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Ricotta, Orange and Salted Chocolate Cake

What a cake! This is for special occasions as Sophie Dahl says, especially for those who love flourless cakes. I had been recommended this recipe by my amazing baker friend Maya Catsanis, who bakes and tries so many recipes that if she highlights something I tuck it away and keep it in mind for the right occasion, and my mother in-law’s birthday was the perfect time to cook this beauty as she adores flourless cakes, especially if they have a fruit accent like the Orange here. This is my first recipe attempt from the surprising Sophia Dahl too – yes the daughter of Roald! Whose recipes and cookbook I will now look further into!
Recipe by Sophia Dahl.

Pictured: Ricotta, Orange and Salted Chocolate Cake

500g drained ricotta
Zest of one Orange
4 Eggs, separated
250g Muscovado sugar, or substitute with a mix of brown sugar and caster sugar
250g ground almonds
250g of salted dark chocolate melted, Lindt does a good brand
1 vanilla pod sliced lengthways, seeds removed
½ cup of orange juice
To serve- Icing sugar and crushed pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 24cm cake tin and leave to the side.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large bowl to whisk later.
Push the ricotta through a sieve with a wooden spoon into a separate large bowl. Add the eggs yolks, sugar, ground almonds, melted chocolate, orange juice and zest, and vanilla seeds – combine well. As there is no flour involved you can mix it thoroughly without worrying about overworking any gluten etc. 
In a clean bowl (as any oil or fat substance will prevent the whites from foaming up) whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks. 
Using a metal spoon fold the egg white into the ricotta mixture carefully to keep as much air in as possible – be gentle and patient with this part. 
Put the cake mix into your prepared tin, and smooth on top. Bake for 45 minutes.
Take it from the oven, and let it cool in the tin on a wire rack.
Once cool, transfer it to a cake plate. Dust with icing sugar and crushed pistachios.
Serve it with a dollop of orange infused crème fraîche .as Sophie Dahl recommends, or double cream, whichever you prefer. I mixed double cream with yoghurt and added a tsp or so of orange juice.

Serves 12