Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake




This is a light lemony flourless cake that will be perfect on a beautiful summer/spring afternoon (although it’s winter in Australia now). The cake reminds me a little bit like friands; moist and almondy. I like this cake the next day, after it’s completely chilled, and the flavour and texture seems to get better with time.

This cake is on the sweet side, so I would recommend reducing the sugar (probably down to 200 grams) if you don’t like your cake overly sweet.



Update: I’ve received several requests to provide a volume measurement for this recipe. I’ve been reluctant to do so because I’m one of those bakers who like to methodically measure out each ingredient by weight. I feel that it’s the only reliable way to get a consistent result. But hey, that’s just me. Anyway, I have updated the recipe with volume measurement as requested. I understand that Australian measuring cups and spoons may vary slightly from American. So, just a note that I have provided American cups conversion here. Please let me know if there is any mistake in the conversion.

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake
(Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Winter June-July 2013)

120 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
275 grams (1 1/3 cups) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
240 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond meal
300 grams (10 1/2 oz) ricotta
Flaked almonds, to decorated
Icing sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 160 degree celcius fan-force (325 degree fahrenheit fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.

Place the butter, 165 grams caster sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrap down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combined. Add the almond meal and beat to combine. Fold ricotta through the almond meal mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the tops with a palette knife, decorate the cake with almond flakes, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to touch. Allow to cool completely in the cake tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

77 comments:

  1. This cake looks divine! So pretty with the almonds on the top :) I have to try this recipe, I love lemony cakes!! Just discovered your beautuful blog and I love it!!
    xox Amy

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    1. Hi Amy. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment. :D

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Must try it soon.

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  3. This cake looks amazing. Can you convert the recipe for American cooks?

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  4. I am diabetic so this will be a challenge but my cousin posted it to Facebook and I posted it so now I have to make it. It looks so delish!
    Thanks!

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    1. Use Swerve for your sugar. It is a natural sugar substitute that tastes great! I buy mine from amazon.com. Swerve can be used cup for cup the same as sugar.

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  5. You WILL NOT believe this, but I was just eyeing-off the little cakes in the DH Mag about an hour ago - spooky.

    Lemon, ricotta and almond are such a great combo and your version looks totally scrummy.

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    1. Haha... I know what you mean. It has been on my to-bake list as soon as I laid my eyes on it in the DH Mag last month. They are really good and definitely worth making.

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  6. any idea how much it would be ingredients wise in USA!!! where can I calculate? Sounds and really looks perfect!!

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    1. Will it help to convert from grams to ounces? Or are you after weight to volume conversions?

      B.

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    2. weight to volume in the USA for us. Please :) I'd like to make for company next week.

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    3. There are numerous conversion sites online. Here is one to get you started:

      http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking/

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  7. Can't wait to give this a try. I'm just wondering about the oven temperature for a regular oven, non fan forced. Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Sonya. The oven temperature is for fan-forced. For regular oven, the temperature will need to be increased to 180. Hope that helps.

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  8. Hello, I whipped up this cake this afternoon and it is deeelicious! Thank you for the recipe, definitely a summer cake like you say and I'm looking forward to the flavour maturing with time. I have a feeling I'll be eating it all week. Thanks again, Sally

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  9. p.s. I found this recipe through Pinterest, but I am now totally addicted to your blog. You have such a fun selection of food. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Sally. Thanks for your kind words. And I'm glad that you love this cake as much as I did. :D

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  10. Making this today for my husbands birthday. Can't wait to try it!!

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  11. divine!
    cannot wait to try this once winter is kicked out of Melbourne!

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  12. Gorgeous cake! I've always wanted a flourless cake that wasn't chocolate.

    And BLESS YOU! I'm bookmarking your food blog because you have the American measurements for those of us up here in the Northern Hemi!

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  13. Is it really 1/4 cup of lemon zest? That's a lot!

