Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Orange Ricotta Cake - A Taste of Turkey

On my trip to Turkey a few weeks ago, I stayed one night in an adorable old stone hotel, called the Taş Otel in the town of Alaçati (Ah-la-cha-tuh).  Every afternoon they serve their guests homemade cakes and çay (black tea).  When I went into my room, there was a cookbook laid out on the bed.  What?!  To an avid baker, this was basically the best gift ever.  Who needs mini soaps or lotions or a mint on their pillow?  Give me the cake. 

So, last weekend I was up in Cape Cod visiting my parents, relaying the details of my trip to them – seemed like the perfect time to test out one of these recipes.  My mom is also a baker and my parents love sweets.  My mom picked this recipe for us (and wrote down another to try later herself).  This cake was super easy to whip up.  My dad is allergic to nuts so we left them out, and frankly, I think the texture of the cake was a bit too soft to handle them.   

I made this in a loaf pan thinking it would have the texture of banana or zucchini bread, but it’s actually much lighter and fluffier than that.  The loaf pan was okay, but I think next time I’d use a 9" round or 9x9" square pan and eat this with a fork.  Loaf pan/round pan/nuts/no nuts – do what you prefer, but definitely give this a try.  The orange flavor comes through nicely but isn’t overpowering, and the ricotta provides that perfectly satisfying crumby texture.  No icing necessary.

And of course - when in Turkey, stay at the Taş!  Alacati Tas Otel


125g unsalted butter, softened
225g sugar
3 eggs
450g AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
Grated zest of 2 oranges (I used 1)
2 spoonfuls orange marmalade (I used 2 rounded Tbsp)
100ml orange juice
100g chopped walnuts (I omitted)
125g ricotta (I used lowfat)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter, sugar and eggs until well blended.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and vanilla.  Mix.
  4. Add orange zest, marmalade and juice.  Mix.
  5. Add ricotta and stir to combine.
  6. If using walnuts, mix half into the batter and sprinkle half on top prior to baking.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a greased pan.
  8. Cool in pan on a wire rack.