Sometimes you just need to bake a cake for no reason at all. Take last Monday night for example. After having spent the better part of the weekend cleaning and organizing my apartment, I was sitting on my couch enjoying a healthy dinner and catching up on some very sophisticated and intellectual television programming (fine it was the Vampire Diaries) when I suddenly realized that my night was missing something, and that something was cake. Thankfully, my weekend cleaning binge also involved a full pantry restock, so I was well-prepared for a spur of the moment baking emergency.
There was also a big bunch of concord grapes in my refrigerator (or at least it was a big bunch before I started popping them like candy), and a quick flip through some cookbooks revealed the perfect solution to my dessert dilemma--Smitten Kitchen's olive oil ricotta cake with concord grape coulis. Decidedly an everyday cake, this dessert isn't frosted or fancy, but it's a very sweet way to end an ordinary day. And it pairs perfectly with
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Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
rounded 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups concord grapes
2/3 cups water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter the parchment. In a large bowl, whisk ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt directly over the wet ingredients, and mix with a spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top and sides of the cake are golden, and a knife or tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the grape sauce. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and simmer for about five minutes, until the grapes have burst and the sauce has just begun to thicken. You may want to mash the grapes a bit with a wooden spoon as they're simmering. Carefully pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.