Updated: Jun 3, 2019
I have really fond memories of Italian cuisine. My Godmother lives in Italy and as a child and teenager I used to spend there my summer holidays. You can't beat the taste of freshly picked oranges straight from the orange grove. One of my favourite Italian cakes is Orange Ricotta Cake. Flavourful, citrusy cake with great balance of soft and dense texture. I have my well tested recipe which I bake few times a year. Lately my close friend asked me to bake this cake. I started my baking process by.. buying grapefruits!
There are so many cakes which are full of lemon or orange flavour. Grapefruits are zesty with great balance of sweet and bitter flavour. This citrus fruit is definitely underrated. For change, I decided to go for the underdog and surprise my friend with grapefruit flavoured cake.
The recipe below is like a little romance between Italian Orange Ricotta Torte and Yogurt Cake. If those two would run off together that would be the outcome :)
I really wanted a cake which will be light and airy, moist and full of flavour… and quick - something you can prepare in few minutes - just on time for your afternoon tea. Hence, I am going for natural yogurt (light texture), ricotta (just enough to add tangy twist) and oil (texture again, plus the cake keeps fresh for longer). There is one more thing with citrusy cakes - quite often bakers are poking holes in baked cakes (hmm lemon drizzle) and infusing more flavour. This cake does not need it - it’s moist and flavourful as is.
As a result, you get citrusy flavoured, airy, light and moist cake with a great balance of sweet and bitter flavour (grapefruit leaves a refreshing 'zing' kick to this cake). Added bonus - the cake keeps fresh for up to 5 days. Drizzle your cake with grapefruit icing or grapefruit curd and I bet you will be going back to this recipe whenever you want something citrusy and light.
Grapefruit Ricotta and Yogurt Cake Recipe
Yield: 1 cake, serves 16
Tin: 20cmx10cm loaf pan
Active time: 15 minutes + 50 minutes baking
Ingredients (all at room temperature):
- 1 and 1/3 cups* (200g) all-purpose flour - 2 teaspoons baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons (40g) Ricotta cheese (if you can’t get Ricotta then supplement with 3 Tablespoons (45g) sour cream or natural yogurt) - 3/4 cup (180g) natural greek yogurt - 3 large eggs - grapefruit zest from 1 red/pink grapefruit (= 1 large Tablespoon)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (= juice from 1/2 large grapefruit, you will use rest for Icing) - 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (200g) white granulated sugar - 1/2 cup (125ml) sunflower oil
* cup = 250ml cup
- 1 and 2/3 cup (200g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) clear grapefruit juice
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) sour cream
- pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Line loaf tin with parchment paper or grease with non-stick baking spray.
2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Mix greek yogurt with Ricotta and on low heat warm up to 21C stirring all the time - 1-2 minutes should do. Set aside.
4. Prepare zest from 1 grapefruit, squeeze 80ml fresh grapefruit juice (you may need to sift it as you need clear juice for this bake). Set aside.
5. In your main bowl whisk in eggs with sugar, yogurt/ricotta mixture (from Step 3), add vanilla extract, grapefruit juice and zest (from Step 4) and whisk until combined.
6. Gently whisk in dry ingredients (from Step 2) into the wet ingredients (from Step 5). Using wooden spoon gently fold the vegetable oil into the batter (pour a slow and steady streak of oil constantly and gently folding in using wooden spoon or spatula). Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
7. Bake at 175C for about 50 minutes. Check with skewer if fully baked through. Once baked take out from the oven, let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes then using thin knife loosen edges, leave to cool for another 25 minutes then transfer to the cooling rack. Cool completely before applying the glaze.
8. For the Grapefruit Glaze: Sift confectioners’ sugar and add 2 Tablespoons grapefruit juice and 1 Tablespoon sour cream. Whisk until creamy texture is achieved, apply on the cake. For thinner glazer consistency add 1-2 more Tablespoons grapefruit juice.
1. Ingredients at room temperature are key to a good bake here. Yogurt and Ricotta mixture especially.
2. This batter does not like over mixing: hence you are using only the whisk or wooden spoon/spatula (few quick moves should suffice to just combine ingredients). The batter will be fairly thin (see pictures).
3. Most probably your loaf is going to crack during baking. That's OK - in this bake I would not recommend covering the cake with aluminium foil.
4. Grapefruit glaze: I like to add up to 5 tablespoons of grapefruit juice - the colour of the glaze is more see-through but I find the taste to be richer and more flavourful. Start with 2 tablespoons and see - don’t go beyond 5 as glaze won’t set. The cake also tastes great with grapefruit curd ( + 20 minutes to prep time).
5. Storage: store in cool place in airtight container. The cake keeps fresh for up to 5 days.