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Almond Ricotta Cake, for Bookclub.

Almond Ricotta Cake with Blood Oranges

Per notes from Deb Perelman, using all almond flour (and extra ⅓ cup, and eliminating the cornmeal will make this recipe Passover friendly. If you don't have blood oranges, you may use any other citrus fruit, or eliminate them altogether and use "toasted thin almond slices."
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 large slices
Author Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen's adaptation from Elisabeth Pruitt's adaptation of The River Cafe's Torta di Ricotta e Polenta


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water I used 2 tablespoons
  • 3 large eggs separated
  • cup 135 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 blood oranges or another orange of your choice (you may need 3, if you have trouble cutting thin slices of the oranges)
  • ½ cup 4 ounces or 115 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • cup 165 grams ricotta
  • cup 45 grams cornmeal
  • 1 cup 135 grams firm-packed almond flour or meal
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup apple quince or apricot jam (optional, for glossy finish)


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Our into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.
  3. Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.
  4. Place granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest both oranges over it.
  5. Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other three halves (about ⅓ cup juice) and set juice aside.
  6. Add butter to zest and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use the same beaters you used for the egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.
  7. Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes [may take longer, I baked the cake for 60 minutes], or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and then, as is Deb Perelman's preference, for 5 minutes more. The final cake is so moist, almost damp, she found the extra baking time beneficial.
  8. Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don't come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. If desired, heat jam until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut into slices. This would be delicious served with an extra dollop of ricotta, creme fraiche, or barely sweetened whipped cream. This cake keeps at room temperature, but we prefer it from the fridge.