Friday, March 20, 2015

eat cake

raspberry-ricotta cake





And just like that, with no explanation and no apology I am here. I hesitate to say 'back' because I don't want to over-commit. Nevertheless my intention is to be back. I have (quite obviously) seriously considered not returning to this endeavour. There have been all manner of reasons not to but in the final analysis those reasons don't hold quite enough weight and the scale has tipped ever so slightly in the direction of picking up the threads. So here I am holding a few tattered threads that I will attempt to weave into something of a whole cloth again.

This cake, this cake is one of those cakes that does not demand attention. The quiet, elegant beauty standing somewhat aloof and shyly at the side of the room while the sticky, gooey, sparkly (totally unworthy and flashy) upstarts grab the focus. But if you give it even half a chance you will fall in love. Far more interesting in taste and texture than your average unassuming white cake - if you are like me you will be making this cake over and over again because you just can't get enough.

The ricotta adds a moist richness and depth of flavour without making the cake heavy. Fantastic warm with cream straight out of the oven I think it is even better on day two. I initially used some sweet, soft ripe pears as the fruit. Trial two was with apples. Three - frozen sweet cherries. And finally, for the fourth try I resorted to the original recipe as written in Bon Appetit and used frozen raspberries. Don't ask me which is liked best because I can't decide. Today my answer would likely be 'raspberry' because that is what is sitting on my counter right now but a week ago it would have been pears. And two days after that? Why cherries of course!

The changes I made to the recipe are very minor - a little more fruit, a different sugar, a touch more salt.

This cake reminds me a teeny tiny bit of a treat we used to buy from the convenience stores (I know - horrors!!) when we lived in Osaka ages ago. I can't remember what it was called but there is a map of Hokkaido on the wrapper. I loved it then and want to remember it as being wonderful - but I am afraid that if I were to try it now I might wrinkle my nose. For sure this cake is umpteen times better. Make yourself a batch of fresh ricotta - or go buy a tub - but make this cake. Tonight. And eat it all weekend long. You could share it with a friend. Or not :)

raspberry-ricotta cake
(from Bon Appetit - with the most minor of changes)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raw cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp grey sea salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray or butter a 9" round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. In another smaller bowl combine the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla stirring gently until smooth; fold in dry ingredients just until blended. Fold in melted butter. And finally fold in 1 cup of frozen fruit - being respectful of the delicacy of the berries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the remaining fruit over the top. No need to press it into the batter as the cake will rise around it while baking.

Bake until golden brown, firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean - about 55 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before turning out of the pan.