Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chocolate Ricotta and Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cakes


I am, by nature, a very indecisive person.  The moment that I have to choose between two or more things, I become a very unhappy person.  Sometimes, my indecisiveness is a good thing.  For instance, when I could't make up my mind about what kind of pancakes to make when my best friend requested pancakes during my recent Los Angeles visit, I made a tasting menu of four different pancakes.  That was fun, and it worked out for the best of all of us.  But, despite having positive outcomes every now and then, being as indecisive as I am really just causes me more trouble than it's worth.  Case in point: pound cake.


Between chocolate pound cake and lemon poppyseed pound cake--two of my favorite pound cake flavors--how am I supposed to decide?  So, naturally, I made both.  Naturally.



The lemon poppyseed pound cake is the same cake base as the one I use in my lemon-lavender pound cake recipe, except when I'm craving something with no fuss to the lemon, I just add poppyseed instead of lavender.  Dense yet moist, with a powerful kick of lemony goodness and the tiny little crunches of poppyseed embedded inside, all topped off with a deliciously tart and sweet lemon icing.  Mmmmm.


As for the chocolate ricotta pound cake, the ricotta cheese lends the cake an incredibly light fluffiness and slight tang that you just don't normally get in a chocolate pound cake, and I like that unexpected soft texture with the deep, dark chocolate inside.  You could opt to top this pound cake with dark chocolate ganache, but that's perhaps a little too heavy with the ricotta.  I find that a quick sprinkle of powdered sugar makes for a perfectly simple finishing touch.


This post is light on words and heavy on visuals, because I've been so tied up in writing for my day job that I find myself incredibly at a loss of words at all other times.  I'll sit down at the computer to type out posts or emails and just not have anything to say at all.  Even my twitter has been unusually quieter for the past few weeks.  Is this normal?




So, since my words are still struggling to come out, I leave you with just one simple question:  which will you choose?  Lemon poppyseed pound cake or Chocolate ricotta pound cake?


or, both?


Read on for recipe...



Chocolate Ricotta Pound Cake
makes one 6-cup fluted cake mold

4 1/2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder (or 3 Tbspn Dutch-processed + 1 1/2 Tbspn black cocoa)
4 Tbspn boiling water
3 eggs
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups AP flour (~220 grams)
2 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
13 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
1 cup ricotta (300 grams)
1 cup sugar (210 grams)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour the cake mold.  Set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water until thoroughly combined.  Let cool to room temperature.
3. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.  Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
5. In a mixer bowl, cream together on medium to medium high the butter, ricotta, and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Add the wet and dry ingredients in three stages, alternating wet and dry.  Mix until combined.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes total.  About twenty minutes into baking, cover the cake with a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.  Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and let cool, turning the cake out onto a wire rack after about ten minutes.  Let cool completely.  Top with a light dusting of powdered sugar.


Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake
makes one 6-cup fluted cake mold
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible

3 Tbspn whole milk
3 eggs
2 tspn vanilla extract
1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
1 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
13 Tbspn butter
2 Tbspn poppyseed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the cake mold.  Set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon juice.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a mixer bowl, use your fingers and mash the lemon zest into the sugar.  Add the butter and cream together on medium to medium high until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
5. Add the wet and dry ingredients in three stages to the butter, alternating wet and dry.  Mix until combined.  Finally, fold in the poppyseeds until evenly distributed through the batter. 
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes total.  About twenty minutes into baking, cover the cake with a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.  Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and let cool, turning the cake out onto a wire rack after about ten minutes.  Let cool completely.

for glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon

1. Mix together the powdered sugar and the lemon juice.
2. Add in the lemon zest. Mix until combined.
3. Pour the glaze over the pound cakes. Let dry, preferably overnight.



Enjoy!

23 comments:

  1. Beautiful and so so moist delicous, i love both of them.

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  2. Lemom poppyseed - every time! (Gorgeous photos by the way!)

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  3. Oh, it's so beautiful.
    I want to try both of them.

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  4. I'd go for both! They look irresistible!

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  5. I choose...BOTH! (the obvious choice)...Sometimes I take writing breaks to get my mojo back, and I always come back to blogging refreshed and renewed!

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  6. They both look absolutely divine, but I am a sucker for lemon poppy seed ANYTHING.

    Sorry to hear that work is leaving you a bit drained. I'm glad that you're still inspired to bake, at least!

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  7. Thanks, everyone! Lots of votes for lemon poppyseed--definitely a classic and clear winner thus far.

    @the girl behind the blog: oh, if only I could have a break from writing!

    @whisk-kid: baking still happens because i've gotta eat, even through a writing slump! ;-P

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  8. I am the same way - incredibly indecisive, especially when it comes to baking and cooking. Both of these pound cakes look delicious!

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  9. Yes - I'd say in this case, indecisiveness is a good thing. They both look amazing!

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  10. I love that there are too of them! They both look delicious. I'm the same way. I never know what to bake for dessert. For this weekend, I'm still deciding between Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Cream Cheese Fudge Cake. Thanks for posting!

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  11. I saw this on TasteSpotting & decided to try it. It was so easy! I'm so glad I found you. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Love your blog -the lay-out, the pics -amazing!

    --Kim

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  12. Love love love these. I'll have both, please! The 2 pics below the sifter one almost look like they are continuous. Intentional or not, it's awesome. I would totally try to sneak off with one if you weren't across the country 8).

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  13. I love lemon, so probably that one, but your description of the chocolate cake as light-textured intrigues me. So, probably both!

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  14. Both look fabulous! I'm also very indecisive person and my family has a problem with me - they have to eat all these baking. Fortunately neighbours may always help :) Beautiful pictures!

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  15. I think chocolate pound cake is sweeter than the lemon one...hehehe...just wanna say, any food related to chocolates is best for me..

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  16. yum I'm on a poundcake kick and I really want to try these now! yum!

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  17. I made the chocolate one recently and it's fabulous - I know exactly what you mean by it being somehow light. Hope you don't mind that I posted about it!

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  18. @Poires au Chocolat: I don't mind at all! So glad you liked this.

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  19. @Poires au Chocolat: I don't mind at all! So glad you liked this.

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  20. yum I'm on a poundcake kick and I really want to try these now! yum!

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  21. Both look fabulous! I'm also very indecisive person and my family has a problem with me - they have to eat all these baking. Fortunately neighbours may always help :) Beautiful pictures!

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  22. Love love love these. I'll have both, please! The 2 pics below the sifter one almost look like they are continuous. Intentional or not, it's awesome. I would totally try to sneak off with one if you weren't across the country 8).

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  23. I saw this on TasteSpotting & decided to try it. It was so easy! I'm so glad I found you. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Love your blog -the lay-out, the pics -amazing!

    --Kim

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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