Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake and a KitchenAid mixer giveaway

Today is our wedding anniversary, hence the cake.

It’s a light, lemony creation, which I’m serving up with a dollop of ricotta and maple-roasted rhubarb that was picked straight from my garden. Spring, long weekends, anniversaries – there is much to celebrate these May days and cake is just the ticket.

In addition to the recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb, I’m sharing about the cookbook that has been living on my kitchen counter: Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch–with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them. Oh, you’re going to love it.

And since we’re celebrating, our friends at KitchenAid want to give one lucky Simple Bites reader a brand new stand mixer! This post is packed, so let’s jump right into the fun.

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb || Simple Bites

A little over a year ago, I dined with my friend Stacie in a jam-packed bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn and she told me about a cookbook she was writing.

As a working mother of two committed to wholesome family meals, she had figured out a solution to reclaim scratch cooking for busy, modern parents. I listened, nodding, as Stacie described how her book would give home cooks a laid-back and flexible approach to family meals by using healthy store-bought shortcuts for maximum flexibility and full control.

I instantly knew this book would be a success because Stacie was writing what she knew. For years, she’s been sharing her common sense approach to eating on her popular blog, One Hungry Mama and Cool Mom Eats, honing her skills for a book.

Fast forward to today, and Stacie’s beautiful cookbook Make It Easy is on bookstore shelves everywhere and on my kitchen counter. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy and I’ve been cooking and baking my way through the chapters for over a month now. It’s fantastic; no surprise there.

Roasted Rhubarb

Before I continue, I want to say that I take my cookbook recommendations very, very seriously here on the blog. Sure, I have previous connections with Stacie, but I always set aside the personal stuff when I am testing a new book. It is always about the recipes. Always.

I had an experience last month with another cookbook, a hot new release that I had been eagerly anticipating for a while. Design-wise, it was a stunner. The photos were gorgeous; the layout very reader-friendly. But the recipes were seriously flawed. I made a total of seven recipes from start to finish, with mostly disastrous results. Expensive ingredients went in the garbage. Others were salvaged only because I applied practical cooking knowledge and overruled the recipes. It was a disappointment, and I scrapped the post I had planned. I didn’t want to waste another second of my time – or yours.

Sometimes that’s how it goes. Since writing my own, I am a fierce judge of cookbook content. It has to be so much more than a pretty package – yes, even though I’m a sucker for visuals and story.

Make it Easy cover

Make It Easy cookbook

But let’s talk about a cookbook that works! Make It Easy is one of the most relatable cookbooks to come out in a while. (Perhaps the last one was The Homemade Kitchen, another favourite). It’s full of real talk from Stacie that is instantly applicable, because she’s been there, in the kitchen, day after day. She knows what it’s like to have kids with selective palates and stubborn routines.

The recipes are solid; very clear and well-written. They are simple enough for beginner cooks (hey, we all were beginners once) and yet exciting enough to spark the interest of the advanced home cook. Best of all, Stacie’s philosophy is served up without an ounce of guilt. How refreshing!

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb || Simple Bites

Here’s a handful of recipes from Make It Easy that we absolutely loved and will be adding to our family’s meal rotation.

  • Everyday Waffles – Fast, fluffy and favoured by all.
  • Yogourt Chia Breakfast Pudding – Brilliant combination.
  • Sweet and Salty Granola Cereal – Great for weekday mornings (and snacking anytime)
  • Country-Style Greek Salad – new fast picnic fare, bulked up with chickpeas.
  • Curried Cauliflower and Red Lentil Soup – So delicious, and freezes well, too.
  • Paprika Chicken – Quick, easy and yummy.
  • One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake (pictured above) – Totally genius recipe.

For my Canadian readers, I should note that the Supermarket Guide in the back of the cookbook is mostly American brands. I recognized a few names that we can find up here, such as Eden Organics, Kashi and Nature’s Path, but for us this isn’t the most helpful part of the book.

