This cake is best made one day before you plan to serve it. The cake is very moist and tender, so be careful when removing it from the pan. If you like, it may be served with the sauce described in the recipe for Ricotta Cheese with Fresh Fruit (page 349), using either raspberries or strawberries for the sauce.
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum (such as Myers’s) (optional)
2 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
1. If the ricotta cheese is very wet, place it in a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a bowl, refrigerate, and drain the ricotta for 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 ºF. Completely line an 8-inch springform pan with two overlapping layers of aluminum foil. Grease the foil with the softened butter and dust lightly with flour, set aside.
3. Place the eggs in a large bowl. With an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the eggs just to combing, about 10 seconds. Add the ricotta, flour, sugar, vanilla, and rum, if using, and beat just to combine. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the cream. Stir in the zest.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, and bake until the edges of the cake are firm and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. (If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue to bake.) Remove the pan from the oven, set it on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the outer ring of the pan and cut away the foil. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours before serving.
From The Tucci Cookbook, by Stanley Tucci