Almost everyone has a springform pan; but if you are anything like me, you bought one because you should have one. Then it just sets under your cabinet collecting dust. One main reason that I kept bypassing my springform pan is because I just didn’t have any good recipes until I discovered the Food52 cookbook club. Each month the cookbooks challenge and enlighten me. I learn a new technique, a new favorite recipe, a new food outlook with every new book. There were a couple of cookbooks that led me to unearth my springform buried under my cookie sheets and cake pans.
One of my favorite cookbooks is Simple by Diana Henry. It is literally all in the name. These recipes are simple but elegant. Do not mistake simple with run of the mill or boring. The recipes in this cookbook are not going to require a large time investment, but they will reap a great reward. I found two cake recipes in Henry’s cookbook that inspired me to break in my springform pan, the bitter flourless chocolate cake with coffee cream and the lemon & ricotta cake.
I made the bitter flourless chocolate cake first. If you are looking for an elegant, rich, and indulgent chocolate cake, this is the one for you. Henry provides several different ways to dress up the finished product, but anyway you slice it is dreamy. Now call me crazy, but chocolate is not my favorite. This cake is for a chocolate lover especially dark chocolate but even as a n0n-chocolate lover I highly recommend. I fell in love with another…..
The Lemon & Ricotta cake blew me away. At first, I breezed over this recipe thinking I don’t know about ricotta in a cake. I thought to myself that I need to challenge myself to cook outside of my comfort zone. I was looking for a dessert to throw together quickly one Sunday afternoon; I decided why not. It did not taste like I just threw this cake together, but rather like a professionally baked, luxurious sweet. The Lemon & Ricotta cake is delightfully, light and refreshing. My guest looked hesitant when I told her it was a lemon cake with ricotta but the hesitation was short-lived. One element that makes a dish a win in my house is the 5 year old rule. If she likes the dish, I feel like I have accomplished something because I didn’t compromise my cooking but rather expanded her palette, and she is always the first one to judge me on my “texture”. She loved the “texture” of the lemon ricotta cake. Definite win and I will make again.
Following my two cake wins from Diana Henry, I was feeling pretty courageous about my springform pan so I attempted Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. This cake was not difficult to make but it was not one of our favorites. In fact, a week later and half the cake is still here and it is time to say goodbye. However, the problem with this cake is not the recipe but baker error. In my effort to make by Chocolate Fudge Cake look as beautiful as the one pictured in Ottolenghi, I over-indulged in the amount of cocoa powder which I “dusted” meaning dumped on top of the cake. Too much cocoa made it difficult to eat and it did not pass the 5 year old texture test. In fact, she stated she needed some milk to finish eating her slice. I will probably try this recipe again but with a much lighter hand with the cocoa powder.