on January 14, 2014 by

Little Bird Cake

For the second year, we’ve teamed up with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to bring bird lovers the ultimate birding photo contest. Each week we’re giving away prizes and sharing some of our favorite recipes, perfect for fueling a healthy, happy day of watching birds. Check back here each week for a great recipe, and don’t forget to vote on your favorites and enter your own photos in BirdSpotter!


This is a beautiful Italian cake that, while slightly complicated, is phenomenal. Organic farro provides a chewy, nutty texture similar that pairs wonderfully with the creaminess of ricotta. Serve this with coffee for a delightful dessert.

Little Bird Cake | Bob's Red Mill

Little Bird Cake

Contributed by Michelle Abendschan, the blogger behind

  • 1 cup Organic Farro
  • 3 cups boiling Water
  • 2 cups 2% Milk
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 strip Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cardamom Pod (or 1/8 tsp ground Cardamom)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 Eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Liqueur
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar


Step 1

Rinse farro briefly with cool water, drain, and then add to 3 cups boiling water. Reduce heat to low and then simmer until farro is soft, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 2

Add milk, sugar, lemon zest and cardamom to a pot (can be the same pot used earlier) and bring to a simmer. Add farro and cook, stirring occasionally, until farro mixture is thick and resembles pudding, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt and remove cardamom pod (if used). Let cool.

Step 3

Add ricotta, egg yolks, raisins, liqueur and the zest from about 3/4’s of the orange to the cooled farro mixture. In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Add half the egg whites to the farro, just mixing in to lighten the batter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites in, trying not to deflate them too much.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a baking dish by coating a 10-inch round cake pan with non-spray stick and covering the bottom with a circular piece of parchment paper.

Step 5

Add batter to prepared cake pan and spread the top out evenly. Bake in the center of the oven 45-50 minutes, until top of cake is golden brown and edges are just starting to pull away in spots. Let cool about 15 minutes in the pan.

Step 6

To remove: run a knife around the edges of the cake pan. Put a plate upside down on the top of the cake and flip over. Remove cake pan. Then, using the plate you want to serve from, put that on top of the upside down cake and flip again, so that the cake is right side up, on the serving plate.

Step 7

Use a fine mesh strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the cake, along with the remaining zest from the orange. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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