2 min read

Migliaccio di Semolino (or, less pretentiously, Semolina and Ricotta Cake)

A simple recipe for a cake with complex flavors.
Cake on a cutting board.

Here’s a modified ricotta-semolina cake recipe from Cooks Illustrated. It’s deceivingly simple to bake, but be warned: It will have to cool overnight, so plan accordingly. The cake is perfect for anyone who wants to serve something (seemingly) impressive with a morning coffee.

The Recipe
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus butter for pan
  • ¾ cup sugar, plus extra for pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp orange extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup semolina flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar for topping
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 375º.
  2. Grease 9-inch springform pan with butter; dust with granulated sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs until combined. Add ricotta and orange and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, mix semolina and sugar. Heat milk, lemon and orange zest, cardamom, salt, and butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture hits 180º. Off heat, slowly pour semolina mixture into milk mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
  5. Return saucepan to heat, stirring constantly until mixture pulls away from side of saucepan—about 5 minutes.
  6. Add a third of semolina mixture to ricotta mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the rest in 2 batches, mixing each until incorporated. Mix until smooth with just some small lumps remaining. About 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer batter to pan and bake until top is golden brown. The center should be slightly jiggly. Between 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge to loosen. Unlock pan ring, but leave it in place. Let cool completely—1½ to 2 hours.
  9. Refasten ring and refrigerate cake until firm and chilled—12 to 24 hours.
  10. Remove side of pan and slide a thin metal spatula between cake and pan bottom. Slide cake onto serving platter. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, et voilà: A cake to impress friends, foes, and family with.