Cherry & Ricotta Crumble Cake
This is an unusual cake that’s like a cross between a cheesecake and a tart with a crumbly topping thrown in. It’s soo good! Good enough to be the cake for both Finbar’s 1st birthday and my Irishman’s special days this year. If it’s not cherry season where you are, any other fruit will work well (see variations for ideas). IMPORTANT: Best to use smooth creamy ricotta from a tub rather than more crumbly ricotta from the deli.
takes: 80 minutes
FOR THE BASE:
400g (14oz) almond meal
200g (7oz) butter, chopped
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder*
2 teaspoons baking powder
FOR THE FILLING:
500g (1lb) smooth ricotta
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder*
1 vanilla bean (optional)
2 handfuls cherries, pitted
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease and line a 24cm (9in) cake tin with baking paper.
2. Place almond meal, butter, stevia and baking powder in your food processor. Pulse or whizz in little bursts until the mixture comes together in coarse crumbs. Be careful not to mix to a smooth dough – you want it crumbly and loose.
3. Press HALF the crumbs into the base of the prepared cake tin to form the base.
4. Mix ricotta, extra stevia and the scraped seeds from your vanilla bean (if using) until combined. Save the outside of the vanilla bean for another use. Spread the ricotta filling over the base leaving a 1.5cm (1/2in) boarder around the edge.
5. Place cherries on top of the ricotta. I like to leave the middle clear so you can see the ricotta filling but it’s up to you.
6. Loosely sprinkle the remaining crumbs around the edges of the tin to form a boarder around the ricotta.
7. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the cake is deeply browned.
8. Cool to room temperature before serving.
*important note about stevia! – there are 4 types of stevia:
1. Pure Stevia Powder – looks like icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar. It’s expensive but a tiny amount goes a long long way. We’re talking 1/4 teaspoon to sweeten a whole cake. This is what I use.
2. Granular Stevia (like Natvia or Truvia) – looks like regular white sugar. It’s a blend of erythritol and stevia. Usually 1/8 teaspoon = 2-3 tablespoons granular stevia.
3. Fresh or Dried Stevia Leaves – from a real stevia plant! I haven’t baked with them but they will behave similar to the pure stevia powder. Just add to taste.
4. Liquid stevia. I haven’t used this. But add to taste.
granular stevia – replace pure stevia powder with 2-3 tablespoons granular stevia in the base and another 2-3 tablespoons in the filling.
no stevia – use your favourite sweetener… Honey, maple syrup, xylitol or white sugar! Just add and taste until you’re happy with the sweetness level.
sugar lovers – use 25g (1oz) sugar in the base and 50g (2oz) sugar in the filling instead of the stevia. If you like things on the sweeter side double the sugar.
nut-free / budget – replace almond meal with plain (all purpose) flour. Reduce baking time to 25-30 minutes.
choc-hazelnut – replace half the almond meal with hazelnut meal and replace cherries with chopped chunks of chocolate.
different fruit – feel free to use your imagination! Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, sliced peaches, halved apricots, stewed apples, roast pears or cooked rhubarb are all lovely.
dairy-free – replace the ricotta filling with fresh or cooked fruit and use coconut oil instead of the butter – I haven’t tried this!
no food processor – grate butter into the dry ingredients and rub in using your fingertips until you get the coarse crumbs.
no cherry-pitter – leave the stones in but don’t forget to warn your guests!
Shelf Life / Storage
Best on the day of baking. Can be kept for a week or so in an airtight container in the fridge – still delicious but you lose the crunchy texture of the crumbs. Keeps for months in the freezer.