Using natural and simple ingredients, Yossy Arefi presents a collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats in Sweeter Off the Vine (Ten Speed Press, 2016). She cherishes the fruit of every season and celebrates what’s fresh and vibrant any time of year, enhancing fruit’s enticing sweetness with bold flavors like rose and orange flower water inspired by her Iranian heritage, and whole-grain flours like rye and spelt. With desserts for all seasons, treats to suit every taste, and visually-stunning photography in Arefi’s signature, earthy style, Sweeter Off the Vine is sure to delight not just in the spring recipe featured here, but throughout the whole year.
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Use medium ground cornmeal for this recipe, as coarser ground cornmeal will give the cake a gritty texture. I have included a recipe for a shocking pink and wonderfully tart fresh cranberry glaze below, but the cake is also quite beautiful with a simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar instead.
• 1 cup (125g) all purpose flour
• 2/3 cup (100g) medium ground yellow cornmeal
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup (235g) whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
• 1 slightly heaping cup, about 4 ounces (115g), fresh cranberries
• 3/4 cup (75g) fresh cranberries
• 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Butter an 8-inch springform pan or an 8-inch cake pan with sides at least 2 inches tall. Line the pan with a parchment paper and butter that, too. Dust the pan and paper with flour.
2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the ricotta and zests and mix for one more minute. Fold in the flour mixture all at once until just combined and then add the cranberries.
3. Fill the prepared pan with the batter and smooth the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a rack to cool completely.
1. While the cake is cooling, add the cranberries to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the confectioners’ sugar and pulse until smooth. The glaze should be thick but pourable. If it seems too thick, add a few drops of water or lemon juice; if it seems too thin, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar.
2. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and give it about 30 minutes to set before slicing. Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
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Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi. Buy this book from our store: Sweeter Off the Vine.