- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter, preferably at room temperature for easiest mixing
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder, optional, to enhance chocolate flavor
- ⅔ cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 cups ricotta cheese, part-skim preferred
- ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips preferred
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup or vanilla syrup, to brush on cake, optional
- 1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
- ¾ cup confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup ( or 8 tablespoons) butter, preferably at room temperature for easiest mixing
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, and cocoa to make a sandy, somewhat clumpy mixture. Don't worry; the eggs will smooth things out.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through this process.
- Add half the flour to the bowl, beating at low speed to combine.
- Add all of the milk, beating at low speed to combine.
- Add the remaining flour, beating gently just until the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top may look a tiny bit damp; that's OK. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the center will register 210°F to 215°F, while just under the top will register about 198°F to 200°F.
- Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges, wait 10 minutes, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
- Store completely cooled cake well wrapped, at room temperature, until ready to fill and frost.
- Stir together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the frosting: sift the cocoa, confectioners' sugar, and espresso powder into a bowl.
- Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove or in the microwave, and whisk into the cocoa mixture. At first the mixture will look grainy; continue whisking for a minute. You'll see the lumps disappear as the sugar dissolves and the cocoa hydrates. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place the butter, salt, and sifted confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the cocoa mixture a spoonful at a time until it's all incorporated. Scrape the bowl, then beat at medium speed for 1 minute.
- Split the cake in thirds lengthwise, to make 3 layers. Brush the cut side of each layer with simple syrup or vanilla syrup; this will help keep the cake moist.
- Place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Spread with half the ricotta filling. Top with the second layer, and spread with the remaining filling. Place the third layer on top.
- Ice the cake ( top and sides ) with the frosting.
- Serve immediately; or refrigerate, well-wrapped, until ready to serve, preferably not longer than 24 hours. Cut in crosswise slices to serve.
Note: Serves 10.
Photo Credit: kingarthurflour.com