The Village Bakery’s Berry Ricotta Cake

April 21, 2014 | By | COMMENTS

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One of the very best things about where we live in Atwater Village is our proximity to The Village Bakery. If you live on the east side of Los Angeles, chances are you’ve been to this sunny, cheerful spot; it’s got blue and yellow umbrellas outside, a counter filled with treats on the inside, and the friendliest staff you’re likely to meet anywhere in L.A. Barbara Monderine, who owns and runs the place, is also our neighbor here in our little apartment complex right nearby and what a neighbor she is. When we first moved in, she gave us free cookies; on my birthday, she brought over a box of red velvet cupcakes. But the greatest gift of all came two weeks ago; working up my courage, I asked if she’d share the recipe for one of the bakery’s signature desserts: their berry ricotta cake. To my shock and delight, she said “sure” and went into the back to type it out for me, scaling down the proportions for the home cook. What follows is a recipe that’s about to enter your life in a serious way.

I first tasted this cake when my old landlord, Rebekah, met me at The Village Bakery for lunch. (That’s a very L.A. thing: staying friends with your old landlord.) After we finished our sandwiches–I’m partial to their chicken salad sandwich, which is made with yogurt instead of mayo–she said, “Tell me you’ve had their berry ricotta cake.” “Actually, no, I haven’t.” “Oh my God, we have to get a piece. You’re going to DIE.”

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Sometimes people exaggerate when they enthuse about cake, but she wasn’t kidding. This cake magically combines the fluffiness of a traditional yellow cake with the richness of a cheesecake and the coarseness of a corn muffin due to the surprising addition of cornmeal.

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The process of making it couldn’t be simpler. You beat butter with sugar and salt; add canola oil, eggs, vanilla, and honey; sift in flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda; and then, at the end, mix in ricotta and sour cream. Now the ricotta you’re supposed to drain overnight, which I did…

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…but the ricotta I used wasn’t particularly wet, and hardly released any water, so next time I’ll skip that step. (It really depends on your ricotta.) Once you mix in the dairy, you pour half the batter into a buttered pan and dot with berries of your choice. (Barbara says you can even use stone fruit).

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Then top with the rest of the batter and the rest of the berries.

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Into a 350 oven it goes and 50 minutes later, out it comes looking golden and beautiful.

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Dust with powdered sugar:

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And then pack it up to take to Easter brunch. (Well, that’s what I did.) Once you cut in, people won’t be able to resist it.

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If you’re ever in L.A., come to the Village Bakery and order yourself a slice. Chances are you’ll see Craig drinking his latte or me working on my play while eating their granola bar (it’s so good) and drinking coffee from a mug. If you’re not coming to L.A. anytime soon, gather up the ingredients and treat yourself to a perfect cake for spring and summer. Then thank Barbara in your mind before digging in; she’s pretty much the best neighbor of all time.

Recipe: The Village Bakery’s Berry Ricotta Cake

Summary: Adapted from Barbara Monderine of The Village Bakery in L.A.

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup drained ricotta (drained overnight in a sieve lined with cheesecloth; may not be necessary if ricotta isn’t at all wet)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or sliced stone fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a Kitchenaid mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the canola oil, eggs, vanilla and honey and then add them to the mixer; mixing just until the eggs are well incorporated.
  4. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the mixer. Mix until just combined.
  5. Lastly, add the ricotta and sour cream and mix until evenly distributed. “BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER BEAT!”
  6. Spread 1/2 of the batter into a buttered and floured springform pan. Top with half the berries. Pour the remaining batter over the berries, smooth, and top with the rest of the fruit.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

  • june2

    How did you come by the recipe? Did you just ask them for it?

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  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    The story’s in the post!

  • Agent Strong

    What size pan?

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    9 or 10 inches will work. Just make sure it’s springform and that you butter and flour it first.

  • http://katbakes.tumblr.com Kata

    You had me at ricotta…and then again at cornmeal. I basically can’t not make this cake. I have the perfect occasion, too, I just wish the recipe was by
    weight.. Any chance of the original copy you received from the bakery being in metric? If not I’ll go at it with cups and spoons and convert it myself, because I can tell that this is going to be a keeper :)

  • AG

    This looks incredible. Can’t wait for an excuse to make it.

    Any reason you tend not to post holiday posts? Passover, Easter, etc.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Hi Kata,
    Sure thing: it’s 5 ounces unsalted butter, 8 1/4 ounces sugar, 7 ounces A.P. flour, 4 1/2 ounces cornmeal. Everything else was given as written in the recipe. Good luck!

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Hi AG,
    I do holiday posts when I’m motivated to make something for a particular holiday; usually, that doesn’t happen, so guess I’m not much of a holiday person!

  • lalit kumar

    I like very much this Village Bakery cake…

    see more recipes : http://www.fazlani.com/

  • lalit kumar

    I like very much this Village Bakery cake…

    see more recipes : http://www.fazlani.com/

  • http://www.thisnewview.com andrea

    Thanks for sharing! We have an amazing cheese shop down the road from us in London that sells incredible ricotta. Definitely going to have to try this now.

  • Deborah Ames

    thank YOU thank You thank YOU!!!!

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    I’m impressed, even though I rarely care about desserts, especially cakes. I have very little interest in sugary sweet stuff like frosting on the typical wedding or chocolate cake. Your cake has none and looks fantastic coming from the oven. Your description of its combo qualities makes it a must-try!

    Thanks.

