Amalfi lemon, bay leaf and olive oil cake

This cake is epically fragrant (thanks to the lemon zest, fresh bay and olive oil) and has the supplest crumb (the ricotta and olive oil take care of that). It keeps for up to three days in a sealed container, and is even better a day after baking.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Amalfi lemon, bay leaf and olive oil cake.

Prep 10 min Cook 1 hr 25 min Serves 8-10

  • 200ml whole milk
  • 150g ricotta
  • 4 Amalfi lemons (or regular lemons), zest finely grated, to get 2½ tbsp, then juiced, to get 3½ tbsp
  • 300g ‘00’ flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 350g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra for sprinkling
  • 3 fresh bay leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225ml good-quality olive oil, plus extra for greasing

For the glaze 100g icing sugar ½ tsp good-quality olive oil 3 fresh bay leaves, roughly chopped, plus a few whole leaves for decorating

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Grease a 24cm bundt tin. In a jug, whisk the milk, ricotta and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb into a medium bowl.

Put the caster sugar, chopped bay leaves and two tablespoons of lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the bay is finely chopped. In a free-standing mixer with the whisk attachment in place, beat the eggs and bay leaf sugar on high speed until thick, pale and creamy – about three minutes. Turn the speed down to medium-low and drizzle in the oil in a slow, steady stream, until fully incorporated and homogeneous – about a minute. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment and, with the speed on medium-low, add the flour and milk mixtures in three increments, starting and ending with the flour. Combine until just incorporated, taking care not to over-mix.

Pour the batter into the bundt tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and sprinkle over the last two tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, put the icing sugar and bay leaves into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the leaves are very finely chopped. Add the oil and remaining tablespoon and a half of lemon juice, and blitz again until smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze all over the cake, letting some of it run down the sides. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon and a half of zest and top with a few bay leaves.

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