I love this cake. Since I found it, I have prepared it three times. The first time was in January, when I made it for a dinner with a man I was seeing. I spent the entire weekend cooking this and an abundance of other dishes, but all of this preparation wasn’t really to try to impress him. Rather, I was trying to work something out of my system and cooking and baking for two days was the only way I could think to do it. The cake was more of therapy than anything else. I even made the ricotta that went into the cake – and the cheese to make the whey that I needed for the ricotta. I served it with an orange blossom ricotta ice cream (that I also made) and a pumpkin seed brittle (yep, I made that too – I was really working on something). Anyway, the cake was good – it was easy and tasty and adaptable and it became the one item that I made in the mania of that weekend that I would make again with some regularity.
The second time was for my friends, as I told you in my story, Cake & Friendship in Three Parts. I won’t retell the backstory here, but it was lovely to celebrate with those two over a bit of freshly baked cake and lot of laughs and a few happy tears.
The third time was here, in my kitchen in Bra. I was joined by a new friend I made here who had an itch to bake as well. I changed the recipe this time, to suit this new place I am in. I substituted a bit of hazelnut flour for the regular (or Tipo ’00’) flour, folded a bunch of mini dark chocolate chips into the batter and topped the cake with thin slivers of pear and a bit of local honey. I also used a very nice buffalo milk ricotta from a local cheesemaker. This time was my favorite. Something about the hazelnut flour, pears, honey and chocolate made it particularly irresistible. I hope you try this easy cake out a few times and adapt it your own way as well – at least three times.
The Cake of Three (Dolce del Tre) Part 3
- The original recipe for this cake is by Emiko Davies, an Australian expat blogger living in Florence. The original recipe can be found here: The Cake of Three. I’m only including my modified recipe here.
- This cake is easy and it keeps a long time well wrapped at room temperature. However, I did freeze some already cut in slices for later.
- Again, this cake is crazy adaptable – you can add zests, flavorings, fillings, glazes – honestly the list is endless. You can even add pumpkin or cocoa (or, wait for it, both).
- Use a creamy full-fat ricotta here – it makes a big difference.
300 grams (or 10 1/2 oz) best quality fresh ricotta (you don’t have to make it, unless you like that kind of thing)
300 grams (1 1/3 cups) sugar
3 large eggs
200 grams (1 2/3 cups, minus 1 T.) all-purpose flour or Tipo 00 flour
100 grams (2/3 cup, plus 2 T.) hazelnut flour
11/2 tsp. baking powder
100 (2/3 cup) grams mini dark chocolate chips
1 small pear, cored and sliced thinly
1-2 T. good quality honey
Demerara Sugar for sprinkling, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F, 175 with a rack in the middle. Line and butter a loaf pan.
- Combine dry ingredients (flours and baking powder) in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Mix together ricotta and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and mix again.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Add batter to prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Arrange pears on top in a pretty pattern. Brush or drizzle top with honey and sprinkle on a bit of the demerara sugar, if using.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden and cracked on top and a cake tester in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool for 20 minutes in pan, then remove and let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 8-10 servings. Great with ice cream, just saying.