Thursday, February 27, 2014

ricotta cake with pears

Last Saturday my son and I had a perfect day.

First to MoMA, complete with a docent lead tour that explored a Pollock, Rauschenberg and Twombly and then our own tour of my son's favorite painter, Henri Rousseau, and of course the Gauguin Puppies. Then a quick lunch of hummus at the museum's cafe, which is run by Danny Meyer, seems he's obtaining a monopoly on museum food services.

After which we walked a short six blocks past the horses and carriages at the south end of Central Park to watched some very active penguins doing their antics and some playful snow leopard cubs fall all over themselves and lie staring at the visitors with unnerving serenity, at the Central Park Zoo. Go see them if you have the time. It is the first time I've seen big cats that close up.

We ended it all with the perfect cake. Something between pound cake, sponge cake and cheese cake. I know, hard to imagine.

Just think of a subtly sweet, rich and moist cake, that maintains a light and fluffy nature while being full bodied and flavorful. It works just as well for breakfast with tea, as it does a late night binge evening dessert.

Ricotta Cake with Pears
Makes one 9-inch cake, about 10 servings
Adapted from Sweetbites Blog
  • 1½  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1 1/2  sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½  cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
  • 1½  cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • One bosc pear, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 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.
  2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, it may look curled at this point, don’t worry about it. If using the vanilla bean - split it lengthwise and scrape out seeds with blunt side of a small knife, then beat them into batter along with vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place pear slices around in a ring. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets. Bake cake for 15 minutes, and then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 85 to 95 minutes more (the original recipe said it takes 25-35 minutes but my cake was still liquid at that point. Not sure what went wrong but it ended up really great so I'm not complaining. Make sure to check occasionally so that the cake doesn't burn).
  4. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto the rack to cool completely.
  5. Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake also freezes beautifully, wrapped in plastic, and place in a large, sealable plastic bag.


  1. This looks so good and I love the addition of the pears! Never thought to add them to it (but then I have a love/hate affair with desserts that have cooked fruit in them)... glad you liked it

  2. Last Saturday was pretty perfect, wasn't it? The weather was ideal so it just made me want to get out and do things! I'm so glad to hear you had such a fun day with your son! This cake looks absolutely lovely...the pears are such a nice added touch.

  3. What a lovely day. :) This cake looks delicious...ricotta cake is a classic but I love how you added pears!