Aunt Rosemarie’s Scrumptious Ricotta Sheet Cake

 
Our Aunt Rosemarie was always our fashion role model as we were growing up. Her beautiful red hair is her signature look and she always dresses so beautifully. Aunt Rosemarie always had a way of making us feel so special. Whenever we visited her in Brooklyn, as children or as adults, she cooked so much food that she could have fed all of Brooklyn! We have fond memories of the long folding tables that she and our uncle Ralph set up in the living room to accommodate our large family.  For us, it was like going to a fine Italian restaurant, enjoying appetizers, pasta, main dish, and desserts.  The meal was endless and oh so good! We are happy to share her delicious ricotta sheet cake that she gave us during a recent phone call. This cake is a real crowd pleaser, extremely moist and so easy to make. ❤️❤️

Servings: 12     Prep Time: 10 minutes      Bake Time: 1 hour 25 minutes   Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box of your favorite yellow cake mix (to make our Gluten-Free version, click here)
  • 2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 small lemon or 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • powdered sugar 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a medium size bowl mix the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice with a wooden spoon and set aside.
  3. Follow directions on cake mix box and pour into a greased & floured  9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  4. Pour the ricotta mixture directly on top of the cake batter in the pan. No need to spread or stir as the ricotta will sink to the bottom and form a nice layer.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 25 minutes until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan placed on a cooling rack. Once cooled cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit just before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

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Decadent Cannoli Cupcakes, Gluten-Free 😋 😋

 

Decadent Cannoli Cupcakes, Gluten-Free

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy

These delicious and decadent cupcakes are a combination of our best version of cannoli cream filling along with an orange zest & vanilla gluten-free cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache, cannoli cream, sliced almonds & citron. Anyone saying gluten-free is flat & tasteless hasn't tasted these. The taste is amazing...and they are easy to make. If you're a cannoli fan, you will love these cupcakes.😋 😋

Ingredients

  • CUPCAKE
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fior di Sicilia
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 flour
  • 1½ tsp gluten-free baking powder (Rumford)
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking soda (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk take a 1/2 cup of milk and add 1½ tsp vinegar, stir & let sit for 10 minutes.)
  • 1/4 recipe Italian Cannoli Cream – Twiins Style
  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet chocolate chips (for ganache)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (for ganache)

 

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease and flour a cupcake pan & set aside. (Paper liners may be used in place of grease & flour).
    2. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter & sugar together until light & fluffy.
    3. Add the orange zest, vanilla, and Fiori di Sicilia. Mix to incorporate all ingredients.
    4. Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
    5. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt & buttermilk.
    6. Beat mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    7. Evenly divide the batter into the cupcake pan.
    8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    9. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a cooling rack about 15-20 minutes.
    10. Once cooled, remove cupcakes from pan and set on a baking sheet to decorate.
    11. Using a small paring knife, take a cooled cupcake and cut a circular cone out of the center at approximately a 45º angle and to a depth of 1-inch.
    12. Keep the top part of the cut-out portion on the side as you will put it back into the cupcake after filling with cannoli cream.
    13. Fill hole using a pastry bag and replace the cut-out piece of cake over the filling. Press in place.
    14. In a small saucepan on low heat, add the chocolate chips and the heavy cream. Whisk briskly until shiny & smooth and completely melted.
    15. Using a spoon, spread the ganache on the top of each cupcake. Put in refrigerator to set.
    16. Once set, take cannoli filling and pipe around the top of the cupcake using a pastry bag.
    17. Garnish with candied citron and sliced almonds.
    18. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

    Notes: Can also be garnished with chopped pistachios or candied orange peel. 

    This recipe can be made with regular all-purpose flour if gluten is not an issue.

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    Italian Cannoli Cream – Twiins Style

     

    Italian Cannoli Cream - Twiins Style

    • Servings: 40-60 Cannolis
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Anyone who knows Barbara knows she's a cannoli snob! She compares every cannoli she tastes to her favorite Italian Bakery in Lindenhurst, New York (including the cannoli we had in Italy). There are so many versions of cannolis throughout Italy and every Italian neighborhood throughout the United States that it would be impossible to choose which one is best... So, we set out to incorporate the best of all the cannolis we've ever tried and are so happy to share our best version with you. ❤️❤️

    Ingredients

    • 4½ lbs whole milk ricotta (drained overnight to remove all excess liquid)
    • 1½ lbs granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2-3 drops cinnamon oil (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
    • 1/4 cup citron, diced
    • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, diced
    • 4 oz semi-sweet Mini chocolate chips (may substitute with bittersweet chips, depending on your preference.)

