A babycake, to me, is a small and special cake that doesn’t quite fit into any other mold. It’s not a muffin or a cupcake, nor is is simply a miniature version of a large cake. It’s a babycake – and it’s also precisely how I’d describe these Mixed Berry Ricotta Babycakes.
The cakes have a taste and texture that is somewhere between cheesecake and cupcake. The ricotta cheese in the batter gives it a flavor that is reminiscent of cheesecake, as well as a moist and soft texture that is also cheesecakey. But the batter, like a cupcake batter, primarily uses flour and sugar as its base. This gives the cupcake a firmness that you wouldn’t find in a straight cheesecake, but also gives it a very light mouthfeel; there is no hint of the dense or heavy texture of a traditional cheesecake. Overall, the texture is just lovely.
Berries and vanilla are the two main flavoring agents for these babycakes. The vanilla works very well with the ricotta cheese and brings a brightness to the cake, while the berries are there just to make the cakes more interesting. I used frozen mixed berries here. Fresh will work, if you can find some good ones in season, but frozen are absolutly fine. Feel free to use a mix – mine included strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries – or just opt for a single type of fruit. I think this cake would also be great with chopped up peaches.
These might be best suited to breakfast or brunch, when you want something sweet that is going to make an impact. I served them at a casual breakfast and they were a smash hit. They can easily be served as dessert, but they’re not as sweet as you might want a dessert to be, nor are they terribly fancy.
Mixed Berry Ricotta Cakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries, unthawed
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, ricotta, milk, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in berries.
Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a tester inserted into the cake part comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Refrigerate in an airtight container. Cakes will stay moist for several days.