I’ve never had the opportunity to sample the delights of the Village bakery in LA, which isn’t surprising as I live on the other side of the world, but Adam Roberts of the Amateur Gourmet blog is fortunate enough to have the Village Bakery as his local cafe. He loved their berry ricotta cake so much they agreed to give him the recipe and he in turn was kind enough to share it. This is a lovely and moist cake with a very interesting crumb due to the inclusion of cornmeal. I substituted with polenta as cornmeal is hard to come by in Australia and from what I can gather they’re pretty much the same thing. I used a course ground polenta which I think is the most similar in texture to cornmeal. At first bite the mouth feel of the cornmeal/polenta takes you by surprise but in a very enjoyable way and the addition of ricotta places this cake somewhere between a cheesecake and a normal yellow cake. This is an easy cake to pull together and would be great as both a dessert with a dollop of creme fraiche or just to go alongside a cup of tea or coffee.
Ingredients Adapted from the Village Bakery via Amateur Gourmet
150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup + 1 tablespoon cornmeal – if you can’t get cornmeal substitute with course or medium ground polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup drained ricotta
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sour cream
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or sliced stone fruit – I used raspberries
Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and flour a 23cm springform cake tin. In a Kitchenaid or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla and honey and then add them to the mixer; mixing just until the eggs are well incorporated. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the mixer. Mix until just combined.
Lastly, add the ricotta and sour cream and mix until evenly distributed. Be careful not to over beat. Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake tin. Top with half the berries. Pour the remaining batter over the berries, smooth, and top with the rest of the fruit. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.