I periodically visit a blog called Alexandra cooks and am never disappointed when I pick a recipe from this blog. This orange ricotta pound cake (originally Giada de Laurentis’) is just my kind of dessert, simple, homey and delicious. The kind of dessert you can have for breakfast, coffee or after dinner. It would be easy enough to dress up, with an orange marmalade glaze for example. But why? It is perfect without the extra pzazz. I only made a few changes to the recipe, moslty out of sheer laziness. I made the whole cake in the food processor because I did not want to dirty my mixer. Second, I substituted lemon and almond extracts for vanilla: the cake cried out for a more citrus flavor. For the same reason, I subbed the amaretto for 2 tbs of orange juice. Next time, I might sub 1/4 cup of flour with almond meal and I may add a little lemon juice.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamnond Crystal, the other kinds are saltier)
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups plus granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract (the original recipe calls for vanilla extract)
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tbs. orange juice (the original recipe calls for amaretto)
1 orange, zested
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with butter. Pulse the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Pour it into a medium sized bowl.
2. Using the food processor, cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the extracts, zest and juice until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated. (To do this properly, you should use a mixture and cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar. But this is a homey breakfast type cake, I can’t bear to make so many dishes for this, but I bet the texture of the cake would be better if you creamed the stuff correctly).
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.