Sunday, May 31, 2015

raspberry-ricotta cake

When I've gone too long without baking something, my inner baker throws a tantrum.  Her apron is dusted with flour and her hair is splattered with egg whites, and she is a tough, exacting boss.  Every ingredient must be carefully measured, and she will screech if a pan stays in the oven a minute too long.  My inner chef, meanwhile, is more forgiving of my erstwhile resistance to use exact measurements, and doesn’t curse if I forget a saucepan on the back burner (she calls this “testing the limits of the Maillard Reaction”).  The chef has a louder voice, particularly lately, and she's very persuasive when it comes to the season’s delightful, meaty artichokes that we’ve been steaming and eating plain with just a dab of melted butter or mayonnaise.

But!  When I saw this cake, first via Orangette and then in a back issue of Bon Appétit, my inner baker clamored so loudly that I listened, and I’m so glad I did.  Actually, put more accurately: my entire apartment was glad, sitting fat and happy on this not-too-sweet, pleasantly rich cake that serves just as well for breakfast as for dessert.  (My inner nutritionist would be scandalized, so let’s keep that tidbit between ourselves, ok?)  I packed slices in my lunchbox for a sweet snack after lunch, but they didn’t make it past mid-morning.  The sweet-tart berries with the creamy ricotta are just too good.

Raspberries aren’t in season yet, you say?  Fret not.  This cake uses frozen berries, which can tolerate a bit more handling than fresh ones—but do still be gentle when folding them in.  Bon Appétit notes that you can also use blackberries, and if anybody does, please send me a slice.  My inner baker will need to conduct some very professional taste testing.

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake
Serves 8
Adapted very slightly from Bon Appétit

1 ½ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (325 grams) whole-milk ricotta
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (100 grams) frozen raspberries

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (springform if you have it, but if not, you may want to use a round of parchment paper in the bottom of your pan).

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then fold in the ricotta, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.  Gently stir the ricotta mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in the butter.

3. Fold in ¾ cup of the raspberries, taking care not to crush them.  Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing it evenly, and scatter the remaining raspberries on top.

4. Bake the cake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan, and cool completely before serving.

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