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Foodie Thursday: Olive Oil and Ricotta Cake

Resident chef Nigel Barden bakes 'Olive Oil and Ricotta Cake' for today's 'Foodie Thursday'.
Plus, Simon has another one of your confessions for the collective to mull over.

1 hour, 55 minutes

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Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Red Grape Coulis

Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Red Grape Coulis

by Deb Perelman from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook  Recipes from a New York Kitchen (Square Peg / Random House)


Makes one 23cm cake & 320ml sauce

Serves 8-12


Prep time 20 mins

Cooking time 30 mins



For the cake

Butter, oil, or nonstick spray for pan

250g full-fat or fresh ricotta

80ml olive oil

200g granulated sugar

½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest

2 large eggs

190g plain flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp table salt

icing sugar, for dusting (see cooking note for other toppings)


For the Grape Coulis

150ml water

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

pinch of salt

185g red grapes



1.    Preheat your oven to 180C/fan160C/Gas 4.

2.    Line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with parchment paper.  Coat   the paper & sides of the tin with butter, oil, or a nonstick cooking spray.

3.    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, olive oil, granulated sugar & lemon zest.

4.    Add the eggs one by one, whisking well after each addition. 

5.    Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt together, right over the wet ingredients.  Mix with a spoon until just combined.

6.    Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin & bake for 30 mins, until the top is golden brown & a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  

7.    Transfer the pan to a cooling rack & let stand for 10 mins.  

8.    Run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, unclasp the sides of the pan & flip the cake out onto a cooling rack.

9.    Meanwhile make the coulis:  Bring all coulis ingredients to a simmer.  Cook for 3 mins, crushing the grapes with a spoon or potato masher to help them along, stirring occasionally.  Pour the grape mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds & cool completely.  Keep coulis covered in the fridge until needed; it keeps for up to a week & is delicious on pancakes & over yoghurt too.

10. Serve the cake in wedges, dusted with icing sugar, if desired, & draped with grape coulis.


Cooking note:

This is a flexible cake.  Among my favourite things to include in it, in their limited season, are fresh currants (about 200g).  When all the fresh berries & grapes are gone, I make a citrus glaze (150g icing sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice).  Don’t have any fresh fruit around?  Split the cake layer, slick the centre with your favourite jam or marmalade, & put the lid back on, dusting the cake with icing sugar. 



Nigel’s Top Tips:

  • This coulis (sorry, sauce) will keep in the fridge until needed & is ace on pancakes & over yoghurt.

  • If you don’t have any fresh fruit around, don’t worry, split the cake across the middle & slick the centre with your favourite jam or marmalade & put the lid back on. Think intriguing Victoria Sponge.


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