August 5, 2010

Paneer (Ricotta) Pound Cake

Despite the number of cakes there are on my blog, I’m not really very fond of cakes. They’re eaten mostly by my family and friends who are always ready to eat cake. I avoid frosted cakes as I do not like buttercream, and though I love chocolate, I’m not overly fond of chocolate cakes. If I must eat cake, then I prefer plain vanilla or lightly citrus flavoured cakes.

For someone who isn’t very fond of cakes, it’s rather odd that a pound cake has been on my mind for a long time now. There’s something irresistible about the pale yellow, light, moist looking crumb and golden brown crust of that cake.

The pound cake gets its name from the fact that a pound each of sugar, flour, butter and eggs go into making it. Now that’s a little too much butter and eggs for me. The eggs we don’t really like, while that much butter is something we (my husband and I, at least) can do without.
Yet I couldn’t get that pound cake off my mind. A couple of months back (that’s how long it has taken me to post this cake!), I had made some paneer and left it to drain on the kitchen counter.
While I was waiting, I thought I would try to start on my reader which bursting at the seams with unread posts. Given that I don’t have a lot of time to spare these days, visiting my favourite blogs seems to have taken a back seat. I just don’t seem to be able to catch up.
It was a link on one of those posts (I don’t remember which one) that took me to a ricotta pound cake. I remember that the ingredient list included 2 sticks of butter (that’s about 230gm of butter!) and 5 eggs.

That beautiful cake, however, just brought back my pound cake obsession. When a food obsession gets this bad, I’ve found the sensible thing to do is to give into it.

All the recipes I came across seemed to need a minimum of 1 1/2 sticks of butter. I guess that would be necessary to keep the ratios of ingredients necessary for a pound cake. I still couldn’t bring myself to use that much of butter.

Ricotta isn’t available here but paneer is almost like it, and I did have fresh crumbly paneer in the kitchen. Since paneer would add to the texture of the cake, I decided to reduce the butter a bit and use just one egg.
I guess this means that my cake is no longer a blue-blooded pound cake, but I can live with that.

The result was a wonderfully light and moist cake which just disappeared in no time. In fact, I got these pictures only when I the cake again.
I can guarantee that this is a cake you will want to make again and again. I, for one, am not even looking for another pound cake recipe, unless there’s something so very unusual about it.

Please do not try this cake with store bought paneer (the slab or cubes) as it would be too dry. If you have access to store bought ricotta, that’s good, otherwise making your own paneer/ ricotta is worth doing for this cake. It doesn’t take much time or effort.

Paneer (Ricotta) Pound Cake


3/4 cup cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

60 gm salted butter

3/4 cup drained fresh paneer* (or ricotta)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp lemon juice


* I made my paneer at home using milk with 2% fat. 1 litre of milk should give you about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of paneer.

To make the paneer/ ricotta:

To make paneer/ ricotta for this cake, boil 1 litre of milk (I used 2% fat). Once it has started boiling, turn down the heat to low so the milk is simmering. Add 1 to 2 tsps of fresh lemon juice (or white vinegar) and keep stirring till the milk solids separate completely.

Take the curdled milk off the heat and allow it to cool a bit, for about 15 minutes. The pour this into a strainer lined with a thin cotton kitchen towel. Allow the paneer to drain for about 20 minutes. Rinse the paneer a couple of times in clean running water and allow to drain again. Press the liquid out lightly.

The paneer should have drained well but be crumbly and moist to touch.

To make the cake:

Sieve the cake flour and the baking powder together. Keep aside.
Run the paneer in the blender till it becomes a very smooth paste.
Put this paneer and the butter in a bowl and, using a hand held mixer, beat well till smooth. Add the sugar and beat till light and fluffy. Scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl in between.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat till well mixed.

Now add the flour and beat on medium speed till smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat again. The batter might look like it has curdled slightly, but that’s alright.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8” (or 9”) cake tin and bake at 180C (350F) for about thirty minutes or till the cake is a done and a skewer inserted into it comes out clean.
If your paneer/ ricotta was a bit wet to start with, it might take another 10 minutes or so of baking to cook the cake.

Cool the cake in the tin for 5 minutes and gently take it out and cool on a rack. Enjoy your cake.
This cake serves 8 to 10.


Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

That looks wonderful dear !!!

poonam,,, said...

It's looking great! I've been looking for a good pound cake recipe,,I'm gonna try this :)

Prerna said...

Wow! what a great recipe. Quick and easy and I don't even need to go to the supermarket for it :-)
Love it!

BangaloreBaker said...

I had made a ricotta cake long time back. I had made it eggless and the taste was awesome but texture was a bit denser. I guess egg helps here. BTW, I sent you an email couple of days back. Could you reply back to that please?

Satya said...

wow cake looks so so soft n moist ...don't know much about baking ,so i need ur help ..can u please give the basic knowledge cakes/other bakings or any site u want to me to refer ....thanks dear


Torviewtoronto said...

lovely cake and pictures

BangaloreBaker said...

Never mind my question in the email, I figured it out.

Junglefrog said...

