As it turns out, I am the only person in this hemisphere who was not aware, until recently, that coffee cakes usually contain no coffee. I made this discovery after being offered some coffee cake on an afternoon visit to a neighbor, I was stumped (and quite delighted) by the fact that it tasted like cinnamon and applesauce. On the walk back home, my husband made a quip about working off the ‘coffee cake’, which is when I asked him whether he had actually tasted any coffee. He sniggered, then informed me that coffee cakes are merely sweet morsels served during a coffee break, much like teacakes which contain no tea, and aren’t cakes yet are served at teatime.
I had a tub of ricotta and frozen wild blackberries that needed to be used up, so this recipe was the only natural outcome. It is not very dessert-like but was an excellently dense, indulgent breakfast with a hot cup of spiced coffee. I recommend cooling the cake for at least an hour before serving, and you can make it a day ahead and store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups demerara or turbinado sugar (use less if using white granulated sugar)
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
2. In a separate bowl, whisk until combined
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta
zest of medium lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3. Fold wet mixture into dry ingredients until just blended then mix in
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup frozen wild blackberries (or blueberries, or cherries, or raspberries, or, or, or…)
4. Scrape batter into a greased 9-inch springform pan, spread evenly then top with
1/2 cup frozen wild blackberries (or, or, or…)
5. Bake at 350°F for 60-70 minutes, until cake is set and lightly browned on top
6. Remove from oven and cool for at least an hour before serving at room temperature.