    Directions

    1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place the drained ricotta cheese into the mixing bowl, mix the cheese on lowest speed to combine and smooth.
    2. Add granulated sugar and allow to mix in until dissolved completely. The texture should be smooth, not grainy.
    3. Add the vanilla & cinnamon oil.
    4. Mix until incorporated. Do not overmix.
    5. Gently fold in the citron, candied orange and mini chocolate chips.
    6. Place in a pastry bag and refrigerate until ready to pipe into cannolis & serve.
    7. Before piping, cut the tip of the pastry bag large enough to allow the chips to pass through.

    Notes: If using ground cinnamon, your cannoli filling will not be white. 

    Do not fill cannoli’s until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy.

    Cannoli Cream Filling can also be used for cakes, cupcakes, and as a pastry filling.

     

     

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    Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake, Gluten-Free, Twiins Style & Doubly Delicious❤️❤️

     

    Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake, Gluten-Free, Twiins Style & Doubly Delicious

    • Servings: 12
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Did you ever have a cranberry orange Duncan Donuts muffin? If you did then you know they are absolutely amazing! We always loved to get these muffins with a cup of coffee while out shopping together. It became the highlight of our shopping excursions. We are proud to say we achieved that same moist & flavorful combination in our Twiins Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake. No need to wait for a special occasion. Make this bundt cake anytime and it will disappear in the blink of an eye (especially if Jack is nearby)! This is another example of how baking gluten-free is just as delicious in taste and texture as traditional flour is. ❤️❤️

    Ingredients

    • 2¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
    • 2 Tablespoons Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (for cranberry coating to prevent cranberries from sinking to the bottom)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt, pink Himalayan
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
    • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
    • 1 cup sour cream (we use Daisy)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 2¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries (roll in 2 Tablespoons of the flour above to coat prior to folding into the cake mixture, no need to thaw frozen)
    • Powdered sugar for topping

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2¾ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer beat the butter & sugar until light & fluffy.
    4. Add 1 egg at a time then mix in vanilla.
    5. On low speed,  mix in orange zest then slowly add orange juice and the oil until well blended.
    6. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup at a time,  the dry ingredients from step 1 above, alternate with sour cream and finish with the dry ingredients.
    7. Continue to mix on low, scraping bowl as needed until just combined. Do not overmix.
    8. Add the flour-coated cranberries and gently fold them into the batter.
    9. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with cooking spray or grease with butter & flour.
    10. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake 50-65 minutes depending on your oven.  Test with a toothpick. Toothpick should come out clean.
    11. Remove from oven. Let sit about 30 minutes then remove and continue to cool on wire rack.
    12. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar when completely cooled.
    13. Serve and enjoy!

    Serving Suggestions: Enjoy plain or top each slice with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream, gelato or a dollop of whipped cream.

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    Panna Cotta

     

    Panna Cotta

    • Servings: 6-8
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Panna Cotta is one of those special desserts we have been serving at dinner parties for several years. It tastes heavenly, is refreshing, incredibly smooth and creamy, not too sweet, naturally gluten-free, and loved by everyone who has ever eaten it. Preparing it the day before makes this recipe so easy. Your family and guests will love it.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tsp (1 packet) unflavored gelatin powder
    • 3 Tablespoons cold water
    • 3 cups heavy cream
    • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
    • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 vanilla bean
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 8 cups sliced fresh strawberries or raspberries
    • 5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • freshly grated lemon zest, for garnish

    Directions

    • In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 3 Tablespoons of cold water.
    • Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow gelatin to dissolve.
    • In the meantime, in a medium bowl whisk together 1½ cups of heavy cream, yogurt & vanilla extract.
    • Split the vanilla bean and use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds into the cream.
    • Heat the remaining 1½cups of cream and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat & add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.
    • Pour the hot cream/gelatin mixture into the cold cream/yogurt mixture and stir to combine.
    • Place the empty ramekins on a baking sheet. Pour into 8 (6-8 oz) ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, about 1 hour. When the Panna Cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
    • 30 minutes to 1 hr before serving, combine the fresh strawberries or raspberries, balsamic vinegar glaze, sugar & pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
    • When ready to serve, surround the Panna Cotta with the fruit/balsamic mixture then dust with freshly grated lemon zest on top & serve.


    Note: This recipe has been adapted from Ina Garten.

     

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    Cranberry, Orange & Apple Relish

     

    Cranberry, Orange & Apple Relish

    • Servings: 8-10
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Many years ago while hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner I was looking for something different to serve in place of the traditional cranberry sauce. I don't remember if I found this recipe in the food section of a local newspaper or a magazine but it quickly became a family favorite. I took oranges and cut them in half, scooped out the insides, cut a zig zag pattern around the rims then put the relish recipe below into each orange cup. I then placed them all around the turkey on a large platter. It makes a beautiful presentation for special dinners.