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    1. Yes. 1/4 cup is correct. That's about 6-8 lemons depending on the size of your lemons. I was surprised too with the amount when I first made this cake. But the amount of lemon zest is what makes this cake lemony. The lemon zest doesn't need to be a firmly packed or exactly 1/4 cup. It's just a rough guide on how much zest we need.

      B.

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    2. do you think you can use lemon oil drops for the lemon flavor

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  14. Terrific, thanks for those extra details :)

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  15. This sounds soo great! Everything I love in a dessert! Thanks for the conversions :)

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  16. OMG I just read the post about the lemon zest! I too was wondering about the 1/4 cup, hopefully my cake will still turn out yummy as it is in the oven as I type. BUT I only used the zest of 2 lemons! :( Wah! I'll let you know how it turns out.... Hopefully just as good although it's obvious that it won't be as lemony.

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  17. Oh I too thought the zest amount was a misprint so I used the zest of 2 lemons. :( BUT I must say it turned out lovely! Next time I will use 3 - 4 lemons, not sure I would want more than that, husband thought it was perfect as is. :) I did intentionally alter the recipe a bit further, use Stevia instead of caster sugar and I grounded my own almonds with skins, consistency like corn meal vs flour. The cake turned out deliciously soft and moist and not overly sweet!
    We LOVE it!
    Thank you so very much for posting!

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  18. I only had enough lemons for about half the amount of zest in the recipe. Everyone loved the cake - texture and flavour were great, just not as 'lemony'! And what a great recipe to bake for my coeliac family & friends.
    Thank you!

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  19. I just made this today and it was amazing! I didn't have caster sugar so I pulsed granulated sugar and reduced the amount to 1 cup. Also, I have a conventional electric oven so I baked it at 350 for 43 minutes. And I used the zest of 6 lemons. I will definitely make this again. Thank you!

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  20. Mine came out wet:( what went wrong?

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    1. The only thing I can think of is you didn't measure your ingredients correctly. Also, some brand for the ricotta often comes with lots of liquid. If that is the case, drain the ricotta first and then measure out the ricotta.

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  21. I made this today with my own Buffalo milk ricotta and it tastes beautiful! It did take quite a bit longer in the oven, but I don't have fan forced so maybe that was the reason. I also used a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to give it extra lemony goodness. Thankyou!

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  22. I logged onto pinterest and discovered my youngest daughter had pinned this cake. We have good taste! We are going to try it Thursday night. I doubt I will find almond meal around where I live. What amount of almonds do you think I need for the recipe, if I'm making my own meal? The way we live... there's no such thing as "too many almonds" lol This cake is EXACTLY what i was looking for to WOW the socks off a friend for dinner Friday night. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. We did it. Only made one mistake. Had to start over. I forgot to separate the sugar for the two steps. The batter tasted fabulous! The cake is for Friday night, so I will not know till then how it is... such suspense!

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  23. This cake sounds amazing. I love that it's flourless, with almond meal instead.
    P.S. I provide weight measures on my blog, so I couldn't agree more with you about measuring by weight. So much more consistent and I feel like I have less dishes to do at the end of the day!

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  24. I made this cake yesterday. Delish! Thank you.

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  25. My husband and I just made your delicious recipe. Wow! Here's one question we have as we are fairly inexperienced bakers. Do you compress the almond meal like you would brown sugar, or do you just measure it loosely as it comes out of the bag?

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    1. I measured all the ingredients by weight. So I'm not too sure if almond meal should be compress or not if you go by the volume method. I'm thinking probably like how you would with measuring flour...loosely as it comes out of the bag.

      B.

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    2. I measure almond flour like I do all flours. Scoop it with a spoon into the cup until it is overflowing and then level it with a knife being careful not to tap the cup or compress the flour in any way!

      I really should start doing everything by weight. I hear it's faster...

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  26. Ese pastel, luce espectacular, definitivamente tengo que hacerlo. Saludos y gracias por compartir

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  27. I have this cake in oven now last 5 min to go and it seems wiggly in center
    I checked the 20cm cake pan & it said it's = to 8 inch
    Is that correct
    If so why do you think after 45 min 350 it is still wiggly in center
    Thank you
    Nan

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    1. Hi Nan. The pan size shouldn't matter. Just baked a bit longer if it still seems wiggly/wet. Just like any other cake, test it with a toothpick or similar, the cake is done when the toothpick when inserted in the center comes out clean.

