This morning I decided to treat myself to a blueberry muffin from the Village Bakery right here in Atwater Village. As I began to eat the muffin, it occurred to me that there’s a right way and a wrong way to eat a muffin. For example, if you were new to America and you’d never experienced a muffin before, you might unwrap the whole thing, unlock your jaw, and attempt to take a top-to-bottom bite similar to the bite the shark takes out of the ship in Jaws. That’s the wrong way to eat a muffin. Let me show you the right way.
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.