The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help on Pound Cake

agordo's picture

Help on Pound Cake

A non-bread question.  I don't bake cakes, but while in Italy recently we stayed for a few days on a farm and made simple breads and baked an incredible ricotta pound cake.   The best I've ever eaten.  Maybe the best cake I've ever had. The shepard's wife had her husband walk up from the sheep barn and deliver a bowl of fresh cheese he had just made.  We never got the complete recipe from her.  I wrote down the following ingredients, but not the quantities:

  • Farina 00
  • Durum
  • Ricotta-frish
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • A little chocolate

We mixed it by hand and baked it for what seemed like an hour to an hour and a half.  It rose to about 3 inches in what I recall was a deep 9x12 pan.  It was rich, witht not too dense a crumb.  I suppose I could bake it like a traditional English pound cake, reduce the amount butter and substitue the same weight of ricotta. Can anyone suggest quantities or a recipe?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

First, did you see it get put together?  Any particular order or resting periods?  Separation of eggs?  Did you eat it hot or cold?  Was chocolate mixed in or on top?  Served as the meal or as a dessert?  Sugar?  How would you compare it to a souffle?

I suspect...

Separate two eggs then beat well yolks, 1/2 kg fresh unsalted cheese curds, 125g cream, 50g each duram and flour whisked with a half teaspoon of sifted soda.  Fold in stiff egg whites beaten with a pinch of salt and pour into a well buttered sprinkled with crumbs pan and bake in a medium hot oven.  Drizzle with butter and grated semi-sweet chocolate. 

How close does that come?


breadsong's picture

Hello, I recall an article in Fine Cooking magazine covering pound cakes that include dairy (apart from butter) in the recipe. You might be able to use these recipes as a framework, for which you can substitute durum, ricotta, etc.

One of the recipes is available on their website:

There is another recipe using cream cheese, in comparison to the one above, that substitutes 3 ounces of cream cheese for the buttermilk, increases the eggs from 2 to 4, increases the sugar by 1/2 cup, adds 1 tsp vanilla extract, and reduces baking poweder to 1/2 tsp from 1 tsp. (It also adds 1 cup of blueberries to make it a fruity pound cake).

I hope you have fun experimenting and are able to recreate your "taste memory" from your trip to Italy.

Regards, breadsong


rolls's picture

i hope you'll share once you do figure it out

stefano_arturi's picture

hi there

this is Gina de Palma's ricotta pound cake. (from her book Dolce Italiano) I have not tried it but she is reliable

makes one 9 inch cake/10 servings

1.5 cups cake flour; 2.5 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp kosher salt; 6 oz unsalted butter, softened; 1.5 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta; 1.5 cups granulated sugar; 3 large eggs; 1/2 vanilla bean; 1 tsp pure vanilla extrct; confectioner's sugar for dusting


preheat oven to 350. rack in the center. grease and flour the tin (a 9-inch loaf pan)

sift flour, baking powder and salt.

cream butter + ricotta + sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla seeds and the vanilla extract

add the dry ingredients and mix

pour batter into tin. tap the tin on to remove air pockets. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degree. Lover the oven to 325 and continue baking till the cake springs back a little when touched, the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the pan add the a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes more.

allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. gently invert it

dust with sugar

it is best the next day


ciaoi from milano



hanseata's picture

You can substitute Italian Tipo 00 flour with white pastry flour. I did a lot of testing, and the results were pretty much identical. I wouldn't use cake flour, because its nearly always bleached.

I'm wondering about the baking soda - it is not a common ingredient in European pastry, usually it's baking powder.

I'm pretty sure that Italians would not put 1 whole teaspoon of salt in a cake. Before I came to the US I never heard of any pastry recipe that had more than a pinch of salt in it - if any at all.


stefano_arturi's picture

I guess u r right. here in Italy we generally use OO flour for pastries

as for the baking soda:it used to be popular (as it was ammoniac) in baking, now most people use  baking powder.

...You are right Karin, as an Italian cook I would never measure 1 teaspoon salt to put into my cakes, but I would alwasy put a pinch of it.