A cake that is all about peaches and cream

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"A rose by any other name" ... could be a peach. It's true! Turns out that the peach is a member of the rose family.

A nod to William Shakespeare, "a rose by any other word would be as sweet" from Romeo and Juliet and so true of summer's bounty of peaches. It doesn't matter what you call a peach, it will still be fragrant and sweet.

Beautiful local peaches are finally ready and available at farmers markets and produce stands. And, if they are as sweet as the sweetly perfumed red rose plucked from my garden today inspiring me as I write, we are in for a real treat!

Today's recipe is a simply delicious ricotta cheese pound cake. I chose it is because, while the cake is excellent unadorned, it is also the perfect foundation for sweet, juicy peach slices and softly whipped cream and an extraordinary dessert.

Ricotta pound cake

INGREDIENTS:


1 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and ricotta until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar on medium speed, occasionally scraping down the sides, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Increase the speed to medium-high and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each edition, again, scraping down the sides. Beat in vanilla.

On low speed, blend in the flour in three additions until just incorporated, stopping to scrape down sides. Alternatively, fold in the flour by hand with a rubber spatula. Do not over blend.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Time will vary depending on your oven; it usually takes up to an hour, but do check at about 45 minutes. Lay a piece of foil over cake if it is browning too fast. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a rack and let cool completely.

Peaches and cream pound cake

INGREDIENTS:

4 large ripe peaches, sliced

1/3 cup sugar

Ricotta pound cake

Sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Combine peaches and sugar and let macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Spoon peaches and their juices over slices of ricotta pound cake. Top with whipped cream.

Note: The addition of lime and rum will send your taste buds to the tropics with this peach daiquiri version. Zest one lime and squeeze the juice into the prepared peaches. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of your favorite rum. Stir some zest into the whipped cream and assemble dessert as above. Garnish with toasted coconut.


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