Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ricotta Cake

This is a lot like a normal pound cake but with a delicious secret ingredient - ricotta! The ricotta flavor is definitely noticeable but it's hard to guess what you're tasting. I made this loaf to bring to a morning meeting at work, and it was all gone by the end of the meeting. I love pound cake, and this is a surprisingly great variation.

Ricotta Cake
Slightly adapted from Sweet Bites

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 1/2  sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
  cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 vanilla bean
  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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, add flours, 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, it may look curled at this point, don’t worry about it. If using the vanilla bean - split it 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 25 minutes, and 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.

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