Sweet as Mom: Mother’s Day Dessert Recipes

May 9, 2018

Some moms are legendary bakers with generations-deep chocolate chip cookie legacies. Others make a decent-enough boxed brownie when the bakery is closed. One thing they all have in common? They never fail to make life a little sweeter.

This Sunday, it’s time to say thanks. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked some of our favorite bakers what they’re whipping up in honor of mom. Here, they kindly share treasured family recipes with their own unique twists.


Fall in Love Banana Bread
from Laurel Gallucci
“The first thing I remember making with my mom was banana bread,” says Los Angeles-based baker Laurel Gallucci. “I remember she let me taste the creamed butter and sugar, and instantly being hooked.”

After being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that required a strict diet, many of Laurel’s favorite childhood treats were off the table. Although skeptical that she could recreate the recipes without dairy, refined sugar, or grains, she was so successful that she eventually opened her own bakery, Sweet Laurel, with fellow sweet-tooth Claire Thomas. This updated version of her mom’s beloved banana bread is just one of the many reimagined classics in her new cookbook, “Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-Free Desserts.”

What You’ll Need
2 cups mashed banana
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract in a bowl with a hand whisk. Add almond flour, baking soda, and salt; blend batter together and add chocolate chips. Pour into two greased loaf pans or 12 prepared cupcake tins. Bake about 30-35 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool.

Vegan Olive Oil Cake with Buttercream Frosting
from Meghan Rosko
They say you eat with your eyes first — which may explain why Meghan Rosko’s confections are so delicious. The baker and food stylist takes cookie decorating to another level on Instagram (@nutmegandhoneybee), where 229K followers are sweet on her whimsical, meticulously detailed designs.

This Sunday, she’s surprising mom with her Vegan Olive Oil Cake. “I’ve been experimenting with new vegan recipes over the past few months, and it’s finally time to share what I’ve been working on with my loved ones,” she says. “My mom has always been a pioneer in the kitchen, so I love when I get to share new recipes with her. The olive oil in this recipe adds a bit of density to the cake, while the vanilla balances out the flavor. It’s the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day.”

What You’ll Need
For the cake
3 1/2 cups organic flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups almond milk

For the buttercream frosting
1 stick vegan butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pink food coloring

How To Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 6” round cake pans with coconut oil and line with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and sea salt in a mixer; slowly add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and almond milk, mixing until the batter is light and fluffy.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 1 hour. Once cake cools, mix all of the buttercream ingredients until light and fluffy. Ice your cake, then let chill in the freezer for ten minutes. Top with flowers and macarons for a beautiful presentation.

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Bundt Cake
from Claire Thomas
As the other half of Sweet Laurel, Claire Thomas has a knack for reinterpreting decadent desserts. This Mother’s Day, she’s serving a remix of her mom’s crowd-pleasing coffee cake.
“Growing up, this cake was a constant on our kitchen counter,” she says. “My mom made it practically every week, and I would have a giant slice with a big glass of milk after school. It was one of the most well worn pages from ‘The Silver Palate Cookbook,’ and it’s still a family favorite.”

For best results, serve with a cup of coffee — in bed.

What You’ll Need
4 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk or almond milk
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider cinnamon
1/2 cup date or coconut sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup roughly chopped pecans

How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F and generously grease a bundt cake pan with coconut oil.

Combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Add flour mixture and stir to combine.

Combine date sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small bowl.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the pecan mixture evenly across, then add the remaining batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool for about an hour, the flip onto plate and top with remaining pecan mixture.

Ricotta Waffles with Orange-Macerated Strawberries
from Kristan Raines
When it comes to waffles, Kristan Raines has unusually high expectations. “My mother had a special recipe for waffles when we were growing up — one with a secret ingredient that produced extremely light, fluffy waffles that simply set the standard for me,” says the Seattle-based baker and blogger behind @thebrokenbread.

For Mother’s Day brunch, Kristan is serving her interpretation of a family classic. Her not-so-secret ingredient? Ricotta cheese. “It keeps these treats really moist and ensures that each bite is rich, fluffy, and flavorful,” she says.

What You’ll Need
For the strawberries
1 1/2  cups strawberries, quartered
1/2 an orange, juiced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
A pinch of kosher salt

For the waffles
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

For garnishing
Maple syrup
Whipped cream

How To Make It
Combine the strawberries, orange juice, and salt in a shallow bowl and mix. Cover and let the strawberries macerate in the juice for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge if possible.

Heat waffle iron. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and melted butter. Once combined, whisk in the ricotta cheese, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth. Add the ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix (a few lumps will remain).

Coat the waffle iron with cooking spray. Spoon a scant ¾ cup for a smaller waffle, or a scant cup for a larger one, and cook until golden brown and crisp. Serve waffles right away with the macerated strawberries, freshly whipped cream, and maple syrup.