Cassata Siciliana

Ingredients for the Sponge
140g (5oz) Plain flour
140g (5oz) Caster sugar
25g (1oz) Melted butter for greasing
6 Medium eggs
The finely grated zest of half a lemon
A little flour for dusting

Ingredients for Ricotta Cream
140g (5oz) Assorted crystallised fruits
140g (5oz) Caster sugar
50g (2oz) Plain chocolate (grated)
2 x 250g Tubs Ricott (fresh)

Ingredients for Topping
280g (10oz) Icing sugar (sifted)
4 rounded tablespoons of Apricot Jam
1 Tablespoon Orange Liqueur
1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
Crystallised fruits, Candied Peel and Angelica to decorate
Green food colouring
A little milk

Method
(1) Preheat the oven to 160°C / Gas Mark 3 / Fan 140°C. Brush a 25cm / 10inch spring form cake tin with the melted butter, and then dust with flour.

(2) Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and airy. The mixture should be thick enough to leave a ribbon trail on the surface. Gently fold in the flour and lemon zest.

(3) Working quickly, transfer to the prepared cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool, then remove the cake from the tin.

(4) Finely chop the crystallised fruits and the grated chocolate. Mix the ricotta with the sugar and gently incorporate the fruit and chocolate. Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

(5) Make the icing just before assembling the cake. Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of milk. Then add a drop of green food colouring to give the icing a subtle green tinge and beat vigorously. You should now have a spreadable paste with a thick non-liquid consistency - you may need a little extra milk.

(6) Assemble the cake, melt the jam with 1 tablespoon of Liqueur and 1 tablespoon of water. Slice the sponge in half horizonally. Place the less perfect half on a flat serving plate and spread all the Ricotta mixture on top. Spread the remaining jam mixture on the remaining sponge, then turn it over and put it jam side down on the Ricotta cream. Spread the icing evenly across the top and smooth over with a palette knife, then place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

(7) A few hours before serving, decorate the top of the cake with the fruits.