Sunday, 20 April 2008
Fallen ginger ricotta cake
I know the saying is that ‘all roads lead to Rome’ but for me, at the moment ‘all recipes lead to ginger’. I’m obsessed with the stuff! My favourite form is definitely stem ginger – I love everything about using it, from trying to ease the sticky ball from the jar where it’s wedged in and reluctant to come out, to the gloopy syrup that makes everything it touches as tacky as glue.
I did tweak this recipe slightly in that I chose to use gingernut biscuits for the base; the recipe as written used digestives but I really fancied a hit of gingery heat – the weather is grotesquely cold and windy at the moment so you have to get some warmth from somewhere! Even with that amendment I could still have taken this hotter – I think next time I’d maybe use two balls of stem ginger. Here’s the tin lined with the biscuit base:
This cake works as a dessert or a slice of something tasty to have with tea. It’s very similar in some ways to a cheesecake but has a little twist that involves egg whites that makes it lighter in texture. I love the way that you can see the flecks of ginger in the cut slice:
The ‘fallen’ in the title refers to the fact that, on removal from the oven, the cake will sink. Don’t be upset and don’t think you’ve done anything wrong- every millimetre it sinks increases the dense, lovely texture!
The rewards of a job well done:
Footnote: I am delighted to report that Nicky, a work colleague of mine, was so impressed with this cake that she made it too! Look at how magnificent it is! You will also see that it has been given my ultimate award - a ten out of ten:
For the base:
225g gingernut biscuits (or digestives if you want it less gingery)
75g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 ball stem ginger in syrup, plus 1 tablespoon of the syrup
200g full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
225g ricotta cheese (I pass this through a sieve to make sure that any lumps are removed – it gives a smoother texture)
4 tablespoons double cream
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon cornflour
125g icing sugar
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Grease a 20cm springform tin with butter (this will help the crumbs to stick).
- Crush the biscuits to powder and then stir in the melted butter. Use just over half the mix to line the base and sides of the cake tin. Put the rest to one side.
- Chop the stem ginger finely and then beat it into the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, egg yolk, cornflour, double cream and ginger syrup. The mixture will be thick and creamy and the ginger should be evenly spread out in it. Put to one side.
- Whisk the egg whites until they are at the “soft peak” stage. Gradually add the icing sugar and whisk until the meringue is glossy and stiff.
- Fold the egg whites into the cheese mix and spoon into the biscuit crumb lined tin.
- Sprinkle the remaining biscuit crumbs on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and loosely cover the tin with foil and bake for a further 45 minutes, or until the cake is just set in the middle.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack. Don’t panic – the cake will sink!
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.