Baking · Cake · Central America · Nation Cake Challenge

Mexico: Ricotta, Lime and Vanilla Cake

This delicious cake was taken from the book Wahaca: Mexican Food at Home by the brilliant Thomasina Miers.  One of my favourite restaurants to eat at when in London, she focuses on fresh and simple Mexican street food. This recipe traditionally would use a curd cheese called requeson, however Miers suggests ricotta as a good equivalent. The cake is moist and dense, but surprisingly light and fresh – definitely one to make again!

Ricotta cake 2

Ricotta Cake 1

Ricotta, Lime and Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 65g plain flour
  • grated zest and and juice of six limes
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 300g ricotta cheese

Icing:

  • 75g ricotta cheese
  • 30g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2 (300°F/150°C) and grease a 24in springform tin ready for use later. Line the base of the tin with greaseproof paper.

Combine the ground almonds, flour and lime zest in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together, before beating in the vanilla essence. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time before stirring in the flour mixture. In a different bowl, combine the ricotta and lime juice, before adding to the cake mix and combining well.

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then start to fold into the mixture. Use a spoonful to loosen the mixture before folding in the rest, being careful to not take out too much of the air. Place in the cake tin and bake for an hour, until the cake is just set and slightly golden brown. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

To make the icing, beat the butter and ricotta together before beating in the icing sugar and lime zest. Beat with a mixer for several minutes until thick and smooth. Smooth over the cake, and decorate with extra lime zest as required.

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Baking · Cake · Cupcakes

Apple and Vanilla Mini Muffins

As I type this, the sky outside is grey as steel, with no trace of this ‘supposed’ summer. I suppose this is what you get for living in the North of England, but still I can’t help but yearn for the sun that *should* be coming!

Mini Muffins 2

Last week though, the sun came out. The sky was blue and I didn’t have to have a cardigan and coat when walking to school. In this midst of this weather I wanted to make a cake that fitted the summer atmosphere, and these mini muffins fitted the bill. The size makes them easy to  eat in the hot weather, and the flavours are redolent of the heat of a British summer. A vanilla cake with chunks of apple, topped with a vanilla whipped cream topping, these muffins will fill that small gap when our summer finally arrives.

Mini Muffins 1

Apple and Vanilla Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz butter
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5oz ground almonds
  • 1 small apple, cut into tiny dice.
  • 75g whipped cream
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 and line a 12-hole mini muffin tray with liners.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat thoroughly. Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and diced apple and mix until well combined. Add teaspoonfuls of the mixture to the cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, turning after 20 minutes to ensure they don’t burn on one side! Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add to the whipped cream. Whip until holding soft peaks before spooning into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe a small amount onto each mini muffin and decorate with flaked almonds.