This whole wheat sourdough ricotta pound cake is amazingly delicious, and arguably good for you too.
Back when my husband and I were first married, I ate completely gluten free. I knew I felt better when I did and that I got stomachaches and other digestive issues when I ate too much wheat.
Then I started doing more reading about wheat and traditional food preparation, and I discovered that many people who have issues with gluten do just fine with sourdough. You can read about my philosophy of a healthy diet here.
Wheat contains phytic acid, which locks up the grain’s nutrients and prevents your body from being able to digest it properly. Fermenting the wheat first (i.e., souring it to make sourdough) produces phytase, an enzyme that human bodies do not produce but is necessary to process phytic acid.
So now, as long as most of my wheat intake is fermented (and in general I use organic wheat to avoid any chemical contaminants), I seem to handle some gluten well.
My husband grew up in Italy and told me about a ricotta pound cake their neighbor used to make. When we were first married, I set out to find a gluten-free version. After I discovered I could handle small amounts of wheat, I started making it with regular flour.
And recently, in the interest of making it even healthier, I decided to convert it to sourdough. (It does still contain sugar–I haven’t made the jump to converting it to an alternative sweetener yet…)
This is the result.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Ricotta Pound Cake
This pound cake is rich and delicious, with just a hint of sour from the souring process. We like to eat it on Sunday mornings with our Italian caffe lattes.
I prefer to weigh the ingredients with a digital scale for more precise measurements, but I have included cup measurements as well.
For this recipe I used organic soft wheat berries from Azure Standard. I grind my own wheat from their wheat berries for fresher flour, but they also offer pre-ground flour.
- 100g (1/3 cup) active sourdough starter
- 425g (15 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 150g (1 cup) soft whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp coarse Himalayan pink salt
- 2 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups minimally processed pure cane sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
- Take out butter to soften.
- Combine starter, ricotta, flour, and salt in a glass mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let ferment for 4-8 hours.
- After 4-8 hours, preheat the oven to 350.
- Butter and flour a loaf or bundt pan.
- In mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
- One at a time, add the eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Sprinkle baking powder over the sourdough mix.
- With mixer on low, add starter mixture to butter mixture and mix to combine. Scrape down bowl and mix for 30 seconds on medium.
- Pour batter into pan, and thump on counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. (If you are using whole wheat flour, the top will be a fairly dark brown when it is done.)
- Cool in pan for 5 minutes; then let cool completely on a cooling rack.
Don't worry if you forget and let the wheat ferment for longer than 4-8 hours. It will just give the final result a stronger sourdough flavor.
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