I have often said that cooking is an act of love and friendship... and what do friends do? They share! I belong to a Facebook group that reunites wonderful Italian women living all over the word, trying to keep our cuisine and traditions alive (the blog that groups some of the staple recipes, in both languages, is here). One day, Claudia Casu (one of these amazing women) posted the recipe of a cake she loves, a cake made with ricotta and orange, treasure of her home region: Sardegna (the island of Sardinia).
This cake caught so many eyes, it's being made pretty much all over the word: north, south, east and west! Claudia is a food designer, has lived in Tokyo for 7 yeasr, now, she teaches Sardinian cuisine (both traditional and creative), is a producer for some restaurants and organizes events; she has a 2 years old son that loves both Italian and Japanese cuisine (you can read the entire story on Un'alessandrina in America's blog - sorry... it's in Italian ;-) ).
Given Reno's altitude, I had to make a couple changes to Claudia's original recipe but, since her cake is amazing, in the footnotes you'll find the original one, so anybody will be able to try and make it.
Please, let me know when you'll make it (I KNOW you will) and where you are, so I can let her know!!!
This is one of the very few cakes that, despite Reno's altitude, turned out pretty much perfect with the minimum amount of changes possible!!!
200 gr. Italian 00 flour (approx. 1 1/2 cup)
200 gr. ricotta (the freshest possible - I made my own) (7 oz.)
150 gr. sugar (approx. 2/3 cup)
10 gr. baking powder (2 tsp)
1 orange, juice and grated zest
30 ml. Italian extra virgin olive oil (from Sardinia, if you can find it - yes, we DO sell one) (3 tbsp)
1- Preheat oven to 350F.
2- In a big bowl, beat eggs with sugar, without letting them whisk too much; add ricotta and mix it until you have a smooth cream.
3- Add orange zest, filtered juice and oil in a thin stream, mixing; sift flour and baking powder and mix carefully until you obtain a smooth batter.
4- Pour your batter in a buttered and floured spring form pan about 8" diameter.
5- Bake on central rack for 45-50 minutes, check with a toothpick when it's done, like any other cake.
6- Once at room temperature, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar; you can also sprinkle with chopped almonds before cooking it.
7- This cake will stay moist and very soft even the day after, provided that you have any leftovers ;-)
My cake (whitish)
Claudia's cake (nicely orange!)
(This photo is property of - and nicely provided by - Sardegna Cooking Studio)
- And... here are the changes.
My ricotta, being handmade, was very dense, so I thinned it with some milk... I suspect that most commercial ricotta would be too wet so you may ant to let it "rest" (overnight and in the refrigerator) in a thin strainer over a bowl ;-)
Claudia told me that the secret of her cake was, actually, dividing eggs and, separately, whisking whites until peaks would hold (literally: if you turn your bowl up-side down, they won't fall - I do that with my tiramisu`). Follow steps 2&3 using yolks only, then carefully fold whisked whites with a spatula into the batter.
- Yes, we sell 00 flour AND Sardinian olive oil (that, I found out, is Claudia's home town oil!!)
- Please, weigh ingredients! It's much more accurate, especially for baked dished.
- I bought a terrible orange... I hope you'll have more luck. That's why my cake look "white" while Claudia's is nicely orange!
- If you want to know more about Claudia and her masterpieces - believe me, some (ehm... most) of them are pieces of art - and have Facebook, check & like her FB page here - Sardegna Cooking Studio