What a gorgeous looking cake that is and interesting to be doing that with ricotta... (i have to confess that I do not know what paneer is but I guess it must be similar to ricotta.. :))

Nags said...

what a lovely idea! must-try, bookmarked! :)

Prathibha said...

Thats a yummy looking cake...looks so nice n perfect

PJ said...

Looks so delicious Aparna!

jayasree said...

Pound cake with paneer is interesting. And only one egg. I think I can try replacing that.

Divya Kudua said...

What a wonderful idea!!I've been mesmerized by the pound cake too and gave in once,200 gms of butter in a cake still makes me jaw-dropped.Bookmarked!!

Sayantani said...

thats a wonderful idea...and looking at the picture make me crave some right now. looks divine.

Hari Chandana said...

Wow... looks perfect and tempting dear.. beautiful clicks !!

Akila said...

simply superb....

Jaya Wagle said...

I am so impressed you came up with a baking recipe yourself. I can never do that! I will follow a baking recipe to a T and this time around too, that's just what I am going to do. Can I substitute APF for cake flour?

Curry Leaf said...

I too was wondering about the pound cake Aparna.I will prefer your version than the true pound cake which is fattening.

sra said...

Aparna, if you haven't tried it already, you must try the Oriya Chhenapoda Pitha recipe - that too is made with paneer, and maybe rawa, not sure. (I haven't tried making it myself, tastes good in small doses.) If you go to Orissa, you will see it everywhere, in every little shop by the road ...

Kamalika said...

Thas something new..and i bet it tastes very good...the snaps are beautiful...

Aparna S Mallya said...

Pound cake looks good. Is Paneer a substitute for ricotta? Ricotta tastes and looks a lot like paneer, but I'm just wondering if we can replace paneer for any recipe that calls for ricotta.
Also, I baked these 'cookies' the other day which turned out soft like cake. Can you please let me know what to call them? I have posted the recipe on my blog. I'm really curious to know what they cud be called. I have never baked/ eaten scones and the like, so wondering if it is closer to that than cookies.

Viswa said...


Vanamala Hebbar said...

This is yummy....made with paneer !! nice

bake in paris said...

Seems and sounds like the pound cake I would bake at home.....ricotta and lemon would definitely bring the best out of this cake :-)

Sawadee from bangkok,

suma said...

Sounds wonderful Aparna!! Couldn't agree with you more when you say the best thing to do when food obsession hits is to give in:-))

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I've never really used paneer to bake. The cake looks delicious :)

Anonymous said...

Oh god, you're so boring. The way you write is so droningly tedious to read...I was yawning by the time I read your whole recipe here.

- Susheela

Parita said...

Bookmarked! I recently made some mava cakes using fresh khoya and they turned out beautiful..would love to try this recipe, looks lovely, thanks!

Aparna said...

Thank you for your comments. I have been looking for a pound cake that satisfies my lower fat requirements and am happy to share my find with you.

BB, the egg does make all the difference. As I mentioned to you earlier, I never received your mail. :)

Satya, I would happy to help you out. Maybe you could e-mail me with specific questions as baking as a whole is a very large subject.

Simone, paneer is a soft Indian unsalted milk cheese, just like ricotta.

Jayasree, replacing this egg might change the texture of the cake. Do let me know how it works out.

Divya, 200gm would make my jaw drop too. :) But pound cakes need that kind of butter to make them what they are.

Jaya, I just adapted things a bit. :)
You could use APF, but cakeflour helps make a cake lighter. You can put 1 tbsp cornstarch in your measuring cup and top up with APF to substitute for 1 cup of cake flour. This is what I do.

Sra, never heard of this before. Shall check it out and find out if one of my friends (from Oriya) knows thw recipe.

Aparna, I have used paneer instead of ricotta so far and its worked.
Have checked out your cookies and left a comment too. :)

Anon/ Susheela, thanks for telling me your thoughts. Frankly, if you found me boring and my post so tedious to read I don't know what you're doing on my blog.
Please remember you were here of your own choice.

Parita said...

Hi Aparna, I had bookmarked this recipe and I am planning to make it soon for a friend, can you pls let me know how many grams approx 3/4 cups of paneer will come upto? I am planning to make paneer at home but confused if i should make paneer out of 1 litre or 1/2 litre as you mentioned 1 litre of milk may provide approx 1 1/2cups of paneer so from this i can use only half litre milk? Thanks in advance

Aparna said...

Parita, I personally prefer to use a litre of the milk because sometimes, depending on the type of milk you use, the amount of paneer you get can vary a bit.
And since the paneer keeps in the fridge for a couple of days, I always find other uses for the leftover paneer.

I always use a cup for measuring, so I'm not very sure. But 3/4 cup crumbled paneer should be about 175 to 180 gms.

Anushruti said...

This looks fabulous and absolutely worth a try! Although I love homemade paneer and have made it many a time when not in Mumbai, you get such excellent soft, moist and fresh paneer here that I end up buying it. Looks like Mumbai and Delhi are the only 2 places in India where one gets top quality paneer.

Aparna said...

Anushruthi, this is a great cake to make. We personally love its taste and the lovely texture.
I'm sure there are other cities, especially in Northern India where fresh paneer is available.
I'm just not sure how good it is here, and its easy to make at home so I'm fine with that. :)