Ricotta Pecan Coffee Cake

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Ricotta Pecan Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/ 2 cup butter, softened

3/ 4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

 

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/ 2 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

 

1/ 2 cup sweetened and salted whole pecans

Powdered sugar

 

  • Grease lightly the bottoms of 2 8-inch baking pans, then line with parchment paper.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and ricotta cheese. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue beating until well blended. Batter will be thick.
  • Pour 1/ 2 of the batter into lined baking pans equally and evenly.
  • Combine the brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle 1/ 2 of the topping over the top of the cake batter. Repeat another layer of batter and topping.
  • Lastly, press lightly the sweetened and salted whole pecans on top.
  • Refrigerator uncovered for 1 hour.
  • Oven to 350 degrees. Bake cakes for 40 to 50 minutes. Test center with a toothpick for doneness. Cool completely.
  • Optional – Before serving, sprinkle top with powdered sugar for decoration.  
  • ENJOY! – Best coffee cake with ricotta cheese ever!

This recipe came about because of two reasons. Reason number one, an unexpected guest was coming on Sunday for coffee at around 11:30 am and it was already 9:00 am. Reason number two, I found all of the ingredients handy in my refrigerator including just the right amount of ricotta needed. The topping of sweetened and salted whole pecans was a total last minute thought that turned out to be a great addition. Sometimes you have to be quick on your feet when it comes to entertaining at the last minute. I am always up to the challenge of whipping up something, even if it isn’t all homemade.

Years ago, my husband mentioned to me, last minute, that he invited some of his family over for dinner because they would happen to be in our neighborhood, in a few hours. I had no idea what I would serve; then like a drill sergeant, I started barking commands to the family. To my husband, “Get the dining room table pulled out and set up the room so I can serve buffet style.” To my son, who was driving at the time, “I need you to go to Price Club and buy two bags of frozen stuffed shells and one bag of frozen ready made meatballs.” There is always homemade spaghetti sauce in my freezer and I had everything to make a salad. The menu for dinner for about 15 people altogether was two trays of stuffed shells, a pot of meatballs in sauce, a tray of salad and Italian bread. When the family arrived for dinner, it was as if a tornado had touched down in my house and whipped up all the food into a cyclone and took it away. They came, they ate, they left. Nothing but a few meatballs at the bottom of a pot of sauce was left standing. When you use your own homemade sauce, everything you serve with it tastes ten times better. Don’t sweat the small stuff, so what if I didn’t make an elaborate dinner, I made dinner and in a short amount of time no less. That is what is important at the end of the day. Dinner was served.

Mangia, and the whole world Mangias with you!

Cannoli Cake

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Cannoli Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: medium
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DSC04407

1 package butter recipe yellow cake mix

1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup marcaspone cheese
mini chocolate chips

16 ounces heavy cream
powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
mini chocolate chips
powdered cocoa

1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions ahead of time. Use 2 8 or 9 inch greased and floured baking pans.
Cool after baking for 15 in pan and then remove to cool completely on wire racks. Set aside till later. (I bake the cake the day
before or 4 hours before preparing the rest of the recipe)
2. In a large bowl or mixer, add ricotta cheese, powdered sugar and marcaspone cheese. Beat until creamy but try not to over mix the filling.
Remove bowl from mixer and add mini chocolate chips 1/2 cup at a time stirring with a spoon, depending how much chocolate you want in your
cannoli cream filling.
3. In the meantime, slice the cakes in half to get four layers. Layer cake, cannoli, cake, cannoli until you have 3 layers of cannoli filling.
Whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar to taste adding the almond and vanilla extracts. Spread whipped cream over the entire top and sides
of cake. Put toasted almond sliced all around the sides of the cake. On top around the edges of the cake add mini chocolate chips to make
a boarder. Sprinkle powdered cocoa through a mini sifter over the top center of the cake. Store in the refrigerator till ready to serve.
4. ENJOY – Best cake ever! Let’s get this party started!

©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com

 

My daughter and her husband, Marisa & Jeff, prepare a special cake for Christmas Day every year which is beautiful to the eye as well as delicious to the palate. This year was no exception; they prepared a new recipe, cannoli cake. The original recipe is on Taste of Home website and it is called Marvelous Cannoli Cake. Marisa and Jeff were inspired by it and proceeded to create their own version. They recently made it for their son’s christening party to be enjoyed by family and friends. As usual, it was made to perfection, with not only two layers of vanilla cake, but also two layers of chocolate cake.

