As promised, here is a recipe for all of you industrious types that went about making homemade ricotta after reading last week’s post. I made a double batch of the batter that yielded 2 loaves, and tossed one in the freezer for consuming later. It’ll be a great thing to pull out for last minute company.
You may be tempted to pass on the glaze, but don’t. The cake is plenty moist without it (thanks to the ricotta), but the glaze brings such a sharp lemon tang that its hardly to be missed. This little treasure is pretty tasty straight up with a cup of afternoon tea or coffee, but could also easily be dressed up with some fresh, seasonal berries and a dollop of whipped cream as a more elegant dessert. Oh….and it doesn’t suck for breakfast either.
Cheers – Steve
For the cake:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 2 medium lemons
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (homemade if you have it)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fiore di sicilia extract (optional)
For the lemon glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon fiore di sicilia extract (optional)
- 2 tablespoons roughly ground pistachios
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, letting it hang up and over the sides on the two ends.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Be sure to insert the tester all the way down to the bottom of the cake, as the top may be done but the bottom might still be gooey.
- Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze:
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, fiore di sicilia extract, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Spoon glaze over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Let glaze set for a few minutes before serving.