Massimo and Daniela’s Wine Cake

Massimo and Daniela preside over Bar Tuscher in a venerable palazzo in Cortona. All the expats in town are lured by their house-made desserts and the intimate tables, so perfect for a private conversation away from the piazza. When I walk into town in the mornings, I’m assured of a quiet spot for writing in my notebook. Although I’m torn between their warm cornetti filled with berries and this tender vin santo–scented cake, the cake usually wins.


1 cup (2 sticks) plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for the pan
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups (11 ounces) whole-milk ricotta
3 eggs
1/3 cup vin santo
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a nonstick 9-inch springform tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and ricotta until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then incorporate the vin santo. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl, then slowly and thoroughly beat them into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan, sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is firm but springy to the touch and a promising aroma fills the kitchen. Cool before removing the cake from the pan. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top.

Tuscan Sun Cookbook coverExcerpted with permission from The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Edward Mayes Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.