The cake was so exceptional that I felt compelled to make it myself. My husband and I were invited to our good friends, Patti and Eddie’s home for a New Year’s Eve dinner. I offered to make the dessert. Not having all the ingredients in the house didn’t deter me one bit; I thought I could wing it. I prepared the cake early in the morning and let it cool. Running around all day, I suddenly realized I had to finish preparing the rest of the cake. Haste makes waste! While toasting the almond slices, I got distracted and burnt almost all of them. The little bit of mini chocolate chips that I scoured the house for went into the cannoli cream. Oops — the filling didn’t include the usual vanilla and almond extracts. Improvise is my motto, especially when it is too late to run to the store. I made due by placing a few toasted almond slices on top in the center of the cake and sifted powdered cocoa to create a border. Having run out of chocolate chips, I used chocolate sprinkles for the decorations all around the sides of the cake. When I was done, I sent the photo to Marisa and Jeff in a text to show how proud I was. Jeff immediately text replied, “Hope it tastes better than it looks!” Not the best way to win over the mother-in-law, if you know what I mean! No hurt feelings, I know Jeff was only kidding.

When I finally unveiled my version at Eddie & Patti’s, I received praises all around. After everyone enjoyed a slice, made very obvious by the sighing going on, even more praises came my way.

Moral of this story: Never judge a cake by it’s frosting!

OLIVE OIL AND ROSEMARY CAKE

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Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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DSC041443/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Oven 325 degrees.
2. Grease a 10-inch loaf pans, (or 6 mini loaf pans ).
3. In a medium bowl cream together eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add olive oil slowly and beat thoroughly blending well.
4. Gently stir in chopped rosemary into the batter.
5. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to wet ingredients.
Beat on a low speed until mixed well.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-50 minutes or until cake is done.
( Test with a toothpick in center, until it comes out dry.)
7. Cool cake in pans 20 minutes. Remove from pan and place on racks until
completely cooled.
8. ENJOY – Savory and sweet, makes this cake complete!

©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com

Summer is over and fall is here! On my deck and awaiting my attention is my herb garden, now overgrown and ready to be stored for winter use. A seemingly delicate and fragrant herb, my rosemary has proved to be the hardiest of all. For the last few years I felt a calling to use her creatively, and the result is this rosemary olive oil cake.

I surfed the Internet and browsed through my many cookbooks, and the one recipe for rosemary olive oil cake that I thought was the best was Chef Mario Batali’s version. I remained faithful to his recipe except for the amount of rosemary used. As soon as I read that he used 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, my gut told me that it might be too potent. Pungent and actually related to mint, I realized that a little rosemary will go a long way in any recipe. Whether preparing roasted potatoes, a pork tenderloin roast, or baking a cake, just a little bit of fresh rosemary added to any dish will do the trick in my opinion.

My version of rosemary olive oil cake uses only 1 tablespoon of rosemary, and I feel it is just the right amount. My family and friends, aka taste testers, all agree that the rosemary in the cake was powerful enough and twice the amount of rosemary would have been too much. However, if you’re really into rosemary, follow Mario Batali’s version.

Nutella Pound Cake

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Nutella Pound Cake

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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DSC040401 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
Half of one 13-ounce jar Nutella
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a bowl, sift flour and baking powder.
2. In a separate large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully mixed. Add in the flour mixture gradually, beating at low speed between additions until mixed well. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
3. Open the jar of Nutella and microwave for 30 seconds to get it spreadable/smooth. Stir with butter knife. If still too thick, microwave again for another 10 seconds. Set aside
4. Spread one-half of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread some of the Nutella, (about 3 to 4 ounces, or 1/ 4 of a jar) on top of batter. Repeat with the rest of the batter and then top with another 1/ 4 of a jar of Nutella and then gently swirl with a butter knife the Nutella into the batter. Do not overmix.
5. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve (coffee ice cream goes very well with it).
6. ENJOY – You tella, me tella, it’s wonderful Nutella!

 ©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com 

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

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1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk

1. Oven 350 degrees
2. Grease three 8-inch cake pans, (round or square). Flour pans with a small amount of
cocoa.
3. In a large bowl cream margarine, butter, and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla beat thoroughly blending well.
4. Sift cake flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt together. Add to wet ingredients.
Add buttermilk 1 cup at a time. Beat well.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until cake is done.
( Test with a toothpick in center, until it comes out dry.)
6. Cool cake in pans 10 to 20 minutes. Place on racks until completely cooled.
7. Serve with fresh whipped cream, ice cream or ice the cakes with cream cheese icing.
8. ENJOY – Heaven must be missing a cake, because this one is so light it can float!!

If you are reading this, “Thank You”!  As Mikey said, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Enough said about this easy homemade buttermilk chocolate cake!

