This isn't a big cake household. Rob and I didn't have a wedding cake because in the hierarchy of desserts, cake falls pretty low down both of our lists. Give me a scoop of ice cream, a piece of dark chocolate, or fruit with whipped cream any day over cake.
But these days, I am all about simplicity. This is my first week back at work and making dessert isn't really in the cards. That said, my sweet tooth, which was utterly absent when I was pregnant, is back with a vengeance. If the evenings were not dedicated to spending time with Blythe, I'd be making elaborate desserts, much to Rob's (and my waistline's) dismay. Instead of making Profiteroles, I'm making cake - and one that can be made in two bowls, without a mixer, and in 15 minutes at that.
The Raspberry-Ricotta Cake in the March 2015 Bon Appétit caught my eye. You can make homemade ricotta (or not) and use fresh raspberries (or frozen). The end result will be an extremely moist cake that tastes great on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream. I think any fruit would work well with this basic recipe and I'm already planning to make this again with peaches in the summer. The best part about this might be that this cake masquerades well as a breakfast food the following morning!
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I made mine, which is easy and SO delicious; plus you will have leftover ricotta to add into pasta)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries, divided (I think other berries would work well, as would peaches or plums. If you try another kind of fruit, please let me know.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray (it turns out I don't have round cake pans anymore, which is odd - I used a square pan and cut the cake into squares). Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by 1 ¼ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
I regularly have ambitious plans to make an elaborate dessert for a dinner party, and often it just does not happen. Life gets in the way, the guests are arriving in one hour, and I haven't showered, set the table, etc. Any of this sound familiar?
For the last few years, this Flourless Chocolate Cake has been my go-to dessert. I always have the ingredients on hand and it takes no more than 15 minutes to get this into the oven. While it bakes, you can clean up, do any last minute prep work, and pour yourself a drink. About 35 minutes later, your home will smell like chocolate and your dessert is ready! This is a rich, intense cake and it is best-served with something - I like whipped cream and a few raspberries or sliced strawberries.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted very slightly from Alexandra Cooks
Yield = 1 9-inch cake (I find this serves 8 generous slices or 12 slightly smaller slices)
Notes - This cake is meant to be moist inside so be sure not to overcook it. As soon as it feels only slightly wobbly but mostly firm, remove it from the oven. Give the cake time to cool before you dust it with powdered sugar, too, or it will soak right into the cake. This cake calls for almond flour, so it's not for those who need to be nut-free, but it is gluten free!
8 oz semisweet chocolate
8 tablespoons margarine or butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs, separated
2 large eggs, whole
1/3 cup plus ½ cup sugar
½ cup almond flour
Fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries (if you'd like)
Whipped cream (you could also serve it with ice cream, but I prefer whipped cream)
Powdered sugar (If you serve this for Passover, see Alexandra Cooks for a different option for dusting the cake)
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place chocolate and margarine or butter in bowl and microwave on high for one minute (or until melted), stirring once after 30 seconds. If you don't have a microwave, you can use the oven or a double-boiler (if you use the oven, watch it carefully!).
2. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. Line bottom with round of parchment paper, then spray the parchment as well.
3. Whisk chocolate mixture until smooth, then add salt and almond extract and stir until blended.
4. Crack 4 of the eggs, separating the whites from the yolks. Whisk the four yolks and two additional whole eggs (whites and yolks) with the 1/3 cup of sugar just until blended. Add yolk mixture to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in almond flour.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixture, whip the four egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the ½ cup sugar and beat until egg whites become shiny and hold their peaks, but are not too stiff.
6. Stir one third of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten. Then, in two additions, gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour batter into pan and place in oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Cake will rise and have cracks running across it. It should feel only slightly wobbly when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing sides and transferring to cooling rack.
7. Use a fine mesh colander or sifter to dust the cake with powdered sugar. Serve the cake with whipped cream and fresh berries if you have them. I'm sure it will also pair well with ice cream.