1 lb (450 g) creamed cheese
1 lb (450 g) ricotta cheese
3 ¾ oz (110 g) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
14 oz (400 g) tinned sweetened condensed milk
5 ½ oz (150 g) poppy seeds
1 cup lemon curd (see below)
3 lemons, zest grated and juice strained
2 ½ oz (75 g) butter
9 oz (250 g) sugar
3 large eggs (or 8 yolks, for a richer curd)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Generously butter a 9 inch (24 cm) non-stick round tin.
Sprinkle about half the poppy seeds over the base and sides of the cake tin, then tip out the excess and reserve with the remaining poppy seeds.
Beat the cream cheese and the ricotta using electric beaters until very smooth, then add the sugar and continue for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and beating well after each addition. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and beat for a further 1 minute.
Using a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the poppy seeds and mix well to distribute them throughout the cheese mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top gently by tapping the tin on the counter. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300°F (150°C). Bake for a further 40 minutes, or until the mixture is still slightly ‘‘wobbly’’.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin until cold. When cold, heat the lemon curd slightly until it is a spreadable consistency, then carefully smooth it over the surface of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining poppy seeds over the entire surface. When the curd is cold, remove the tin and serve.
To make Lemon Curd place the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is quite warm.
Add the eggs and using a whisk, mix very well to distribute them thoroughly, and continue stirring while the mixture heats. Keep stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, which indicates that the eggs have thickened and set. Do not allow the mixture to boil because the eggs will curdle. Allow to cool a little, then spread over the cake.
Note: This cake can be made up to three days ahead.
Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too, New Holland Publishers RRP$29.99 available at all good bookstores or online www.newhollandpublishers.com