Since joining Twitter I’ve met many lovely like minded food loving people around the world. One evening while working on a blog post, a conversation about food styling and photography had taken place on Twitter. As I was reading everyone’s Tweet, it was clearly obvious I was way out of my league in both areas. However I decided to tweet my thoughts about my approach which is really no approach at all. I plate and photograph (P&P). The entire process of styling and shooting is 1 minute. A Twitter friend, SeattleTallPopp aka Traca Savadago, tweeted a response to my tweet and since then we’ve talked about a range of topics. She seems to know everyone who’s anyone in the food blog/restaurant scene yet she doesn’t come across as arrogant or elitist. In fact she is very welcoming, kind, and generous in her knowledge of all things food. She has an amazing gift and ability to connect people which comes across so naturally its almost weird -in a good way.
One night while on my computer I received a direct message from Traca encouraging me to try her favorite Ricotta Pound Cake recipe. Although I haven’t known Traca very long, I respect her knowledge and appreciation for food that when she tells me I should bake this ricotta pound cake, I’m not sure why but I just know I need to do it. After all, its not for her benefit that I bake it, I know it’s clearly mine. And as most people broadcast a link in Twitter to their latest creation/recipe, Traca tweets me in private with a link to her favorite pound cake. As I opened her link the recipe wasn’t even on her personal food blog, www.seattletallpoppy.blogspot.com. The recipe was posted elsewhere where she has contributed over 1800 posts on a community food forum site. 1800!!! And while I love to tweak recipes, I felt like the honorable thing to do was to follow the recipe line by line. After all, Traca knows food and I trust this about her. And if it’s her favorite, why mess with a good thing.
In hindsight I would have loved to document the making and baking process, but when I decided to bake this cake at 11pm I was just too tired to even bother. However as you can see, the cake is stunningly simple and beautiful. And if you’re wondering how it tastes, well you will have to make it yourself to find out. But I’ll give you a hint, its one of my new favorite pounds cake too. Enjoy.
Ricotta Pound Cake
Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen
By Gina DePalma from her post here.
Makes one 9-inch cake. Approximately 10 servings
1 ½ cups cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks/6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups fresh whole-milk ricotta (I used skim & it was fantastic!)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
½ vanilla bean
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Split the vanilla bean 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. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets. Bake the cake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes more. (Traca’s note, I baked it about 25 minutes even more to get a knife to come out clean.) Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert on the rack to cool completely.
Dust the cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving it; the flavor is best on the next day. Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.