This easy lemon ricotta cake is one of the yummiest cakes Mom Moolenschot bakes (and she is a VERY talented baker who bakes a lot!). It’s super light and combines my favourite dessert flavours. Lemons, ricotta and berries (cherries) and of course, the optional dash of brandy in the cherry syrup.
Unfortunately, the folks live in Cape Town so I get tortured with images like this one (with the pretty purple flowers) which mom sends when she’s baking for friends! How lip-smackingly gorgeous! Fortunately, as I said, this recipe is another quick and easy one with a handful of ingredients. It’s likely that all you need to pop out and buy, is some ricotta and cherries. Which is exactly what I did because I simply HAD to have a slice of this deliciousness after I received this picture! I made mine with a cherry syrup but you can make your lemon ricotta cake with any berry syrup. So feel free to substitute with blueberries or strawberries. To me, the cherries are the perfect “festive season” fruit for this recipe.
INGREDIENTS: SERVES 8
For the lemon ricotta cake
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
3 unwaxed (for maximum flavour and best results) lemons, zested
3 organic eggs, separated
250g ricotta cheese (which you can find at Woolworths)
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the festive cherry syrup
3-4 tsp cornstarch/Maizena
1 cup/240ml water
180g caster sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1 lemon, zested and juiced (4 tablespoons of juice)
500g cherries, pitted ( I then also cut about 300g in half and left a handful with the pips and stalks in for decorating.)
The lemon ricotta cake
Preheat the oven to 180˚ and butter an 18cm spring-form cake tin.
Beat the butter and sugar together (ideally using an electric whisk) until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest, egg yolk only and the ricotta.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg-whites into stiff peaks. Then carefully fold the egg-whites into the ricotta mixture, 1 dessert spoon at a time so you don’t remove all the air you just out into the egg whites.
Finally, fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture (you’re trying to retain as much air as possible). Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake has risen, is firm and a golden colour. (I baked mine for 25 minutes on the fan setting but it needed an extra 5 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour. (Note: If it comes out of the oven a bit wobbly, put the cake back in the oven and allow it to cook a bit more but I don’t think you should exceed about 30 minutes.) Dress with the cherry syrup before serving.
The festive cherry syrup
Pour the water into a pot or pan and place over a moderate heat. Add the caster sugar, brandy, lemon zest and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir until the sugar dissolves (without boiling). Then add the cherries and turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, gently stirring from time to time. Dissolve the Maizena in a little bit of cold water. Stir this into cherry the liquid and keep stirring until it simmers and thickens to a nice syrupy consistency. Check the flavour and add sugar or lemon juice to achieve the desired sweetness or tartness. Allow to cool completely before dressing the lemon and ricotta cake with the cherry syrup.
Gently remove the lemon ricotta cake from the cake tin and place it on a serving platter or cake stand. Spoon over the cherry syrup and top with some pretty flowers or mint and a dusting of caster sugar or sparkles for Christmas flare.
(RELATED POSTS: Find more of our Sinful Sunday treats here.)