Ricotta Lavender Butter Cake with Marscapone Topping

  • 1 1⁄2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted Euro-style cultured butter, room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1⁄2 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

Preheat oven to 350°. Place rack in center. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.

Sift together first 3 dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter, ricotta and sugar together using an electric beater at medium speed, until smooth and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.

Divide vanilla bean in half. Put 1 piece away for future use. Split remaining piece open by sliding the tip of a paring knife down the length. With blunt side of blade scrap seeds out into butter mixture. Add vanilla extract and lavender. Stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until thoroughly combined, and then for an additional 30 seconds at medium speed.

Pour into prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula, gently knock pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan, lower temperature to 325° and bake another 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and center is solid and springy to the touch.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack around 15 minutes. Then invert and allow to cool thoroughly before slicing and serving.

Topping

  • 2 cups mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon

Stir to combine all ingredients. Put a dollop on each slice of cake, and put the remainder in a bowl to pass around at the table.