done).  Cool the cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For the filling, beat the cream until stiff.  Process the ricotta, powdered sugar, and flavorings (the recipe uses 1/2 c orange peel here, I just used other flavorings) until smooth in a food processor.  Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.
For the Frosting, beat the cream, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff. 
Divide cakes in half, so there are four pieces.  Place one cake down on a plate, top with 1/3 filling, then repeat with the next two cake layers and the rest of the filling.  Place the last cake layer on top, then frost with the frosting and decorate as desired.

I don't know if Dutch processed cocoa would've given us a deeper chocolate flavor, but I do know that this could've used more chocolate.  Anyway, this was the first recipe from the new cookbook I tried, and I'm excited to try more.

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