This Italian-inspired everyday cake combines polenta, ground almonds and ricotta cheese together to form a rustic, moist and not-too-sweet treat. It has a pleasant crumbly and grainy texture from the polenta and ground almonds. The ricotta and lemon make it rich, moist and tangy. Finely ground or instant polenta will result in the smoothest texture.
Preparation time 45 minutes Bake time 40-50 minutes Makes a 18 cm (7 in) cake
115 grams (4 ounces or 1 stick) butter, room temperature
125 grams (½ cup +1½ tablespoons) sugar, divided
3 eggs, separated
150 grams (5.3 ounces or about ⅔ cup) ricotta
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, juiced and zested
Pinch of salt
125 grams (1¼ cup) almond flour
53 grams (⅓ cup) finely ground polenta or cornmeal
43 grams (½ cup) untoasted almond flakes / slices
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 160C (325F).
Butter a small springform pan (7in/18cm) and line the bottom with parchment paper, cut to fit. Butter the parchment. Place the pan on baking sheet and side aside.
Measure all the ingredients.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and half the sugar together using a mixer until pale and light. Add the egg yolks one by one, blending well before each addition. Add the ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Beat until well blended.
Combine the almond flour and polenta and stir into the yolk mixture.
In a large and clean bowl, whip the egg whites and salt until the beginning stage of soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar gradually, continuing to whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture until combined, making sure that the batter remains light and airy.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan. Even out the top using a palette knife. Sprinkle the almond flakes on top.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake is set in the middle and the almond flakes are toasted. Leave the cake in the pan to cool for 20 minutes before unclasping the springform sides and inverting the cake onto a serving plate. Take off the springform pan bottom and the parchment round from the top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The cake will stiffen in the refrigerator so let it sit out before serving any leftovers.
Note:This recipe can be doubled. Use a 26 cm (10 in) cake pan if you double the recipe and adjust the baking time accordingly.