Ricotta mini cakes

These are called mini cakes but are definitely a cookie. We all loved these! My mom said that my Italian great-grandmother used to make something like this, but she thinks that she used almond extract instead of vanilla. I wish I had all of my great grandmas recipes written down by her, for me to treasure forever but I don’t. So it leaves me searching. In my search I came across this recipe in an old Family Circle magazine and I knew that I had to try it. I might try almond next time but the vanilla is delicious! I added sprinkles to some of the cookies while the frosting was still wet, just for fun. Enjoy!

The ingredients are:

Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Cookies:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and granulated sugar together until blended. Add egg, ricotta and vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. On low-speed, add flour mixture and beat until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Let cool on sheets 3 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

  1. Beat cofectioners’ sugar and milk together until well blended. Dip tops of cookies into glaze and set aside (this is when I put on the sprinkles) until glaze has hardened.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No-bake Strawberry Cheesecake, the perfect summer dessert! Easy, delicious, and I didn’t have to turn on my oven! This is the dessert I made for our kick off the summer family BBQ and we all loved it. Garnish with some blueberries and this would make a perfect red, white, and blue fourth of July dessert! I found the recipe in an old Food & Family magazine (summer 2008).

After a couple small changes from me,the ingredients are:

  • 12 Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 Pkgs. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup strawberry preserves
  • 2 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped Topping, thawed
  1. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add preserves; mix well. Place strawberries and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in small bowl; mash with fork. Stir strawberry mixture and whipped topping into cheese mixture. Spoon over crust; cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 16 servings

Olive Oil Cake

This Olive Oil Cake was so good. It was moist and the orange zest gave it a light fresh taste. I found the recipe in an old BonAppetit magazine ( september 2009) but it says in the magazine that the recipe is from Abraco Coffee Shop in Manhattan. Normally I would have been thinking of a way to make this dessert more decadent, by adding a glaze over the top, but I really enjoyed the simple fresh taste of this cake. I had another piece this morning with my coffee, YUM!

The ingredients are:

  • 1-1/2 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3/4 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored organic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

(I did not have all organic ingredients and substituted them for what I had on hand and my cake still turned out great so don’t worry if you don’t have organic ingredients it will still turn out fine.)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Oil and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.
  3. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake. Cool completely, top side up.

 

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

The family got together for a wonderful Mothers Day BBQ to honor all of our wonderful Mommies. My grandmother being the first, my mother and aunts being next and then me! It was a great day with lots of delicious food (of course)! I woke up mothers day morning wanting to bake, so I made three desserts to take to the BBQ. This Cream Cheese Sheet Cake was one of them. The cake was so moist and the thin layer of chocolate frosting was perfect! I got the recipe out of my Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour

Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Pour into a greased 15-in. x 11-in. baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  2. For frosting, combine sugar and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes (do not stir). Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted. Cool slightly. Stir; spread over cake.

Yield: 24-30 servings

Mexican Chocolate Cake

 

The dessert I made for our Cinco De Mayo dinner was this Mexican Chocolate Cake. I found the recipe in an old Gourmet magazine (April 2004). This cake was perfectly moist, the glaze like frosting was rich and delicious, and the hint of cinnamon was perfect. We all really enjoyed this cake.

The ingredients are:

For Cake

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Glaze

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 5 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: a 9-inch tube pan or 12-cup bundt pan

Make cake: 

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pan well and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
  2. Melt butter (2 sticks) in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa. Add water and whisk until smooth, then remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl, then sift again into cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (don’t worry if there are lumps).
  4. Pour batter into cake pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 45 to 55 minutes. (my cake was done at 42 minutes)

Make glaze:

  1. Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, then stir in half-and-half and confectioners sugar. Add chocolate and cook, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Cool glaze until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon glaze over top and sides of cake (cake will still be warm) and spread with a small offset spatula or knife to cover completely.

Cooks’ note:

Cake (with glaze) can be made 2 days ahead and kept at room temperature in a cake keeper or covered with an inverted bowl.