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Dessert Recipes

Kumquat Ricotta Cupcakes

I’ve been dreaming of doing something with these crazy little kumquats I keep buying. I find them crazy because they look like mini tangerines. You take a bite and it’s immediately bitter. You take another bite and it’s gorgeous sweetness. Crazy, I tell you!

So there they were...these splendid little orange gems waiting in my fridge and I thought of these cupcakes. I’m lying! I was actually going to make lime-ricotta cupcakes. I burned the limes. Well, not burned to a crisp burn. But they were simmering nicely in the sugar syrup. Every thing was going smoothly. I stopped to make an espresso for me and Fabrizio. I went back to the pan and they were no longer green; alas, a  dark and gloomy shade of brown. And it smelled awful.

This led to the moment of what I discovered I could finally do with these darling kumquats. I carefully watched them simmering. I didn’t take an espresso break. In twenty minutes I had the perfect result: sweet and ready for my cupcakes!

I think you might expect me to say that these cupcakes were moist. Yes, they were moist and the right texture. The sugar is not overwhelming. The drizzle is so sweet that the cupcake couldn’t be any sweeter (in my opinion). We brought these to our neighbors for a family dinner this week. They were loved by all!
I am not the least bit Irish. I was going to have a green cupcake today. Instead I am saluting Italy’s 150th birthday with a cupcake made with ricotta! Forza ltalia!

We did happen upon the Irish Fest this past Sunday. There was lots of good Irish food!
My favorite moment was bumping into the sisters. They were buying fish and chips. Sister Alice on the left thought it was better to have their fish split in half for fear of showing up in the newspaper the next day eating the full size fish. She was cute!
Then we walked down the main street. The kids couldn’t resist swinging and goofing off with daddy. Daddy is good to goof off with. I’m more serious most of the time. I love watching them laugh.
I’ve been in a funk. I’m trying so hard to keep my head up and stay positive. I met the oncologist and he wants to do one more biopsy before my surgery. I’m supposed to be happy that he is being so thorough. Instead of feeling reassured I feel even more scared than before. How will I stay calm until the day I do these surgeries? Today the nurse finally called to schedule. I was driving around in a cloud of sadness thinking again about every thing. Will I really be ok? Will the cancer only be in that one area? Or will this new biopsy give me bad news.

I arrived at my driveway and saw a box leaning against my door. I thought, “Oh yes! More salami from my mother-in-law!” Instead it was this! Sugar cookies made with love and messages from my friend Roxana .I plan to keep on dreaming, baking, fighting. I plan on praying and laughing til my stomach hurts. Thank you, Roxana. Smile

Kumquat Ricotta Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 ricotta ricotta
8 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 small orange, zested and juiced
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
a few drops of almond essence

Kumquat Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
sugar syrup from the kumquats
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.  Slice the kumquats into 1/4 inch thin slices and add to pan on medium-low heat with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. While the kumquats are simmering in the sugar syrup, prepare the cupcake batter.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and dash of salt.DSCN6597
In another small bowl, combine the ricotta, orange zest, and lemon zest. DSCN6709
Mix the ricotta and the zests together and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, adding the eggs in one at a time until combined.
Beat in the melted butter.
On medium-low speed, beat in the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract.
On medium-low speed, beat in the sifted flour in small portions until the dough is nicely combined stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Make sure all the flour is combined and the dough is smooth.
Pour the dough into 12 muffin tins lined with paper cases (they should be filled at 3/4 of their height), and bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes in the oven until golden. Allow to cool on a rack
Kumquat-Lemon Glaze
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the sugar syrup from when you simmered the kumquats.
Add the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice and mix will. If the glaze is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar until you get a dense consistency.

Spoon the glaze over the cupcakes. Add a kumquat or a few to the top and enjoy the sweetness!

So here’s a cupcake that has a little bit of Italy and a little bit of Florida sunshine. The candied kumquats are incredible! I almost could eat them all and even forget about the cupcakes. Almost!Winking smile
Thank you for being so supportive and liking my sweets and my stories! I am always filled with joy when I read your kind comments. You all seriously rock!Smile

If you have a second, scoot over here to the link to click you “like” me at ! I was nominated for Top 100 Mom BlogSmile!! Thank you!!!