    Ingredients

    • 2 apples, chopped (put in lemon juice to preserve color then drain)
    • 2 navel oranges, cut into small pieces
    • 2 can Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce
    • 3 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon (more or less to taste)
    • dash of nutmeg
    • drop of vanilla extract (may be omitted)

    Directions

    • Combine all ingredients into a medium size bowl, mix well. & cover.
    • Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.


    Note: Cranberry, Orange & Apple relish makes a great fruit dessert anytime of the year. Serve by itself or over a nice pound cake topped with whipped cream. Compliments poultry, & pork main dishes.

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    Date Nut Bread

     

    Date Nut Bread

    • Servings: 1 loaf (about 16 slices)
    • Difficulty: Easy

    I have been making this date nut bread every Christmas morning for what seems like forever! Originally I got this recipe from my longtime friend, Linda O'Donnell. We were next door neighbors and best friends since 1970. A lot of baking went on between us during our children's youth. Every Christmas morning Gary & I would spread some cream cheese on a slice, grab a cup of coffee and watch the kids open presents. We absolutely love it.

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cups chopped dates ( I use Sun Maid or Dole)
    • 1 ½ cups boiling water
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 egg, well beaten
    • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts – nuts may be omitted)
    • 1 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • dash of cinnamon

    Directions

    • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    • Grease a 9¼ x 5¼ x 2¾ loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
    • In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter & brown sugar with dates.
    • Pour the boiling water over the date mixture and cool.
    • When cool, add beaten egg & dry ingredients. Beat well.
    • Add nuts &  vanilla. Stir well.
    • Bake in loaf pan for 1 hour & 10 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.
    • When slightly cool, remove from loaf pan and continue cooling on rack.
    • After completely cooled, cover in plastic wrap to keep moist.


    Note: No need to wait for Christmas! Enjoy this anytime with cream cheese or butter spread on top.

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    Swiss Cake Roll with Chocolate Ganache – Award Winning

     

    Teresa baked this delicious gluten-free cake to celebrate her bridge club’s October birthdays. Everyone loved it so much that Teresa never got a piece! Fortunately, her friend Judy was kind enough to give her a fork full. No one could believe it was gluten free!

    Update: Barbara’s neighborhood had a Chili & Chocolate Cook Off on 2/22/19 and this delicious cake was the  winner for 2019! 

    Servings: 10-12

    Ingredients 

    Cake:

    • 1/4 cup unsweetened Hershey’s® cocoa powder
    • 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp Cafe Pilon® instant coffee freeze-dried
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 1/2 cup sugar

    Instructions for Cake

    1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
    2. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form (don’t over-beat or they will dry out).
    3. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow, then mix in remaining dry ingredients until just combined.
    4. Fold in egg whites being careful not to deflate them by over-mixing.
    5. Pour batter into a greased, parchment-lined 17x12x1″ jelly-roll pan.
    6. Tap filled pan on counter several times to bring air bubbles to surface.
    7. Bake at 425° on the middle shelf for approximately 9 minutes, until set. Keep checking to make sure edges don’t burn.
    8. Allow the cake to cool in pan for 5-7 minutes and GENTLY roll the cake into a roll while still on the parchment and in the pan. (This should prevent the cake from cracking later when you reroll with the filling).
    9. Allow the roll to cool completely on a cake rack
    10. Make the whipped cream filling below.
    11. Unroll the cake carefully & spread filling across it. Reroll the cake once the filling is inside & place back on cooling rack.
    12. Prepare the ganache per instructions below.
    13. Pour the slightly cooled chocolate ganache over the cake roll & let stand to harden, then refrigerate

    Whipped Cream Filling:

    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Deep mixing bowl & whisk attachment should be refrigerated before mixing.

    Instructions for Whipped Cream Filling

    1. Beat the heavy cream, sugar, & vanilla in a cold bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often until high peaks form. Store in refrigerator until ready to fill cake roll.

     

    Chocolate Ganache Icing

    • 14 ounces Nestle® Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 3 Tablespoons espresso coffee ( I used freeze-dried mixed with hot water)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
    • 3/4 cups heavy cream
    • pinch of salt

    Instructions for Chocolate Ganache Icing

    1. In a heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients & stir over very low heat.
    2. Just before the chocolate mixture is melted, remove from heat & stir until mixture is completely melted. It may appear curdled, but keep stirring or whisk vigorously till smooth.
    3. If too thick to pour, whisk in 1 Tablespoon at a time of hot water.
    4. Make sure ganache is somewhat cooled before pouring onto the cake.

    We know this recipe seems like a great deal of work; however, it is done in steps & well worth it.

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