Cake with ricotta and cream


vanilla pod n. 1
egg g 250
sugar g 175
starch g 50
00 white flour g 125

In a small semi-rounded basin, heat over a bain-marie, to 50°C, the egg and sugar, mixing continuously with a whisk to prevent the mixture from sticking to the sides and bottom. With an electric whisk, an egg beater or a mixing bowl, beat everything until stiff, adding the vanilla. Work for about 15 minutes at medium speed. To check to see if the whipped egg mixture is ready, put a spoon into it and pull it out vertically: if there is a slightly elongated tip in the form of a bird's beak, then it is ready.
Sift the white flour and starch over a sheet of paper and sprinkle it into the beaten mixture, mixing delicately with a spatula spoon using semicircular movements, from bottom to top.
Pour the mixture into traditional moulds to 2/3 of the height (2 cake tins 4 cm high buttered and floured with a 22 cm diameter, or three cake tins with a diameter of 16 cm). Bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 22 minutes with half open valve.
N.B. Sponge is baked when a slight finger pressure on the surface does not leave a mark.
Remove the sponge from the cake tin when still hot and place it on a sheet of baking paper. The sweet should be lightly coated with caster sugar so that it does not stick to the paper.

For the decorated roll

Cigarette mass

soft butter g 50
icing sugar g 50
egg whites g 50
00 white flour g 50

Amalgamate the mass, making sure it does not rise. Colour it using the desired food colourings; with a spatula, spread out a light layer on a sheet of baking paper or Silpat. Decorate with the comb, with your fingers, or with decorating tools; to strengthen the decorations place the sheets in the freezer.

Decorated almond roll

egg whites g 135
sugar g 120
egg yolks g 100
sugar g 50
almonds g 90
white flour g 40

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and finely chopped almonds. Stir in the flour and the beaten eggs. Beat the egg whites with the sugar until stiff. Amalgamate the two beaten masses.
Spread out 400 g of rolled mass on decorative sheets with the cigarette mass. Bake at 240°C for 45 minutes, valve closed.
N.B. After cooking, the roll needs to be removed from the hot baking tin in order to prevent any excessive loss of humidity. If kept in the refrigerator, covered with a plastic food bag, it will remain soft for 15 days.

Strawberry soak

water g 100
sugar g 100
strawberry puree g 100
Maraschino liqueur g 50

Boil the water and sugar; when the syrup is cold, stir in the strawberry puree and the Maraschino liqueur.

Custard cream

high quality whole-fat milk g 250
Madagascar vanilla pod n. 1/2
lemon rind n. 1/2
egg yolks g 80
sugar g 70
rice starch g 20

Boil in a basin the milk, vanilla, and grated lemon rind. Separately, mix using a whisk the egg yolks, sugar and rice starch. After boiling, filter the milk and incorporate it while boiling in the mass just obtained. Cook over a bain-marie, stirring continuously using a small whisk. If the mixture is cooked directly over the heat, use a non-stick or copper pan to stop the cream from sticking to the bottom and burning. As soon as the cream thickens, remove it from the heat. Cool it down rapidly in order to prevent lumps by pouring into a cold pan just removed from the refrigerator, and stir until no longer hot (until 50°C).
N.B. Use only the yellow part of the lemon rind; the white has an unpleasant bitter flavour.
Make the most of the vanilla pod by cutting it down its length: most of the aroma is contained in the black seeds inside. The proteins of pasteurized milk are poor distributors of the vanilla aroma. It is therefore a good idea to use 10% UHT (sterilized milk) to make the infusion.
When cooking is over a bain-marie, the water must first be boiling. Excessive cooking times lead to poor flavours, especially when there are many eggs.

Cream of ricotta and cream

custard cream g 250
gelatin sheets g 12
ricotta cheese g 500
lemon rind n. 1
lemon juice n. 1
whipped cream g 800

Soften the gelatine sheets in cold water; when they weigh five times their original weight, wring them out and melt them in a pan over a bain-marie or in a microwave; stir in the custard using a small whisk. At the same time, put the ricotta in the mixer for two minutes and add the grated rind and lemon juice; when it looks nice and creamy, place it in a bowl and carefully add the custard followed by the whipped cream still shiny.

On a pie-dish covered with a sheet of acetate, place two cake rings of 22 cm diameter and 4 cm height, or else three of a diameter of 16 cm. Butter them evenly and sprinkle the inside with sugar, or else line with a sheet of acetate of the same height. Using a spoon, cover the bottom of the ring with cream of ricotta and cream, forming a 1 cm thick layer, and arrange the assorted soft fruit. Use a serrated knife to make three layers of sponge: place a first soaked layer over the cream; cover with another layer of cream making sure it is evenly distributed over the entire surface. Repeat the operation once more, completing the cake with a third layer of sponge. Place the cakes in the blast chiller to stabilize them; when hardened, lightly heat the metal ring with the flame in order to be able to unmold them easily. Heating is not necessary if the ring has been lined with acetate on the inside.
Place the cakes on gold-coloured cardboard or lace, and decorate at will with fruit, finishing with a brushing of fruit gelatine.

Once hardened, the cakes should be covered with clingfilm and placed back in the freezer inside their rings; at 18°-20°C they keep their freshness and quality for 60 days.
It is best to move the dessert from the freezer to the refrigerator the evening before use, prior to carrying out the last phase of the decoration with fresh fruit.

Iginio Massari
Pasticceria Veneto, Brescia
Photo Giancarlo Bononi

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