Heard it From a Friend...

… who heard it from Food52 in her weekly recipe newsfeed. (Apologies to REO Speedwagon.)

I get Food52 emails, as well, but honestly am too busy cooking to read every recipe newsletter that crosses my desktop. My loyalties are with my blog friends any-and-every day.

That reminds me of a story about Mark’s mother, Dorothy, who was asked to join the local garden club. As the story goes, she declined with the tart remark, “I'm too busy gardening.” That’s me in the kitchen… but not always.

Luisa sent this recipe to me because, a) the cake almost bears her name, and b) the recipe is from Castellina in Chianti, a town we visited often during our most recent trip to Italy.

The creator of this cake is a chef by the name Louisa, though my friend Luisa jokes she spells her name wrong. Tomato, tomahto.

No matter how you spell it, this cake is fantastic. It is easy, not fussy to make, and instantly became one of our favorites.

I used fresh goat ricotta from my farmer’s market friends Alethea and Caitlin at Fiore di Capra, and a Pink Lady apple from Eunice and Larry at Larry’s Veggies. The freshest and highest quality ingredients makes for the best results, and farmers market cheeses and fruits fit the bill.

Somehow, when serving it with fresh fruit, as called for in the original recipe, I found myself eating the fruit first and then the cake. In my mind - in my mouth, to be more specific - fresh berries didn't quite go with this wonderful autumnal dessert.

One night, I skimmed a slice with some raspberry jam from Barbara at We B' Jamin. The deep rich flavor of a jam is the perfect foil for the cake. On the next iteration, rather than topping it with jam, I split and filled it. Then I dusted the top with confectioner's sugar using a chile pepper roasted given to me by my friend, Liney. What a beautiful pattern it made!

So I’ve made the cake a little more my own, in effect, making it Luisa’s Louisa’s Cake.

And this makes it a little gift for you, Luisa!

~ David

Luisa’s Louisa’s Cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 apple, peeled and grated - about 1 cup
seedless raspberry jam - about 1/2 cup
confectioners' sugar for serving

Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in a standing mixer until light and fluffy. On the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time. Slowly add the flour, salt, ricotta, lemon zest, baking powder, and grated apple.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is deep golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the pan.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan and cool completely on the rack.

Using a long, serrated knife, slice the cake in two horizontally. Because the cake is tender and will break, use a rimless cookie sheet or the bottom of a French tart pan to slide under the top of the cake to remove it. (See photo above.) Spread the jam over the bottom and then return the top. Sift confectioners' sugar over the top and serve.

Serves 12.

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