When you’ve been blogging as long as I have there are the occasional moments when you spy something on your own site that you might have forgotten just how much you loved and know it’s time to make again but also introduce to readers again, or more likely…for the first time. I published this post in 2009 and not only did I want to serve it to some friends but I literally cringed when I saw the photo and knew it was time for a change. This cake is just magnificent; the photo did not do it justice; not one bit!
I simply love this pound cake. It is rich and dense as pound cakes should be but that ricotta adds not only a great flavor addition but this cake is so deliciously perfect. The texture is smooth and moist and perfectly accompanied by some seasonal fresh fruit.
There was a period of time a couple of years ago when I went pound cake crazy over the holidays. Each gift had a different one included so I started earlier each year trying out different recipes to keep that tradition alive. My favorite had always been a browned butter rum pound cake that has always been a winner but with some ricotta on hand I wanted to make this recipe from Pastry Chef Gina DePalma’s book ‘Dolce Italiano.’ The rave reviews made it clear this is the one I should include for everyone; I had people begging for more. I was saddened to hear of Chef DePalma’s recent passing and know that for me she will live on in her work and the recipes I’ve grown to love and that my friends now demand.
Since moving to Castle Rock; Denver’s farthest southern suburb, I’ve also moved north a bit…as in up higher. I was struggling a bit with baking and finally took the time to see if Castle Rock had a different elevation than Denver and was actually shocked to learn we are a full thousand feet higher! I’ve had to revise my standard modifications and was pretty happy with this result; no deep depression in the entire cake like my other go round.
By the way, I don’t post the recipe with the amounts I use for baking; preferring to post what works for ‘flatlanders’ and knowing those of us up in the air will have to do some modifications based on our altitude; it changes for every thousand feet. My first step though whether at Denver or Castle Rock elevation? I turn up the heat. I’ve had more luck with adding a few degrees to the temp and subtracting a few from the time than anything else and it makes sense. While our baked goods rise faster, now they’re baking faster in my oven too…and that seems to set them better and not have that ‘depression fail’ that I’ve had to work with so often.
Ricotta Pound Cake
Simple one of the best pound cakes ever; moist and delicious and perfect.
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.
- In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds with blunt side of a small knife, then beat them into batter along with vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets.
- Bake cake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes more.
- Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto the rack to cool completely. Dust cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving it; the flavor is best on the next day (not that easy!).
- Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake also freezes beautifully, wrapped in plastic, and place in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Serve with a side of fresh fruit; pictured are blackberries.
From Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchenby Gina DePalma
Here it is. Not only did it sink (the outer edge of approximately 1″ was perfect but the entire center sunk) but oh my is it glaring. I have grown to love photography and still have a long way to go to feel truly competent but I am glad I can replace the photos in some favorites; they deserve to be more appealing. This cake for instance? It needs to be made and now hoping the photos will inspire someone to do just that!