Before I had my new Kitchen Aid Mixer (Pro 500), I thought I was doing well in making cakes. Then I tried baking this most delicious and amazing Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake and realize that I actually couldn't have done this with my old and cheap mixer that's now been buried 6-feet under (figuratively speaking).My husband who is just the most amazing and supportive husband ever on this planet - together with his parents (the best in-laws ever, too!) have given me this new Kitchen Aid Mixer as a birthday gift last March because they knew that the last one died recently and of course, because I love to cook and bake!
As a result, I managed to make this yummy cake! My most favorite Cake is the Portuguese Orange and Olive Cake and I must say that this comes a very close second, if not a tie! You see, am not much of a sweet Cake person. I would prefer Ice Cream over cake anytime, providing they are just the ordinary cakes you see on grocery stores and not my Top 2 favorites! I just don't like overly sweet cakes where you taste nothing but sugar. I prefer a more complex flavor - with a little hint of this or that, lemony here, a little cinnamon there, you get the drift. And this cake has all that!
Despite the presence of Ricotta Cheese here, it's not really a full-fledged cheesecake - it's more of a sponge cake that's quite light (though the next day it becomes a little more dense). It has the airy texture of angel cake and has the lovely sweet, tangy and cheesy flavors all rolled into this yummy cake - just perfectly harmonious! None of the flavors overpower each other and I love this cake for that.
I must say I did experiment with this cake and for my kiddie's sake added 1/2 a cup of white chocolate chips and they worked quite well too. It would be a sweeter version, naturally, but not sickly sweet, still right for my palate, if you know what I mean. The drawback is that you won't taste much of the lemon or the ricotta (unless you add more in the mixture and experiment a little) but it still would be a very yummy cake so I present this as another option. But if you wish to be a little more authentic leave out the white choco chips. This would be truly perfect with some summer berries! Enjoy this yumminess!
1 1/2 cups Flour - take out 2 Tablespoons and set it aside
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda (or Baking Powder)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Butter, softened or room temp
3/4 cup granulated Sugar
1/3 cup + 1-2 Tablespoons Ricotta Cheese (not meant to be separated)
3 large Eggs, separate the white from the yolks
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon (or at least 3-4 Tablespoons)
Confectioner's (Icing) Sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Grease or use a non-stick spray on a Springform or 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
Sift together the flour (setting aside 2 Tablespoons), baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. It takes about 8 minutes or so. Beat in the Ricotta cheese for about a minute.
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the 2 tablespoons flour, lemon zest and juice. Mix just until combined.
Turn the speed to low and then gently and slowly add the flour and mix just until blended. Do not overbeat. Batter will be pretty thick.
The next step is very important so do not omit this. This is what gives the cake that airy and light texture. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. This would take roughly between 5-7 minutes. Fold in gently into the batter until the whites are fully incorporated and the batter forms a cohesive texture or consistency.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 15-20 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Generously dust with confectioner's sugar before serving! Great on the first day and more so on the second day - that is if you haven't finished it yet after the first day! Enjoy!!!
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