I have a love/hate relationship with ricotta. I love it because it’s delicious and it makes for so many great savory AND sweet things. I hate it because I can never find a use for leftover ricotta before it starts to mold- and there always seems to be leftover ricotta! I just hate to see things go to waste. Especially, when you only need 1 cup ricotta and can’t find anything but those big 2 lb tubs… ugh, that’s the worst!
This is a pet peeve of mine. I’m constantly trying to figure out things to do with my leftover ricotta. More often than not I can find a savory recipe to suffice, but I love when I strike it big with a great dessert recipe for ricotta. So far I have shared with you one of my favorite holiday cookies, Italian Ricotta Cookies, as well as a wonderful Lemon Ricotta Muffin recipe. Both are sensational and complete crowd pleasers. My next great ricotta recipe find- this Ricotta Orange Pound Cake (like the Lemon Muffins, also by Giada di Laurentiis).
This wasn’t my first time having the pound cake though- My Mother-in-Law has served it to me before and I had found it delightful. It’s been in the back of my mind for awhile now to bake some up and I finally got around to it. Wouldn’t you know though, my pound cake just barely avoided kitchen disaster. Not only did I only have part-skim ricotta, but I only had an 8 by 4-inch loaf pan… which I didn’t realize was an 8 by 4-inch loaf pan because it was one of those fancy, decorative, ceramic ones. SO I aptly filled the loaf pan to the brim with batter and sat back thinking, “Hmmm, I guess this doesn’t rise much?” WRONG. It definitely rises plenty… so much so that I ended up with a completely overflowing pound cake. Luckily I sensed that problem might arise and put a sheet pan underneath it! But regardless, what I was left with was a less than attractive, but still edible pound cake.
In the end, I think it is completely possible to make this pound cake with part-skim ricotta just as long as you have the right size pan. The end results are just killer so you won’t miss the extra fat. It’s super moist with the perfect pound cake crumb. And the flavor is bright and delightful. I am truly happy with this as a stand by leftover-ricotta-recipe : ) And I am certain you will be too!
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
- 1½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto (or ½ tsp almond extract)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine; set aside.
- In bowl of electric mixer, measure out sugar and rub orange zest into sugar with fingertips. Add butter and cream together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add ricotta and continue to cream, until well incorporated and light, about 2 minutes or so.
- With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing one full minute after each. Add the vanilla and Amaretto until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a mesh sieve, dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar.
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis