Chocolate Dutch Baby

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
6 tablespoons (50 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, any variety, sifted if lumpy
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk (I use whole)
4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter
Shaved dark chocolate and powdered sugar (to finish)
Fresh berries and syrup (to serve, if desired)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Whisk eggs, sugar and salt in the bottom of a medium bowl. Add flour and cocoa, whisking until mostly smooth (some tiny lumps are okay, but whisk out what you can). Drizzle in milk, whisking the whole time.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove over high heat. Add butter and melt, tipping the pan around so it butters the sides too. Turn heat off and scrape batter into pan. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until pancake is billowy.

Remove from oven and grate chocolate over, to taste. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Cut in halves or quarters and eat with berries and syrup, if desired.

Classic Plum Torte (and 5 Variations)

3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 eggs
24 halves pitted purple plums
Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter.

Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.

Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream.

To freeze, double-wrap the torte in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal. To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.

Variations:

1. Replace the plums with almost any seasonal fruit: apricots, halved and pitted; cranberries or any summer berry; sliced apples, nectarines, peaches and pears. Canned and frozen fruit can stand in for fresh. Reader comments:
–Made this for the first time using 4 cups of blueberries and raspberries (mixed). It was perfect!

–I’ve been using a version of this for years as a cranberry holiday bread.

–I have made this with about a quart of drained canned fruit of any type, as well as frozen. I can plums, peaches and pears in season, and if a jar fails to seal, you can bake this cake with it rather than reprocess the jar.

2. Experiment with spices, herbs and extracts: vanilla extract, almond extract, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, rosemary, orange or lemon zest. Reader comments:

–I add about a half teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract to the batter. This cake is so easy and good. I even memorized the recipe — except my memorization was imperfect and I baked the cake with the fruit on the bottom by accident. It still was delicious!

–I added a teaspoon of finely minced fresh rosemary to the batter… nice, subtle flavor.

3. Play with the flours. You can add almond or cornmeal flour to the all-purpose flour, or swap in gluten-free flour blends, with excellent results. (Melissa Clark made a version with whole wheat flour.) Reader comments:

Made this with gluten-free flour and it turned out Perfectly! Everyone loved it.

I substituted 1/2 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup brown rice flour for 1 cup of wheat flour. I also added parchment paper over the greased bottom of the spring pan. It was delicious served warm.

Made this last night after tasting the one made by our daughter. Used raspberries and blackberries, one basket each, instead of plums, and 1/3 cup cornmeal and 2/3 cup flour. Fantastic!!! The cornmeal adds a very sophisticated “Italian” character to it, very slight crunch, and amazing flavor.

4. Double, triple, even quadruple it. The batter scales up like a dream, and the baked cake freezes well. Reader comments:

This is one of my favorite recipes and has been for many years. In addition to plums, I’ve used blueberries, peaches, apples and various combinations of more than one fruit. It also freezes great. I line the baking dish with aluminum foil and once baked and cooled slightly, turn the baking dish upside down on a plate, peel off the foil, then turn it right-side up on another plate.

Double the recipe and it fits nicely in 13-by-9-inch disposable aluminum pans.

5. Change up the pan. The torte can be baked in any dish provided it’s approximately 8 to 10 inches in diameter and oven-safe.

Make it in any Pyrex, casserole, anything.

Used my pie plate because my springform pan was nowhere to be found.

A 9-inch pan gives greater height and moisture to the tart than a 10-inch pan.

One-bowl Coffee Cake (Any Flavor)

Makes one 8-inch cake

1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted and warm
1/3 cup heavy cream, lukewarm

Optional flavorings (see note)

Line the bottom of an 8-inch round pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.

Preheat the oven to 375° F with a rack in the lower third. Whisk the flour and baking powder together thoroughly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla on high speed until it is thick and pale, 3 to 4 minutes.

Beat in the melted butter, then add the flour mixture and fold and stir until blended.

Stir in the cream and any add-ins.

Scrape into the pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Set the pan on a rack to cool. After at least 10 minutes (but you can wait as long as you like), slide a slim knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to detach it from the pan.

Invert the cake onto the rack and peel off the paper liner. Turn the cake right side up to cool completely on the rack before using or storing.

Cake keeps at room temperature, wrapped airtight, for about 3 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Notes: Some guidelines for adding flavors:
Seeds: 1 teaspoon or less of aromatic seeds such as caraway, fennel or anise, or as much as 3 to 4 tablespoons poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds.

Citrus: Grate the zest of a medium orange or large lemon directly into the bowl to catch the spray of fragrant oil as well as zest; you can add 1 teaspoon orange flower water with the orange zest, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract with the lemon zest.

