Friday, April 27, 2012

Limoncello Mascarpone Ice Cream, with mini Vanilla Cream Cheese Bundt Cakes...

One of my family's favorite cassette tapes to listen to when I was growing up was one called "One Rainy Night".  As the story goes, a recording studio taped a storm one night, capturing the sounds of rain and thunder from the storm, then added in music, as well as the occasionally whistle of a train.  I loved that tape, and could listen to it over and over.

Last night we had an unusually intense lightning and thunderstorm, followed by the heaviest rain I've seen in a while.  It didn't last nearly as long as I would have liked, and this morning it's just a little gray and overcast out.  As much as I welcome the warm sunny days of spring, I would be happy if it rained like that all weekend.  This is one of those rare weekends where there's actually nothing written on the calendar, and nowhere we have to be except home.  When it started raining, I started envisioning the weekend we could spend, listening to the rain and thunder outside while cuddled under cozy blankets inside, watching movies and sampling the Nutella cheesecake I'm going to make tonight.

Although I wouldn't make Jamie watch this movie, one of my favorite rainy day movies is Under the Tuscan Sun, and if you've ever seen it, then you probably fell a little bit in love with blue-eyed, dark-haired Marcello, describing in his dreamy Italian accent how to make Limoncello at his family's restaurant...

An Italian lemon liqueur, Limoncello is made from lemon peel, sugar and alcohol, resulting in the syrupy lemon drink that's so delicious.  I first tasted Limoncello a few years ago, but at the time it didn't occur to me to cook or bake with it.

So when I saw a bottle of Limoncello Creme, I thought of ice cream.

I dreamed of a creamy, lemony concoction of milk, cream and Mascarpone cheese, steeped with lemon juice and zest, mildly sweetened with sugar and vanilla, a hint of salt, and flavored with the Limoncello Creme.  I knew it would be an ice cream like no other.

And it was.  Creamy, smooth, sweet, tart, and completely unique.  It tasted of warm and sunny days outside, fluttery sundresses, buzzing bees and fragrant flowers, the feeling of cool green grass under bare feet.

Mini vanilla cream cheese Bundt cakes made a pretty little companion for the ice cream.  The moist, dense pound cakes baked perfectly and looked lovely dusted with powdered sugar.  A little lemon could even be added to the cakes themselves, but I flavored them simply with vanilla, letting the tanginess of the cream cheese shine through.

If I had to choose only one flavor to cook and bake with, it would be lemon.  The flavor of spring and sunshine.

Limoncello Mascarpone Ice Cream
printable recipe
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Limoncello Creme
  • juice and zest of 2 small lemons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Note: If you can't find Limoncello Creme then just use original Limoncello - note that the original, non-creme Limoncello is stronger, so you may want to start by adding 1/4 cup, then increasing to taste.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the Mascarpone cheese with 1/2 cup of the milk until smooth.  Add the remaining milk and the rest of the ingredients and whip until very well blended.  Taste and adjust sugar and lemon as desired.

Pour into a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, until well chilled.  After mixture has chilled, whisk it until smooth, then pour through a mesh strainer to strain out the lemon zest.  Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions of your ice cream maker.  Transfer to a container and freeze until firm, about 4-6 hours.

Yields slightly more than 1 quart.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

Mini Vanilla Cream Cheese Bundt Cakes
printable recipe

  • 6 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons Turbinado sugar (very coarse)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray 4 mini Bundt cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set on a baking sheet.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl down a few times, until very light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly.  Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.  Batter will be very thick.

Sprinkle the Turbinado sugar into the bottom of each mini cake pan.  Divide the cake batter between the pans and smooth out the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel.

If desired, use a sharp knife to slice off 1/4 an inch from the bottom of the cakes so they sit level.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen


  1. Oh my! I am sure that ice cream is just so delicious!

  2. you speak the language of yum..... great post ;)

  3. I just have to say these are freaking amazing. Limoncello is one of my favorite things and takes me right to Capri. Or maybe Sorrento. Who cares, it's delicious. Also I'm a huge fan of mascarpone. Well done my friend! :)

  4. This sounds fantastic...I will have to try both the ice cream and the mini bundt cakes!

  5. This sounds fantastic...I will have to try both the ice cream and the mini bundt cakes!


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