Monday, July 2, 2012

Using lemons to say thanks

For the past 6 months I have been working on a massive project at work that has pretty much consumed me. It was challenging but so much fun and a fantastic experience. Leading this project meant that I received most of the praise when things went right (and alternatively, most of the criticism when they didn't). 

I wanted to thank the other people in my team who put in just as many hours (possibly even more) and also offered their heart and soul to the project. I thought the best way for me to say thanks was with a cake! I don't make many fruity cakes, but with so many beautiful citrus fruits in season, I thought this would be perfect. Also, the person I'd like to dedicated this cake to (our wonderful graphic designer, who in my opinion saved our ass many times over with her skill and speed) is very healthy, so this cake is probably better suited to her than a crazy chocolate cake. ENJOY.

Citrus Ricotta Pound Cake

75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g ricotta cheese
275g caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 limes, zested and juiced
225g self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbs water 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a loaf pan with butter.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ricotta cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and zest of the lemon and limes and mix until combined.

Add the flour and lightly stir until combined (again, had no baking powder, so should have been 225g plain flour, pinch of salt and 2 tsp baking powder). Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. 

Just before the cake is removed from teh oven, make the syrup. Squeeze the juice form the lemon and 2 limes into a saucepan and add the sugar and water. Over a medium heat, allow the sugar to dissolve then, without boiling, simmer the syrup for about 5 minutes. When the cake is ready, remove from oven and using a skewer, poke small holes in the top of the cake and around the sides, then immediately pour the syrup over the hot cake. Allow to cool completely in the tin.

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