Little Orange Ricotta Cakes

It was pretty horrible and grey in Cardiff last week. The rain seems to have taken on an unseemly persistence which is guaranteed only to break as the boys head back to school next week. Mooching about the house looking for something to bake, I decided to try and bring a bit of citrussy zing to the table to pep everyone up. These little cakes are based on a recipe for a larger bundt-type cake. But I wanted to do something a little different with it, and so decided to use some cardboard Baking Moulds from Lakeland to make some little individual cakes. I hadn't used them before, but a couple of weeks ago, I had one of the cutest little lemon cakes in one (at my fab local deli, Deli a Go Go) and when I saw them in Lakeland thought I had to give them a go. You could always use ordinary cupcake liners though.

The recipe is adapted from one of my 'cookbooks of the moment', Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman (I love this little book as it has such delicious sounding recipes and fantastic flavour combinations. It's a US book though, so uses measuring cups that you need to translate). As I wanted to make a much smaller amount of mix for just 6 cakes, rather than the large one, I played around with the amounts. Even then I ended up with mix enough for 7, so made a little mini-bundt. Sadly - or happily if you were Mike and I - that didn't last long enough to be photographed. I also decided to make a simple icing glaze, using icing sugar and orange juice, and then to decorate with orange zest. Wow! This certainly gave the zinginess I was looking for and the cake itself was delicious - subtly flavoured with orange and vanilla. The texture was denser than some, but still very moist as a result of the ricotta. The icing gave a nice touch, especially with the oil from the grated orange zest creeping in to it.

Orange Ricotta Cakes

Ingredients (makes 7 little cakes - 6 square and one mini bundt)

210g plain flour
3/4 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tspn salt
85g softened unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
135g ricotta cheese, at room temperature
2 medium eggs (to get the right measurement for the recipe, I cracked them into a jug and weighed out 75g beaten egg)
2 tbspns freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 tspn vanilla extract
3/4 tspn orange zest.

For the glaze
Sifted icing sugar - about a cup and a half's worth
2 tbspns orange juice
To decorate - strips of orange zest
(In total, I used 2 oranges - one for the cake (zest and juice) and glaze (juice) and the second for the zest to decorate)

Preheat the oven to 140 Fan / 160 Conventional / 325 F / Gas 3. Either use some baking moulds or prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Mix the flour in a medium bowl with the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes in a stand mixer on medium). Add the ricotta and mix until smooth.

Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing to incorporate. Don't worry if it looks curdled, as it will come together as soon as you add the flour. Add the orange juice, zest, and vanilla, and mix briefly for a few seconds.

Now add the flour, and mix until incorporated and then give it about 30 more seconds. Scoop into the baking moulds so they are about half to two thirds full. Level the surface as best you can. 

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until risen, golden and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make up the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and orange juice until you have the consistency of double cream. Spoon over the top of the cakes to coat. Sprinkle a little orange zest over the top to decorate, if liked. [I found that the oil from the zest ran into the icing in little rivers - see the little cracks in the photo. It gave it a really fresh, orangy taste]

It can be a little tricky extracting the cake from the bakers moulds - but after botching one, I found the easiest way was to just undo the seams.

With their citrussy aroma and flavour, these little cakes certainly brightened up my day.


* Just for the record, everything I use on the blog is bought and paid for by me. If I mention something, it's because I've found it good and I think you might be interested to know what I've used.


  1. I've heard the Cake Keeper Cakes is a really good book - may have to add it on my Christmas list. Individual cakes are a fabulous idea, your pictures look lush x

    1. It is a great book - loads of different flavour combinations - but unfortunately some recipes don't have photos. But I live the idea if always having something in your cake 'keeper' on hand in case. :) x

  2. I love ricotta in cakes. Lovely cakes and beautiful presentation.

    1. Thanks - glad you like them. I think the ricotta helps keep them really moist. I've never used it myself although I've had it in cakes before. Would definitely try others, though ;) Any excuse for more cake!

  3. Those cakes look full of sunshine - really good. I saw those baking moulds last week and almost bought some - I'll get some next time, now that I know that they work.

    1. Thanks Phil! I think the moulds probably need a minute or so more cooking time as they won't retain and conduct heat as well as tins - but they do make a lovely presentation. Especially the patterned ones you can get. :)

  4. Susie, these are stunning and I can only imagine the aroma in the kitchen... most of all thogh I adore the little square boxes... they are genius indeed!

    1. Thanks Dom - yes, the kitchen did smell lovely and citrusy. :)

  5. I love citrus in cakes. I also love miniature cakes and have a multitude of baking cases in miniature form! Looks like another book to add to my every growing wish list :)

    1. Yes, I do, too. I think it helps balance the sweetness of the sugar and makes for a lighter, fresher taste. It is a lovely book. :)

  6. These are gorgeous little cakes, and those little cardboard cartons are just so cute. I make an orange halva cake that is sort of similar but love the use of ricotta here in yours.

    1. Thanks for your coment :) I have never tried halva, so it'll have to make it on to my list. The ricotta worked really well. :)

  7. These are so cute and I love the little moulds. It also sounds like a really interesting flavour combination...I'd love to try one of these! :-) I've never heard of that cookbook but I'll have to check it out...although I'm trying to cut back on recipe book buying!

    1. Thanks Laura. I know what you mean about cookbooks - I try and be good for a couple of months but then just end up having a bit of a spree. Must.Try.And.Be.Good. :)


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