I’m fascinated with baking cakes because my mum was brilliant at making them when we were younger and still is today although I don’t get to enjoy them like I once did. I especially fancy a pound cake to see what flavours I can incorporate to create something new, fresh and different. In England we call the pound cake a Madeira cake although now that I know the butter pound cake in Canada is pretty much the same, I’m hooked. My wife looked at me gone out when I told her I fancied the Madeira cake so when I made it for her and she tasted it then laughed, “you mean a pound cake” to which I replied “ya, a pound cake, I guess so”. I kinda felt like an arse but I guess we give fancier names to cakes, what can I say.
When I make a pound cake I prefer to use either the loaf, tube or bundt pans for best results. My speciality is the cherry pound cake followed by the lemon pound cake both of which are dripping with love. I had this idea back a couple of years ago around the Christmas Holiday to poke holes in my pound cake and soak it with an alcoholic simple syrup. I did that with my cherry pound cake soaking it with an amaretto cherry simple syrup reduction and it was simply amazing. I thought heck I’m going to try that with lemon so I made a lemon pound cake and soaked it with a lemon rum syrup reduction and I’ll tell you there’s nothing better. The cake is so moist once the simple syrup has absorbed, especially if you let it sit for a couple of hours. Back a couple of months ago I received some tangerines fresh from the tree here in Ontario and decided to make a pound cake and soak it with a tangerine coconut rum simple syrup reduction that burst in your mouth. The possibilities are endless and I’m sure that this is only the beginning of my alcoholic cake soaking experience.
Today I have for you an orange ricotta pound cake topped with yogurt amaretto whipped cream, soaked in an orange simple syrup reduction and served with blueberries and orange slices. We bought a load of oranges on sale at the grocery story this past week and we needed to start using them up. We also found tubs of ricotta on 50% off which is a spectacular price normally costing about $4.79 for 475 grams. I was going to make a ricotta dessert cheesecake but wasn’t in the mood for that but wondered if I could make a ricotta cake to give it a creamy texture. I made some alterations to my cake recipe even though I have made a cream cheese pound cake in the past and hoped for the best. Sometimes with baking you have to be careful with measurements as they are so precise sometimes.
The cake turned out amazing, fluffy, soft, buttery, perfect! Then I had this naughty idea to make whipped cream to lay underneath the cake when I served it but that was too boring for me. I started whipping my cream, added in a touch of sugar, vanilla, amaretto alcohol, and then it hit me, what about yogurt. I had a full tub of plain yogurt in the refrigerator. I slowly added in yogurt and it fluffed up beautifully and tastes simply divine. You get the flavours of the vanilla and amaretto but with a tangy fresh yogurt splash in your mouth. It goes perfect with this easy pound cake recipe and I threw in some fresh blueberries for colour and taste.
What is a Pound Cake?
Traditionally an old-fashioned pound cake is made of 4 ingredients all measuring a pound such as butter, flour, sugar and eggs. Sound simple and really an easy pound cake recipe considering the difficulty of many other cakes. The issue with using a pound of each ingredients will be yield as it will make far more than you may need. Of course if you plan to make a couple of cakes then this would be fine but I alter my measurements to fit one cake pan. This pound cake is simple and very tasty when you pair it with fruits, glaze, frosting, or a simple dusting of icing sugar. Almost every country has a variation of the traditional pound cake which makes it way through recipe books and generations of families. The best part about the pound cake is its versatility when it comes to flavours. This one I’m making today I add in pure vanilla extract and Amaretto alcohol to bring out a bold flavour which is perfect with an afternoon cup of tea, morning coffee or evening dessert.
Pound Cake Ingredients: Note the alcohol is not in the picture.
- 2 cups of cake and pastry flour + 1 teaspoon to coat your baking pan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 cup of softened butter (no salt) + nob of butter to grease your pan
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 4 large eggs
- Zest of 2 oranges (keep the oranges for your syrup reduction)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
- 1 tablespoons of Amaretto
- 1 teaspoon Almond Extract pure
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees
- Grease your 9×5 inch loaf pan or tube or bundt pan. I also toss about some flour to lightly dust the pan.
- Add all your dry ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside
- In your stand mixer add in the butter, sugar and ricotta and mix until blended, creamy and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer.
- Add in your eggs one at a time so they get blended well into the batter.
- Add in your amaretto, almond and vanilla extract and mix well
- Add in your dry ingredients, little by little, blend until mixed about 2 minutes
- Pour your batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 50 minutes depending on your oven. Since oven temps vary I test my cake with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean then I know it’s done.
- Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes
- Flip over onto your hand and sit on a wire rack lined with parchment paper underneath
- Get a long skewer and poke holes gently all around your pound cake, even the sides
- With a BBQ or cake brush coat the top and sides with the orange simple syrup reduction until it is soaked in
- Leave the cake to sit for around 2 hours to soak up good
- Serve with amaretto yogurt whipped cream and fresh blueberries and oranges
Orange Simple Syrup Reduction:
Need: 1 cup of Sugar and Juice of 2 freshly squeezed Oranges
- In a sauce pan add in one cup of sugar and the juice of 2 oranges, stir on medium heat until it reduces to a simple syrup which takes about 10 minutes. I did not add alcohol to the sauce as I have it in the whipped cream and in the cake.
Yogurt Amaretto Whipped Cream:
Need: 1 cup of plain yogurt, 1 cup of whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of Amaretto, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- In your mixer add the whipping cream and sugar then whip until you have soft peaks starting to form
- Add in the yogurt and amaretto and mix until whipped cream has soft peaks.
Although Valentine’s Day is around the corner on February 14, I made a separate Valentine’s Cake treat for the love of my life so we could tuck into this lovely orange ricotta pound cake after dinner. You can certainly use this batter to make mini cakes like I did for an easy, frugal Valentine’s dessert for your loved one. She told me she loves me more today than she did yesterday… awe.
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