Thursday, 25 April 2019

Fresh fig and ricotta cake

I've had my head down working for the last little while but the Sunday before Easter I took a much needed day off. With friends I made my way to a new swimming spot, a secluded Sydney harbour beach off West Head in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The occasion called for cake and this one was a winner, both before and after our dip. Not too sweet, lightly lemony, and showcasing in-season figs as stunning as our surrounds. 

Fresh fig and ricotta cake
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

This would probably be wonderful with stone fruit too - something similarly juicy and jammy, like ripe peaches, plums or nectarines.

10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup fresh ricotta, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt (or half the amount table salt)
8 large (or 12 medium) fresh figs, stems removed, quartered through the stem
1 tablespoon raw sugar 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform tin.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and making sure each is fully integrated before adding the next. Add the ricotta, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix until combined. The ricotta will make it look lumpy - but at this stage that's exactly what it should look like. Don't panic!

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the ricotta batter, mixing just until combined, then pour into the prepared tin and smooth down the top. 

Arrange the figs on the cake, cut sides up, in snug but not overlapping circles. Sprinkle with the raw sugar and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in the tin on a baking rack for 15 to 20 minutes, before turning out and serving.

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