Mar 25, 2012

When Life Gives You Ricotta, Make a Lemon Ricotta Cake

My first two attempts at making yogurt with raw milk yielded something very close to ricotta cheese instead of yogurt (I've since solved the issue).  So I set my noggin to conjuring various uses for ricotta:  lasagna, gnocchi, pizza…but once the image of a cake appeared in there, I latched onto it.  So I kinda composited a recipe I thought could work.  It worked, but I wouldn't call it a great recipe.  (Next time life gives me ricotta, I'll try baking a true cheesecake with it.)  This cake inhabits a space somewhere between a cheesecake and a risen flour cake.  It's moist, heavy and dense, but doesn't have the creamy texture of a cheesecake.  More like a pound cake.  Flavorwise, I'm happy with it - lemony and not too sweet.  It doesn't look as pretty as I'd like, but it could easily be beautified by sifting powdered sugar over the top, or adding a lemon glaze, or if you're real ambitious, lemon curd.  I didn't have any powdered sugar on hand, and I didn't have the gumption to make lemon curd today.  All I had was a jar of blackberry preserves I made last summer in Oregon.  Which turned out to be a perfectly wonderful topping for this super easy lemon ricotta cake.
To see how I made the cake, follow the See More link below.

1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter, sugar and ricotta.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually blend dry ingredients into wet.  

Pour into a 8 or 9 inch cake pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to rack and let cool completely.

*I didn't do this, but I think you should add a lemon glaze to the top or at least sift a little powdered sugar over the cake.  Much prettier.
I tried making yogurt without heating the raw milk to 180 (I read it could be done!), but what I got was something I'd call ricotta.  

Zest and juice one large lemon.  I got 1/4 cup of juice outta this one. 

Cream together a softened stick of butter, one and a half cups of ricotta, and a cup of sugar.

The ricotta was so cold that the softened butter didn't cream too well.  

Add three eggs, one at a time and blend into batter.

Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla.

Whisk together one and a half cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and half a teaspoon of salt.

 Add the dry ingredients to wet gradually, and blend in.
My favorite part.

It wouldn't have been lumpy if I'd creamed the sugar and butter together first, then added the ricotta.  note to self.

I baked it at 350 for 50 minutes.

There's a reason "lemon" cakes never have any actual lemon juice in them - the acid reacts strongly with the rising agent (in this case, baking powder) and causes bubbles to form.  I don't care.  When I want a lemon cake, it's going to have lemon juice in it!

I didn't have any powdered sugar on hand to make a glaze or sift over the cake, but I had some blackberry preserves from Oregon.  

Not a perfect recipe, but I'd make it again.  Or fiddle with it a bit.  

1 comment:

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