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When it’s time to break our fast, we always dream of pouring ourselves a big cup of coffee, serving it along with a thick slice of some sort of tasty breakfast treat. Most of the time we just end up with a banana we grab on the way out the door or a breakfast sandwich featuring sausage of mysterious origins that we nab from a drive-through, but the dream still stands. And luckily, Ina Garten is here to show us how it’s done. There’s a reason why she’s our ultimate role model! Garten would never skimp on breakfast, and if you’ve ever made banana bread, you know how easy it can be to mix up a sweet treat for the morning. This blueberry ricotta breakfast cake from the Barefoot Contessa is just as easy as banana bread, but with a rich flavor, moist texture, lots of berries, and more protein to boot.
The recipe comes from Garten’s Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. While it’s a delicious breakfast option any time of year (especially if you have company), Garten’s vision for the cake is all about mom. “For Mother’s Day, let mom sleep in while you bake her my Blueberry Ricotta Breakfast Cake. It’s so easy to make — and who wouldn’t love cake for breakfast?” We assume that’s a rhetorical question!
The star of the cake is ricotta cheese, which keeps the cake moist (along with sour cream) and adds extra protein, so even though this is obviously a special treat breakfast, it will still help keep you feeling satisfied until lunch time. Use whole-milk ricotta for best results.
The cake doesn’t have many flavored ingredients in it, so the ones that you do use should be high-quality. Garten favors “good vanilla,” which in this case means Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract. The recipe also includes lemon zest, and here’s a trick — to coax the most lemony flavor out of the zest, rub it into the granulated sugar before adding that to the mixer bowl. The sugar helps extract the fragrant oils from the lemon zest. If you don’t have lemons, you could really use any type of citrus zest for the recipe. Just make sure the citrus you’re using is unwaxed before you zest it.
A hefty portion of blueberries gives this cake big flavor, and Garten adds them in two different ways, both mixing berries into the batter, then scattering them on top just before baking.
It’s the type of breakfast cake that makes waking up early in the morning totally worth it, and we can just pretend we’re Ina Garten sitting on a porch in the Hamptons and looking at the sunrise over the beach every time we serve ourselves a slice.
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Watch: We Tried Ina Garten’s Overnight Mac & Cheese & We Totally Get Why It Broke the Internet
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