This lemon ricotta cake is incredible and yet so simple. It uses simple ingredients and has two parts - a delicious blonde almond crumble mix and a creamy ricotta filling scented with lemon, vanilla and cinnamon. It's a little bit ricotta cheesecake, a little bit crumble but 100% delicious. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader. I called her Rosalba.
I cannot tell you how much fun making this cake was. For starters it's SO easy as in it requires just two bowls and a whisk and no mixer but it also tastes so wonderful and is great made a day ahead of time so it's pretty much the perfect cake! I did feel like I had won the cake lottery. I was inspired to make this by a ricotta cake that I saw in a cafe. I looked it up and saw a recipe from The Clever Meal but I wanted the filling to be a bit more like the famous Pasticceria Papa ricotta cheesecake so I made the filling a bit richer using some mascarpone. Plus nothing beats the flavour of butter over olive oil in a crumble so I used butter.
Tips for making this Ricotta Crumble Cake:
I like using raw sugar for crumble or streusel to add texture to the mixture. You can also use plain white or caster/superfine sugar.
You can use your favourite ground nuts - I like using walnuts for extra flavour.
You can use your hands or a pastry cutter to "rub" the butter in.
Crumble mixture is best when the butter is cold but really cold butter is hard to rub in. As it is winter here I leave the butter out of the fridge for 1 hour - it really depends on the ambient temperature where you are but you definitely don't want soft or sloppy butter. Just in case, I place the already made crumble mixture in the fridge to chill and firm up before baking it.
If you are allergic to nuts, you can replace the almond meal with 1/2 cup of plain all purpose flour (don't measure the equivalent weight as almond flour is heavier than flour).
I use smooth ricotta for this cake. If you ricotta isn't of the smooth variety you can pass it through a sieve. This helps to give the cake a smooth texture.
Mascarpone is softer than cream cheese so if you are using cream cheese make sure to soften it by leaving it at room temperature for an hour.
I cover the cake with foil after 30 minutes in the oven so that the crumble is paler in colour.
You can serve this warm (although I'd avoid serving this hot as you want the cheese to set). I prefer to chill it and serve it like a cheesecake.
This cheesecake should be kept in the fridge.
I gave Mr NQN a piece of this cake in the afternoon. He's always on Zoom calls in his office so sometimes I sneak in and play with Teddy in the corner out of sight of whomever he is talking to. That day I ended up being so riveted and amused by his Zoom call that I stayed for a while playing with Teddy and listening to the workplace banter.
He has a colleague that is newish to the company. Mr NQN isn't her boss, he's sort of above her but in a diagonal way and he always introduces Teddy to everyone new. A couple of weeks prior his colleague had been late to a meeting with her new direct boss because of her own dog Sid who has a peculiar way of eating. When she explained to her boss that it was because of Sid he was immediately understanding. He too was working from home and had two kids of his own and they kept him on his toes.
He was so lovely about it that she didn't have the heart to tell him that Sid was a dog and not a human child.
"So now it's too late to tell him that Sid is a dog and now I've got to pretend that Sid is my human baby!" she said. She also has to be careful not to tell him that Sid's special way of eating is to chuck all of her food out of his bowl and then eat it off the floor!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever found yourself in a situation where it's gone too far to backtrack? Have you ever tried a cake like this?