This cake is very Sicilian; it’s the use of ricotta and almonds - rich and fresh. It’s best eaten within a day of being baked. If you can’t get fresh ricotta – look in an Italian deli for it – then you can buy tubs in the supermarket. But go for the organic stuff in that case, it just tastes better.
Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy then beat in the zest. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork and add gradually, beating well after each addition. Drain off any liquid that is in the ricotta (there’s usually a little bit). Stir it into the batter.
Put the almonds into a food processor and grind as finely as you can – it should be almost like a powder.
Put the egg whites into a really clean bowl and beat until they form medium peaks.
Stir the citrus juice into the batter then fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add 2 big tbsp of the beaten whites to loosen the batter, then fold in the rest.
Scrape the batter into a buttered 20 cm cake tin. Put in an oven preheated to 180 C and bake for 45-50 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean once it is cooked. It is a very moist cake because of the ricotta and doesn’t have the texture of a regular cake such as a Victoria sponge.
Carefully remove the band around the cake and let the cake cool. (This cake is lovely just slightly warm, but you can let it cool completely). Scatter with the toasted almond flakes and dust with icing sugar before serving.
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