Serving a single-layer cake is the ultimate way to seem effortlessly cool. They don’t require frosting or fancy decorations to make a splash. As long as the top has something exciting going on—in this case, fresh figs, whipped cream, and crunchy rosemary sugar—you don’t need anything else. This one is made in just two bowls, and you don’t have to struggle with creaming butter and sugar together. It’s also flexible, so feel free to use whatever fruit is in season in place of fresh figs. —Jesse Szewczyk
one 9-inch cake
stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (plus more for greasing pan)
finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups
plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Combine turbinado sugar and chopped rosemary in a small bowl. Using your fingers, gently massage the rosemary into the sugar. Set aside.
Sift flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and melted butter. Add cheese mixture to flour mixture and stir until smooth. (Batter will be very thick.)
Transfer batter into prepared pan, smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with half of the prepared rosemary sugar and scatter half of the figs over top. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely.
As the cake is cooling, combine remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until cream is light and airy, about 45 seconds.
Dollop whipped cream in the center of the cake and top with remaining figs and rosemary sugar.