So, for all of my loyal followers (yes I am talking to the 4 of you) you have probably been wondering just what I have been up to lately...I've been so distant! Well, here is the answer: Heidi's wedding! I have been baking miles of cupcakes and preparing for her lovely garden bridal shower. Photos were taken along the way and here are a couple of my favorite recipes from this weeks celebrations.
Ricotta Pound Cake
This is not too sweet and has such a great flavor you can nibble on it plain (although it would not be too shabby with strawberries and a mascarpone cream!). If you do not have ricotta handy you can substitute with a puree of cottage cheese and yogurt. The sugar sprinkled on top gives it a nice crust and sweetens the not too sweet bread perfectly.
1 stick softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 Tbls. for on top of loaf before baking)
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 rounded cup fresh ricotta
2 3/4 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Mix the butter, sugar and eggs. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta (or substitute) and mix well. Combine separately the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until sell incorporated. Dump the batter into a well greased loaf pan, spinkle with the 2 Tbls. sugar and bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. The top should be a lovely golden brown and you may want to insert a toothpick to insure that it is done in the center. If it is getting too dark on top just cover lightly with foil.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
This is a variation of a Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe I found in a magazine when I was 15 years old - honestly! I have remained quite loyal to this one, with only a few minor changes. It works quite well with all different sorts of cocoa - just make sure you use the same cocoa for both the frosting and the cake to make it flow...
Mix together in large bowl:
2 c. sugar ( I use a mix of both white and brown)
2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 rounded c. cocoa
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Add all then mix well:
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. melted butter
Mix the batter very well on high speed. Then slowly add (on low speed):
1 c. boiling water
The batter will be quite thin. Pour into 3 8" round pans for baking a layered cake (or it will make about 2+ dozen cupcakes). Bake at 350 for 19 - 22 minutes for the rounds and 9 - 11 minutes for the cupcakes. Wait for the center to round up and rise, then bake a few minutes longer.