Strawberry Love Cake
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© Paden Reich
I started making this cake in 2011 after my husband’s father, Tony Vitale, began sending us issues of La Gazzetta Italiana, a wonderful little newspaper serving the Italian-American community in Cleveland. I always turned to the food section, and that February, I found a recipe for a Sicilian Chocolate Love Cake. I made it for a family Valentine’s Day dinner and received a four-heart review. Everyone loved it. From there, I branched out. I made my favorite flavor, lemon, then on to butterscotch, and then one summer I tried strawberry, and that was the winner. The cake is moist, full of flavor, and I think the different layers make it look cool. If that isn’t enough of an endorsement, I will simply say I love Italian Love Cake.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions; pour into the prepared baking pan, and set aside.
3. Beat the ricotta and 4 ounces of the mascarpone with an electric mixer at medium-low speed until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Gently spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the cake batter.
4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the strawberry layer has risen to the top, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, beat the pudding mix and the remaining 12 ounces mascarpone with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth; gradually add the milk, beating until smooth. Let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes; spread the frosting over the cooled cake.
Mascarpone cheese, or Italian cream cheese, can be found at specialty markets. You could substitute regular cream cheese in a pinch.
1 (16.5-ounce) package strawberry cake mix
1 (32-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3.4-ounce) package strawberry crème instant pudding mix
1 cup whole milk
Hands on time
1 Hour, 45 Minutes