I can see how this guide is invaluable for my US readers, however! Stacie is extremely thorough and explains her choices, rather than just rattling off a bunch of lists.

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb || Simple Bites

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

If the photos haven’t yet convinced you, let me encourage you to add this recipe to your weekend baking. You could pair it with fruit salad for brunch with friends, wrap it up as snack cake for a picnic in the park, or dress it up with whipped cream as dessert for a lazy, al fresco dinner.

I’ve been sending it in my boy’s lunchboxes and carving myself slivers every afternoon at tea time. A loaf never lasts more than a day or two, so it’s a good thing the cake is simple to make. And yes, I took the suggested shortcut and used store-bought ricotta, although you could certainly make your own.

My rhubarb patch is thriving, and so I roasted up a tray with a drizzle of maple syrup to adorn the pound cake. Lemon and rhubarb are a classic spring pairing; don’t you agree?

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb || Simple Bites

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

Recipe slightly adapted and published with permission from 'Make It Easy' by Stacie Billis. I like to serve the cake with a little extra ricotta cheese or whipped cream. A dollop of crème fraiche is delicious, too.
4.63 from 64 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 1 9x5 loaf
Author: Stacie Billis

Ingredients

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese store-bought or homemade (plus more for serving, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest from about 1 lemon
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 2 juicy lemons
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs ideally at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pound young rhubarb stalks
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a large bowl that works well with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, sugar, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt on low speed until just combined.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda to the same bowl. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to mix until just incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, cut the rhubarb into 2-inch lengths and toss with the maple syrup. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and roast alongside the cake for 10-15 minutes. Time will vary with the tenderness and freshness of the rhubarb. When the rhubarb has softened, remove pan and cool completely.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • To serve, slice cake and arrange on plates. Top with roasted rhubarb and a little extra ricotta. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • If you are using the cake later, wrap it tightly all around in plastic wrap and store on the counter for 2 to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Grand Prize Giveaway!

**This giveaway has ended.**

I’m delighted to partner with De Capo Press and KitchenAid USA for a very special giveaway.

One winner will receive a copy of Make It Easy by Stacie Billis and a KitchenAid® Artisan® Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer! This beautiful mixer has 10 speeds, a 5-quart mixing bowl, and over 20 colours to pick from. Yes, the winner may pick any colour they choose and KitchenAid will ship the mixer to their front door.

Please note that this giveaway is exclusively for my lovely American readers, just this once! But don’t fret Canadian friends; I am cooking up another very special KitchenAid giveaway just for you shortly.

To Enter the giveaway: Leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: “What is a typical ‘make it easy’ dinner in your house?” Giveaway is open to United States residents only.

** This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to the winner Karen Rust of Cherry Valley, IL!! A BIG thank you to all who entered.**

KitchenAid has provided the stand mixer for this giveaway, but all opinions are my own and based on a decade of working with KitchenAid appliances in my kitchen.

Winner will be announced here on this post, as well as directly via email. Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I have several go to meals in my back pocket as I much prefer cooking at home versus eating out. Here are a few go to’s: fried egg sandwiches on toast with some sliced veggies added on, pasta with a quick alfredo or tomato sauce, seasonal soups (now it’s creamy asparagus), a baked sandwich using a baugette sliced horizontally and stuffed with whatever meats/cheese/vegetables you find lurking about, a fresh garden salad with a panini. I would love a Kithenaid mixer, since I’m too frugal to spend the money for one!

  2. Megan caldwell says

    My typical “make it easy” dinners: oatmeal with blueberries and greek yogurt, tostada (corn tortilla toasted, beans, cheese, chopped lettuce, and tomatoe), smoothie (blueberries, banana, vanilla yogurt, and lot of spinach), and you can never go wrong with my favorite cinnamon raisen toast with a medium over easy egg. Sooo yummy!! ?

  3. My two go to’s are chicken breast baked in white wine and topped with my favorite herb blend from Trader Joe’s, then sliced up and served on chopped romaine and tomatoes; and sauteed peppers, onions, garlic, and sausage over pasta.

