Marguerite Ruggiero shares the love — the recipe for her Pineapple Ricotta-Filled Italian Love Cake, that is.

A member of St. Lucy’s Altar and Rosary Society, Ruggiero — along with her fellow parishioners — has made all kinds of goodies and treats for the Scranton church’s Mardi Gras bake sale, taking place on Saturday, Feb. 22, before and after 4 p.m. Mass, and Sunday, Feb. 23, before and after 9 a.m. Mass at the church, 949 Scranton St.

“Instead of Fat Tuesday, we’re doing Fat Weekend,” society member Mena Schneiderlochner said with a laugh.

If you can’t make it, you don’t have to worry because Ruggiero shared her coveted Love Cake recipe with us. Thanks to her baking skills, Ruggiero earned St. Lucy’s Altar and Rosary Society a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, through Local Flavor Gives Back.

A staple in her dessert repertoire, the cake was featured in the church’s cookbook several years ago. It became an instant hit and helped the book sell out.

“People were just going crazy for it,” she said on a recent afternoon at the church.


Marguerite Ruggiero’s Pineapple Ricotta-Filled Italian Love Cake

The cake is twist on the typical chocolate and ricotta Italian Love Cake but is made with pineapple instead. The soft, moist cake had the perfect amount of sweetness from the addition of the fruit.

The members of St. Lucy’s Altar and Rosary Society are known for hosting food-centric fundraisers filled with their delicious dinners and descendent desserts.

“We feed everybody,” Schneiderlochner said.

From the annual Spaghetti Supper the group hosts each March, which features homemade pasta and sauce, to the bake sales before and after Masses that feature from-scratch cookies and cakes, there’s always something cooking at St. Lucy’s. These fundraisers are important to keep the church operational as well as allow the society to host community events. It’s all part of the members’ commitment to their faith and giving back.

“We’re coming together for the love of the Lord,” Ruggiero said. “Any time you need something from any of the (society members), they’re there to help. We love our church, and we love our community. Everyone is welcome to come, eat and share in that.”


Marguerite Ruggiero’s Pineapple Ricotta-Filled Italian Love Cake

For the cake:
  • 1 (18-and-1/4-ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple juice, drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
    Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan.
    Mix cake according to directions on box. Poor cake mix into prepared pan.
    Beat eggs. Mix ricotta, sugar, beaten eggs, pineapple and vanilla extract together. Poor filling mixture over cake batter and spread evenly, but do not mix with batter.
    Bake at 350 F for 1 hour or until a wooden pic comes out clean. Let cool.
For the frosting:
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 container Cool Whip
Beat pudding with milk until mixture thickens. Fold in Cool Whip.
Frost cake and decorate as desired, such as drizzling with chocolate and topping with cherries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


If you go
What: Mardi Gras bake sale
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, before and after 4 p.m. Mass, and Sunday, Feb. 23, before and after 9 a.m. Mass
Where: St. Lucy’s Church, 949 Scranton St., Scranton
Details: Prices vary. Proceeds benefit St. Lucy’s Altar & Rosary Society.