Looking for a special, lightened-up treat? Lots of thin layers and a luscious frosting make this cake a winner that's sure to draw plenty of oohs and aahs. —Suzanne Runtz, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- 2 cartons (15 ounces each) reduced-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 3 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), grated
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups fat-free milk
- 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed
- Whole hazelnuts and shaved chocolate, optional
- Line three 8-in. round baking pans with waxed paper. Coat pans with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour; set aside.
- For filling, in a small bowl, beat ricotta cheese and sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla. Fold in pecans and grated chocolate. Cover and chill.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
- Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat layers four times. Top with remaining cake layer.
- Spread whipped topping over top and sides of cake. Garnish with hazelnuts and shaved chocolate if desired. Chill until serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.
Originally published as Makeover Ricotta Nut Torte in Healthy Cooking December/January 2010, p23
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