Tag Archives: lemon

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

lemon ricotta cheesecake bars

Thanks to everyone for their sweet thoughts yesterday. I know we all go through weeks like I’m having…with 14 hour work days, little sleep, and way too much coffee. But I’m definitely starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And with weeks like this, it’s always a good idea to treat yourself and those around you (who have to put up with your crankiness).

So let me suggest making these lemon ricotta cheesecake bars. I made them for a Labor Day BBQ last week and was so pleased that everyone enjoyed these wonderful little sweet squares. They’re simple, bright, fluffy, and have wonderful ricotta flavor. Trust me. Your friends will love you for this. And you’ll be so happy to just sit back, relax and enjoy good food with good company.

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake bars

Ricotta Cheesecake Bars with Lemon Shortbread

For the crust

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the cheesecake

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (8-oz) package plain cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese (I highly recommend fresh from the Farmer’s Market)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8×8″ baking pan.
  2. To make the crust, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in flour, salt and lemon zest until mix is crumbly. Press into the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While the crust bakes, make the filling. Combine sugar, heavy cream, cream cheese and ricotta in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla until well combined.
  4. Pour filling over hot crust (right when it comes out of the oven) and bake for another 25 minutes or until the filling is set.
  5. Cool completely. Keep refrigerated and wait until serving to slice into bars.

lemon ricotta cheesecake bars

Make these before summer is too far behind us! Ohh also, I think they would be fantastic with orange zest too. Yum. Ok, back to work!

Comfort and Zest

lemon blueberry cupcakes cream cheese frosting

It’s been a bit of a soul-searching week for me. Starting with this mantra on Monday – I’ve been going back and forth between cleansing, energizing, and rediscovering my passions and values. Pretty emotional…and it’s still only Thursday! (Good thing I have friends like K who I can count on to enjoy life and its endless desserts with me.)

It wasn’t intentional, but these blueberry lemon cupcakes kind of represent how I’ve been feeling. There’s the pure comfort and delight of blueberries, which remind me of simple backyard family time. Our go-to summer dessert was always fresh berries over whipped cream and pound cake. They’re like home base. Soul food. The lemon is everything I want to be right now. Bright, vivacious, to-the-point. A boost of energy and excitement. The goal is to marry these two lovely flavors to create heartfelt impact.

lemon blueberry cupcakes cream cheese frosting

Well ok, that was just a long winded way to say that these are yummy cupcakes. It’s no surprise these two flavors go so well together – add in some cream cheese frosting and you’ve got a no frills (or super complex if you look at it through my feelings) summer dessert. Perfect for sharing with girlfriends at book club on a candlelit deck.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes – makes about 20 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups plus and extra 2 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon. baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in lemon zest, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice. Alternate incorporating flour mixture and milk into the batter.
  4. Toss blueberries in the extra 2 tablespoons of flour and gently fold blueberries into the batter. Pour into cupcake cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans half way.
  5. For the frosting, beat all the ingredients together and frost on cooled cupcakes. Top with more blueberries and lemon zest.

lemon blueberry cupcakes cream cheese frosting

Tell me about one of your summer dessert memories. Or a dessert that embodies how you’re feeling today. Sometimes it’s just a little easier to process your worries and ideas when you break them down to simple sugar and butter.

Raspberry-Filled Lemon Cupcakes

Happy almost springtime!

I’ve been so busy recently that I really haven’t had much time to spend in my kitchen. With spring on the way, it’s time to get back to cooking with fresh veggies and baking some sweet new treats.

raspberry filled lemon cupcakes

I’ve actually never baked anything lemon before and I’ve been wanting to try it. These lemon cupcakes were actually inspired by some cupcake wrappers and decorations I had. The liners on these cupcakes are actually yellow with little white polka dots, but of course after baking you can’t even tell. And then there are the daisy toppers. How cute, right? So I wanted to bake something that felt and tasted like spring and ended up with these raspberry-filled lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. So delicious!

The lemon flavor is so fresh (just don’t pull a Nikki and zest your thumb while you’re zesting the lemons) and the frosting is so creamy and tart. I really love this flavor combination, which is saying a lot for me when chocolate isn’t involved. The cupcakes got great compliments from my co-workers – someone even said it was better than a Georgetown Cupcake!

raspberry filled lemon cupcakes

Raspberry-Filled Lemon Cupcakes

(Cake adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Seedless raspberry jam
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  3. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. Alternate by adding some flour mixture, then some buttermilk, then some lemon juice. Repeat in 3 batches until fully incorporated.
  4. Fill cupcake cups half way with the batter. Spoon about a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the center of each cup and press it down into the batter. Cover the jam with the remaining batter.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating pans half-way, until cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

raspberry filled lemon cupcakes

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 block of 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • A few drops of yellow food coloring
  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese.
  2. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each incorporation.
  3. Blend in lemon juice and add food coloring.
  4. Pipe on to cupcakes and decorate!

raspberry filled lemon cupcakes

A view from the inside! The surprise raspberry filling is a perfect flavor addition to the fresh lemon.

Happy spring!

Hello Sunshine

Summer is here. Sunshine is here. Bright, yellow, happy sunshine.

These lemon poppy seed muffins are ideal for a summer breakfast…and are also bright, yellow and bring happiness. They are very simple and perfectly sweet with such a fresh lemon flavor.

Pair with some fresh squeezed OJ and a bouquet of gerber daisies and you’ve got yourself a pretty great morning. Be sure to share and spread the joy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

(Adapted from Joy the Baker)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (trick: I didn’t have any, so I used milk instead, mixed in a Tablespoon of lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, rub the granulated sugar with the lemon zest until the lemon is coated in the sugar. Whisk in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract and lemon juice.
  4. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  When almost thoroughly mixed, add the poppy seeds.  Pour the batter into muffin cups and sprinkle each with a little granulated sugar.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I should have warned you this was an overly cheery post… summer will do that to you. So will these muffins.