ricotta and citrus olive oil cake
A multi-tasking cake recipe using Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil with ricotta and citrus zest comes in handy especially when it’s so easily made. There’s no need for a food mixer, and feel free to improvise with citrus fruits. In January, we’ve made it with Seville oranges for extra sharpness. In early spring greengrocers often stock different types of lemons and blood oranges. Adding some Lebanese orange blossom water to the mixture was a nice reminder that in Lebanon these fragrant flowers are harvested in April to be made into this floral distillation.
As a centre piece for your table, a bowl of shocking pink rhubarb gently poached in syrup from a jar of ginger and the juice of a blood orange adds colour and acidity. With a bowl of crème fraîche, the ricotta and citrus olive oil cake is a pudding with style. Any leftovers would keep a cup of olive leaf infusion company in the afternoon and sit happily on a brunch table too. The sort of cake you need feel no guilt about at breakfast time.
EVOO v. olive oil
If you’ve been reading Tim Spector’s book Food for Life, you might have noticed the chart at the back of the book referring to the “stability” of the oils when cooking. Spector recommends using extra virgin olive oil for “cooking, baking and frying, even at high temperatures” not only because it retains its anti-oxidant properties at high temperatures, but also because of its high polyphenol content. EVOO has double the quantity of polyphenols per 100g than olive oil. While some EVOO have a bitter rasping after-taste, Zejd’s EVOO mildly peppery gentle taste doesn’t interfere with the flavour of the citrus. Even though Rachel Roddy suggests using olive oil, we believe Zejd’s EVOO makes for a more delicious cake and helps you pack in the polyphenols!
makes 12 slices
200ml Zejd extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder, heaped (7g)
150g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 citrus fruit of your choosing – Seville oranges, lemons, blood oranges, unwaxed, grated zest only
2 tsp Lebanese orange blossom water (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/160 fan/ gas mark 4, grease and flour a ring or bundt tin 23cm in diameter, or a loaf tin.
- Sieve the flour with the baking powder into a large bowl and the sugar. Mix well to combine.
- In another bowl whisk the ricotta with the extra virgin olive oil, then add the eggs one by one, beating between each addition, until smooth.
- Add the ricotta mixture to the flour and whisk until you have a thick batter. Then add the citrus zest and stir. Add the orange blossom water if using. Pour into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 30-40 min for a ring tin, 40-50 min for a loaf tin until the cake is golden. To test, try inserting a strand of spaghetti as Rachel Roddy says, which should come out clean when ready. When cool, turn the cake out on to a plate and dust with icing sugar on top.
Serve with poached rhubarb and crème fraîche.
Our thanks to Rachel Roddy for allowing us to reproduce this adapted version of her recipe from Five Quarters.