Lemon Berry Bundt Cake

February 26, 2015 § 2 Comments

I was looking for a cake to make to celebrate February birthdays at work. One request was for something heavier with fruit. My go to was then some kind of fruit tart, but given that Winter isn’t the best time of year for fresh fruit I thought this maybe wasn’t the best idea. 

I stumbled along this recipe from Like Mother Like Daughter and had been wanting to delve back into the world of Bundt cakes for quite some time. I thought this was a perfect opportunity. So I went out and picked up the NordicWare cake pan I had been pining over and made a “practice” version for me and Nick. This, of course, was a mistake because we gobbled it up too quickly and easily. So delicious and really quite straightforward to make. The “real” one made a week later for work was another hit. The cake is bright with lemon flavor has enough fruit and so moist. The caramelized edges take it to the next level. 



The stuff

2 sticks butter (softened to room temp)

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 Tbs lemon juice (divided)

zest of 1 lemon

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 3 Tbs

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp of cinnamon (optional and to taste–I think it added a touch of something really nice and warm)

6 oz. plain or lemon Greek yogurt (fat free works)

2 – 2 1/2 cups frozen triple berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries – do not thaw) 

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 Tbs milk (as needed for glaze, I preferred when I didn’t use it)

The plan

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grease/butter and flour a 10 inch bundt cake pan really thoroughly. 
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the 2¼ cup flour, baking soda, salt. Combine with the lemon zest. 
  4. In another medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and 2 cups of sugar until fluffy. 
  5. To the butter and sugar mixture beat in 1 egg at a time. 
  6. Stir in 1 TBS of lemon juice to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. 
  7. Alternate adding the flour with the yogurt to the creamed mixture, stirring to combine in between each addition (don’t over stir). 
  8. Toss the berries in the 3 Tbs of flour to coat. 
  9. Gently stir the berries into the cake batter throughout (my batter was very, very thick). 
  10. Pour the cake batter into bundt cake pan and evenly spread throughout the pan. 
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, put the cake in and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  12. Cool in the pan about 20 minutes on a cooling rack. 
  13. After 20 minutes remove cake from the pan (this may take running a butter knife around the edges) and let cool completely on the rack. 
  14. To make lemon glaze, in a small bowl pour your powdered sugar, add 2 TBS lemon juice and stir – as needed add milk to thin the glaze. I don’t think it should be necessary though. 
  15. Once cake is completely cooled drizzle glaze over the top of it and let the glaze run down the sides. 
  16. Eat it up and enjoy! Cake stays extremely moist for several days (if it lasts that long though, I’ll be surprised). 

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Lemon Shaker Pie….the pie that changed my life!

July 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

We discovered this pie at an amazing bakery (Scratch) in Durham, NC. I never knew such a pie existed, and it really is amazing. Tart and sweet and perfectly lemony with a hint of bitterness because it uses the entire lemon. The whole thing.

I looked up many recipes to see how I could possibly replicate such a startling fantastic dish, and I was surprised at how relatively simple it is. However, there are many variations. Some include chopping all the lemons up more finely in a food processor, which may eliminate some textural issues that some may have with the lemon rinds, but I think if they’re sliced finely enough, this isn’t much of an issue, but rather provides a nice little bite.

This recipe is derived from Smitten Kitchen, which is derived from Saveur.

Lemony goodness

The Stuff

2 large lemons, preferably Meyers (I thought my lemons were really tiny so I used 3 1/2)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 tablespons butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 egg white
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Dough for one double-crust pie (I’m too lazy to make my own, though I think that could make the pie even more delicious)
The Plan

Day 1

1. Clean lemons well and dry (you’re using the whole thing, so they need to be clean).

2. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl.

3. Using a mandoline or a really sharp knife and good skills, slice lemons as paper thin as you can get them; remove and discard seeds. It may help to freeze them for ~30 minutes prior to slicing.

