- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups fresh whole-milk ricotta (*NOTE if ricotta is too wet, take the time to drain it)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- ½ vanilla bean (I use vanilla paste and used 1 teaspoon) *if you cannot find vanilla paste, you can increase your vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon)
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (you could go this route to make it pretty, but it does not need it)
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.
- 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, it will adjust once you add the dry ingredients. 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. *You can also at this point fold the dry ingredients with a spatula into the batter.
- Pour batter into 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 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 45 minutes more. (NOTE: sometimes the cakes take up to 60 min of cooking – specially if the ricotta was very wet and not drained before adding to the batter)
- Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto the rack to cool completely.
- Dust 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.
- The cake also freezes beautifully, wrapped in plastic, and place in a large, seal-able plastic bag.
- This cake is the perfect cake to give to host as gift or win your co-workers during the crazy-holiday frenzy that is soon to be upon us. Or how about baking small ones and giving them out for holiday gift to your favorite people… which is what I’m totally going to do this year.