How to Make Upside-Down Caramelised Orange Cake With Ricotta
An Italian Inspired Delight for Your Morning Coffee
Orange and ricotta cake in endless variations is a famous desert around Italy, especially in the south where orange trees grow everywhere, not only in orchards, and cheesemaking has become a true art over the millennia.
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I often look for inspiration in the incredible Italian cuisine when cooking or baking, and each time I congratulate myself for the result is always exceptional.
I tried two versions for this cake: for one, I sprinkled sugar on the bottom of the baking mould and placed the orange slices over it to caramelise them during baking. The result was a delicious cake (flattened as I turned it upside down) that did not live to see the next day! It was just a Saturday cake devoured after lunch by my extended family.
I placed the batter first and decorated it with orange slices and a handful of blueberries for the second cake. This one raised slightly more than the first version and maintained the shape.
Although the taste and aroma were similar, the oranges turned out differently on each cake. As they caramelised in the first one, the orange slices were soft and moist. The orange peel dried slightly in the other cake, where the slices did not sink enough into the batter and became a tad chewy.
Based on this experience, I decided to upload the upside-down version of this orange and ricotta cake as it turned out more successful.
One particularity of Italian baking is that the time spent in the kitchen is always minimal. The Italian cakes generally require a handful of ingredients and little time for preparation. The oven takes care of the baking for the next hour, and the baker enjoys their time living la dolce vita.
Rarely a recipe would be so complex as to confine you to the kitchen for hours on end. Check my pear and almond chocolate cake, too, should you need more convincing!
Add rapidity in preparation to amazing delectable taste and you will see why I absolutely adore Italian cuisine! What is your excuse not to start baking an orange and ricotta upside-down cake right away?
Ingredients for orange and ricotta upside down cake:
Plain flour (organic, white)
Start by lining the baking mould. Mine is 26 cm in diameter and has a removable base. Still, lining the walls is always tricky and requires some help. Little hands will do and become quite the expert after a few tries! If you don’t have a helper waiting patiently to lick the bowl, perhaps oiling the mould’s walls before fitting the parchment will do the job.
Before starting the preparation, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Mix the yolks with sugar, orange zest, juice, and orange extract until the volume doubles or trebles. Add the ricotta cheese and mix again.
Batter the whites until they keep the shape when you remove the batters and combine them with the above composition.
Add the flour (previously sieved) and baking powder and mix with ample movements. The batter needs to remain airy so it does not flatten during baking.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar into the tray and place orange slices over. It is how the oranges caramelise during baking. To control the moisture degree, sprinkle some semolina; it will absorb the excess humidity without interfering with the caramelisation process.
Bake for fifty minutes to one hour (longer if batter sticks to the toothpick when you do the test). When ready, cool slightly, then place a large plate over the mould and turn upside down with a swift movement and allow to cool completely. Use oven gloves and clear the area around you for this manoeuvre; any little helpers present should only watch and learn a baking trick!
Sprinkle powdered sugar when cool and slice as desired.
Orange and Ricotta Upside Down Cake
- Round baking mould Ø26cm
- Mixing bowl
- Large spatula
- Kitchen scale
- 4 pcs eggs organic
- 250 g plain flour sieved
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 120 g coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar to caramelise the oranges
- 1-2 tbsp semolina to absorb extra moisture from oranges
- 1 organic orange juice+zest
- 1 organic orange sliced
- 250 g ricotta
- 1 tsp orange extract/liquour
- 1 pinch salt sea/rock
- Line the baking mould with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with sugar, orange zest + juice and orange extract. Use an electric mixer and batter until the quantity trebles, and the composition becomes creamy.
- Add the ricotta and incorporate using a spatula.
- Separately, batter the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they keep the shape when you remove the beaters.
- Add the egg whites to the composition and use a spatula to mix slowly from the bottom to the top until nicely incorporated.
- Mix the baking powder with the flour. Add it to the composition spoon by spoon while mixing carefully, aiming not to flatten the batter.
- Sprinkle uniformly three tablespoons of coconut sugar on the bottom of the baking mould. Cut an orange into 1 cm slices and place them over the sugar. During baking, the oranges will caramelise and infuse the cake with their flavour.
- Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of semolina over the orange slices to help absorb the excess moisture while baking.
- Pour the batter over the oranges and gently level it.
- Bake for 50 minutes to one hour until golden brown and perform the toothpick test to check the cake is baked thoroughly. As each oven bakes differently, you might need to cover the mould with a tray for the first 20 minutes to avoid burning. During the first 20 minutes of baking, do not open the oven's door!
- When ready, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes, then place a large plate/cake stand over the mould, hold firmly and turn it upside down. Wear oven gloves and be careful not to burn your hands during this step!
- Let the cake cool completely on a rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Slice the cake and serve it preferably with a steamy cup of coffee or cappuccino. Enjoy!