I recently spent a glorious 10 days in Italy. It was truly life changing.
Relaxing. Rejuvenating. Inspiring.
I went to Rome for 5 days with my best friend and then went on to Perugia to meet with my Mastermind group. It was the perfect mix of work and play. I was ready to come home and see my babies, but I did not want to leave Italy. I could totally be Italian.
I came home ready to get back in the kitchen. The food that we ate in the Italian countryside was so fresh, clean, and beyond anything that I was expecting. I am excited to take some of that and bring it into my own kitchen. Simple ingredients. New flavors. Perfectly sized portions. Whole foods.
For the most part, I cook like that most days. But we ate so many fruits and vegetables and I felt amazing while I was there. Even with all of the wine drinking and gelato eating. I never felt sluggish or gross. I have been home for a week and had just enough time to do laundry before we left again to spend the holiday with my family. In less than a week I fell back into some old ways of eating and am back to feeling less than great. I am adopting some of the things that I learned in Italy and making them my own.
I get that after that last paragraph that I probably should not be starting with a pound cake recipe, but this is representative of what we would eat for dessert. Even breakfast. A sliver of cake with a generous serving of berries. A simple cake with the highest quality Italian ingredients. This cake is moist, not to sweet, and a perfect ending to your day.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (15 ounce container)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest from one orange
1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
1 (3.5-ounce) dark chocolate bar
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter, ricotta cheese, sugar, olive oil, orange zest, and vanilla bean with an electric mixer. (There will be some lumps, not to worry.)
Add dry ingredients and beat until light, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Cut the chocolate bar into small chunks.
Fold in chocolate. I like to reserve a little to add to the top. I think that it looks pretty.
Pour batter into two loaf pans, (mine came from King Arthur Flour) and sprinkle with the reserved chocolate.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. You can make this into 8 mini loaves, or one large loaf. The baking time will differ, so keep your eyes on it. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely.
This recipe is from Nadia G. I found it in the People Magazine.