  1. awww what a nice surprise from Roxanna! I know its easy to say "stay positive" while u're dealing with doctors and biopsies but all I can do is send u lots of warm hugs and encourage you to hope for the best. We attract what we think and feel and right now u need a lot of good energy and love. Stay strong, Lora! xoxo

  2. hi Lora

    I hate to admit it but I have never cooked with Kumquats, you do make them look so appealing with that perfect little ricotta cupcake....and load up that lemon glaze, (you'd probably find it all over my face from licking the plate!)

  3. Oh my, looks divine. I love baking with ricotta, and although I haven't seen any kumquats here in sunny California yet, I may try this with clementines, or pixies? Thank you for posting this inspiring recipe.

  4. What a wonderful surprise to come home to, and what a sweet sweet friend you have! I will definitely keep you in my thoughts and send you positive energy.... i know that doesn't make things better but sometimes I think that when we put things like that out into the universe it does help. <3

    These cupcakes are awesome. I always see baking recipes that include ricotta but I've never tried it before.

  5. Why did I chuckle at the picture with the nuns? They gotta eat, too.

    So how about shipping some of those cupcakes this way since I can't find kumquats anywhere near my midwestern home... they look gorgeous!

  6. What a fabulous idea for a cupcake! I never thought of using kumquats for baking. I'll be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts.

  7. Lora, I have never eaten nor baked with Kumquats but they look amazing. I love baking with ricotta as well since the texture always turns out extremely lovely. Great recipe!

    I also wanted to let you know that I continue to think of you and that I'm sending all the healing vibes I can find. Love the cookies your friend send you. Stay positive, even though it is hard! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family!!!

  8. Those cupcakes are the whole presentation ,and mouthwatering photos! Delicious post all the way!:))

  9. Love ricotta! these cupcakes look amazing! gloria

  10. Kumquats! You are the far-out fruit pusher! Seriously, I don't even know if one of my local stores carry these but now I will definitely look.

    Sweetie, I can't imagine feeling any other way than just how you are handling the situation. Good friends, good food and spending time with family are the best distractions. Keep up your spirits and the baking.

  11. What a wonderful surprise from your friend. You are loved. Be sure to BREATHE; this will all work out well for you.

    Your cupcakes are beauties.

  12. Lora,

    What lovely cupcakes!! Just stunning! I must admit to having organic kumquats in my fridge & being to scared to taste them. Yeah, some foodie I am.

    I wanted to let you know I am continuing to pray for you & added you to my prayer list at church! My BFF just went yesterday to have a biopsy done on her breast (a lump she'd found). She gets the results Monday. We both seem to be at peace, but I don't know if it's just that we are waiting with baited breath to see if the other shoe drops. Remembering you in prayer....

    Your friend and local food blogger

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen

  13. I was just looking at kumquats in the market today...they are so pretty, but I didn't have a use for them until now :) Fabulous cupcakes with a luscious glaze...I'd love one!

  14. What beautiful cupcakes! I love the touch of color the kumquats give to the cupcakes. :)
    I just adore when you share photos of your family, it makes me smile.

    I'm thinking of you and praying for you Lora. I know you'll make it through this. :) What sweet cookies from Roxana!

  15. Forza Italia, indeed! These cupcakes are so original and look (almost) too good to eat.

    I am thinking of you and sending you positive thoughts, Lora. There are so many of us in the food blogging community that are pulling for you.

  16. What beautiful cupcakes! And what a wonderful friend you have...those cookies and the note are so thoughtful. Thinking of you and pulling for you!

  17. Bless Roxanna. Those cupcakes are seriously cute and dainty. Saving this one for sure and buzzing you.

  18. These cupcakes look delicious! I've never baked with kumquats before. So creative! Voted for you as well!!

  19. Those are absolutely beautiful! I'm kinda glad you burnt the lime's, because these look so amazing! Those cookies are so sweet and awesome, isn't it nice when you're having a rough time and then suddenly the world seems to brighten a little bit again?

