If I knew you were coming I’d ‘ve baked a cake. Sometimes the strangest songs jump into my head for no particular reason. I like to think of them as song pop- ups. This cute but slightly annoying song, recorded by Eileen Barton in January 1950, must have been played often by my parents along the way, an earworm plant from childhood. There’s fat chance of any one coming here for at least another month if not longer. Despite isolation, or in spite of it perhaps, the cake baking continues once a week.
Most of my cakes are flour free. After all those Hot Cross buns this Easter, I’m enjoying this subtle flavoured flourless cheese cake, with its evocative notes of orange, reminding me of Sicily. If you live in a two or three person household, small cakes of 18-20 cm in circumference are the best size to bake when no one is knocking at your door or dining at your table. This cake keeps well for a few days under a cake dome or lidded container in the cooler months, or in the fridge during summer.
Torta Siciliana di Ricotta, Arancia e Mandorle.
- 250 gr ricotta cheese, firm
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp + Cointreau or other orange liqueur
- 175 gr caster sugar
- 220 gr almond meal
- finely zested rind of 1 orange
- 1 Tbles orange juice
- flaked almonds for the top
- icing sugar to dust.
- Preheat oven to 160ºc. Grease and line a 20 cm springform cake tin.
- Beat together the ricotta, egg yolks, and sugar in a stand mixer, making sure the mixture is completely smooth. Add the liqueur and orange juice, stir through, then add the almond meal, mixing well by hand to incorporate.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl till soft peaks form. Fold in a few tablespoons into the almond mixture to loosen it. Then gently fold in the remaining eggs whites.
- Spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with almond flakes. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool then release onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar.
Those insane lyrics from that song.
Well, well, well, look who’s here.
I haven’t seen you in many a year.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake,
baked a cake, baked a cake.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake.
How-ja do. How-ja do, How-ja do.
Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a band,
grandest band in the land.
Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a band
and spread the welcome mat for you.