Dark, rich chocolate and orange complement each other so well. This delicious recipe comes for a website called Buttery Books. It’s the creation of four talented women who love good books, good food and good wine. The group also hosts book club parties.
To save time you can use a 9 inch round cake pan to make the cakes. Just decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees and increase the baking time to 30 minutes.
Candied lemon and orange peels:
Using a zester with a channel knife, make strips of the lemon and orange peel, avoiding the bitter white part under the peel. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat on low and add the peels. Simmer until peels are translucent, which may take 2 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12 cup silicone muffin pan with cooking spray.
Separate the eggs into 2 medium bowls. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until thickened, about 5 minutes (I recommend using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment). Stir in the water from the candied peels, vanilla and lemon zest.
Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the egg yolk mixture.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and add to the egg mixture in 2 additions until just combined. Fill the muffin cups about 1/4 full and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the orange liqueur.
Chocolate ricotta filling:
In a small bowl combine the ricotta, powdered sugar, coffee and vanilla and mix with an immersion or stick blender. Add the chocolate chips and blend until coarsely chopped. Stir in the candied peels.
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, butter and coffee and remove from heat just before it boils. Add the chocolate and set aside, stirring occasionally until chocolate melted.
Assemble the cakes:
Place strips of wax paper on the serving plate and place the first layer on the wax paper. Brush with the orange liqueur mixture. Spread a layer of chocolate ricotta filling on top. Repeat with the next layer. Add the third mini cake on top (see diagram below). Use a knife to remove excess ricotta filling around the edges. Pour the glaze over the top and gently spread it as it runs down the sides. Let it set for about 10 minutes before removing the wax paper. Garnish with the remaining candied orange and lemon peel.
Makes 12 mini-cakes
Candied Lemon and Orange Peels
- 2 lemons
- 1 orange
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water reserved from the candied peels
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons orange liqueur
Chocolate Ricotta Filling
- 1 container ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon cold brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons candied lemon peel
- 2 teaspoons candied orange peel
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons cold brewed coffee
- 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate