Part of the fun of cooking on holidays comes from a lack of your usual cooking utensils. You can never be sure how good your kitchen utensils/equipment will be and as a result you need to adapt your cooking creatively and use what you can in the best way possible!
This ‘Made in Minutes’ is a quick cake I put together on holidays for afternoon tea. I was desperate to make some kind of cake or torte with the amazing donut peaches (AKA flat peaches or saturn peaches) we found at the markets that were SOO sweet, juicy, and delicate all at once. Ricotta was another must use ingredient. There is nothing like the great big tubs of delicious fresh ricotta that is available in Italy, so creamy and light.
There wasn’t much choice in the matter of what to cook when I opened the kitchen cupboard in our rented ‘Casa’ to find not one cake tin.. there was only 1 oven tray but it was way too shallow. I realized that the only pan I could possible use in the oven was a pasta saucepan.
200g fresh ricotta
2 eggs, separated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
10g baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 or 5 donut peaches, peeled and diced
Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Grease and line the base of an 8″ round tin ( well, around about! I only had foil so buttered and then lay a round of foil in the base of my saucepan).
In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mix the ricotta and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Stir in the egg yolks, flour, lemon zest and juice and vanilla.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/2 of the egg whites through the cake mixture, followed by the second half of egg whites and the diced peach.
It would also be nice to slice the peach in wedges and lay on top of the batter once its in the pan… I was using slightly ripe peaches so was best to dice ( not so good bits removed) and fold through but would look prettier the other way I think.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin, or saucepan and bake for around 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If browning too quickly on top, cover with foil ( I should have done this).
Note : I can’t be too sure of the cooking time for this cake as I haven’t re tested it in my own oven and there were a few variables; funny oven that took a long time to cook anything ( my cake took over an hour! and was cooked a little too much on the top), cooking in a saucepan – I don’t think the heat conductivity is the same as a cake pan!
Also the peaches give the cake quite a bit of moisture which creates a kind of custardy texture around the chunks. This is delicious but can give the illusion when testing the cake that the its not cooked properly.. Check that the edges are coming away from the pan and that the centre springs back and you should be good!
Hooray! My cake managed to come out of the saucepan pretty well, just a bit of a rough bumpy bottom edge. Not the prettiest thing I’ve cooked, but absolutely delicious and worth another go at home, in a real tin and a good oven!
Enjoy warm if you can.