Today was Victor’s Mom’s Birthday. I remember the Mom’ Birthday/Mother’s Day combo quite well – my mom’s birthday is May 13th and many was the year they fell on the same day. I always thought it funny that my mom and Victor’s mom were born 2 days apart, 3000 miles away, in the same year – and were so totally different.

But since my mom is no longer here to spoil, I have to make sure Nonna gets her deserved spoils for the day.

Starting with a cheesecake. This is one similarity the two moms shared – a love of cheesecake. And the cake I made is a variation on Lucille’s cheesecake – our old neighbor from 46th Avenue.

We had a ton of food, today – antipasto platters, baked pasta, homemade meatballs, sausages, salads – enough food for an army or two. Somehow, I only managed to get pictures of the desserts. Go figure.

A Variation on a Cheesecake


  • 2 pkgs graham crackers
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 6 tbsp sugar

Mix graham crackers and walnuts in a food processor. Add sugar and pulse a few times.  Add melted butter and mix well.  Pack into 10″ spring form pan bringing it up on sides.  Place in refrigerator while preparing filling.


  • 4 8oz pkgs cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla


  • 16oz carton sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

To make

Cream cheese with sugar.  Add unbeaten eggs one at a time.  Mix well, scraping down bowl, as needed.  Add unwhipped cream.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour into crust.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Allow to cool on rack for 15 minutes.  Spread on sour cream topping.

Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Cool completely and refrigerate.

I have to tell ya – it came out great. Nonna was thrilled with it – and there’s going to be plenty left over for treats while we’re away. I sliced up several pieces and put them in the freezer to be doled out…


Since there were two occasions, we needed two cakes, right?!? Right!


The second was a caramel cream roll.

Basic sponge cake with a filling of heavy cream whipped with a jar of salted caramel sauce. Yes. It was decadent.

Caramel Cream Roll

  • 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup egg whites (approximately 8 large eggs)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt

Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Dissolve the ¾ cup of sugar in the milk. Add the vanilla. Beat the whites with ½ cup of sugar and salt until stiff moist peaks form. Gently add the flour into the liquid ingredients and fold in the egg whites. Do not overwork. Spread gently into a sheet pan  pan that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15-18 minutes until set and golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Turn cake out onto towel and roll cake. Allow to cool.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 jar salted caramel sauce

Whip cream with caramel until thick. Unroll cake, spread with filling and re-roll. Top with powdered sugar.


And because no party is complete without chocolate-dipped strawberries, Victor dipped strawberries!


We had 5 mothers and 1 birthday, today. And seven mothers who I wish were here with us, today. My mom, my four sisters, and my two sisters-in-law.

Happy Mother’s day to all of ya!