ricotta is the greatest cheese. i know that’s a pretty bold statement, considering all cheese is incredible, but i’m standing firm in that exclamation. i think it’s definitely the most versatile: used in savory pasta or pizza, sweet cakes and cannolis, or eaten with a spoon – i believe everything could use a touch of ricotta. it’s made from whey, which is the produce leftover when making other types of cheese, and it’s soft curds are slightly sweet.
i started eating ricotta years ago in my nona’s ravioli, and then she started drying and grating it for me, like a homemade ricotta salata, which i loved putting on pasta instead of percorino. when i started baking, i started using ricotta in cheesecakes (swoon) and then later pancakes (the best), and now it’s kind of like a secret weapon in my cakes. adding a cup of ricotta guarantees a deliciously moist cake (kinda like adding greek yogurt but way better).
i can’t wait to get to italy and try all of the variations of ricotta that i haven’t discovered here: ricotta affumicata (smoked ricotta!!!), ricotta al forno (baked) and ricotta forte (super crazy strong tasting like blue cheese); ricotta in sfogliatelle and spread on toast for breakfast (i mean i do that here but i’m certain it tastes better in italy), but for now i made this cake to tide me over. super moist but sturdy and laced with vanilla and cherry preserves from bonne maman. enjoy!
cherry ricotta cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups smooth ricotta
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons of cherry preserves + more for top
preheat oven to 350. mix dry ingredients together and set aside. whisk eggs, sugar and ricotta together until combined. add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. gently fold in the melted butter, then cherry preserves.
pour into greased pan and cook for 45 minutes until center is set. let cool on wire rack, then sprinkle with icing sugar and spoon additional cherry preserves on top.