I've been cooking pretty steadily from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook...but not managing to blog about the results. Clearly I need that external pressure of a baking group which expects a new post every Monday. Oh, well.
Instead of tackling the backlog, I'll report on tonight's effort: this very nice 'everyday' cake, lightly lemon-flavored, a riff on a yogurt cake but with ricotta. One bowl and a whisk--as it's an oil cake, there was no heavy beating needed. My only variation from the recipe was to use muscadine grapes instead of Concords. Muscadines are nicely Southern, and besides, there weren't any Concords at the DeKalb Farmer's Market today.
The only issue I had was with the coulis, which didn't thicken at all. (I think it should have, or at least the picture makes it appear so.) The recipe barely cooks the Concord grapes with a 3-minute simmer, but my huge muscadines needed more like 15 minutes to soften. I strained the seeds and skins out, cooled the result, but got this very thin sauce--nice taste, but a little lacking aesthetically. I've now boiled it down some more in the microwave and will see what it looks like when it cools again. Googling on the pectin content of various grapes doesn't give any indication that Concords and muscadines are different, so maybe I"m misinterpreting the picture and the term 'coulis', or maybe I did something wrong.
No matter: it's a very nice cake and sauce, and I'll return to the recipe to try some of the variations mentioned.