4. Add slices to zest and toss with sugar and salt.

5. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2

6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

7. Fit half of dough into 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate, and trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.

8. Mix the macerated lemon-sugar mixture with eggs, melted butter and flour until combined well.

9. Pour in to prepared pie shell. Can you believe it’s just that easy once you have the lemons cut?!

10. Place top crust/dough over the filling, fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively.

11. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush over pie crust, then sprinkle with sugar.

12. Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.

13. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is golden.

14. Let the pie cool on a rack and serve it at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream. However, we also found that it’s possible even more delicious served cold for breakfast. But serving at room temp appears to be the convention.

 

 

 

‘Tis the season…for PUMPKIN Bread!

October 30, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s no surprise or new information that I love all things pumpkin spice related (including it’s close relative garam masala), mostly driven by my love of cinnamon. It’s made all the better when actual pumpkin is involved, especially when you can taste the pumpkin. What’s the point of having it in there if it doesn’t taste like pumpkin?

That brings me to the first post that I get to contribute in far too long for no good reason. Perhaps I haven’t found made any new recipes quite as delicious lately, although I say it’s mostly a lazy factor. Anyway. The recipe. I received it from my regular e-mails through ATK, which remind me of all the recipes sitting in my copies of the magazine that I have yet to try but should. This one comes from ATK September 2012. I did decide to add in allspice to the mix, and I do say I’m going to suggest that the spices get bumped up a notch, and so I’m adjusting amounts by putting a range (the upper limit not being directly tested yet. Season according to your taste. I didn’t add nuts because Nick is against nuts in bread/cake products, nor did I add chocolate though I wanted to in at least one of the loaves (I apparently ate all the chocolate in the house already…). Also important note when planning to make this super awesome pumpkin loaf, it makes 2 loaves! It is incredibly moist (and perfectly cooked), and has stayed that way for 3 days, as that’s as long as the 2nd loaf will last. Enjoy!

The stuff

Topping

5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon softened, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

 

Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

0-1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese (I used light), cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

 

The plan of attack

FOR THE TOPPING: Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.

FOR THE BREAD:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.

3. Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 11/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.

5. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.

6. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK).

7. Fold walnuts & chocolate into batter if desired.

8. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes (if using a 9 x 5 loaf pan check at 40 minutes).

9. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 11/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peanut butter Nutella cookies

August 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

So continuing on my health food kick…I’ve been CRAVING cookies, which is not really a regular thing for me. Ice cream, yes. Chocolate, yes. But not generally cookies.

Now that I’m saying that, these cookies would be great with ice cream!

Anyway, saw this on ye olde Pinterest and was dying to try them. Thankfully we had everything on hand for a change. Now I will make them probably more frequently then I needed. This recipe yielded about 30 pretty large sized cookies for us.

This recipe from The Sisters Cafe as posted by Mindy.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy – we used creamy)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
heaping 1/3 cup Nutella
 
1. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Add Nutella in dollops over the top of the dough.  Use a butter knife to swirl the Nutella through the dough.  Do not over mix (as I was on the verge of doing because I didn’t follow the directions and just dumped all the Nutella in at once…).
3. Chill the dough in fridge for 15 minutes before spooning onto cookie sheet to firm the nutella.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Bake until slightly brown at edges.  Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Fig and Almond Galette

August 11, 2012 § 3 Comments

Since it’s birthday month around here and with Nick recovering from surgery, it’s apparently turned me into a baker…Fresh figs from the backyard of the bee lab doesn’t help either.

I may have posted another rustic fig tart or fig galette recipe before, but this one was super easy and really cheap to make.

Adapted from Stacey Snacks

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The stuff

1 pie crust (or pastry dough)

12+ fresh figs, halved

1 cup of ground almonds (~1/2 container of whole almonds ground in food processor or 1 cup almond meal)

3 T melted butter

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

 

The quick steps

Make a frangipane by mixing the ground almonds, egg, sugar, and melted butter.

