What really brings this cake to life are the roasted strawberries - especially when roasted with orange juice and rosewater.
- 4 eggs
- 115 g (4 oz/⅓ cup) rice malt syrup
- 3 tsp rosewater
- 110 g (4 oz/¾ cup) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
- 110 g (4 oz/1 cup) hazelnut meal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
- 100 g (3½ oz) virgin coconut oil, melted
- rose petals, to decorate (optional)
Roasted strawberries and whipped ricotta
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved if large
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 tsp rosewater, plus extra, to taste
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh firm ricotta cheese
- few drops of liquid stevia, to taste (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F (fan-forced). Lightly grease a deep 20 cm (8 in) cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Beat the eggs, rice malt syrup and rose water in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, and the mixture leaves a thick trail when the beaters are lifted. Depending on your mixer, this may take about 10 minutes.
Sift the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder and xanthan gum into a large bowl, returning any coarse hazelnut meal to the bowl with the flour. Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in two batches. Add the orange zest and melted coconut oil and fold through the mixture until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, gently smooth the surface with a spatula and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until springy to touch in the centre and just starting to pull away from the side of the tin.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the roasted strawberries and whipped ricotta, put the strawberries, orange juice and rosewater in a shallow roasting tin, cover loosely with foil and roast for 25–30 minutes, or until the strawberries are just starting to collapse. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Whiz the ricotta in a food processor until smooth and silky. Add 8–10 strawberries and about 1 tbsp of the syrup from the roasting pan. Taste the mixture and add a little more fruit, syrup, rosewater or liquid stevia to get a balanced flavour and a smooth, spreadable consistency. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally using a long serrated knife. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate or cake stand and spread over about half of the whipped ricotta. Top with the remaining cake, whipped ricotta, roasted strawberries and a drizzle of the syrup. Decorate with rose petals for extra prettiness, if desired.
This recipe is from Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.