A sweet, buttery pound cake, made more springy and moist with ricotta cheese.
Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. (Definitely flour this; my cake fell apart when I only greased the pan.) Set aside, and preheat oven to 350F.
With a stand or electric mixer, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until lighter and relatively smooth. (Small lumps of ricotta are okay.)
Add eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until well combined.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt. (Sift them first if you have issues with lumpy flour.) Stir them in on low, then beat at medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Scrape the batter into the greased and floured pan and level out the batter. (Fill about 2/3-3/4 full; see notes below.) Whack the pan against the counter a few times to help air bubbles escape.
Bake in the center of the oven at 350F. Baking times vary between 45-75 minutes, depending on the moisture content of your ricotta. Start checking at 45 minutes; if you drained your ricotta, it may already be done. If you include the whey that leaks from your ricotta, it will take longer. Mine took 75 minutes to bake. Cover the top with aluminum foil if it browns excessively.
The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake will not jiggle. The beautiful center crack will not be wet or gooey in the middle. The top will be a beautiful golden brown.
Cool in the pan for about an hour, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Cut into slices and store in an airtight container at room temperature. The cake is great on the day it was baked, even better the next day, and still delicious (although not quite as moist) 5 days later.
This recipe was baked in a natural aluminum loaf pan, which is relatively shiny. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F for glass or dark baking pans, and check for doneness early.
My loaf pan may be slightly oversized. Do not fill the pan more than 2/3-3/4 full, or batter may overflow as it bakes. Bake extra batter in greased and floured muffin cups; begin checking at 15 minutes for doneness.
There is no substitute for the ricotta in this recipe. Part-skim ricotta may be okay, but I haven't tried it. Your baking time will vary a bit depending on the moisture content of your ricotta. Check early.
If you run out of ricotta, you may top it off with milk. (This worked in my cake.)
This recipe was adapted from Creative Culinary, who adapted it from the cookbook Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen.
Calorie count is an estimate only.