Italian Orange Almond Ricotta Cake

Adapted from Deb Perelman’s (Smitten Kitchen) adaptation of  Elisabeth Prueitt’s adaptation of The River Cafe’s Torta di Ricotta e Polenta. I’ve somewhat low-carbed the recipe (although yacon syrup bumps things up). The rest is as created by Ms. Perlman.

NOTES: Always zest before juicing. Always whip egg whites before egg yolks, so you don’t have to wash your beaters in the middle of prep. 🙂

Italian Orange Almond Ricotta Cake (low carb)
8 slices // 285 calories, 15 net carbs
(Cut into more pieces to lower carbs)

1/2 cup yacon syrup
1-1/2—2 tablespoons water
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 teaspoon liquid stevia glycerite+ 5 T. yogurt
2 blood oranges (or navel oranges, tangerines, limes, lemons, or even thin toasted almond slices)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted Kerrygold butter, softened
2/3 cup ricotta
1-1/3 cups firmly-packed almond meal (need a coarser texture than flour)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (if all you have is salted butter, reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Warm yacon syrup and water together so they form a pourable syrup. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.

Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over syrup base in cake pan. Juice other three halves (about 1/3 cup juice) and set juice aside.

Over a large mixing bowl, finely zest both oranges. Add butter, stevia, and yogurt and beat with an electric mixer (or by hand, if you have a strong arm) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Scoop batter in rings of large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 60 or more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and then for 5 more minutes. The final cake is so moist, almost damp, that the extra baking time will really help.

Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake.

This is delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream. The cake keeps at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled.

The original recipe adds a glaze of apricot jam (1/4 cup thinned with water) brushed over cake top for a glossier finish. It makes this cake look gorgeous. It also adds at least 6 net carbs and 25 calories to each serving. I’ve searched and searched for a low carb alternative, but most sugar-free jams use sweeteners I’m not comfortable eating, and making such a small amount of glaze from scratch is just too fussy for me.