May 12, 2010

to my mama

My mom was the person who taught me to bake, so it was only absolutely necessary that I whip up something good for Mother's Day. My mom is a really great lady. From her, I get my strong opinions, love of home, a little bit of sass, and dark hair. I'm sure there's lots more (our voices sound exactly the same, for example) but you get the idea. I'm a lot like my mom. And I think that's a good thing.

She opened a restaurant when I was a senior in college (6 years ago!) and at first, it was just her and I running the place. That was how I learned to bake - my mom always let me have creative freedom to experiment and come up with new recipes. The trailmix cookie was born that way, actually. She built the business from the ground up, the right way - slowly over time - and it's certainly something to be proud of today.

So anyway, I made this for my mama to celebrate her day:

The recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis. I love the way Giada uses ricotta in baking. You should really try her ricotta lemon cookies. They are sooooo good. This recipe is very good as well. Serve it with some sugared strawberries and whipped cream. Enjoy, and toast to your mom.

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake
adapted from the recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature (plus more to grease the pan)
1 1/2 cups whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
2 T triple sec liqueur
1/2 tsp almond extract
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bunt or loaf pan. 

Using a mixer, beat together the butter, ricotta and sugar on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, orange zest, and liqueur. Mix well. 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter and ricotta mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. 

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest for about 10 minutes, and then turn the cake on to a plate or cake stand. After the cake has cooled, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with strawberries (or your berry of choice) and fresh whipped cream.