When Liz Prueitt (of Tartine fame) shared a couple of photos of a blood orange, cornmeal, and ricotta cake on Instagram - along with a short form recipe in the caption, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Turns out Deb from Smitten Kitchen and Amelia from Bon Appétempt were drawn to this recipe too, for good reason. To be honest, I almost didn’t add my voice to the chorus evangelizing for this delicious cake, but I just got the photos back from the lab and the cake was too pretty not to share.
I also made a few small changes to the method that streamlined it a bit – this was mostly because I didn’t feel like separating the eggs and folding them into the batter (a kitchen task I avoid whenever possible!), so I added the whole eggs instead. I figured the finished batter was already pretty thick and heavy from the ricotta and almond flour that the small amount of additional air that step would provide would be pretty inconsequential.
The finished cake is dense and rich, punctuated by slightly bitter candied orange slices, and totally delicious. Prueitt described it as cheesecake-like, which is totally on the money. I can't wait to try this with blueberries and stone fruit in the summer.
Blood Orange, cornmeal, and ricotta Cake
adapted from Liz Prueitt who adapted from The River Café Cookbook
This cake is dense and moist, almost custard-like in texture. Make sure to slice the oranges very thin so they soften and caramelize a bit while the cake bakes.
2 blood oranges scrubbed and cut into very thin slices (I used a couple of cara cara slices too)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (100g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (170g) whole milk ricotta
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup (135g) almond meal/flour
1/3 (45g) cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Butter a 9-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the paper too, then dust the pan and paper with flour. Stir the water and sugar together, then spread it on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the orange slices in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together with the lemon zest until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds in between each addition. Then beat the mixture for 5 more minutes. Beat in the ricotta and lemon juice.
Stir in the almond meal, cornmeal, and salt. The batter will be very thick.Spread the batter over the orange slices and bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then invert it onto a platter.