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  28. I live in Mexico and almond meal is impossible to get here. Can I make my own with almonds in the food processor? This cake sounds wonderful!! L

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    1. Yes you can make your own almond meal (ground almond) by pulsing the blanched almonds (almonds skin off) in a food processor until a rough flour forms. Do not over-process or you'll create almond butter. Pass the almond meal through a fine sieve to remove any big pieces.

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  29. For what it's worth I am "across the pond" and thrilled you give weights! I hate it when cookbooks that are published for American audiences give everything in volume, drives me nuts! ANyway, love the cake, am pinning now!

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  30. This was fantastic! I've made it twice, never had a problem. I think my torte pan is between 8-10 inches and it's been fine both times. I've used store bought almond meal and almond meal I made my own in the food processor. Both times wonderful! Here are my other thoughts/modifications. Mainly no sugar, substitute Swerve as I don't eat sugar and wanted a dessert to fit my gf and sf eating plan.

    Modifications I made:
    1) I used almond meal with the skins from TJs plus some I made from raw almonds in my food processor (from the picture I would guess she uses blanched almond meal as her cake turns out much lighter in color and yellower. I like the nutty flavor the skins five the cake).
    2) Instead of sugar I used Swerve. You can by it at the natural foods store in Hudson, WI if you want to take a short road trip or you can buy it online. I have used both the granular and the powdered versions of Swerve in this.
    3) I also cut the sugar/Swerver by about half as the recipe suggests. 1/2 cup in the cake mix and 1/4 cup in the egg white mixture.
    4) I didn't have vanilla beans and didn't buy them as they are quite expensive and instead used the awesome Penzeys vanilla.
    5) I didn't use any parchment paper as last time I tried to use that in a recipe it just stuck annoyingly to the bottom of my lemon bars. I just greased the pan with pam spray.
    6) I do think this is better the second day. And awesome the third day!
    7) I cook it for the full 45 minutes and it seems perfect. I also don't mix the butter/zest/sweetener mixture for 8-10 minutes. That seemed like too long so I did about 4-5 until it was pale and mixed as the recipe suggests. I don't weigh my ingredients, just dry measure.

    FABULOUS!!! Even my friends who are always skeptical of my gf and sf creations loved it!

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  31. This cake looks amazing! It's been pinned. I'll have to make sure I'm well rested before zesting all those lemons! Scratch that...I have 10 lemons sitting on my counter and almond meal in my freezer. What am I waiting for?!

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  32. Thank you ever so much for posting this - I made it on Sunday night and it was a huge success - super easy and delicious!

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  33. Ooo I love this cake - it just looks divine. Thank you for including the conversion for the measurements.. I can't wait to mix it together. :)

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  34. This cake sounds like one I would love -- real lemon fan here! One question, the four eggs -- what weight (or volume) would they be. I'd hate to use extra large if you used small!

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  35. I used large eggs. 59grams each.

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  36. I made this today and it was excellent. I made a sugar-free version using Stevia and sucralose. I only needed 1/4 cup of sweetener divided in two and it was more than sweet enough.
    This cake is a great base for different variations. I will experiment adding almond essence, orange zest instead of lemon...and maybe one with a thin layer of sour raspberry through the middle.
    Perfect with a cup of coffee. Thank you for this recipe!

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  37. So delicious! My husband wanted to learn to bake and this is what he picked for his first try. We have made it twice already!

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  38. This is one of the most delicious cakes I've ever eaten - there is nothing to change in this recipe - perfect - thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

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  39. This cake recipe sounds wonderful. I can't digest dairy products, so do you think I could substitute very firm tofu for the ricotta?

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  40. I made this and it was lovely. I served it with some homemade passionfruit sorbet and fresh strawberries!

