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Monday, August 20, 2007

Walnut and Ricotta Cake

Well I am back from camping and my week away from the computer (it was hell), I think I may be obsessed with checking my comments and my blog traffic. So, I'm back, and I'm never leaving again, I promise!!

As today is my birthday, I thought I would post a cake recipe. This isn't a traditional birthday cake, but it is a favorite of mine. It is light and moist and just yummy perfection. I actually made this cake a week or so ago for our wedding anniversary. I will make some other sort of cake today, for my birthday.

We are on holidays this week and I was looking forward to sleeping in this morning, but Marco woke me up at 6am to tell me it is my birthday, he was beside himself with excitement. I think it is because of the present he picked out for me.

Mario took the kids shopping yesterday and let them each pick out presents for me (translation, I am getting some gaudy unwearable piece of costume jewelry that I will have to pretend to love and wear everyday for the next month). I will let you all know tomorrow what my presents were.

Walnut and Ricotta Cake
from "Mediterranean Food of the Sun" by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow

1 cup walnut pieces
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
finely grated rind of 1 orange
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
6 tbsp flour

To finish:
4 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp brandy
2oz bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, grated.

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease and line the bottom of a 9" springform pan.

2. Roughly chop and toast the walnuts (I toast in a dry frying pan over medium heat for just a few minuted until the nuts start to brown slightly).

3. Cream together the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, orange rind, ricotta cheese, flour and walnuts. Mix together.

4. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Gradually whisk in the remaining sugar. Using a large metal spoon, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the ricotta mixture, then fold in the rest.

5. Turn the mixture into the prepared springform pan and bake for about 30 minutes until risen and firm. Leave the cake to cool in the pan.

6. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan with 1 tbsp water. Press through a sieve and stir in the brandy. Coat the top and sides of the cake with the brandy mixture. Decorate generously with chocolate shavings.