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Well hello there summer!

Welcome back! I know you’ve been around for a few days already but I thought I’d give you a proper welcome.

With lemons.

With ricotta.

With pretty flowers.

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With moist, sweet cake bursting with the brightness of lemons and the fragrance of Fiori di Sicilia.

I hope you stay with us for awhile, Summer.

And I hope you bring us many bright days and many warm and delicious nights.

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Ciao!

Lemon Ricotta Cake
Based on a recipe from BBC Good Food.
Serves 8 to 10.

Note: I love this cake. I adore it. I would bake it everyday if not for the fact that I would eat the whole thing everyday by myself. I have a kitchen scale so I weigh the ingredients for this recipe as in the original. Fortunately, self-rising flour is readily available in Toronto but if you can’t find it, you can use all-purpose flour. Simply use the same amount of all-purpose flour as self-rising flour but add 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt for each cup.

I love to use Fiori di Sicilia in this cake. Fiori di Sicilia is an essence availabe from King Arthur Flour. It’s like heaven in a bottle. It has a strong citrus flavour that settles into baked goods and somehow enhances them without overpowering them. It’s delicious. Fiori di Sicilia translated means “flowers of Sicily” and honestly, if I could imagine the scent of Sicilian flowers then this would be it. Be careful, though, as a little goes a very long way. If you can’t find this product, then simply follow the original recipe and use the full amount of lemon zest (or use orange zest).

The original recipe uses caster sugar and I like to use superfine sugar. It’s also labelled as quick-disolving sugar. If you can’t find it, simply put some granulated sugar in a food processor and process for a few minutes until very fine.

If you have a small springform pan (i.e. 7-inches in diameter), use it as you will end up with a very high cake. I use an 8-inch springform pan as it’s the smallest that I have.

150 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams superfine sugar (also known as quick-dissolving)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
3 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspon salt
250 grams ricotta (if the ricotta is fresh, be sure to drain it or your batter will be too liquidy)
125 grams self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour your springform pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes at high speed. The butter should be pale in colour and very creamy.

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and Fiori di Sicilia and beat for one minute on medium speed.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each yolk is added. Add the ricotta and mix at low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until you have stiff peaks (I use a separate bowl with a handheld mixer but you can also beat the egg whites by hand if you’ve got the elbow grease).

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Immediately fold in the flour and baking powder. Be gentle as you mix so as not to deflate the mixture too much.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a cake tester or toothpick in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cake is done.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a wire rack before releasing the cake from the springform.

Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!