This is a recipe that I conquered last summer, but I felt it worthy of the spotlight now on my blog.
I made it because my lovely twin sis wanted to test my baking power for a birthday. Here’s some background on how our birthdays as twins go: We refuse to celebrate with our family on the same day, but obviously we have a joint party with all our friends because it would be a bit weird and excessive if we didn’t. Anyways, so in my family we take a weekend around our birthday when everyone is around and we choose our favorite meal that our mom makes and she makes that and we invite our close family over, but being a twin, we each get a day of the weekend so we can both feel special ;). I think it’s just an excuse to drag out our birthday festivities at this point. Although, there’s no way we would ever decide on one meal that we both love for our mom to make.
My mom is an AMAZING…recipe reader. She’s one of those cooks that follows everything in the recipe, because she thinks if you change anything up too much it will completely ruin the dish. Me, on the other hand, I look at a recipe as a base for anything I choose it to be. Since I have so many issues with foods I kind of have to swap a lot of things out, so I’m definitely a trial and error person. My mother is not. I love her for that. I never really had a bad meal growing up, and I owe that to the lovely Ina Garten. My mom has cooked her way through all her cookbooks multiple times, so I’m a firm believer in the power of Ina Garten.
When I was growing up (and chunky) I would always ask my mom to make sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. Then it evolved into Salmon with a creamy caesar salad (I thought it was healthy), but now I’m happy with a grilled chicken and a pile of veggies. However, I do usually ask for her to make her scrumptious popovers (not so healthy/paleo-but worth it).
My mom may be a great cook, but when it comes to dessert she just doesn’t quite cut it. The tradition would be for my grandma to bring a dessert of our choosing, but she’s been busier and busier with age (weirdly), so I’ve taken over the role of making my own dessert for my birthday. I actually quite enjoy using my birthday as a time to experiment with recipes of my choosing. I would never scour Pinterest and pick a dessert that I’m dying to try and then say, “Hey Grandma, buy all these ingredients and try making this.” That’s not something she would enjoy. She makes a mean cheesecake and an even meaner rum cake, but flourless almond cake… I’m not so sure. This way, if it’s nasty, I can only blame myself.
My sister loves to throw me little kitchen challenges, especially if she serves as taste tester, so for her birthday “day” she kindly asked me to make her an Almond and Ricotta Cake. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised she picked something like that, because she is literally almond obsessed. She goes through bags on bags of almonds like nobody’s business, and she’s also an insanely healthy eater, and this cake semi delivers in that department (at least if you compare it to a cheesecake or something). Also, by making her birthday dessert I don’t technically have to get her a present, right?
I highly recommend making this cake from Cakelets and Doilies for you next celebration. It’s incredibly moist from the Ricotta, and sweet but not too sweet. The addition of the almonds on top also adds a necessary crunch if you’re a texture person like my twin.
Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flour-less Cake recipe from Cakelets and Doilies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups almond flour
10 1/2 oz. full-fat ricotta
flaked almonds, for topping
powdered sugar, for dusting
// Preheat oven to 325.
Line the base and sides of a 20 cm round cake pan with parchment paper.
Place butter, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla and lemon in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes, until pale and creamy.
With mixer on low, add one egg yolk at a time until fully mixed.
Add the almond flour and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites in a separate, clean bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to the beaten egg whites and whip until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the almond flour mixture, and repeat with the remaining egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the cake pan and smooth the top.
Sprinkle the top with almond flakes.
Bake for 40-45 min or until firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing, and dust with powdered sugar.
Best enjoyed cool or room temperature.