There’s something about a good, fresh ricotta that compels me to eat a pound of it by the spoonful. One of my local delis sells an amazingly creamy ricotta, which I buy in two-pound increments: one for cooking/baking, one for eating on a spoon.
This extraordinary ricotta made me remember a cake I made a few years ago. It had a cocoa shortdough crust, a custardy ricotta filling, and was topped with a buttery cocoa crumble. I baked it, and against explicit instructions to not unmold the cake before it was completely cool, I unmolded it still warm and the ricotta flowed from the center like molten lava. It was a delicious disaster.
I dug through my old recipe folder, found the recipe scribbled on coffee-stained paper, and attempted it again. This time I practiced patience, and it sure paid off. This has a lovely, creamy, cocoa-y, and not-too-sweet flavor that is perfect with a cup of dark coffee. Make this cake well in advance, at least 8 hours before you plan on eating it. It really is disastrous to cut into this cake before it has set. You can store the cake in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer (well wrapped) for 2 weeks.