I was enlisted to make a cake for my boyfriend’s leaving party at work, and due to the abundance of cherry in the supermarkets of late decided it needed to be fruity. I also decided there needed to be two cakes, for fear of missing out, and I was right.This cherry and ricotta loaf cake is sumptuously moist, with a sweet yet sharp white chocolate and cherry frosting. It was also an absolute joy to decorate. My boyfriend came home halfway through me baking these lovelies on a Thursday evening and asked me if I wanted to go for dinner. I looked up, my hands red with cherry and up to my elbows in cake batter, and told him firmly to bugger off.
For the cake
225g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons of ricotta
100g fresh cherries
For the cherry compote
1/2 a lemon squeezed
100g chopped cherries
1 tablespoon caster sugar
For the buttercream
150g white chocolate
100g icing sugar
- Firstly, start by lining a loaf tin with butter and a dusting of flour (or baking parchment if you are feeling organised).
- Wash and thoroughly dry the cherries. Remove their stones, then cut them into 1/8s. I know the size of cherries in cake is a subject of great debate on the great british bake-off, and although I love a chunk of cherry, I support the importance of small cherries for equal distribution purposes. Divide the cherries into two piles- 100g for the cake and 100g for the compote.
- Preheat the oven to 180*C
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the mix one at a time, adding a little flour after each to prevent the mixture curdling. Beat in any remaining flour until you have a basic cake mix.
- Add the zest of two lemons, along with two generous tablespoons of ricotta. This is what gives the cake a moist, tangy kick.
- Dust the cherries in the smallest amount of flour, then toss into the cake mix and evenly distribute. Spoon into the lined cake tin then bake for 45-50 minutes. You may need to give the cake a tinfoil hat and turn the oven down to 160*C if it begins to brown.
- In the meantime, make the fruit compote by heating the remaining cherries, with the sugar and lemon juice at high temperatures for about 5 minutes, giving the occasional stir, until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, quickly blitz in a food processor then strain to remove any final lumps.
- To make the white chocolate frosting, melt 150g of white chocolate over a pan of boiling water. Melt the butter until liquid, then stir in the oozy white chocolate and stir in thoroughly. Place the liquid in the fridge and stir every 5 minutes until smooth. Next sift in the icing sugar and stir. Keep cool, but not too cool, until ready to use.
- Once the cake is cool, dollop the frosting on top and spread evenly with a spatula. Pipe the compote, being careful to only snip a tiny hole in the bag as it will come out quickly, in lines across the top of the frosting. Use a cocktail stick to pattern the frosting as you will. I dragged mine through the lines to give a feather like design.