Two non-“alternative” facts about me: (1) I love to eat and (2) I really love to eat sweets. The facts being as they are, I am always on the hunt for outstanding “alternative” recipes that substitute healthier ingredients for fattening and unhealthy ones. So I thought I would give this Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake from EatingWell Magazine a try. It mixes the sweetness of blueberries and tartness of lemon, while also using less refined sugar, adding no oil, and trading bleached all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour – all of which are healthier choices to make.
Before assembling the ingredients, I read the comments and tips and incorporated a few suggestions, such as placing the eggs in lukewarm water before cracking them into the mixture (which makes for fluffier cake batter) and coating the blueberries in flour before folding them in (to prevent runniness while baking). The result was, in fact, delicious – just the right amount of sweet and tart to make this cake lover happy! I hope you too will enjoy this healthier alternative – it’s no joke.
¾ cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I zapped my butter in the microwave for 10 seconds just to make it a little softer.)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons lemon zest (You might watch a quick video about the best way to zest a lemon. I used this one.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 additional teaspoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups white whole wheat flour (I used unbleached wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons packed powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (I forgot the parchment paper, so I added a little extra cooking spray to the pan.)
Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy. (Those who tried this recipe said to make sure the sugar and butter was creamy after beating the two together, but I’m not so sure mine was.)
Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add ricotta, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and vanilla until combined. Sprinkle flour on top, then sprinkle baking powder and salt over the flour. With the mixer on low speed, beat until almost combined. Add blueberries and gently fold into the batter. Transfer to the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until starting to brown around the edges and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. This will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake, then invert it onto the rack. Carefully turn it right side up. Let cool completely.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Brush the glaze onto the cake. (I included a little extra lemon juice so it would more easily spread onto the cake.)
Cut cake into slices and enjoy!
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