Cardamom: Crushed seeds from 3 or 4 pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

French Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you’d prefer, omit the almonds and use another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
1/2 cup lemon marmalade, strained, for glazing the top (optional)
1 teaspoon water, for glazing the top (optional)

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan, place the pan on a lined baking sheet and set aside. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, if you’re using them, baking powder and salt and keep near by as well.

Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and, working with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very well blended. Still whisking, stir in the dry ingredients, then switch to a large rubber spatula and fold in the oil. You’ll have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes for the round cake or 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan; it will be golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.
To make the glaze: Put the marmalade in a small pot or a microwave-safe bowl, stir in the teaspoon of water and heat (on the range or in the microwave oven) until the jelly is hot and liquefied. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the cake with the glaze.

Storing: Wrapped well, you can keep the cake at room temperature for at least 4 days and, like many pound cakes, it will be better one day later than it was the day it was made. If you do not glaze the cake, you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months; glazed it’s best not to freeze the cake.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

CAKE:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE TOPPING:
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with sour cream and vanilla.

Pour into a well-buttered baking pan (8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9 inch with at least 2 inch sides). Combine sugar, cinnamon, flour, nuts, melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool, cut into pieces and serve.

Apple Cake with Pecans

1 cup/125 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces/57 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
2 cups diced apples (from about 2 apples)
1/2 cup/57 grams toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the egg and mix until smooth.

With the mixer on low, beat in dry ingredients until smooth (at this point the batter will be quite thick). Fold in the apples and nuts by hand.

Spread batter evenly into a greased and floured 9-inch fluted tart or quiche pan with 1-inch sides. (Alternatively you can use a 9-inch cake pan with 1-inch sides.) Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Clafoutis

1 1/4 pounds (570g) sweet cherries
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (100g) plus 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
1 1/3 cup (330ml) whole or lowfat milk
Softened butter, for preparing the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Smear a 2-quart (2l) shallow baking dish liberally with butter.

Stem and pit the cherries. Lay them in a single layer in the baking dish.

In a standard blender, or using an immersion blender and a bowl, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar, and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the fruit and batter with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake the clafoutis until the custard is just set; a knife poked in the center should emerge relatively clean. It’ll take about 45 minutes.

Serving: The clafoutis can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s traditionally not served with any accompaniment.

Note:
You could use a non-juicy fruit, such as apricots or bushberries, such as raspberries or blackberries, for this clafoutis. Other fruits, like nectarines, peaches, sour cherries, and plums may exude too much juice when baking. But it’s meant to be a rustic, casual dessert, so feel free to personalize it.

One-Bowl Olive Oil Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Heat the oven to 350° F. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes.)

In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.

One-Bowl Ricotta Cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 apple, peeled and grated (should yield about 1 cup)
Confectioners’ sugar for serving

Heat the oven to 400. Butter and flour a 9 or 10-inch spring form 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 apple.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is 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. Sift powder sugar over top or serve with your favorite seasonal fruit.

One-Bowl Almond Cake

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sprinkling
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil or butter a 10-inch pie plate. If you’ll be giving the cake as a gift, use a greased disposable pie tin.

Combine the butter, crème fraîche, and 1 1/2 cups sugar and mix until well-combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well-incorporated.

Add the flour, salt, and almond extract. Mix well, then pour into the prepared skillet.

Shower the cake with almonds and remaining sugar.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Let the cake cool for 1 hour before serving

One-Bowl Orange Cake

For cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch baking pan.

Beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl until creamy. Use an electric mixer if you have one.

Add eggs one at a time, then the sour cream and orange juice followed by the dry ingredients mixing until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream

Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer if you’re lucky enough to have one, if you’re not, have courage, the job can still be done.

Add the sugar, the orange juice, and vanilla, then the sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread on cake. About 10 minutes.

Torta di Noci (Calabrian Walnut Cake)

3/4 pound (340 grams or about 3 cups) shelled walnuts
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (225 grams) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Pulverize the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse meal, the texture of sand.

Prepare a round 9-inch cake pan by greasing and lining it with parchment paper.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and walnut meal and stir to combine. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. Fold the whites bit by bit into the walnut mixture until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake at 375º F (190º C) for about 50 minutes, or until the top is firm and browned nicely. Let cool completely in the pan before removing. This cake is even better the day after it is made or after it has had some time to settle — wrap in plastic wrap tightly and let chill in fridge until 1 hour before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or fill or cover the cake with a lemon buttercream.

Summer Peach Cake

3 ripe peaches
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Turbinado Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Cut the peaches into bite sized pieces. Toss the peaches with nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and remaining sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the egg, buttermilk and extracts, and stir to combine.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix until smooth (some lumps may remain).

Pour into the prepared pan. Press the peaches into the top of the cake. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Hot Milk Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
Berries, for serving (optional)
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350° F and grease and flour a tube (angel food cake) pan or two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

Combine the flour and baking powder and then sift together into another medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla for a few minutes, until light and frothy.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir together gently by hand with a spatula, just until combined. Do not overmix.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Slowly pour that mixture into the rest of the batter while mixing lightly. Mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown color and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you’re using two smaller cake pans, your baking time will be between 25 to 35 minutes.)

Let the cake cool and then flip it out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and berries, if you so choose. You could also use this cake in a layer cake or pour a glaze over it. Store at room temperature.

Zucchini Bread with Dates and Hazelnuts

450 grams all-purpose or spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut (or other) sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil
3 large eggs
1 cup dates, pitted
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, plus more for garnish
125 milliliters crème fraîche
Juice and zest of 1 lemon, divided

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).

In a big bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.

In yet another bowl, use a wooden spoon mash the pitted dates into a paste.

Combine the date paste with the egg mixture and mix until smooth.

Add the grated zucchini and vanilla paste. Fold in the flour mixture and the hazelnuts and mix until just combined.

Grease a large loaf pan and pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread cool completely. Meanwhile, whip up the crème fraîche with about 1 tablespoon lemon juice until you reach the consistency of whipped cream.

When the courgette bread has cooled down, turn it out of the pan and cut thick slices. Serve with a dollop of lemon-y crème fraîche, some lemon zest, and some crushed hazelnuts.

Basic Swedish Coffee Cake with Berries

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
About 1 cup fresh blackberries or other berries

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch (23-centimeter) round baking pan.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and almond extract until frothy. Pour in the slightly cooled butter and stir until well blended. Sift in the flour and mix until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter into the baking pan. Scatter the blackberries evenly over the top. You don’t need to press the berries into the cake; their weight makes them sink a bit during baking.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. The cake is done when a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake and let cool before serving.

Basic Berry Scones

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries or strawberries. If using strawberries, slice them into small pieces.
Egg wash made by beating an egg with a tablespoon of water

Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pea size pieces form. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg yolk. Slowly pour buttermilk mixture through feed tube into processor, pulsing until dough just comes together.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle fruit on top. Knead three times to fold in fruit (there may be loose pieces of dough and a stray berry or two). Gather and pat dough into a 1-inch-thick square and cut or pull apart into 2-inch pieces. Place pieces, about 2 inches apart, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle tops with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let scones cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Store in an air-tight container, up to 1 day.)

Pistachio Cake

8ounces (2 sticks) butter, slightly softened
1cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3eggs
1 cup finely ground pistachios
1 cup almond meal
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon rose water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoons cardamom, depending on your preference
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Butter an 8- or 9-inch round baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the ground pistachios and almond meal and mix to combine. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and rose water and mix well.

Whisk the flour and cardamom together in a small bowl. Then use a rubber spatula to gently fold this dry mixture into the wet butter and egg mixture. Be careful not to overmix.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake pan, spread it out evenly, then bake for 40 minutes. Tent the top of the cake with aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the sides are starting to brown, a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and the cake is no longer wet-looking or sticky. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Pour this over the cooled cake, then wait for at least 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing and serving.

Ricotta and Olive Oil Cakes with Plums

Butter for pan
1 cup fresh, full-fat ricotta
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
9-10 small plums, halved, pitted, and set aside
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350° F, and butter and flour a 9-inch springform.

In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the ricotta, oil, sugar, and zest together. Add one egg, whisk well; add the next, whisk again.

Sift all of the dry ingredients — save for the confectioner’s sugar — directly over the wet ingredients you just whisked together. Mix with a spoon gently until just combined. (Use more of a folding motion toward the end — this will help keep the gluten from developing in your batter, which will keep your cake from toughening or becoming too dense.)

Pour the batter into the cake pan, spreading it out evenly as needed. If your plums are very tart, toss them with a tablespoon of sugar or honey, and place them in the top of the cake, cut-side down. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the edges are pulling away from the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick comes out of the cake cleanly. Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling on a rack.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. This cake wouldn’t be opposed to whipped cream or whipped mascarpone, either.

Walnut Cake

8 ounces ground walnuts
9 ounces fine sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
8 walnut halves, for decoration
Icing sugar for decoration
Sweetened whipping cream for serving

Butter and flour a 9-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the sugar with the yolks until very fluffy and light in color, about 8 to 10 minutes.

With a spatula, mix in the ground walnuts.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. In three parts, delicately fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Pour the cake mixture into the pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just slightly humid but with no crumbs or cake mixture. Do not overbake!

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out on a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to a serving plate, dust with a cloud of icing sugar, and decorate with the walnut halves. Serve with slightly cold whipped cream.