  4. Kathleen says

    My favorite and easiest weekday meal is American goulash. What can be easier than ground beef, tomatoes, green pepper and onion. Served with elbow noodles tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella. Add a bag salad and its dinner!

  5. 4 stars
    Easiest and simple meal? 2 actually. Potato Soup or burgers and fries.

  6. 5 stars
    Chicken stir-fry with bok-choy and jasmine rice! Only 4 ingredients and super healthy and delicious!

  7. Kristen K Roberts says

    4 stars
    My “make it easy” meal used to be pasta, but then I started making a big batch of pulled chicken in my crockpot on Sundays, leaving me with shredded chicken to use in all sorts of things throughout the week. Making the protein is incredibly simple (the point I don’t know where this has been all my life), and with some homemade salsa, tortillas, and a bit of shredded cheese it means I can have tacos all week long with minimal effort when I don’t have time to cook. This has become my favorite easy dinner.

  8. Crockpot Chicken Tacos! We have them as tacos or as a taco salad and it could not be easier.

  9. Our favorite make it easy dinner is fried egg tacos.

  10. Katherine Verburg says

    My super easy go-to meal is kid-friendly and clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry friendly too! Some good friends of mine served this up for a family-style dinner a long time ago. They had a one-year-old, I was just pregnant with our first, and it tasted so good even with the permanent nausea!
    Cook any kind of pasta (or empty all the half empty bags/boxes you have been collecting) until aldente.
    Crumble and cook mold Italian sausage until fully cooked.
    When the pasta is done, pour in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, add the sausage, sundried tomatoes (hydrated), olives if you have some, whatever greens you have on hand chopped up, crumbled feta/shredded moz, etc etc, if you have some basil, definitely throw that in, and bake it on 375 until it gets a bit crispy in top. You can do all the prep dishes during the baking time, and serve with a nice green salad!

  11. My super easy go to dinner is usually sauteed garlicky spinach or kale and thin pork chops seared in olive oil and butter. I will sometimes add a side of couscous or some crusty bready with a little goat cheese. Easy and delicious!

  12. Rebecca N. says

    A typical easy dinner in our house is usually turkey lettuce wraps or an easy lentil soup or a dish of lentils, macaroni, chopped tomatoes, cheese. I always seem to have the items for these dishes on hand and most everyone likes the dishes most of the time.

  13. Peggy S. says

    5 stars
    One pot Mexican quinoa.

  14. I’m always so thankful for your cookbook recommendations! I have purchased several after seeing them here, and just used The Homemade Kitchen to initiate my new ice cream maker yesterday.
    This cookbook does look like another winner. One of my “make-it-easy” dinner habits is to roast a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and then use the meat during the week for quick soups, pizzas, salads, pasta dishes and more. It makes throwing together dinner quick and easy.

  15. Lisa Cox says

    4 stars
    My quick, easy go to meal is spaghetti with meat sauce. Takes about 15 minutes, and don’t have to remember to get anything out of the freezer.

  16. Christin Jacobson says

    A whole rotisserie chicken, boned, fits in a quart freezer bag. I buy the chickens a half dozen at a time (precooked, juicy, nicely seasoned, and inexpensive! ), commandeer the help of my boys to debone and bag them, then stack them in the freezer. Now I have delicious meat ready for salads, soups, casseroles, bbq’s, pastas…love it!
    Also, we always have uncooked tortillas in the fridge. They are so quick to brown on a skillet and wrap around a warm fried or scrambled egg…very simple and satisfying!

  17. First — oh my goodness I cannot wait to get my hands on that cookbook! Exciting!
    My go-to dinner would have to be spaghetti. All September when I’m cursing the tomatoes in my kitchen I try to remind myself how handy those jars of sauce are throughout the year when I have hangry children and 15 minutes to get dinner on the table.