  • Matt

    Hey Adam,

    I want to make this for my father-in-law for his birthday, but I’ll be out of town for a day and a half before we all actually celebrate. Will this keep well in the fridge for ~36 hours?

  • Matt

    Hey Adam,

    I want to make this for my father-in-law for his birthday, but I’ll be out of town for a day and a half before we all actually celebrate. Will this keep well in the fridge for ~36 hours?

  • Matt

    Hey Adam,

    I want to make this for my father-in-law for his birthday, but I’ll be out of town for a day and a half before we all actually celebrate. Will this keep well in the fridge for ~36 hours?

  • Matt

    Hey Adam,

    I want to make this for my father-in-law for his birthday, but I’ll be out of town for a day and a half before we all actually celebrate. Will this keep well in the fridge for ~36 hours?

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I don’t think it’ll be that great, to be honest. Maybe make an ice cream cake that you can keep in your freezer instead?

  • https://www.onlinefiletaxes.com/ jasmine

    Oh my god It is so delicious. Thanks..

    see : http://www.fazlani.com/

  • Matt

    That’s a really good suggestion. Ironically, my father’s birthday is the same day as my in-law’s, and I’m actually seeing my dad on his birthday and buying him a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. Thanks!

  • Nancy Schneider

    I made this cake yesterday for guests and it is just delicious. Thank you for it. I made it with raspberries but I will try it with blueberries too. Just wonderful

  • Katya

    Just made this and stupidly left out all the leavening. I don’t recommend that approach, but my roommate was very taken with the result, so if you forget to leaven it, things aren’t hopeless.

  • DownUnder

    I happen to have Polenta. It looks quite grainy, a bit like coarse sand. Would that be the equivalent of cornmeal. Cornmeal might go by a different name perhaps here in New Zealand.

  • Adrian

    How long will this keep? Can I make it the night before serving it for brunch? Thanks!

  • Adrian

    How long will this keep? Can I make it the night before serving it for brunch? Thanks!

  • http://katbakes.tumblr.com Kata

    I served it tonight and the cake was such a hit! It really has THE perfect crumb, and wasn’t too sweet. It was delicious with raspberries but I already can’t wait to try it with apricots when they’re in season. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Lisa

    I made this today: OMG so moist!!! I weighed the flour based on KAF of 4.25 per cup (minus 2 tbsp.) how did it come up to 7 ounces of AP flour? The reason I ask is because while this is incredibly tasty!!! (already half is gone!) it was a bit unstable, I’m more than sure this is reader error, just need to be pointed to where I went wrong!

  • Zeina H

    Hi Adam it looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try it out. A question though, the vanilla is it vanilla extract or vanilla powder?

  • Indian in So. Cal

    I agree with ice cream cake as you have said..but I’m always up for trying something different.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Vanilla extract.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I think it’ll keep for 24 hours or so, but I also think the sooner you eat it the better. (You can always pour the batter into the pan, cover it, refrigerate, and bake an hour or two before you want it. I think that’s what they do at the Village Bakery!).

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I think it’ll keep for 24 hours or so, but I also think the sooner you eat it the better. (You can always pour the batter into the pan, cover it, refrigerate, and bake an hour or two before you want it. I think that’s what they do at the Village Bakery!).

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I think it’ll keep for 24 hours or so, but I also think the sooner you eat it the better. (You can always pour the batter into the pan, cover it, refrigerate, and bake an hour or two before you want it. I think that’s what they do at the Village Bakery!).

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I think it’ll keep for 24 hours or so, but I also think the sooner you eat it the better. (You can always pour the batter into the pan, cover it, refrigerate, and bake an hour or two before you want it. I think that’s what they do at the Village Bakery!).

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    That’s a tricky question—corn meal yields so many products (polenta, grits, etc.)—and all of them are ground differently. I’d consult some baking website where you’re from to find out what you should use. Good luck.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    That’s a tricky question—corn meal yields so many products (polenta, grits, etc.)—and all of them are ground differently. I’d consult some baking website where you’re from to find out what you should use. Good luck.

  • Kalicopalace

    I can’t thank you and Barbara enough for sharing this recipe! It is truly one of the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted.

  • daisyholland

    After this photos I don’t wanna eat diatery food. Oh, my God. It’s so incredibly done. Looks so fascinating and strong in terms of preparation.

    Adam added raspberries which is classic, I think. Cause we know everyone prefers it. Just perfect.

  • Jonathan

    Any good fish ideals?

  • Kenneth Aliaga

    This came out so great. It was an absolute hit. Thanks for sharing it!

  • CandyC

    This looks so delicious. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it for myself since I’m gluten free, does anyone know if it’s possible to make this gluten free?

  • Susie Cambria

    I used a 9″ pan. Needed a 10″ so it would bake fairly evenly. Will try again with a bigger pan.

    And, this recipe is also here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/blueberry-cornmeal-cake

  • Frodough

    This cake looks nosh worthy and I will be making it tomorrow! Thanks for the metric conversion, personal preference for accuracy. I’m new to your blog and I’ve found so many dishes I can’t wait it make. Wonderful site!

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  • http://www.sertdatarecovery.com/ Billy Marshall

    Will ask my wife to bake this for me. Nothing’s beat homemade. :)

  • Beatriz Ponce

    I actually work there and let me tell you, this is a fun cake to make. Well everything there is fun to make. You get a little triumph feeling of accomplishment and success. Best bakery in Los Angeles and I love what I do there.