This weekend, I made my own cheese for the first time! Making homemade ricotta has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while now, but I always remained a bit skeptical – would it turn out with a normal consistency, or would I be left with a mess of lumpy, sour sludge, and even if it did turn out properly, would I be able to eat it all before it went bad? Luckily, this month’s Cheese Please! challenge over at Fromage Homage gave me the push I needed just to quit fretting and try it already, and lo and behold, it turned out lovely! I couldn’t resist snacking on a bunch of it, which I spread on a baguette and layered sliced cucumbers on top. Mmmm…
What also turned out lovely was this orange ricotta poppy seed coffee cake! I knew I wanted to pair oranges with poppy seeds in a coffee cake, and fresh ricotta was the perfect addition to keep the cake nice and moist. If you want to make your own ricotta, I’ll direct you over to the recipe I used at Smitten Kitchen, but you can also buy ricotta at the store and it’ll turn out just fine. I also used cara cara oranges, which are a bit sweeter than other navel varieties, but you can use any type you like.
This was actually the first time I’ve tried cara cara oranges – Whole Foods lured me in by providing samples right at the store’s entrance, and I immediately knew I had to have some, so I threw a few in a bag without really paying attention to name or anything. Later that day…
Me, to the boyfriend: These oranges are especially sweet. You should try some.
The boyfriend: What kind are they?
Me: Umm, some new kind I haven’t bought before. Caracalla or something?
The boyfriend: Oh, okay. Cool.
Me: Wait, no, Caracalla was a Roman emperor. Cara cara?
The boyfriend: That would actually be really awesome, to name it after a Roman emperor…
Since I don’t have the address in order to write to the Orange Naming Association of The World about renaming cara cara oranges, it seemed much easier just to nickname the coffee cake itself: instead of the long mouthful of saying “Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed Coffee Cake,” in my household it shall henceforth be known as “Emperor Coffee Cake.” It has an impressive ring to it, no?
Anyway, a rose orange ricotta poppy seed coffee cake by any other name would smell taste as sweet, so I hope you make this coffee cake and enjoy it as much as we did!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- zest and juice (about 1/4 cup) from 1 orange
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
- Prepare the topping: in a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, salt, almond extract and walnuts. Once thoroughly combined, pour melted butter on top and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated with butter and a crumbly mixture forms. You may want to use a fork to break up the clumps that are larger than half an inch in diameter. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Once combined, beat in eggs, adding one at a time. Add ricotta, orange zest and juice, and mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds, and then add to the mixing bowl. Mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be rather thick – don’t worry!
- Place about one half of the batter in the prepared springform pan. You may need to use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle on top about one half of the prepared topping. Repeat with the remaining batter and topping.
- Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before running a knife or offset spatula around the edges to help loosen the sides.
- Serves 10-12.
That looks delicious – so lovely and moist. Thanks for sharing it with Cheese, Please! this month 🙂
Thanks! And thanks for giving me the motivation for finally making my own ricotta 🙂
I’m sure the cake tastes fantastic! I soooo like using ricotta in cakes! Yummy!
This might have actually been one of the first times I’ve used ricotta in baking (besides cheesecake), but it certainly won’t be the last! Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve been toying with a sweet ricotta entry, but I decided on a savoury one after all. However, I’ve a mountain of rennet to use up, so I can see me having a lot more ricotta from the leftovers too. I’ve bookmarked this to try soon.
I hope you try it – it’s quite delightful! The smoked mozzarella you made looks amazing, by the way!
Oh, thank you very much. This challenge has certainly been fun, hasn’t it?
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
that overhead shot is gorgeous!! and I love the nutty texture the poppy seed gives off in these, it looks awesome!
Thanks!! Poppy seeds really do amazing things for adding texture to baked goods…I love using them!
Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) says
This looks lovely! And I’m jealous of your cheese-making adventures. That’s one thing I’ve still never managed to do (other than making paneer), although Paula took a cheese-making class (for the both of us) and learned how to make ricotta, goat cheese, etc., but when I was out of town. Apparently kitchens in which lots of homemade yeasted breads are baked are not that ideal for homemade cheese-making (because of the yeast in the air?) so we haven’t tried to reproduce any of the recipes at home yet… but I’m thinking ricotta would be a good place to start.
Thanks!! Making ricotta was actually easier than I thought it’d be, but maybe that was just beginner’s luck! That’s really interesting that there’s something problematic about bread-making and cheese-making in the same space (which is a shame, since the two end products go together so nicely!)…I hadn’t heard that before. You learn something new every day, right?!
Jacquee @ I Sugar Coat It! says
This looks delicious! I would never have thought to make my own ricotta. Will have to gave that a try sometime.
Thanks, and I hope you do!
Julie @ Lovely LIttle Kitchen says
This cake looks super good. Love the crumb topping! And with homemade ricotta? Yum!
Thanks! It WAS super good…I miss it already!
Laurie (FrostingAndASmile)Laurie says
Whatever you want to call it, this looks so good! There is a little bakery in my town that does cheese making lessons but I haven’t had a chance to go. But you’re inspiring me to try it right at home! I love those lacey edged plates! Where did you find them?
Thanks, Laurie! Cheese-making lessons sound like fun! I’d love to learn how to make fresh mozzarella someday. I got the plates at Pier 1 last summer (http://www.pier1.com/Doily-Plates/2321943,default,pd.html?cgid=white-dinnerware)