The list of recipes that I've shared on this blog includes quite a few simple cakes. I don't think I make them very often until I look at my list of recipes and realize there are cakes with applesauce, beets, zucchini and buttermilk. Not to mention a few kinds of cupcakes and muffins. I do enjoy a long and involved kitchen project but I am more likely to pull together something that doesn't require extra trips to the store or setting aside a whole afternoon. I really like to be able to pull out a mixing bowl, preheat the oven, and bake something when the impulse strikes which is why these simple cakes appear regularly in my kitchen and on this site.
Since I've been working at home more, it is nice to be able to engage in a variety of my creative outlets in one day. If I have spent the morning sitting at my desk it is nice to spend some time in the kitchen, usually full of sunlight in the afternoon, doing something more active and using my hands. I love being able to move from one way of making, perhaps with words or fabric, to another involving the scent of orange zest, a soft pillow of ricotta cheese, and a sweet aroma coming from the oven.
Orange Ricotta Cake
When I searched for a ricotta cake recipe, I couldn't find what I was looking for so I adapted this recipe. I baked it in a loaf pan but if you use a cake or other pan you will probably need to adjust to a shorter cooking time.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (I used the smaller amount which made it just sweet enough but not very sweet)
1 cup ricotta cheese
zest of two medium-large oranges
juice of one medium-large orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350'. Butter or oil a loaf pan. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, zest, juice, vanilla, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.