This Seasonal Fruit & Ricotta Sponge Cake Bake by notable Chef Michael Bonacini is so delicious, you’ll need to double up on the recipe because your guests will be begging for more!
“This is a dessert dish from my childhood,” Chef Michael Bonacini recollects. "It's often served with seasonal fruit and berries, grown in our backyard or based on the seasonal fruits and berries available at the grocery store and farmer’s markets.”
In a good size pan heat ½ a tsp of butter over medium heat. Add in the apple and cranberry along with sugar and the juice of half of an orange. Cook gently for 5-7 minutes until the cranberries begin to burst and the apples soften.
Add in the pear and cook for 1 or 2 additional minutes.
Remove from heat and add in your fresh or frozen plums and blueberries. Then add in the fresh ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) with convection fan on. For regular ovens preheat to 375°F (190°C).
Using a stand mixer, place in the bowl the sugar and butter and beat using the paddle attachment until the butter and sugar creams, and is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
In a separate bowl, mix the plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder and a pinch of salt making sure everything is well combined.
Add the vanilla extract and one egg at a time to the cream mixture (continue to beat on low speed). Slowly add the flour mixture to bring all the ingredients together and beat well for 1 minute.
Take the now cooled fruit and place into a deep-sided oven-safe dish. Top with the sponge cake mixture and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes or until the sponge cake is fully baked and golden brown.
Test the doneness of the cake by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into the cake and removing it. If it comes out clean, the cake is baked. If there is some residual sticky cake batter on the skewer, an additional 5-10 minutes baking may be needed. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Ricotta Cream Topping:
In a small bowl, place the 35% cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk until soft stand up peaks are achieved.
In a separate bowl, place the fresh ricotta and beat lightly with a wooden spoon or spatula to soften and slightly cream the ricotta.
Take the whipped cream and gently fold into the ricotta, followed by the orange zest and coarsely grated dark chocolate. Add a little cinnamon to taste.
Scoop a generous helping of the sponge and fruit base onto a serving plate. Add a large dollop of the ricotta cream topping, garnish with a sprig of mint, dusting of powder sugar and serve.