Dense and cheesy ricotta pound cake is scented with tangerine and almond and served with a tart rhubarb compote. A lovely springtime dessert.
This article and recipe was originally published by me in the May 2014 Edition of VRAI Magazine.
I am the youngest of two kids. My sister, Kelsey, is just 3 years older than me. I think it is safe to say that I only had two main goals growing up. The first was to annoy and embarrass my older sister as much as humanly possible. The second was to be as much like her as I could. That second goal also served the purpose of the first.
She probably doesn’t know this, but I actually have her to thank for liking many of the foods that I do today. I was a fairly picky eater as a kid. But at some point I made the decision that I was going to make myself like certain foods just because she liked them. I remember one week where I ate tons of dill pickles because she loved them and I wanted to make myself like them. Like dill pickles were a “cool” food or something. And it eventually worked.
Rhubarb was another one of those “cool” foods in my mind. My sister’s favorite pie was the strawberry rhubarb pie that my grandmother made. I thought it was weird. I just wanted apple. What is this tart pink celery looking food? And why was everyone so crazy about it? But at some point I made the decision that strawberry rhubarb was my favorite too. Or at least that’s what I said. So each time my grandmother made her strawberry rhubarb pie (which was often) I had to eat it and act like I loved it. And eventually I did love it. I can honestly say that rhubarb is by far one of my favorite pie flavors now.
When spring rolls around I immediately start looking out for rhubarb in the grocery store. As soon as I see those unmistakable bright red/pink stalks I have to snatch them up immediately! Rhubarb is one of those nostalgic foods for me. It reminds me of cool spring days, the excitement of the school year coming to an end, running around outside with neighborhood friends as the days were getting longer, and sitting at my grandmother’s dining room table eating the same pie as my sister hoping I would someday love it as much as her. And I do.
- For the Pound Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heavily butter a large loaf pan (9x5x3) and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, ricotta, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes at medium speed. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix after each until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and tangerine zest and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture into the mixing bowl a little at a time. Stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Loosely cover the top with a piece of tinfoil during the last 15 minutes if the cake is getting too brown.
- Allow to cool in the loaf pan sitting on top of a cooling rack for 20 minutes before turning out to cool completely on the cooling rack. Serve with rhubarb compote (recipe below) and tangerine segments.
- For The Rhubarb Compote
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook until the rhubarb softens and the juices thicken.
- Serve over tangerine ricotta pound cake with tangerine segments.
Pound cake recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis