Louisa is a family friend, gardener and chef from Castellina in Chianti, Italy, where we gather several times a year. She cooks everything from memory and threw this together one night last spring. When we pressed her for the recipe she hastily rattled some ingredients off and we scrambled to write it all down on a napkin. Along with my husband and children, we've tested this cake about 6 times, and friends are constantly asking for the recipe. —SML Office —Jennifer Wagner
Test Kitchen Notes
Only a true Italian nonna could produce something this ethereal with such a simple list of ingredients. SML Office got the recipe for this cake from a family friend in Chianti (Louisa), and to us it's the epitome of a classic Italian dessert. It's airy and light, but not without integrity: ricotta, eggs and plenty of butter give it richness, grated apple lends heft, and lemon zest rescues it from being at all bland. The cake is gently sweetened, and thus equally suited to breakfast and dessert. We think it would be great with something tangy and fresh, like a fruit compote -- and rhubarb season is coming up! - A&M —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 6
unsalted butter, at room temperature
plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups
Zest of 1 lemon
apple, peeled and grated (should yield about 1 cup)
Confectioners' sugar for serving
- Heat the oven to 400° F. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-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 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 confectioners' sugar over the top or serve with your favorite seasonal fruit.