Recipe: Baking a Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake without any Baking Powder
Baking powder is EVERYWHERE and in every gat damn recipe I want to try.
While I am not opposed to it, I find I so rarely use it that it ends up sitting there, unused, and expired after a few trial cakes and many tears shed in the kitchen.
To save headaches and money, I started researching how to recreate my own baking powder and not to lose that lovely fluffy chemical reaction that it brings to cakes which otherwise have turned out to be as dense as rocks.
(Also in a fit of frugality to save money and to become more of a Pinterest Mommy who doesn’t drive to buy a cake to devour while her child naps, I am baking more often).
This is what I have discovered:
1. YOU DO NOT NEED BAKING POWDER… KIND OF A SCAM REALLY
It is just basically baking soda plus an acid of some sort to create that chemical reaction which fluffs up the cake as it bakes & creates little pockets of air which equal FLUFFY DELICIOUSNESS.
The trick is to keep them apart until it is time for them to join. Baking powder stays with the flour (dry ingredients) and the acid stays with the liquids.
2. HERE IS THE RATIO RECIPE FOR BAKING POWDER
1 tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp acid (lemon juice, vinegar, whatever is an acid)
2 tsp baking powder = 1/2 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp acid (lemon juice, vinegar, whatever is an acid)
You can do the math from there.
(Source: Creative Savv — THANK YOU! <3)
The stronger the vinegar, the stronger the taste, but honestly, I did not taste any vinegar nor lemon juice in my cake, because the flavour is neutralized.
I read that and thought:
It was that easy?
What have I been doing trying to force myself to eat my miserably dense rock cakes?
All that wasted belly space on failed experiments because I refuse to go out and buy baking powder & then never use it?
To test out my theory, I started with a fairly simple recipe. I have been seriously craving lemon cake recently, along with apple cake.
(See above about driving out and killing the environment just for a slice of bakery cake that costs $5 and makes me feel terrible about myself).
I thought I’d try RICOTTA in a cake somewhere because I had it once and rather liked the cheesy texture. I also really like cannolis and I read somewhere that it’s basically whipped ricotta cheese as the main ingredient in there.
LEMON RICOTTA POUND CAKE (WITHOUT BAKING POWDER)
(Some were estimated costs, I only know the ricotta cheese & butter for sure, as we don’t normally keep any in the house so I had to buy it)…
MIXING BOWL #1 HOLDS:
1 3/4 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour — this is what I used in place of all purpose flour – $0.69
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda* – $0.01
1/2 teaspoon salt – $0.01
MIXING BOWL #2 HOLDS:
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature – $4.19
1 cup of ricotta cheese (you can eat the rest like I did as a snack LOL) – $4.89
1 1/2 cups sugar – $0.15
SEPARATE BOWLS FOR EACH OF THE BELOW:
3 large eggs at room temperature (I always take them out or put them in warm water before using them) – $1.74
1 Tbsp lemon zest – $0.33 part of lemon
2 teaspoons of lemon juice*- part of lemon (made lemonade from the rest)
*baking powder substitutes
TOTAL COST: $12.01 and it has at least 10 servings, so about $1.20 each slice!
Way better than $5 a slice.
HOW TO BAKE IT
I always like to prep all my things ahead of time, measured out, and in front of me before I start cooking or baking.
Therefore, I think in bowls.
I always have ONE bowl out where I hold all the measured items — the flour, then the baking soda, then the salt, etc.
Now preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
Prepare your loaf pan by smearing it liberally with butter and dust a little flour all over it (so the cake pops out easily instead of sticking).
In Mixing Bowl #1, loosely mix the 1 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda & 1/2 teaspoon of salt salt together.
In Mixing Bowl #2, mix the 3/4 cup of unsalted room temperature butter and cream it together with the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of ricotta cheese, assuming naturally that you haven’t eaten all of it in an excited frenzy.
Now in Mixing Bowl #2 with the creamy deliciousness of butter, sugar and cheese (stop yourself from just eating it with a spoon, have a little self control!), add the 1 Tbsp of lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and mix in one egg at a time. It’ll get easier to whisk it as you do.
Finally, slowly mix in the ingredients of Mixing Bowl #1 slowly incorporating it into the batter until it is all smooth.
DO NOT OVER MIX THIS. See how I bolded this part?
Just mix it until it’s combined.
It is hard to not go overboard but the minute you stop seeing dry flour patches, stop.
Pour the final mix into the loaf pan, and stick it into your already preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
My oven needed 1 hour and 20 minutes, but yours might need less than that, so I am putting 10 minutes.
If it’s still a bit wet when you stick a toothpick or fork inside, then you need to leave it in there for another 10 minutes, then check it.
Keep checking at 10 minute intervals until it’s burned through and definitely cooked.
OF COURSE I mean “until it’s cooked fully through and the fork comes out clean”.
I would caution you against eating or licking the batter off any bowls or spoons but then I’d be a hypocrite (I know, raw eggs, bla bla, so sue me).
Remove it from the oven, pop it out of the pan without any knife or struggle required (see, that butter & flour on the inside helped didn’t it?) and let it cool before devouring the entire thing in a fit of satisfied ecstasy.
It should sort of look like this beauty:
Oh my little gorgeous pound cake!! How delicious you look.
P.S. I made a delicious all-round-in-a-pinch miso noodle dish the other day if you’re interested which could turn vegan or vegetarian, and this at-home Steak Tartare and Miso seabass was an oldie but still a goodie!