Blood Orange, Almond and Ricotta Cake

I’m hosting a dinner party in a few weeks, and this always means that I’m looking for delicious ideas for all the meal parts, but especially dessert.  This was so beautiful and different looking that I thought I might serve it, but being the naturally risk-averse person that I am, decided to “test” it first before finding out three hours before dinner that the recipe failed me or anything unexpected like that.

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THANK GOODNESS I did, since this ended up taking nearly twice the amount of time it claimed it would in baking, and I definitely needed an extra orange to get that amount of juice.  All in all, a delicious cake that is rapidly being devoured.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon water
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
3 blood oranges
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 apricot jam

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

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 in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

Place granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest all 3 oranges over it.

Cut oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other 5 halves (to get about 1/3 cup juice) and set juice aside.

Add butter to zest and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use same beaters you just did for egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  (The original recipe calls for 35-40 minutes but my cake was waaaaaay undercooked at that point and had to keep cooking and cooking it!)

Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. If desired, heat jam until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut into slices. Tastes good at room temperature or after being chilled.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

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