Oct 19, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Toasted Pound Cake & House Ricotta

Joseph Settepani's Cioccolato con Agrumi
Natasha Hillendahl's Toasted Pound Cake & House Ricotta.

Toasted Pound Cake & House Ricotta with roasted peaches, pickled cherries and chocolate fudge soft serve from Wiz Bang Bar by Natasha Hillendahl.


Yield: 8 servings

Chef’s notes: “Simple and decadent with a richness that can only be served fresh. Starting with a pound cake... well, kind of a pound cake, this is actually a yogurt cake recipe in disguise, but making for the perfect toasted base. Next, a dollop of homemade ricotta cheese, literally made by hand every morning at Wiz Bang. Third, stone fruit in its simplest form – we lightly roast the peaches in brown sugar and vanilla beans, we lightly pickle the cherries in lemon juice and liquor. Fourth, chocolate soft serve – goooood chocolate soft serve, our chocolate fudge soft serve made using locally roasted chocolate from Woodblock Chocolates. Lastly: eat, enjoy, love, consume.” 

Salt & Straw Ice Cream Base: 

  • 5.3 oz/150 g granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 10.6 oz/302 g whole milk
  • 6.13 oz/174 g evaporated milk
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 14.3 oz/406 g heavy cream 

1. Mix together the sugar and xanthan gum in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Combine the milk, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a medium pot. Keep the milk cold untilyou add the xanthan, next.

3. Whisk vigorously to mix the sugar/xanthan mixture into the milk. Don’t fret over a few lumpscaused by the xanthan gum, but try to whisk hard enough to get the sugar and gum mixed evenly.

4. Place the pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, and heat until the sugar is completelydissolved. Try to avoid simmering the milk here, we don’t necessarily want a to thicken the mixture or anything, just merely trying to melt the sugar and give the xanthan a head start in “activating.”

5. Allow the milk mixture to cool to room temperature. Place in an ice bath.

6. Add the cream and keep in the refrigerator until well chilled. While you must at least cool thisbase to refrigerator temperature so your machine can handle freezing it, it’s more ideal if you are able to leave this ice cream base in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours to allow the base to catch its feet. That aging process will give you a better texture and more milky flavor. 

Chocolate Syrup: 

  • 10.4 oz/295 g water
  • 0.4 oz/11 g fleur de sel or artisan flaked sea salt
  • 3 oz/85 g Woodblock Madagascar chocolate (70-80% dark chocolate)
  • 2 oz/56 g dark cocoa powder 

1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a covered pot. Once the water boils remove from heat and remove lid.

2. Add the chocolate; let sit for 12 minutes. Add cocoa powder and whisk to combine. You can also pour into a blender or buzz with a stick blender.

3. Strain. Chill until ready to churn ice cream.

4. To finish ice cream, mix the ice cream base with the chocolate syrup. Churn the ice cream base in an ice cream maker. Simply pour the mixture into the machine and turn it on. Keep churning until you get about a soft serve texture. Using a spoon or ice cream spade, transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container. At this point if you desire “soft serve,” use right away or you can store in the freezer if you prefer hard packed ice cream.

5. Flip container upside down and store in freezer. Try to get this into the freezer quickly so it  doesn’t melt too much and find the coldest spot in your freezer. We flip the container upside down so that it’ll create an airtight seal on the top of the pint, keeping the ice cream super fresh.

6. Harden the ice cream for at least 12 hours. The result should be a great, scoopable, yummy icecream. 

Ricotta (aka Fresh Cheese):  

  • 17 oz/484 g whole milk
  • 8.18 oz/232 g heavy cream
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fleur de sel or artisan flaked sea salt
  • 2 Tbs white distilled vinegar 

1. Place a strainer or small colander over a bowl or cambro. Add 3 layers of heavyweight cheesecloth to the strainer. Set aside.

2. Combine milk, cream and salts in a heavy bottom pot. Over medium heat bring to a low boil.

3. Remove pot from heat. Stir in vinegar, curds should start forming. Let mixture sit for 20 minutes.

4. Carefully ladle curd mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer. Wrap tightly with plastic film.

5. Refrigerate for 18-20 hours. Remove cheese from strainer set up and place in a metal bowl. Add a pinch or two of sea salt if desired. 

Pound Cake:  

  • 7.5 oz/211 g all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 oz/71 g cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 10.6 oz/300 g granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbs finely grated lemon zest
  • 7.5 oz/212 g crème fraiche or whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 5.7 oz/161 g vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract 

1. For this cake, I like to use a 10.5” x 5.5” loaf pan, but you can use a loaf pan with similar Dimensions (such as a 9” x 5” pan). Butter the sides, cut out a parchment rectangle that will fit in the bottom and up the narrow side of the pan, this will help you pull the cake out later. Dust with flour, tap to remove excess flour from the sides and toss any excess flour. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix together on low speed for 12 minutes. Turn off and let sit while you prep ingredients.

3. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and kosher salt.

4. Add oil and vanilla extract to mixer bowl. On low speed mix lemon sugar, oil and vanilla extract until well combined.

5. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl or measuring cup. Add the eggs in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of mixer bowl after each addition.

6. Add creme fraiche or yogurt. Mix on low to incorporate.

7. With mixer off, add half of the dry mix. On low speed mix until almost combined, stop mixer, scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining half of the dry mix. Mix on low until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, do one final scrape down of the bowl.

8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotate pan and turn oven down to 325°F. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is ready when sides pull away from sides of pan and the middle of cake springs back when pressed.

9. Let cake rest for 15 minutes, remove and finish cooling on a rack. 

Roasted Peaches:   

  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice, fresh and strained
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 3 ripe peaches 

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Melt butter and pour it into a mixing bowl. Add sugars, lemon juice, vanilla paste, and salt to the melted butter. Whisk to combine.

3. Quarter peaches. Add the peaches to the mixing bowl and toss to coat the peaches. Add peaches to a pan in a single layer, pour remaining syrup mixture over peaches. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the peaches and spoon syrup over them, then bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes. The peaches should be tender and bright, but not falling apart.

4. Let cool. Once peaches are cool, the skin should peel right off. Store in syrup until ready to use. 

Pickled Cherries: 

  • 1 lb/453 g sweet dark cherries
  • 7 oz/200 g granulated sugar
  • 8.3 oz/236 g water
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 5 Tbs byrrh
  • ½ tsp Peychaud bitters 

1. Wash cherries, half and pit them, and place in a metal bowl.

2. Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.

3. Remove syrup from heat, add the lemon juice, byrrh and bitters and pour over the cherries. Let cherries cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The cherries are best if they sit for 12 days in pickling liquid. 


Toast the pound cake in a dry pan or on the grill. Spread a little ricotta on toasted pound cake. Place pound cake in a dish, cut one of the roasted peaches into 3 slices and place in bottom of dish next to pound cake. Top with chocolate fudge ice cream or “soft serve”. Add a dollop of ricotta. Add a few more slices of roasted peach. Quarter 4 of the cherry halves and scatter on top. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of roasting liquid and serve.


Click here to read more about this and related recipes in the article "A Pinch of Salt."

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