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This Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake is dark, rich and intense. A sublime treat for your afternoon tea.
I’m making my Seville orange marmalade this week which meant that I needed to finish the scrapings at the bottom of last year’s jar to make room for the new.
The marmalade had not been easy to spread on toast for a few months now as the surface had crystallised a little but the intense zesty bitter flavour was still all there and I found that once I had sawn through the solid sugar structure with gritted teeth this cake turned out to be the perfect way to make use of the dregs. It might have lost its lustre but last year’s marmalade has managed to find a new lease of life paired with chocolate, ricotta and pine nuts. I mean, what ingredient wouldn’t? Of course you are more than welcome to make this cake with this season’s offering, you certainly don’t have to be using 2015’s rejects.
My life is full of to-do, should-really-do and must-do-upon-point-of-death lists at the moment, none of which ever really get completely crossed of by the end of the day. However, cakes always seem to jump to the top of the queue, ahead of taking my pile of unloved clothing, which I keep tripping over every morning, to the charity shop, or paying that cheque into the bank, or even finding that blasted cheque which no longer seems to be sitting proudly on my mantelpiece where I placed it very safely about three months ago.
So when I decided that the marmalade had to go in a cake the ingredients magically gathered themselves up and jumped into a baking tin without so much as consulting any of my lists. I blame the ricotta. Mmm ricotta, just seeing the word on the screen makes me want to dollop it into and onto everything I eat. It’s ideal here, adding such a luxurious dampness to the cake without imparting heaviness.
The marriage of flavours is so lovely and subtle that this cake is fit for any purpose. The newly revived marmalade just adds a hint of tang with the occasional rind peeking through the sponge as well as a wonderful jammy blanket to the top – the glaze is definitely all important. The toasted pine nuts were a last minute addition but integral to give a welcome break in texture. I don’t think I need to convince you about the chocolate.
So my to-do list may be never-ending but at least I can end the day with a slice of darkly decadent cake and the promise of tomorrow’s marmalade.
Dark Chocolate, Seville Orange, Ricotta and Pine Nut Cake
- 250 g dark chocolate - I used a mixture of 70% and 54%
- 75 g pine nuts
- 300 g ricotta
- 175 g light soft brown sugar
- 100 ml olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 60 g Seville orange marmalade + 2 tablespoons for glazing
- 200 g plain flour - *for gluten-free version see notes
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C then line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside.
- Scatter the pine nuts onto a baking tray (reserving about 20g to keep untoasted) then bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes until very lightly toasted. Set aside.
- Place the ricotta, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs and marmalade in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
- Pour the melted chocolate in then and stir thoroughly into the rest of the ingredients.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl then add into the mixture and beat until just combined.
- Finally fold in the toasted pine nuts then pour it all into the loaf tin.
- Scatter the remaining untoasted pine nuts over the top of the mixture, pressing down to slightly submerge into the batter.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 90 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of marmalade in a small saucepan then brush over the top of the cake to glaze.
- Leave to cool completely before serving.