This cake is incredibly moist thanks to the generous amount of ricotta cheese and butter. This richness is then balanced out by orange zest and splash of amaretto to give this cake its lovely bright, sparkling flavour.
Amaretto is a sweet almond flavoured Italian liqueur. It is made from apricot kernels or almonds – sometimes a combination of both. Amaretto is said to have been invented by the woman who modeled for Renaissance-era Italian painter, Bernardino Luini, in 1525. Luini, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s pupils, chose the mother of a local child to be his model for the Madonna.
Out of gratitude and affection (some say there was more than just painting going on), the woman wished to give Luini a gift. Her simple means did not permit much, so she steeped apricot kernels in brandy and presented the resulting liqueur – Amaretto.
Renaissance legends notwithstanding, if you don’t want to use Amaretto in this cake, you can substitute with almond extract but make sure you halve the quantity.
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup or 1½ sticks butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- 1½ cups + 1 tbsn. sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 tbsn. Amaretto (or 1 tsp. almond extract)
- Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
- 1 pint strawberries to serve (optional)
- For the full recipe go here: Orange Ricotta Pound Cake.