Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

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This has been a weird year for weather and in central North Carolina we saw a lot more (6 inches, woo!) more snow than usual. One day it was 70 degrees and the next it would be 30 with sleet. See what I mean? All these unpredictable snowstorms and icy roads meant a lot of canceled classes and work for me. Which meant a lot of time indoors with my brother and his terrible taste in TV programs (aside from the most sports games ever, he also enjoys Cops, Gold Rush and Bar Rescue… if you’re familiar with any of those you understand my pain).

As the cabin fever set in I decided the only thing for it was to go on a baking spree. In anticipation of being snowed in, my mom stocked the fridge with butter and eggs before leaving town (very smart considering what happens when her son gets control of the TV). I made macarons, muffins, cookies, lemon curd and a delightful cake lemon ricotta cake from this blog. There is nothing quite like a bright, lemony cake to raise your spirits and mimic the freshness of spring when you’re stuck inside.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, from about 2ish lemons
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, also at room temp
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray loaf pan. Cut and place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, letting it hang up and over the sides.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk (and/or sift!) together the gf flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside. In your mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated. Add the ricotta, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan – make glaze while cooling!
    1. To make glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, 1/2 tsp. almond extract and 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Wait until completely cooled before pouring glaze over cake.

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Enjoy with a cup of tea and a book, or serve up with a little fresh whipped cream after a light meal. You can’t go wrong with this recipe. The only thing I changed from the original was my use of a gluten-free flour blend (xanthan gum included).

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Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

There are very few flavor combinations I enjoy baking with more than lemon and lavender. It just makes me feel so posh and British sometimes and with all the uncharacteristic snow North Carolina has been getting lately, the citrus notes are just what I need to perk me back up. Not that I don’t looove snow days, but you have to admit, once it starts to melt it’s just yuck.

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Honey I could really take or leave, and tend to leave it. In the past honey has made me feel pretty ill (which is weird because I’m the type of person one would assume an abundance of sweetness would never bother) but in small doses, or paired with the perfect ingredients, I can make an exception. And boy am I glad I did with these puppies! This recipe from “Gimme Some Oven” is absolutely delicious. I substituted the 1.5 cups of flour for my gluten-free all purpose blend (it’s magical…. stick around for that post in the coming week!) and to add in the lavender I put the 3/4 cups of granulated sugar in my food processor with 1 teaspoon of dried lavender buds, stemmed. I like to wing it with flavored buttercreams when it come to frosting my cupcakes, but if you like the cream cheese honey combo in the original recipe, knock yourselves out! I’ll include my lemon/honey buttercream recipe too 🙂

Hope these gluten-free goodies help drive away your February blues as well!!

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Ingredients:

Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried, stemmed lavender buds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest

Honey Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 – 2 c. confectioners sugar (as needed)
  • honey, to taste (I don’t use that much, probably a teaspoon or 2)
  • pinch of lemon zest if there is some over from cupcakes
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking cups with paper liners. (I made 12 large and about 6 minis!)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk honey, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a smaller bowl.

3. In a food processor, combine sugar and lavender, pulsing 4 – 5 times until lavender buds start to break down a little .

4. Beat butter and lavender sugar on medium speed for until a fluffy, homogenous mixture form. Add eggs one at a time; beating each in until just combined.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Blend in entire honey/milk mixture and combine. Add remaining flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated.

6. Fill baking cups evenly, almost 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes; rotating halfway through for most even bake. *When baking with gluten free mixtures, I find the bake time can vary extraordinarily from original recipe, so be sure to check your goodies a few times throughout he baking process. For this recipe I think they fell safely within the 15-20 minutes with the toothpick coming out clean.*

Allow to cool, and frost!

Directions (for buttercream):

1. Beat together all ingredients and add powdered sugar, lemon, and honey to taste. If you don’t want an overwhelming flavor but you need more moisture, mix in milk a teaspoon at a time – a lot goes a long way in buttercreams.

2. Frost those suckers and enjoy!

Makes 12-15, or 12 regular and 6-8 mini cupcakes. Keep in air tight container for up to five days. Gluten-free goodies are best eaten ASAP however, and in our house that’s never a problem!Image

Lemon Curd on Everything!

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I don’t know about you, but I could eat lemon curd on just about anything – and that includes those weirdly textured store-bought loaves of gluten-free bread. In fact, that’s part of the reason I decided to make some curd – so I would have something absolutely delicious to put on some mediocre pieces of g-free toast. (That was a lot of complaining for two sentences, but don’t worry, I’m working on some gluten-free bread recipes to solve aaaall my problems!)

The other reason for mixing up a batch of this gold magic is that I happened to have 6 egg yolks lying around thanks to a meringue recipe I was trying out and something my mom was making for dinner. And everyone knows the best thing to do with extra egg yolks is make lemon curd!

ImageLemon curd (or any citrus curd, really) is fairly easy to make as long as you don’t leave it to burn or something else silly like that. I pretty much used this recipe here but I used an entire stick of butter, because that’s what another site suggested and I thought – yup, that sounds good! It also occurred to me as I just reread that recipe that I didn’t follow their directions at all – or anyone else’s for that matter. I’ve been doing it an easier way for years and guess what? It turns out so velvety and scrumptious you could eat it right off the spoon…. And I always do.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3  c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. – 2 tbsp. lemon zest (whatever floats your boat zest-wise goes here. I used 2 tbsp. because that’s how much I like lemons)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Stir continuously on medium heat until the mixture sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to burn or boil!
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly add one piece of butter at a time, stirring until melted before adding another chunk. (I just cut the stick into about 10 pieces)
  3. When all the butter has been added, stir in the lemon zest.
  4. To prevent lumpiness (bleh) I pour mine straight into a pint mason jar and refrigerate.
  5. Allow to cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes, then… enjoy it on anything and everything you can find!

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