Wondering what to do with some leftover mascarpone cheese (a sweet dessert cheese from northern Italy), a few dried out oranges, and some cold espresso coffee, I decided to make a cake. To me, it is the perfect cake - dense, yet moist - and needs no fancy embellishment. If wrapped well, it will remain moist for a week. It also freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Ricotta cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone.
2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup brewed espresso or other strong coffee
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-x-2-inch round pan and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and add the coffee, orange juice, and cocoa, stirring well to combine. Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture. Add the cheese, eggs, and almond extract, and beat the ingredients until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan, then carefully unmold it onto a serving plate. Serve the cake as is, or sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.
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