Hazelnut Ricotta Cake

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: one 8-inch round cake
Recipe: 61/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 132

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    After all the baking I did during the holidays, not many of which related to recipes from Anna’s cookbook, I figured it was time to get back in the game. I thus made this lovely hazelnut and ricotta cake. It is one of the easiest desserts I have made so far, mostly because we can do everything in the food processor, which by itself is an amazing feat. The cake is simple yet lovely. It is moist, has a pleasant hazelnut taste accompagnied by a discreet orange flavor from the zest. To complement the zest I added the candied orange that I made not too long ago. It was quite delicious indeed! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole dry-roasted hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts and sugar until the hazelnuts are finely ground.
  3. Add the oil, ricotta, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest in the food processor and pulse to blend.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse until just combined.
  5. Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

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Valerie

Light Fruitcake Ring

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: one 8-cup bundt cake
Recipe: 60/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 250

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   My dad is generally not a huge fan of desserts, but one thing he adores during the holiday season is fruitcake. He always receives the store-bought fruitcakes as a gift (the ones with the red and green cherries). I thought that this year I would make him a big fruitcake that he could enjoy endlessly. I am not an avid eater of fruitcake myself, but according to him this fruitcake is delicious and very tasty. Much better than the ones sold in stores, he claims. What I further like about this recipe is that it has many small steps but in the end, it is not so complicated. The hardest part, I think, is the 5-day waiting period before tasting it! I urge you to try this recipe if you or someone you know like fruitcakes. 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup diced Candied Citrus Peel
  • 3 oz. (85 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup amber rum (e.g. Bacardi Gold), plus extra for brushing cake
  • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir the pecans, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, citrus peel and chocolate with the rum. Cover and let sit for one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease an 8-cup bundt pan.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cloves and salt together. Add the fruit and rum mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, milk and egg yolks. Stir this into the fruit mixture.
  5. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites until the hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted. Fold this into the cake batter in two additions.
  6. Spread this mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn it out to cool.
  7. While still warm, brush the surface of the cake with rum. Once completely cooled, brush the cake again with rum. Wrap and store the cake for 5 days before slicing.

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Valerie

Candied Citrus Peel

Frosting, sauces and garnishes

Yield: about 1  1/2 cups
Recipe: 59/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 321

Candied Orange

   Tis the season to… bake! In view of the holiday season I made a fruitcake for my dad (recipe to come), he just loves them during this time of year! To do so I needed candied orange. I had never done any similar garnishes, and I very happy with the simplicity of the recipe. It’s pretty much fool-proof. These candied orange peels are quite good, actually! Pleasantly sweet and soft. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole oranges (alternatively, one can use lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Using a small paring knife, make a circle on the top and bottom of each fruit. Score down the citrus in 4-6 places and gently remove the peel. Make sure to remove any excess of white membrane and cut the peel into julienne strips.
  2. Bring a small pot of water up to a boil and add the citrus peel. Let the peel boil for 1 minute, then drain away the water. Note: This step is important to remove some bitterness from the peel. 
  3. Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer and add the citrus peel. Gently simmer the peel until it becomes translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the citrus cool in the syrup.
  4. Strain out the peel (you can reserve the syrup for other uses) and spread it out on a parchment paper-lined baking tray to dry a little. Store the peel in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes from Anna:

  • Do not refrigerate the citrus peel.
  • The reserved syrup can be used to poach pears, sweeten tea or to brush over a pound cake, for instance.

Valerie