Click to see a close-up

ITALIAN RICOTTA CAKE
4 eggs, separated
1 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda, divided
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened *
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest from 1 large orange (about 10 grams or 1-2 tablespoons)
Zest from 1 medium lemon (about 5 grams or 1 tablespoon)
4 squares Lindt 70% Cocoa chocolate, coarsely chopped (40 grams) *

Grease a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper; grease the paper.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 of the Splenda and beat until stiff peaks form; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the ricotta, butter, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup Splenda, xanthan gum, vanilla and citrus zests until well blended and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate bits. Fold in the egg whites.

Spread the batter in the cake pan and bake at 375 30 minutes until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch. The cake will puff up quite high while baking and will sink down as it cools. Cool the cake before before removing it from the pan and chill well before serving.

Makes 8 servings

* If you use unsalted butter, you may want to add a dash of salt. You can save a few carbs by using the 85% cocoa Lindt or your favorite sugar free dark chocolate. The 70% cocoa adds 14 net carbs to the whole cake which works out to about 2 net carbs per serving.

With granular Splenda:
Per Serving: 276 Calories; 23g Fat; 10g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 7g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda:
Per Serving: 264 Calories; 23g Fat; 10g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs

I combined three similar recipes that all sounded very good. Two of them called for 2 whole pounds of ricotta cheese and the third recipe called for only 2/3 cup of it. I compromised and used one 15-ounce container. Adding the chocolate to the cake was my idea. One of the recipes said to top the cake with shaved chocolate. The other two had no chocolate at all. Two of them called for orange and lemon zest and one called for only orange. Here are links to the three recipes that inspired my version:

Janet's Walnut and Ricotta Cake
Soren's Torta di Ricotta
Mojave's Italian Ricotta Cake

I dusted the top of my cake with powdered Truvia. Although it did make it look much nicer, I didn't care for the bitter taste that it added. Other than that, the flavor is very nice. The orange flavor seems to come through more than the lemon. The texture of this cake is much lighter and fluffier than I was expecting but it did firm up some as it chilled. I used salted butter in mine and I think it could have used an extra pinch of salt. I'm not sure what the xanthan gum does, if anything, but one of the recipes called for it. I did notice that it made the batter get very thick shortly after adding it. I think it might help hold the cake together. One thing that I might do differently next time would be to add the eggs whole rather than beating the whites separately. That is how Soren's recipes is made so it should work. Click the photo to see a close-up. Below is a picture of the batter before baking it.

In case you'd like to make this cake without the added chocolate bits, here are the counts:

WITHOUT CHOCOLATE:
With granular Splenda:
Per Serving: 245 Calories; 21g Fat; 9g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 5g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda:
Per Serving: 233 Calories; 21g Fat; 9g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2g Net Carbs

UPDATE 8-25-14: I just made this recipe again today and only used orange zest this time. I used the zest of one orange and added 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract to boost the orange flavor. I like this version much better than the orange and lemon combined. I also added a pinch of salt this time and I think that helped the flavor too.


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