Of all the ingredients to have on hand, blood oranges might have been the most fortuitous. Rooting around my refrigerator, the royal purple-red color caught my eye, begging to be more than a brown paper bag after thought, the blushing porous skin becoming a seductive canvas for this week’s cake.
Before I even started week 1, I had this recipe tucked away on my book shelf. The inspiration for this cake comes from issue No. 7 of my favorite indie magazine, Cherry Bombe. For those of you who know me, you’ve probably heard me talk about the magazine, and for those of you who read it, it’s from the issue with Chrissy Teigen on the cover. The recipe accompanied the article, From Scratch, highlighting the matriarch behind San Francisco’s acclaimed bread bakery, Tartine. You can find the recipe on, Tartine Matriarch, Liz Prueitt’s Instagram as well as in the magazine; however, I recommend picking up a copy of the magazine, it’s really something special.
After my ice-box run in with this week’s star ingredient, I returned to the sticky-note marked recipe, and got to work. This cake definitely presented much more of a technical challenge than cakes prior. This is because, week 11 was my first attempt at an upside down cake, not to mention the structural absence of gluten and traditional leavening agents. Believe me when I say the final flip is enough to turn even the most seasoned home-bakers knuckles white. Additionally, the batter requires separating the eggs and beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding back into the batter–scary stuff.
Throughout the baking process I confided in my mom that this recipe might be my first complete disaster. As the cake was baking, the sugar mixture in the bottom of the spring form cake pan began to seep over the edges, spilling into my oven, permeating my apartment with the smell of burning sugar. The smell lingers every time I’ve turned my oven on since, reminding me of my almost failure and that I should probably pick up some oven cleaner.
By the grace of the cake baking gods, this cake came out in one perfect piece and lovingly accepted the apricot glaze once cool. The texture was dense from the ricotta but light from the whipped egg whites, and the citrus top helped maintain the moisture for several days. I ended up serving this at a dinner party with some girlfriends, and it was a huge hit!
Final thoughts on Almond Ricotta Cake with Blood Oranges:
- sweet sweet relief (that this turned out okay and tasted splendid!)