I’ve been meeting a lot of really cool folks on bikes lately. And I don’t just mean in the way that folks who love bikes – I mean really love bikes and love to ride them fast and far and with reckless abandon – are cool. These people are always so great to meet, and spend time with, waxing on two wheels but I’m talking about the type of cool folks on bikes that I want to keep in my life even when I’m not on a bike.
How do I know the difference between the folks I want to keep forever, and the folks that might just be passing through?
The clarification always seems arrive the same way; we’ll be in the middle of a crazy ride, tackling a long climb, skidding along in sand + gravel that’s pushing us to the Nth, or crushing our legs on a windy straight away in the burning sun. One of us will turn to the other and say something about food. Typically it’s them because I tend to think about this from the moment that we start rolling and the beginning of a long day on the bike is entirely too early to start teasing one’s self with these things. It’s borderline rude. But as the middle/end draws near, they’ll say….
“Ya know what would be good right now?”
“Um…a root beer float is the right answer.”
“Do you think they’ll have any of those really good ice cream sandwiches at the gas station?”
“Where did you have the best pizza of your life?”
“Where are we eating when all this ridiculous climbing is over?”
And I’ll quite possibly take both hands off the handlebars and kiss them. Or at least think about doing so. When the conversation continues on into a whole discussion of the best things we’ve eaten this year, our favorite recipes for pie crust, or the ultimate almond butter, beware because I’ve been known to tackle them with glee. Not necessarily because they’re as hungry as I am, or easily wooed by the delicious as I tend to be; it’s more because they are absolutely unafraid of their present state of being. They’re open to the hunger, desire, longing and they’re absolutely out to sate it, in a way that the person purporting to crave “a nice little salad” may not be. And it’s this hunger to sate, the longing to taste, and experience this life – for real -that becomes a quick bond between us. These folks – the hungry folks – are my kind of keeper peeps because in at least this little way, they’re living life as authentically as possible. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but I admire that they’re working at it — even if it’s one cookie, french fry, or breakfast-smell-wafting-in-the-air at a time.
If you’re one of these hungry folks, you might really appreciate this little Raspberry + Ricotta cake. It’s the kind of satisfying cake that you crave, but it doesn’t take a day to make, and you can eat it with almost anything; It’s perfect for breakfast with eggs, as a dessert w/homemade ice cream, or to snack on in the middle of the day. This was one of the recipes that revealed itself while I was playing with a few back pocket recipes to use at People for Bikes Ride on Chicago this week. The preparation here is easy as can be, and the only thing you’ll likely need to pick up to make it is fresh ricotta. Don’t skimp here – use the most virtuous whole milk ricotta you can get your hands on. You won’t need a mixer to pull the recipe together, but you will want to have your folding technique dialed. Raspberries are JUST coming into season now, and you’ll want to find big juicy ones for this cake. You could always use frozen berries, but I’d recommend using blackberries, blueberries or fresh sliced apricots instead. If you do decide to use frozen, be sure to thaw + drain them completely before adding to the batter.
Enjoy this one! And stay hungry, my friends! xo – L
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups ricotta
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup fresh raspberries or blackberries, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Next, whisk the eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
- Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
- Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.