We frequently get together in Castellina in Chianti, Italy, where Louisa is a family friend, gardener, and chef. She prepares everything from memory and made this last spring on a whim. She quickly reeled off a few ingredients as we pressed her for the recipe, and we hurried to jot it all down on a napkin. This cake has been tried by my husband, kids, and I approximately six times, and friends are often asking for the recipe.
NOTES FOR A TEST KITCHEN
Something this ethereal could only be made by a true Italian nonna using such a short list of ingredients. This cake is the pinnacle of a traditional Italian dessert in our opinion, and SML Office received the recipe from a family friend in Chianti (Louisa). The ricotta, eggs, and copious amounts of butter give it richness, the grated apple adds weight, and the lemon zest prevents it from tasting at least dull. It’s airy and light, but not without integrity. The cake has a light sweetness, making it suitable for both breakfast and dessert. We believe it would go well with fruit compote because rhubarb season is just around the corner.
Unsalted butter, nine tablespoons, at room temperature
3 large eggs and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
All-purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups
1 dash of salt
One cup of new ricotta
1 lemon’s zest
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 peeled and grated apple (should yield about 1 cup)
Serving sugar for confections
- Oven temperature set to 400 °F. A 9 or 10 inch springform pan should be butter and floured.
- In a standing mixer, blend the butter and sugar until frothy and light.
- Add the eggs one at a time while using the slowest speed.
- Add the salt, ricotta, lemon zest, baking soda, and flour gradually.
- Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and the sides begin to come away from the pan, after scraping the batter into the prepared pan and smoothing the top.
- For ten minutes, let the pan cool on a wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool entirely on a rack. To serve, top with confectioners’ sugar and your preferred seasonal fruit.