The holidays were full of such wonderful desserts. From cookies to cakes and pies, I don't think I went through the month of December without tasting something homemade...and most days it was for breakfast.
In my Pumpkin Crunch Cake post, which we made for Thanksgiving, I mentioned a chef named Dennis Littley. He is such an inspiration, not only as a chef but as a social media expert in Google+. He has a blog called A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis which has amazing recipes as well as stories about food. Around Thanksgiving, he had posted a recipe for Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cake. It looked mouth-watering and the recipe seemed pretty easy.
The first time I made the cake was for our annual Christmas gathering. I love trying new recipes because I have 20+ people to use as taste testers. From the first slice to the last, people enjoyed the delicious flavor of this ricotta cake. It was crunchy, yet had a smooth sweet texture. I added Grand Marnier and orange rind to my cake which complemented the chocolate and ricotta. For me, this cake was a great success.
On to Christmas...
Since the Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cake was such a success, I decided to make it for our Christmas Eve dessert. With the craziness of the day, I didn't have any mascarpone cheese and had taken out a package of cream cheese, knowing I could substitute the two. Jeff made a last minute run to the market and picked up the mascarpone cheese I needed. I mixed together the ingredients and got the cake into the oven before the guests arrived. I was so excited to have people try the ricotta cake again. Then, it dawned on me...it's a ricotta cake and I didn't put any ricotta in it. I grabbed the cream cheese and mascarpone and completely forgot about the ricotta. Hmmm...I think I have a cheese cake. There was nothing I could do, so I finished the cake and we served it for dessert. The center was a bit heavy (probably an understatement) and 1/2 the cake sat on the plate until I threw it out about a week later. OK, I need to put that recipe to rest for a while.
On to my After Christmas Holiday Party...
This year, we were going to Tammi's house for our office party. Tammi is not only my co-worker but my social media partner in crime. She writes a great dog blog called Gracies Bark. I volunteered to make the Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cake and I was dreading it. We were picking up the ingredients when I came across coffee-flavored mascarpone cheese. My eyes lit up! This would be perfect for the cake. I couldn't wait to get home to try this out...coffee, ricotta, chocolate and orange...that sounded pretty good. Paying attention this time, I got the ricotta and coffee-flavored mascarpone into the cake.
The first cut went to my boss's husband, Mike, who really enjoyed the cake. We proceeded to cut the cake into large and small pieces and had people guessing what was in it. They loved the orange flavor as well as the subtle chocolate tone. Everyone agreed, it melted in your mouth. It was nice leaving the last piece with Tammi, so no leftovers...SUCCESS!
This Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cake is back on my favorite's list and for good reason...if I can arrive or make a dessert and end up with an empty plate at the end of the evening, it's worth blogging about.
Ingredients for Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cake
2-1/3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of milk
1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier or orange flavored liquor
8 oz of very cold butter sliced thinly
8 ounces of ricotta
8 ounces of mascarpone (We used coffee flavored mascarpone)
1 large egg
3/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of freshly grated orange rind
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a food processor, place all of the cake ingredients into the bowl (except for the butter) and pulse for 30 seconds.
2. Cut the butter into thin slices and add it to the mixture. Using short, quick pulses, mix until chunky (about 8-10 quick pulses). The mixture will be blended but chunky.
3. Press half of the mixture gently into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan that has been greased with butter and dusted with flour. Do note mash down the mixture.
4. Mix the ricotta, mascarpone, egg, sugar and orange rind together using a fork.
5. Add the mini chocolate chips and stir to blend.
6. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the crust.
7. Crumble the remainder of the crust over the filling, covering the filling completely *
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes at 350°
9. Remove from oven when the top is golden and slightly firm.
10. Cool on wire rack and serve at room temperature.
Slice and share...no fighting!
Written by Tricia White