This tangy lemon-scented cake is just as good served
a day or two after baking as it is served warm, although once you
smell it cooking, it might not last that long.
150 gmsoftened butter, plus extra for greasing120 gmhoneyFinely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons6eggs, separated400 gmfirm ricotta200 gmalmond meal180 gmfine polenta2 tspfinely chopped rosemary, plus 3 extra sprigs330 gm (1½ cups)caster sugarFlaked almonds, for scattering1vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
Preheat oven to 150°C and butter the base of a 26cm diameter cake tin (we used a fluted tin) and line it with baking paper. Beat butter, honey and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then add yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. Transfer to a large bowl, fold in ricotta, then almond meal, polenta, rosemary and a pinch of salt.
Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in 110gm sugar and whisk until glossy (1-2 minutes). Fold into ricotta mixture, then spoon batter into tin, smooth top and scatter with almonds. Bake until golden and a skewer withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Remove from oven and pierce all over with a skewer.
Stir lemon juice, remaining sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla bean and seeds, bring to the boil and cook until a light syrup forms (4-5 minutes). Discard vanilla bean, add rosemary sprigs and pour half over cake. Chill remaining.
Serve cake warm or at room temperature drizzled with remaining syrup.