  18. Salad (with Grilled leftovers from weekend meals!!)

  19. A “typical quick meal” at my house would be Sweet Potato soup or Coconut Curry Chicken with rice. ?

  20. Lately the go-to weeknight meal has been pasta with sautéed veg and a quick creamy sauce made by mixing in ricotta and grated Parmesan, along with some reserved pasta water. Fast and easy to vary by cooking up whatever veggies we have on hand that day!

  21. 5 stars
    Returning to the kitchen after a forced separation of 7 weeks in the hospital, it’s become apparent that my 3 1/2 yo and her father (and to a lesser extent, her 18mo little brother) all are convinced they can subsist solely on microwave cups of Kraft instant Mac & Cheese. It has been a bear to break them of their new habits, so I’ve been doing a variation of pasta with cheese and a protein and vegetable. One-skillet meals make it easier to sneak the new foods into the familiar surroundings. Keep your fingers crossed for me as I try to stretch their palates. 🙂

  22. 5 stars
    With four grown children (and 15 grands with another due this fall! ?), I remember one of my favorite, easy, go-to meals was breakfast-for-dinner. I still resort to it occasionally. Another fave are tacos.

  23. Jeanne Wilcox says

    I always have the makings for a quick pasta meal so that would be the easiest for me. Eggs can be done so many ways and combined with so many vegetables and different types of cheese that it is also one of my main go to items.
    The cookbook looks wonderful and mixer…wow!

  24. Krista Dow says

    I’ve just recently come across your blog and have been so inspired by your urban homesteading lifestyle and simple approach to healthy but delicious food!

    I have a couple go-to easy dinners: The first is a simple homemade Alfredo that I can make in the time it takes to cook the pasta noodles. I also like to change up the flavour with whatever I have on hand – frozen peas and prosciutto, pesto and cherry tomatoes, 4 kinds of cheese, etc. The second go to for me is breakfast for dinner. I usually like to hard-boil some eggs, and serve them with toast, fruit and maybe some breakfast sausage or bacon. I enjoy cooking but I don’t always have the time to make an elaborate meal.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire!

  25. Some of my favorite easy meals are quiche, egg burritos or tacos, tortellini and sausage soup, and macaroni and cheese, sometimes with tomatoes, meat (leftover bbq beef is awesome!), or other vegetables. One pot stove top meals are my friends these days, with a 4 year old and a 4 month old ???

  26. 4 stars
    Thanks for sharing this fantastic cookbook and recipe recommendation. I’m a sucker for EVERYTHING lemon…which is why my go-to ‘make it easy’ dinner is baked citrus and rosemary chicken. I use whatever cuts of chicken I happen to have on hand (though thighs/leg quarters are my recommendation!) and throw it in a baking dish with whatever citrus fruits are available–oranges, lemons, grapefruit, blood oranges–whatever I have!

    Toss some salt, pepper, rosemary, olive oil, and voila!

    I serve it with veggies, pasta (with olive oil and lemon, of course) or zoodles for an easy and healthy side.

    There are so many easy substitutes and additions (zucchini! cherry tomatoes!) that make this dish flexible and customizable!

  27. My family’s absolute favorite meal would have to be roast beef with potatoes, carrots, onions and homemade gravy. I have always wanted a mixer as well, but am always buying for my family first and have never got around to buying one for myself.

  28. kat Bonham says

    anything Mexican is a go to in our house with beans that I have cooked in the pressure cooker and frozen!

  29. Megan Zambito says

    I love to make soup as an easy meal. I have an instant pot and can make the best tasting lentil soup. It takes less than 25 minutes and is amazing. I also make corn chowder quite often when need a delicious and easy meal.

  30. Quesadillas with any veggies we have! Or roast chicken is easy if I have planned ahead! And I also love your French lentil soup… simple enough, but not too simple, as the saying goes.

  31. Margaret Bowyer says

    Quick and easy at our house: home canned tuna melts with bread and butter pickles. Everyone loves them and they are done in no time.

  32. denise collier says

    4 stars
    a very easy dinner at home is sausage and peppers. this is the most requested dinner at home, with friends, and at work. it’s three ingredients and some spices. this one pan dish is a hit at parties and intimate dinners.

