Sunday, 17 February 2008

Plum, almond and ricotta cake

This could very well be the moment I attain ‘nirvana’ in cake. Imagine a cake that has the lightness of the most beautiful sponge yet the richness and depth of flavour of a cheesecake and the moistness of the most wonderful friand . Then imagine that it has a layer of sweet jam and is topped by juicy caramelised plums. Then imagine that you don’t have to imagine it because it’s real!

There are no words to describe the loveliness of this cake. It looks beautiful, tastes beautiful and is ridiculously easy to make. It takes longer to assemble in the tin than it does to actually make the batter.

Any soft fruit would work in this cake - apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums – and I think it’s important to match the jam to the fruit. I happen to love plums and had a jar of homemade damson jam that provided a lovely match.

Don’t put the jam right to the edge as you want the cake to bake around it and enclose it. You don’t need to be too fussy about spreading it – blob it on:

Then cover with the remaining batter:

Any cake that looks this beautiful going into the oven is going to be a winner:

As it cooks, the sugar sprinkled on the top caramelises the fruit and makes a glorious topping:

This is what I believe is called a “serving suggestion”:

250g ricotta cheese
140g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
225g golden caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the top
250g self raising flour
200g ground almonds
4 tablespoons of plum/damson jam
1 tin of plums (There were 11 in the tin of which I used 7), stoned and cut into quarters
Handful of flaked almonds

To serve: lightly whipped cream. I used Chantilly cream.

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a 23cm round cake tin. I used a one piece liner as it saves having to grease the tin.
- Beat together the ricotta, melted butter, eggs and sugar until well combined.
- Fold in the flour and ground almonds. You will have a very thick, heavy batter.
- Spoon half the batter into the tin and even out.
- Blob the jam over the batter trying not to go right to the edge (it’s nice if the cake encloses the jam so it’s a lovely surprise when the cake is cut).
- Spoon the rest of the batter over the jam and, using a knife, even the surface.
- Arrange the plum quarters on top of the batter.
- Scatter over the flaked almonds.
- Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top and then bake for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour and 25 minutes. The cake will have risen and the sugar should have caramelised the fruit. The fruit will shrivel a little but this is where all the delicious flavour comes from!
- Let the cake cool for 20 minutes or so before removing from the tin and letting cool completely on a wire rack.
- If desired, dust with icing sugar before serving. Personally, I don’t think it needs it.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


glamah16 said...

Oh my. Can you send me a piece now!

Carolyn said...

this really does look impressive, I am hungry just looking at the ic.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hey crusader
your description and the presenation took me to the world of mesmerisation..cakes and cakes and cakes...a very good plum, almond and ricotta cake, indeed !

jen said...

Oh. My. God. That's just the last word in cake. Fantastic!

Fiona said...

Once again... I drool like Homer Simpson.

Rosie said...

WOW oh WOW this truly is an impressive looking cake!!

Rosie x