As long as I can remember I have loved baking. I attribute this infatuation to my mother’s shared love. Any time there was a birthday to celebrate, you could find my mom in the kitchen whipping up a delicious cake or cupcakes. I’ll always treasure my kindergarten birthday when she baked cupcakes inside ice cream cones, or in second grade when she spent three days building me the most beautiful Barbie cake from scratch. It was no surprise that when I got older baking became a hobby of mine. I love testing new recipes, mostly cakes, and more than baking, I love sharing my baked goods with others.

My mom recently planned a trip to visit me in New York and I knew this would be the perfect time to thank her for sharing her passion with me. I scheduled both of us in one of ICE‘s recreational baking classes — Italian Dessert Classics with Craft Pastry Chef Jennifer McCoy. My mom was beyond thrilled when I shared the news. This class would be the first time in over five years that we had the chance to enjoy time baking together.

Since cakes are our forte, we were excited to make Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, Almond-Olive Oil, Tiramisu and Cinnamon-Raisin Biscotti. After slaving over our ovens for two hours, we were quite pleased with our results. Who knew we could master the art of baking the most quintessential Italian desserts so quickly?

These classics are staples on any Italian dessert menu, but knowing the tricks of how to prepare them perfectly at home will make you look like a pro in front of friends and family. Here are a few tips to get you started:

*To ensure that biscotti is baked perfectly, flip the log over once cool enough to touch and lightly tap on the bottom side. If you hear a light thudding sound, the inside is cooked to perfection.

*Almond-Olive Oil cake can actually be prepared with any type of nut desired. Try pistachio or walnut to mix up the flavor.

*If you’re serving tiramisu at a party or family gathering, rather than making one large tiramisu, prepare them in smaller tins of any shape so guests can take them home with them.

While our delectable Italian desserts were a tasty treat, both my mom and I cherished the time we were able to spend together in our baking class. Sometimes baking with someone you love is an even sweeter treat than what comes out of the oven!

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