Friday, 23 March 2012
Ciambella alla Ricotta e Arancia ( Ricotta and Orange Ciambella-Italian Ring Cake! VERY GOOD!)
She knew it must be Sunday, as she woke up to the aroma of coffee and "Good things to eat!" Mamma had been busy making a ciambella... the scent of orange and vanilla waltzed through the air, all the way to her room... Sunday was such a special day!
She picked up her new pair of black patent shoes and let her little feet slide into each one : she always loved getting new shoes!
Following the aroma, she would make her way to the kitchen. Mamma would be standing by the table, a cup of espresso in her hand, proudly looking at the cake she had just taken out of the oven.
Rosa wasn't a cake maker, but occasionally she would try. No cake ever tasted better and sweeter than her ciambella, though, or the Pizza di Ricotta, she made for the family at Easter.
"Ne voglio una fetta!" ("Can I have a piece?") she would ask her mum "No, aspetta che si raffreddi!" ( "You need to wait till it cools down!") Could she really wait that long? How could her mother be that cruel? Ringo, the canary, flew off the curtain pelmet, and landed on nonna's lap... I think he could smell the happiness, too...
Ciambella has to be the cake which is made in every household, in Italy. It's more popular than tiramisu`, cannoli, or any other sweet. My recipe is a bit special, as it has ricotta as one of the ingredients. It's so easy to make, and really delicious!
Here is my mum's recipe:
Ciambella all'Arancia e Ricotta
250 g (9 oz) plain, all purpose flour
80 g ( 3 oz) cornflour
100g ( 3 1/2 oz) ricotta cheese
4 eggs, beaten
150 mls ( just over 5 fl oz) oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
butter for the cake tin
confectioner's (icing) sugar
For the filling:
200g ( 7 oz) ricotta
some lemon rind
some orange rind
(1 tsp of each)
2 tbsp confectioner's (icing) sugar
Before you start, zest your orange and squeeze, to extract all the juice out of it. Next, place your 100g ( 3 1/2 oz) of ricotta in a bowl and gradually incorporate 100g ( 3 1/2 oz) of sugar.
Gently fold in the eggs, a small amount at a time, the oil (very gradually) and the juice of your orange (I added just half, as I didn't want it to be too liquid!) Mix these ingredients.
Sift together flour, cornflour and baking powder (Paneangeli, if you are in Italy) and add to the mixture. If you like vanilla, you can add a few drops of vanilla essence, as it goes well with the taste of orange. By the way, at this stage you can add the orange zest, but remember to keep a small amount to be used in your ricotta filling!
I buttered and floured a ring cake tin (ciambella tin) then poured my delicious cake mixture into it, let it settle, then baked in a hot oven (180 C, 350 F, Gas 4) for 30-35 minutes.
While my cake was cooking, I could smell those aromas so familiar to me and found myself dreaming... but not for too long, as my ciambella was ready in no time.
I'm not a cake maker, but I must admit that my ciambella looked really good! I decided to add an extra dimension to it, by making a filling. I used: 200g of ricotta, some lemon zest (about 1 heaped teaspoon,) icing sugar and just a teaspoon of orange zest. Having mixed these delicious ingredients together, I cut my (cold) ciambella across its width, spread my sweet ricotta all over the ring, dredeged in lovely icing sugar and garnished with grapes and mint. It looked like a "natura morta!"
I couldn't help thinking how special it would have been, if I had filled the "hole" with whipped cream and fruit, instead! But not too healthy, I guess... but so nice!