**NOTE THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED.**
Welcome to Day 3 of the Dolce Italiano Contest in which you can win a free, personalized, signed copy of Dolce Italiano, the newly-released, highly-acclaimed Italian dessert cookbook by Gina DePalma, Executive Pastry Chef of Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante Enoteca in New York City.
You can read more about the contest in this post of mine and also over at Shelley’s At Home in Rome, home of the event, but here’s the gist: Shelley, Sara, Ilva, Jenn, and I are going to be posting recipes from the book over the next two weeks.
In order to be entered into the drawing for the free, personalized, signed copy of Dolce Italiano, you need to comment on the recipe posts; you can comment on all 10 over the next two weeks to maximize your chances of winning.
All comments must be posted by 11:59 p.m. PST on Friday, December 7th, 2007 to be entered.
When collaborating, we had to figure out which days we would all post our recipes. I, of course, requested Wednesdays to keep the What’s Cooking Wednesday theme alive and also to enrich the WCW collection with some delicious Dolce Italiano recipes.
Now to the recipe.
I’m a cake and cookie girl, so it’s not surprising that the first dessert I’ve chosen is in one of those food groups–namely the Ricotta Pound Cake.
I love any kind of cake and I also love ricotta, so I had a pretty good idea I’d enjoy this too.
“Enjoy” doesn’t do this justice.
I *love* this cake. LOVE THIS CAKE.
The ricotta gives an extra kick to the normally tame (I didn’t say boring–did you hear boring?) pound cake as well as an awful lot of moisture. I love how the outside is nice and crunchy but inside it’s actually almost wet. This is without a doubt one of the best cakes I’ve ever made or eaten.
And as Gina wrote in the book, it *is* even better the next day–that just didn’t seem possible after I took my first bite nearly fresh out of the oven. I really have to learn to trust the experts.
Ah, and another bonus? It goes great with espresso!
Ricotta Pound Cake
(condensed from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano)
1 1/2 c cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and place rack in center.
2. Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.
3. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar until smooth and light.
5. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition.
6. If you have a vanilla bean (I didn’t), split it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the blunt side of a small knife, then beat them into the batter along with the vanilla extract. I just used another teaspoon of vanilla extract.
7. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Tap pan on counter a few times to remove air pockets.
9. Put cake in oven and let bake for 15 minutes, then turn 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325°F (160°C) and let bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, the sides of the cake have pulled away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes more.
For some reason, mine took another 35 minutes, so do keep a close eye on it. Perhaps it had to do with the water content of the ricotta I used versus what Gina uses? Experts?
10. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert it on wire rack to cool completely. Mine came right out of the pan like no other loaf I’ve made before–the browned outside is key here. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
As Gina says, flavor is best the next day, and I have to agree. Leftover cake can be stored for up to three days so long as it’s wrapped in plastic.
Ricotta Pound Cake of course! YUM!