Easter 2015 and a Ricotta-Berry Cake

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Now that we have Casper, holidays have taken on a renewed sense of whimsy and excitement. It’s so fun to be able to share old traditions and create new ones with him. I know that he’s not really old enough to know what’s going on, but we had a ton of fun making him a basket and making Easter a special day for all of us. I made marshmallow-cereal treats for some of our neighbors–Casper didn’t get any, but he thought they looked pretty cool because, SPRINKLES! We did get him some non-sweets-treats and packed his basket with some cute board books and Sean’s favorite Dr. Seuss book, plus a few plushies, and a fresh pair of moccasins. Sean and I dyed a bunch of eggs after Casper went to sleep on Saturday night. I LOVE dyeing Easter eggs and making the colors super vibrant and mixing colors. We “hid” Casper’s Easter basket underneath his favorite side table–it has cross bars under it that he likes to climb over all-day-every-day like some sort of baby obstacle course. We also dressed him up–which made my mother extremely happy.

For dinner we invited Sean’s brother, Geoff, and his girlfriend, Kelly, over for dinner. On the menu were deviled eggs (DUH!), a smoked pork shoulder with quince and sherry vinegar sauce (an idea we borrowed from a recent date at Toro Bravo), garlic-butter and vermouth shrimp (for Kelly, who doesn’t eat meat), potato gratin, spice roasted carrots with mint and feta, and a brussels sprout and kale salad that Kelly and Geoff made. The guys tried Sean and his friends home-brew (a super hoppy IPA), and I made kir royale to drink, as well. I also made this super moist Ricotta-Berry Cake. It’s so good, tender, and a perfect sweet slice to end a springtime meal. It’s so easy to put together, just 2 bowls, and is the type of effortless cake I think we all need in our arsenals. It’s perfect with a little dusting of powdered sugar or if you want to go crazy, which I did, a some barely sweetened whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment. I could also totally see making this cake with little chunks of rhubarb or even cherries in the summer.

In all, it was a pretty good day. Casper had fun, he was confused by all the happenings but got the hang of the festivities, was delighted by the basket full of goodies–especially the cookie monster Sean got him–and enjoyed showing off his pterydactyl-squawking skills for his Uncle and Kelly.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Ricotta-Berry Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit

8 Servings

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups ricotta

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted, unsalted butter

1 cup frozen mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch cake pan  (I used a spring form pan) with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in the butter. Fold the ricotta mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in 2/3 of the berries. Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan and scatter the top with the remaining berries. Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes before un-molding. [/recipe]

 

 

Recently at Betty’s: Brown Butter Bourbon-Cherry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel and Cookie Butter Cheesecake Brownie Cups

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Brown Butter Bourbon-Cherry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

Guys, guys! Brown Butter Bourbon-Cherry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel. Has there ever been a string of words more enticing? Maybe, but maybe not. I’ve made this coffee cake several times since it’s conception. It’s so easy and so delicious. It’s a start-with-a-mix-end-with-amazing type of situation adapted from a coffee cake my mom is known for…except I added booze, cause I’m smart that way. It’s fragrant, it’s tender, it’s glazey, and streuseled, and it kills every of the time. Get the recipe HERE.

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Brownie Cups

In case we needed another vehicle for getting cookie butter into our faces, there are these Cookie Butter Cheesecake Brownie Cups. Again, we start with a mix and end with awesome and cheesecake and brownies and COOKIE BUTTER. That’s it. Get the recipe HERE.

Triple Lemon Streusel Cake

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Lemon is a total winter-time gem and its brightness is much appreciated during these dreary months. While I love the spices and rich flavors that speak to us during these cooler months, I really appreciate the bright zing of citrus. And when I make something with lemon I really want the citrus flavor to be punchy with lots of tart to balance the sweet.

This cake from Izy’s book is a lemon dream. I bought this book as a total treat-yo-self stle gift and I am so glad I did…I’ve got so many recipes bookmarked but this one snagged my attention immediately. I mean, I love all things streusel topped–texture for life!–but it also packs a ton of lemon flavor into a humble little cake. It punches up the lemon 3-fold with lemon juice + zest in the batter, a cream cheese and curd layer, and a tart lemon drizzle. It’s pretty much the perfect lemon-y treat–the topping is crunchy, while the middle hides a creamy, lemon layer reminiscent of cheesecake, and the batter has that zest plus little bits of oats that give this tender cake a pleasant texture. It’s the kind of snack cake that disappears piece-by-piece before you know it and leaves you pinching the final crumbs out of the pan. Which makes it a little dangerous, but totally perfect for sharing.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Triple Lemon Streusel Cake

From Top with Cinnamon 

Serves 12

for the topping:

2 tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons rolled oats

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

for the cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup rolled oats

5 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons lemon curd

for the glaze:

2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl, rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture is achieved. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment leaving an overhang on two sides (I like to secure the sides with metal binder clips).

In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and lemon curd.

Begin making the cake batter by melting the butter. In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk until well mixed. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats (the batter will be a bit lumpy from the oats). Spread 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese and lemon curd mixture over the batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining cake batter over the cream cheese layer and spread it out evenly. Spread the topping mixture over the cake batter and bake the cake in the center of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake once it has cooled.

[/recipe]