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  41. Did you use a spring form pan to make this? I've been considering buying one, and I would be afraid to try to flip such a delicate cake out of a normal pan.

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    1. I used a cake pan with removable base. Spring form pan will be handy. But if you line your cake pan with baking paper and allow excess to overhang which you can use as "handles" later to pull the cake out of the pan, that will work just as well.

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  42. The cake is beautiful. I used the almond meal from TJ's, added some lemon juice, and vanilla extract in place of beans. It's absolutely beautiful - I will be proud to serve it to my guests tomorrow. Thanks!

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  43. I am anxious to try this recipe and wonder how it freezes?? I have to prep for 30 people for Canadian Thanksgiving next weekend and doing this ahead would be really helpful... thanks

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    1. I don't think this cake freezes well. However, it keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.

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  44. Hi, your cake looks wonderful! Have to try it soon..:-) Will the almonds not have burnt after 45 minutes baking time?

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  45. To remove tart tin, without harm: stand whole tart tin on an upturnrd glass. When you remove your hands, tart tin edge will fall down. Then use a palette knife to slide tart off base. Always allow tart to cool slightly in its tin (to allow it to set), before handling.

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  46. so pretty and delicious looking - saw this a while back and have been longingly eyeing up the almond flour at the health food store. Look forward to making this on the weekend for my husband who is back from a trip home to look after his mum. Thank you for posting and for your lovely blog!

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  47. Can the Ricotta be substituted by Mascarpone??

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    1. Hey Adelle. No. They are not the same.

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  48. I just made this and at 160c I have baked it for well over an hour and the middle is still wet but the edges are brown and well cooked though. Very sad because it looks like it should be delicious. I might just have to take it out and do the old -cut the middle out with a cup, so its just a ring cake- instead!! I think it might be as you said to someone earlier about wet ricotta because I measured out all ingredients per recipe.

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  49. I made this for Christmas, and it was WONDERFUL. I started out with a 20cm/8in regular cake pan, but there was far too much batter, so I switched to an 8in springform pan, which has higher sides. Worked just fine. I think a 23cm/9in regular cake pan would have worked too, perhaps even better, since the cake I made was quite tall and the pieces rather stubby. (Not sure what happened there. I'm from the US, but the original 20cm cake pan I tried was from the UK. Who knows.) I also got all the zest I needed from only 2 lemons, so I suppose the ones I buy are comparatively large. Other than the pan issue, I had no other hiccups. (I measured everything by your original weight measurements, which is a much better idea than attempting to convert to volume, especially with baking. Bless my beloved kitchen scale.) My sister has Celiac disease, so finding delicious gluten free recipes that don't yield gritty, crumbly textures is really a big deal. It's important to me that she doesn't feel like she has to eat separate food from the rest of us, or that we're all "settling" for subpar gluten free versions of things on her account. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!

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  50. Thank you for this recipe! The cake turned out wonderfully! Will make it next weekend for my mum in law, flourless is perfect for her and I will substitute the Ricotta for a mild creamy goats cheese as she is reducing the lactose.

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  51. Stunning. Absolutely wonderful. I used almond extract instead of vanilla. Kudos to you!

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  52. This was incredible. I made my own ricotta and only amounted to 180 grams but the cake was divine and held up beautifully in the freezer for 2 months before I took it out for guests! Thanks so much! Beautiful photos!
    -Lindsay (Canada)

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  53. I like how it crumbles in my mouth! It tastes like cheese, hahaha

    -Mellers

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  54. A phenomenal cake! And so wonderful that it is gluten free. Was enjoyed by everyone at family dinner. Incredibly moist and so flavorful. Thank you for the recommendation on decreasing the sugar as well!
    - Alex

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  55. mines in the oven as I type, I used 1/2 the sugar using coconut sugar, left the regular for the egg whites, only zested 2 large lemons, it was approx 1/4c (2TB), and I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, it seems to be coming up well, but i'm cooking a bit longer as the center isnt quite set at 45 minutes. yum!

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  56. Can u use honey as a sweetner in this cake?

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