Blood Orange, Almond Ricotta Cake

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With the bouts of El Nino happening, I’ve been in a very serious nesting mode. The apartment is ridiculously clean, paintings have finally been hung, corners scrubbed and flowers out. So naturally, I’ve also gravitated toward comfort food. Last week, I came home and made grilled rockfish tacos with homemade guac and pico de gallo plus charred corn tortillas. Then went to spin. And then came home with a craving for something gently sweet.

I had picked up some amazing blood oranges from the local grocer, Cookbook, on Echo Park Ave, primarily to use in some pre dinner cocktails. The blood oranges provided a terrific inspiration for dessert.

I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it turned out beautifully served with a spoonful of ricotta.

Blood Orange Ricotta Almond Cake

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
2 blood oranges, or another orange of your choice
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (165 grams) ricotta
1/3 cup (45 grams) cornmeal
1 cup (135 grams) firm-packed almond flour or meal
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup apple, quince or apricot jam (optional, for glossy finish)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a springform pan and coat with a bit of flower

Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.

Whip egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. *Pro-tip: Use a dry metal bower.* Set aside.

Zest both oranges into granulated sugar.

Halve oranges. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice rest of oranges and set juice aside.

Beat zest, sugar and butter together. Add egg yolks and beat to combine. Add juice, ricotta, salt. Then add almond flour and cornmeal and fold until combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour batter over brown sugar. Bake in heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for five minutes, invert and serve cooled with ricotta or ice cream.

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