  33. Our favorite go-to dinner is broiled chicken thighs with roasted veggies…both are quick and tasty!

  34. Easy weeknight dinner is Asian Noodle Salad that was posted here on Simple bites. It is so quick, everyone loves it, red cabbage gives a little veggie actions and it tastes great leftover for lunch the next day!

  35. A typical make it easy dinner at our house is breakfast for dinner!

  36. Mac N Cheese!! So many variations to be had. I provide the basic mac n cheese and the family makes it their own. From bacon bits to pretzels pieces, the choices are infinite!

  37. My favorite EASY meal is chicken sausages with roasted veggies. I like every single vegetable in the oven, and my boys eat their meat with carrot sticks – easy. Thank you for a chance to win such a stellar prize!

  38. Lori Coleman says

    My go to meal is hamburger biscuit casserole…..

  39. My families favorite easy/fast meal is quesadillas. Anything and everything residing in the refrigerator or pantry is fair game for fillings. Can’t wait to try the lemon-rhubarb cake. Looks wonderful……Happy Anniversary!

  40. I love buffalo cauliflower with faux blue cheese dressing!

  41. I have a very simple Taco soup recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie that is simple to throw together and is delicious!

  42. Susan Helmuth says

    My male it easy meal is Shrimp and past pesto! I boil my pasta( for me Gluten free pasta) and when there’s 2-3 minutes left I throw in some frozen pealed shrimp and then strain and put back in the pot anput in some pesto sauce( I use a jarred pesto I get from Wegmans) and stir and heat till hot and viola dinner! Add a side salad and it’s a complete and tasty meal ready in less than 20 minutes!

  43. Stephanie Jarosek says

    Thanks for these comments–great ideas for me. I need to check out the book, too!

    A typical make it easy meal for us is salmon, roasted broccoli and noodles/bread.
    At 425F, the broccoli florets (tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) roasts in about 20 minutes and the salmon goes in (again topped with salt and pepper) for the last 12-15.

    It’s not something you would expect kids to like, but mine do, for some reason! Maybe it’s the simplicity of salt+pepper. I roast both in glass dishes so that they can go in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

  44. Mexican lasagna, made with canned salsa Verde, shredded chicken, cheese, and corn tortillas

  45. Adrienne Belt says

    An easy dinner night for us are Martha Stewart’s Spinach and Mushroom cups! (Ingredients go into tortillas arranged as cups in a muffin pan)

  46. emberly parker says

    5 stars
    My typical “make it easy” meal is some good ole mouth watering chilli simple quick and mmmm.. tasty can fix a pot full for the whole family in no time quick and simple.

  47. Bon Ross says

    Great site… go to is macaroni and cheese and a big salad… now I have some nice choices for dressings from your blog today!

  48. Becky Kozowski says

    4 stars
    One of our favorite easy to go to meals is marinated flank steak (a friend gave us the marinade recipe years ago, and are asked for the recipe almost every time we share this meal) that is either barbecued (summer time) or broiled in the oven, baked potatoes (or macaroni salad in the summer), and grilled/broiled asparagus or Brussels spouts seasoned simply with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt for flavor. The above Lemon Ricotta Pound would make a delicious addition to this meal. I too am a sucker for visuals and stories for recipes.

  49. One of my “make it easy” suppers is rice and a saute made in a cast iron skillet:
    rice, water, salt (add chicken bouillon sometimes, or other flavor)
    olive oil
    sliced sweet onion
    chopped sweet bell pepper (any color)
    fully cooked sausage or kielbasa

    I start the pan of hot water for the rice, and meanwhile:
    I heat the skillet, add the oil. When the oil is hot, I add the onions, turn down the burner and when the onions are soft, I add the peppers, salt and pepper. When all is cooked, I add the sausage and heat through and serve on rice.

  50. Now that it is springtime and warmer out, anything done on the grill! Easy and always delicious.

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