And we’re back! After taking some time off from The Vivid Kitchen, I am more than excited to be here with my (tiny) community and start 2019 with fresh content. I kind of abruptly stopped posting new recipes about halfway through December because I had to focus on baking for real life events (I baked 4 different kinds of cookies to pass out as Christmas gifts - including these and these) and then after Christmas, Alex and I went out of town to Scottsdale, Arizona for 5 days to celebrate NYE. When we returned home on the 1st, I got sick for the first time in years and now that I’m finally feeling better, here we are!
P.S. I might do a photo diary/city guide of some sort for Scottsdale soon, even though all we do when we visit is hike and cook at the house we stay at.
For Christmas, I was very lucky to be gifted a handful of kitchen/baking-related items that I’ve been obsessing over since opening them. Some things I received were: a Shun chef’s knife (Shun is my favorite knife brand), a Hamilton Beach waffle maker that I’ve already used a couple of times and yes, there will be waffle recipes in the future, a marble phone holder for my kitchen when I’m baking and my hands are full, and a few other things. I also got a new macro lens for my Canon camera (thank you, dad!) that is incredible and is the lens that I used to shoot this recipe.
Another gift I received was a new bundt pan from Nordic Ware, and I didn’t know it was possible to be in love with a baking pan, but I guess it is! The mold is so beautiful and makes every cake look like a piece of art, but it is also just as functional as it is pretty - I had no problems with the cake sticking to the pan. This is my first pan from Nordic Ware and it’s safe to say that I will continue to buy from them in the future.
Since we’re getting into citrus season, my favorite time of year, I wanted to make a bundt cake highlighting the season’s bright flavors. After about a month straight of eating cookies and chocolate, I didn’t want to make a very heavy or overly sweet cake, and this citrus ricotta cake is anything but those things. Olive oil and ricotta make the dish light yet super moist; the cake is sweetened with a blend of granulated sugar and honey; and the lemon/orange zests and juices brighten the cake and give it such a fresh flavor. This is actually one of the few cakes that you could eat for breakfast and not feel any guilt about it. Side note: I used my favorite orange variety, Cara Cara, for this recipe, which I highly recommend, but any orange variety will be perfect as well. You could even try using grapefruit, which I’ll probably do next time I make this cake.
If you remember, I did a post last year about making your own ricotta cheese for ricotta ice cream (still one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made) and today's recipe is pretty much the cake version of that. The flavors of citrus and pistachios work so well with the creamy ricotta cheese, so I knew that they both needed to be front and center in this cake. And of course, if you want to make your own ricotta cheese for this recipe, please do so, since it’s SO easy! But, if you don’t have the time or cheesecloth, then by all means, store-bought is A-OK with me. I recommend reaching for the whole-milk variety though.
As for how to finish the cake, the choice is yours to make! (I did not plan that rhyme, I promise). There are a number of options: 1)a standard dusting of confectioners’ sugar, 2) a simple citrus glaze (2 cups of confectioners’ sugar whisked with 3-4 tbsp. of fresh lemon or orange juice), and/or 3) a mix of chopped pistachios with honey sprinkled all over the top. As you can see from the pictures, I chose a dusting of confectioners’ sugar as well as the pistachio/honey mixture and I thought it was perfect.
Citrus Ricotta Bundt Cake w/ Pistachios
Yields (1) standard bundt cake
Recipe slightly adapted from Fraiche Nutrition
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. orange zest (I love Cara Cara oranges)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
2/3 cup shelled and toasted pistachios, finely chopped (mixed w/ 1 tbsp. of flour)
Confectioners’ sugar, chopped pistachios mixed with honey, lemon glaze, to finish
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray the bundt pan with cooking oil spray (or you can butter and flour the pan).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, olive oil, eggs, vanilla extract, honey, zests, and juices. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and without lumps.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold together using a spatula. Before the batter is fully combined, mix in the pistachio/flour and finish mixing the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate or cooling rack. Finish the cake whichever way you’d like! The cake will last in an airtight container for about a week.