I Can't Stop Dreaming About This Cornmeal-Ricotta Cake

I Can't Stop Dreaming About This Cornmeal-Ricotta Cake

Sheela Prakash
Apr 25, 2018
(Image credit: Sheela Prakash)

If something involves ricotta, I don't need to read any further to know I am sold. So when I stumbled upon this blood orange, almond, and ricotta cake on Smitten Kitchen a couple of years ago, I immediately filed it under "must make." Deb credits the cake to Elizabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery, who herself adapted it from London's famed River Cafe. Last year, it made its way into Elizabeth's cookbook, Tartine All Day, as cornmeal-ricotta upside-down cake — different name, same cake.

I continued to drool and wonder why this cake that I still hadn't made yet was haunting me. Here we are another year later, and finally (finally!) I baked it. All I can say is I really missed out on a couple of good years with this incredible cake. Please learn from my mistake, stop whatever you're doing, and bake this thing immediately.

This Gluten-Free, Cheesecake-Like Cake Is Swoon-Worthy

What makes this cake stand out is the unique combination of cornmeal and ricotta. They're both polar opposites — cornmeal is dry and crunchy and ricotta is moist and creamy. When they join forces, they balance each other out. The cornmeal adds texture to the situation while the ricotta ensures the cake won't run the risk of baking up to be dry. In fact, this cake is the farthest thing from dry: Since it's full of ricotta, as well as almond flour, and baked at a low temperature, it turns out to be almost cheesecake-like! Oh, and all this makes it gluten-free, too.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Stark)

Elizabeth and Deb baked the cake with thinly sliced blood oranges on top, which not only elicit oohs and aahs, but lend a bitter marmalade note. The last bit of blood oranges are available right now before the season is over, so do yourself a favor and grab them while you can.

Although, in no way should this cake be limited to citrus season. Elizabeth suggests trying it with peaches, apricots, or even blueberries, and you better believe I'll try it all three ways as summer sets in.

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