BLEND TIME: 15 minutes
BAKE TIME: 20 - 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 - 40 minutes
EQUIPMENT: Two 12-cup nonstick muffin pans, citrus zester, rubber spatula, sharp knife, whisk, pastry brush
For Cake Batter:
- 1 cup (157 g) whole almonds, raw
- 1 ½ teaspoons (4 g) fresh rosemary (stems removed)
- 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (330 g) whole milk Ricotta cheese, room temperature
- ⅔ cup (158 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 small Cara Cara or Valencia orange
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling the pans
- 3 (180 g) large eggs, room temperature
For Assembly and Syrup:
- 3 small (125 g each) Blood, Cara Cara, or Valencia oranges
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (118 ml) water
- 1 small sprig of rosemary
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC/gas 4.
- Generously spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the bottom of each cavity with a couple pinches of sugar. Set aside.
- Add almonds and rosemary to your Blender. Close lid, select “Ice Crush” setting, and let blender run through the setting. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula, then replace lid and blend on speed 5 for 10 seconds. Scrape sides again and blend on speed 5 for a final 15-20 seconds, or until almonds and rosemary are finely ground.
- Pour the almond mixture from blender in a small mixing bowl. Add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
- Place ricotta cheese, olive oil, orange zest and sugar into the blender. Pulse 5 times to incorporate. Remove the lid cap and add eggs, one at a time, pulsing once after each addition. Replace lid cap.
- Remove lid, use spatula to scrape down the sides of the bender, then add half of flour mixture to blender and pulse 2 times. Scrape down sides of blender again, then add remaining flour mixture and blend on speed 3 for 15 seconds.
- Assemble the cakes. Use a sharp knife to cut off the ends of four of the citrus fruits. Slice the citrus into very thin rounds, no thicker than 1/8". Remove any seeds from the rounds and place one small citrus round in the bottom of each sugared muffin cavity. (See Chef’s Notes for choosing/placing citrus.)
- Slowly fill each muffin cavity to a little more than halfway full. (A pastry spatula is helpful in portioning the batter from the blender and into the cavities.) Bake cakes for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
- While cakes are baking, make the rosemary syrup. Add sugar, water, and rosemary sprig to a small saucepan set to medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and then bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to steep and cool for 10 minutes.
- When cakes are done baking, place the pans on a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 8-10 minutes. Carefully run a sharp knife around outside of each cake to unstick the sides, place the cooling rack on top of the pan and flip the pan and rack over. Remove the pan to release the cakes.
- Discard the rosemary sprig from the syrup, then finish the cakes by generously brushing the syrup over the tops of the cakes. Cakes are best served warm, but still delicious if served at room temperature.
Use the base of your muffin tin as a guide when selecting citrus. You may need to cut some rounds into a “C” shape and fold them in on themselves. Save leftover orange pieces in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Blood oranges add the most dramatic color variation, but any citrus of choice can be used, including lemons, limes or kumquats.
This makes more rosemary syrup than you will need. We recommend portioning ⅓ cup of the syrup into a small bowl for dipping your pastry brush into while glazing, and saving the remaining syrup in an airtight glass container. The leftover syrup can be used for lemonade, cocktails, etc.
Assembled cakes can be kept for up to 3 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.