The 7th graders made homemade ricotta and then made a cake with it. It's amazing how easy it was! Basically separating the whey from the milk solids and there you have ricotta. (A few more technicalities involved :) - see below).
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Yields about 1½ cups
3 cups whole milk
1 cup half & half*
½ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2T. + 1 t. good white wine vinegar
1. Set a large colander over a large bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the colander with the cheesecloth.
2. Pour the milk and half & half and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot.
3. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring gently and occasionally with a rubber scraper to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar very well.
4. Allow the mixture to stand until it curdles. Let sit undisturbed until mixture fully separates into solids (for about 10 minutes). It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
5. Gently pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. DO NOT stir the cheese mixture.
6. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
*For a richer ricotta you can use heavy cream in replacement for the half & half
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1½ cups ricotta
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the melted butter and mix well.
4. Fold egg and ricotta mixture into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries.
5. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
6. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 - 50 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before unmolding.
Do Ahead: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.