There's something about cake and kids. Or cake and adults. Or just cake.
I ran into a friend in the grocery store and made her tell me what to serve for dinner. She suggested skillet lasagna and promised to email me the recipe once she got home. "In the mean time," she said, "buy lasagna stuff."
So I did, filling my cart with marinara, mozzarella, and 2 small tubs of ricotta cheese, only one of which I ended up using that night.
I turned the other one into this magical almond cake. I say magical because the cake tasted one way when it came out of the oven -- soft, light, and delicate. Yet when I refrigerated the leftovers and brought them out the next day, the cake had transformed itself into something entirely new. Its moisture had really sunk in, dampening the cake in a luxurious, cheesecake-like way, and the flavor of the ricotta became much more prominent. This cake turned from a dainty grandma to a voluptuous vixen overnight.
And with a little fresh pineapple on the side?
(Before leaving this space, please check out my unique mother's day tribute here. I hope you'll participate!)
Recipe for Ricotta Pound Cake with almond meal
My jumping off point for this recipe was Giada De Laurentiis' Ricotta Orange Pound Cake. I took some liberties in muting its sweetness, bypassing the orange, and playing up the almond flavor. Please note: the nut meal creates a very delicate crumb, especially when warm; don't plan to cart the cake around or it will fall apart. (Slices hold up just fine, however.) For best texture and flavor, refrigerate the cooled cake and serve it nice and cold.
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons Amaretto
Thinly sliced pineapple, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk the flour, almond meal, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, ricotta, and sugar for about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the almond extract and Amaretto and beat until incorporated. Add the whisked flour mixture and beat just until absorbed.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer pulls out clean and the cake is a rich golden brown and begins to shrink slightly from the sides of the loaf pan. Cool about 20 minutes in the pan before unmolding (with the aid of a thin knife) onto a wire rack.
Cool completely before transporting, slicing, or refrigerating. Cake is very delicate but becomes quite luxuriously rich over time. Store in the refrigerator.