  20. These cupcakes are sooooo pretty, the Kumquat is really so beautiful! The pictures are stunning too!

    I voted for you for Top 100 Mom Blogs:)

  21. That's so sweet of your friend to surprise you with cookies. It's wonderful that you have so many wonderful friends to support you through this hard time.

  22. Cupcakes are always a good idea in my opinion. I like that these are a little different. Can't wait to try!

  23. That was so sweet of your friend to send you some cookies to help boost your spirits. Those cupcakes sound so intriguing. I have never had a kumquat before. I bet this are delicious.

  24. Lovely post, very sweet in many ways;-)
    From your kumquat ricotta cupcakes to all your loving supporters there is an uplifting and positive feeling coming from your post. I think the little slices of candied kumquat are so perfect on your cupcakes, what a wonderful use of your kumquats ;-)

  25. Love kumquat! The combination with ricotta sounds really super.
    How sweet of Roxana sending all her bless and love to your door! All the best!

  26. Oh I love kumquats! I decorated my wedding cake with them (I made it) because I had the same thought: they are crazy and crazily cute! Great job on these cupcakes. Love that you matched them with ricotta! A must try.

  27. It might seem odd of me to say that I smiled as I read this post but I couldn't help it when I got to the part about you saying you were in a funk. It's because I'm feeling positive about the outcome of this trial in your life. It's okay to feel doubt, fear, uncertainty when you're going through something so tough. It gives others a chance to be strong for you when you need it. We're all rooting for you.

    I seem to remember Italy and Ireland sharing this March day. Your cupcakes are a great way to commemorate the former occasion. Love the cookies you received, too. Very thoughtful.

  28. Lora- what beautiful cupcakes! I remember the first time I ever tasted a kumquat- on a trip to FL, no less. I think this cupcake is an awesome way to show them off. Good luck with your surgery- I'll be sending positive vibes for a clean outcome. What a gift your friend is- you are blessed!

  29. These sound delicious! I love kumquats, and with ricotta in a cupcake that would be heavenly!

  30. I LOVE these cupcakes..I mean 'really' love them. The kumquats on top just enhance what I can already tell is a perfectly moist and delicious cake - especially due to the ricotta cheese. Beautiful!

  31. Lovely! We have kumquats here and I haven't yet figured out what to do with them. Thank you for the inspiration and good luck in all of your future travails. Happy 150th anniversario dell'Unuta!

  32. know of my addiction to ricotta....these look fabulous. I am going to have to look for kumquats at the store...not sure I will find it though but I will look. The cupcakes look fabulous!

  33. I am not sure what to eat first everything looks superb!

  34. Those kumquat cupcakes look fantastic. If for some reason they weren't moist (and why wouldn't they be!), they drizzle you put on them would definitely make up for that.

    Continuing to uphold you in thoughts and prayers.

  35. I don't know how you're feeling, but I think it's ok and normal to be scared, but then you look around and see all the love and smiling faces around you and based on that, you know everything will work out just fine:)
    Of course, your cupcakes look delicious, I hope you don't mind though. I don't like wasting icing, so if no one is looking, i'm probably going to lick it off my plate!
    and I voted for doesn't matter what number you end up on, you're #1 to me...cheesy moment:)

  36. I had no idea you were on the Babble list!!! WOOT WOOT! How exciting!

    And I love kumquats... and have been sharing the love with all my friends who have never heard of them. Now I have to try this recipe because it looks terrific!

  37. The cupcakes are positively delectable! I first tasted kumquats only recently and loved them. The cookies are so cute and are a sweet gesture. I'm sorry you're having a hard time - sending you giant *HUGS*.

  38. There is so much greatness in this post! The Irish festival looks like a blast and those kumquat cupcakes!! I promised my daughter I would get some for her to try. I love ricotta in baked goods lately. Perfect combo with citrus. Those cookies are so thoughtful :) xo

  39. I love kumquats and these are wonderful cupcakes...and how lovely is that package, now can you really lose with Roxana looking out for you ;)

  40. That top photo is a stunner. I want these now.