It’s the battle of the citruses! Not really, they play quite nicely against each other here in this citrus ricotta cake, made with blood oranges and lemons and so perfect for tea time.
It is still chilly winter citrus season here, and that made it a perfect day to work on my take on the Italian migliaccio semolina and ricotta cake.
The texture of this cake is something really special – it has that crunchy top and bottom and a soft, pillowy center you see in a lot of traditional Italian cakes. It’s worth the somewhat finicky preparation method. You cook part of the batter on the stovetop, then combine it with the whisked eggs, sugar, and ricotta.
A migliaccio is a cake customarily made ahead of Fat Tuesday, and it is definitely a treat. It keeps well for a few days so it’s lovely as both an afternoon treat or a morning tea cake – doesn’t need much more than a bit of a sprinkle of powdered sugar ontop.
The citruses really make the migliaccio cake shine and are what gives it that signature taste and smell. So, don’t skimp on the zest! Lots and lots of it. Make sure to pick up the most fragrant citrus that you can find too.
Be sure to follow the recipe steps as outlined – in this case, it makes all the difference!
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 lemons
- 3 blood oranges
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 0.5 cups AP flour
- 4 eggs
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder
- 1 teaspoon good lemon extract
- Using a sharp knife, peel two lemons and two orange in wide strips, avoiding any of the white bitter pith.
- On the stovetop, combine milk, water, vanilla, and citrus peels in a medium sized pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking often. Continue to whisk as you slowly add in the semolina flour, followed by the AP flour and the lemon extract. Whisk together until as smooth as possible, though it doesn't have to be perfect just yet!
- Turn the batter mixture out onto a parchment lined baking sheet to cool. Once cool, remove the citrus peel.
- Preheat oven to 390F. Finely zest the remaining lemon and orange using a microplane grater.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together eggs and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. Slowly add in the ricotta cheese and the citrus zest, mix to combine. Now gradually add in the batter mixture and combine until just smooth (try not to overbeat).
- Pour the cake batter into a parchment lined round cake pan and bake for about 1 hour until the middle is just set.
- Let the cake cool before slicing and dusting with powdered sugar.
Some other ideas for cooking or baking with blood oranges and bright lemons (also known as, you can see how much I adore winter citrus!):
- Winter citrus salad
- Winter citrus upside down cake
- Shiso, pomegranate & blood orange
- Buckwheat pancakes with blood orange syrup
- Blueberry lemon yogurt gateau
Stay cozy and hope you enjoy the cake with your loved ones this weekend.