Strawberry ricotta apricot mini cakes are the perfect summer dessert for a crowd!
It has now been two years since I started MAH. Can you believe it? Time goes by so fast and there is still soooo much of what I want to do and share, that I’m excited to see what another year brings my way.
But I have been thinking about recipes that you love the most and one of the absolute winners are definitely my Orange infused sweet ricotta peach cookies. That is a long name, but these cookies, or part cookies part mini cakes, are truly divine. I’ll never get tired of them.
However, the great thing about any ricotta filling is that you can take something out, add something new and you get completely different flavors and a whole new filling! And that is exactly what I decided to do.
In honor of this blog, of you, of stone fruit that I adore… I decided to make Strawberry ricotta apricot mini cakes. I am calling these mini cakes this time, although they’re still more like cookies too me. However, they’re filled with luscious ricotta, so I think me calling them mini cakes just fits them better.
I make them almost the same way as the peach cookies. The cookie portion is identical, but the ricotta makes the biggest difference. This time I added some strawberry jam and it tastes amazing!
You can use any jam that you like, but I really adore the combination of strawberries and ricotta. And in general strawberries and apricots make a great pair too. While these are apricot mini cakes, because they look like chubby apricots, they only have apricots in their coating.
The food coloring has to be diluted in liquid that you use to dye the cookies. That liquid can be water, lemon juice, rum or anything else, in my case that is apricot syrup. I take it from a jar of canned apricots and it’s not overly sweet, but it does give that natural apricot flavor which makes these mini cakes that much better.
I make my peach cookies more pink, like white flesh peaches, but the apricots are golden yellow with a light orange pinkish hue (copper gel from Wilton is perfect for this!). I prefer this mashup of colors over completely orange apricots, but you can of course do whatever you want. The dyeing part of this recipe is the most creative one, where you can just go with the flow and do something different with each mini cake.
You do need some time to make these strawberry ricotta apricot mini cakes, but they are so worth it! You’ll fall in love with how they look right away and then when you bite into one you won’t be able to stop. They’re sweet and soft, full of fluffy strawberry ricotta and they smell just like summer.
Recipe makes 20-22 mini cakes, the size of a large apricot.
- 500g (2 cups | 18oz) ricotta
- 7 tablespoons granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
- 5 TBSPs strawberry jam
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 540g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 155g (1/2 cup + 2 1/2 TBSPs) granulated sugar
- 120ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- zest of 1 organic lemon
- 80ml (1/3 cup) apricot syrup from a can of canned apricots
- Golden yellow and copper food coloring (from Wilton)
- granulated sugar (about 2 cups)
- mint leaves for serving
- First make the ricotta:
In a medium bowl, whisk ricotta and sugar until creamy. Add the strawberry jam and vanilla paste and whisk until incorporated. Taste to see if you need more sugar, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the cookies. (You can also add a drop of yellow or copper food coloring to mimic the apricots.)
- Make the cookies:
In a bowl combine flour and baking powder, set aside. In another large mixing bowl whisk together sugar and eggs until fluffy and pale. Add milk, melted butter, lemon zest and stir to combine. Gradually add flour, in 2-3 additions, and keep stirring until the dough comes together. Knead with your hands if needed and add more flour if needed. The dough has to be soft and smooth, but not sticky. Refrigerate dough for about 10 minutes, to make it firmer.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take dough out of the fridge and roll 20-22 balls, make them as smooth as possible. Place all on baking sheets, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Press down each ball slightly, so the bottom flattens.
- Bake the first round for 10-15 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown (the cookies will rise, but the tops will remain pale). Take out of the oven and put in the second sheet of cookies.
- Transfer cookies to a plate and start scooping them as they are still warm (this is important!). If they’re too hot, hold them with a kitchen towel.
- Cut a circle in the bottom of each cookie and scoop out about a teaspoon of the cookie. Don’t cut too close to the edge and be careful to not pierce the top of the cookie. Set aside. When the second sheet is baked, repeat the process.
- Assemble the cookies:
Take two small bowls and add 1/2 of apricot syrup into each one. Stir in a drop or two of food coloring, you need one yellow and one copper bowl. Then find pairs for each cookie, both halves of the apricot have to be of a similar size. Set aside.
- Fill each cookie with about a teaspoon of filling, enough that it completely covers the hole. Press the two flat sides of each apricot together, rotate a bit and wipe away any filling that comes out at the sides.
- Brush each apricot with yellow and orange food coloring, gently roll it in sugar and place on a large plate or baking pan. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours before serving, or even overnight.
- Decorate each apricot cake with mint leaves before serving to mimic real apricot leaves.
- These apricot mini cakes keep for about 4 days, although they taste best on the first two days. Leave them out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
You need to chill the cakes before serving or they will fall apart. They will be quite firm once the ricotta has had time to set. The ricotta will also moisten the cookie / cake part, which is originally drier but becomes perfectly moist as the cake sit and set.
The recipe is adapted from my Orange infused sweet ricotta peach cookies.