Mini Cheesecakes

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18 to 22 vanilla wafer cookies
3 eggs
1 / 3 cup sour cream
3 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3 / 4 cup sugar
1 1 / 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Oven to 325 degrees.
2. Line muffin pans with foil cupcake liners. Place one wafer
cookie in each liner.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat with an electric beater on medium speed,
cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs and sour
cream. Continue beating on a lower speed until everything is
blended well.
4. Spoon batter into foil cupcake liners 3 / 4 full.
5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until center is cooked. Remove
cheesecakes from muffin pan when cooled. Chill and serve plain
or with different toppings such as preserves, fresh fruit or
chocolate chips.
6. ENJOY! – Mini cheesecakes that have a huge taste!

As that old saying goes, “if you can’t take the heat, get outta the kitchen.” Taken literally, that’s some good old-fashioned advice during upcoming days of summer. Are you so hot that you don’t even feel like eating? I totally get that. I didn’t have air-conditioning in my home until about a few years ago when we finally upgraded our circuits to handle the extra power needed. Who gets excited about eating dinner let alone dessert when you’re too hot to move? Except maybe kids, they never seem to have a problem eating dessert whatever the temperature. These mini cheesecakes are in the top ten list for my grandchildren any time of the year.

As a creative cook, it’s my job to solve this dilemma, and I want to share the solution with you. First, avoid large heavy pies and cakes; cute smaller desserts will be the lighter option and appear more refreshing. For example, a regular sized cheesecake in the summer will never be touched on the dessert table. But check out the difference when you serve mini cheesecakes cold from the fridge. Top them with fruit or a dollop of fresh cream and watch then fly off the table. Ice cream is another excellent choice to serve in the summer, over something or all by its lonesome. I serve a lot of coffee cakes and/or plain pound cakes, already sliced before placing on the table.

Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th and Labor Day are very big party celebrations around here and are usually celebrated outdoors. I don’t think I have ever attended any indoor parties for these holidays, as partying indoors seems so unnatural when the sun is shining and spirits are high. At every one of these parties there is always someone who brings a red, white and blue cake in honor of the American flag. I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing appetizing about a cake made with those colors. Truthfully, I don’t know how they taste because I have never tasted one. The only cake that ever looked close to appetizing in red, white and blue was a strawberry shortcake someone had made using blueberries and strawberries for the blue stars and red stripes on the flag. The rest of the cake was covered in white whipped cream for the white stripes.

Hmmmm…..that gives me an idea….maybe you could use blueberries and strawberries on top of your mini cheesecakes! Whichever way you serve these mini cheesecakes you will be sure to get star spangled responses from your guests!

MONKEY BREAD

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2 Cans Grand biscuits
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinammon

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter

1 cup walnuts

1. Oven 350 degrees.
2. Spray a Bundt pan with a canola oil spray.
3. Quarter the Grand biscuits toss in a bag with sugar and
cinammon. One can of biscuits for the first layer. Sprinkle
1/2 cup of walnuts all around. Repeat biscuit and walnut
layer again.
4. In a sauce pan, melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir over
heat until well blended. Pour over nuts and biscuits.
5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until done. Let sit for 5 minutes
only. Place a dish over the cake. Reverse and let the cake
fall onto plate. Take another dish and re-reverse the cake
onto the dish you want to serve it on. Serves 10.
6. Enjoy – Great bread for your little monkeys!

Monkey Bread has been around forever. My first experience with monkey bread was when my friend, Edith, made it for me many, many years ago when we were having a playdate with our kids.

Well, now the kids are grown and going on playdates with their own kids. And Monkey Bread is still with us and even making something of a comeback. Why? My guess would be that Pillsbury refrigerator biscuits have been on sale lately, and in this economy, products on sale look very attractive! The fact is that it is also one of the simplest coffee cakes to make when time is of the essence.

There’s nothing like trying to save both time and money, now is there? A sale on anything will determine my shopping list. I shop whatever is on sale. Always have and always will. That is not to say I don’t buy anything unless it is on sale, but it really doesn’t help when planning my weekly menu. If my husband and I are in the mood for something, like steak or shrimp, we just buy it. Usually, I am faithful to the supermarkets’ weekly flyers. There are three stores that I check for sales and will shop at the one with the best prices for the items I need that week. For example, toilet paper and paper towels are pricey and we are always in need of both. If one of the supermarkets is having a sale on either one of these items, and I have a coupon for that particular item, then that will determine which store gets my business that week. It drives me crazy to pay full price for something if I don’t have to. As the saying goes, “penny wise, pound foolish”, really is true. You’re really not gonna save any money if you need to drive an extra 15 miles to find that sale. With the rising gas prices today, some sales are just not worth the trip.

Oh yes, now back to that Monkey Bread…..some monkey bread recipes call for icing. I never make it that way, because of personal taste. Monkey bread can be prepared anyway you like it, with nuts or without, with icing or without; it’s just one of those breads that can be enjoyed with or without the frills!