Lay out the dough on a parchment paper lined pan and spread the frangipane evenly across the dough leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.

Lay the fresh figs on top of the frangipane in as much of a decorative fashion as possible/desired.

Fold over the edges of the dough, creating the rustic tart. Brush with a little water, milk, or egg wash and sprinkle whole thing with a little sugar.

Bake at 375 for at least 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Let rest for a few minutes and eat it up!

Mike and Nick’s Improved Smith Island Cake (8 layer cake with raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting)

August 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Made this cake for a recent birthday celebration. I’ve been wanting to make this again with a different/better frosting than used for the original recipe posted early in this blog’s life. This new concoction was undeniably successful. Even though the leftovers have to be kept in the fridge (because of the buttercream), this cake remained fresh, moist and really tasty for 4 days (only a emergency kept this from lasting that many days though). The cake recipe is the same as that posted before, but I’ll include it all for easier access.

For those that think making 8 cake layers is too much work (I assure you it’s really not), I think this combo would work very well in a two or three layer cake as well.

Raspberry buttercream adapted from Call me cupcake! and chocolate ganache frosting (not a glaze) adapted from Martha.

Cake

Ingredients

1 box cake mix (Duncan Hines yellow is the go-to, but use a flavor if you’d like, I suggest adding zest of 2 lemons to flavor)

1 can evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 t. salt

8 T. softened butter

The steps

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside.

2. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes.

3. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans (if using 4 pans). Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks.

4. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

While all the cake layers are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream then the ganache.

      

Raspberry Buttercream 

This was on the sweet side for me when tasted alone but balanced really nicely in the cake. Adjust if desired or if using for another purpose (will also depend on your fruit).

5 egg whites

3/4 cups sugar

1 stick plus 6 T butter (just 2 T short of 2 sticks)

6 oz package of raspberries, macerated with a sprinkle of sugar

vanilla

1. Pour eggs whites and sugar in a clean bowl to be used for a double-boiler. Put the bowl in your make-shift double-boiler (pyrex bowl over a pot with a little simmering water in it). Whisk the sugar and eggs constantly until the mixture gets to about 140 degrees F (or rub some of the mixture between figures, if sugar has melted you’re done).

2. Remove from heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool (should be mixture of shaving cream). Start adding butter 1 T at a time. This process can take 10-15 minutes. Just when you think you’ve done something wrong it all comes together. If it gets to cold, put over the double-boiler for a few seconds and re-whip. If it gets to hot and looks curdled and soupy, put it in the fridge briefly and re-whip.

3. Add raspberries (strain if desired, but I wanted it all in) and vanilla to taste. Whip until smooth.

4. Put just enough on each layer.

  

Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1.5 cups whipping cream

1/3 cups powdered sugar (a little more to taste if desired)

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (roughly chopped, I used 70% Ghirardelli and an amazing local chocolate)

pinch of salt

vanilla to taste

1. In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, salt to a gentle boil. Add vanilla, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl.

2. Let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined.

3. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

Grapefruit Sorbet with Choice Herbs

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

So Nick lovingly bought me a complete surprise Christmas gift: an ice cream maker! It hasn’t been great for the diet that I have(n’t) been on. But it’s great for the taste buds. After reading what ice cream does to you though, I think I may need to go into rehab….seriously folks it is messing with my brain (ice cream is the new crack).

While this doesn’t quite do to my brain what ice cream does, it is an awesome treat and really refreshing. It’s really the result of my mom sending a case of grapefruit to us from Florida and trying to figure out what to do with all of them.

We’ve found that mint and basil both work well, but I like to add some chopped mint when I do a mint version. I think the basil infusion works well enough on it’s on to not require additional fresh basil, but do to your liking. And see instructions on what to do if you aren’t lucky enough to have an ice cream maker. It’s really not a requirement for this one.

Ingredients
2 cups freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
2 cups simple syrup (~1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water heated until sugar dissolves)
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
1/3 cup packed basil or mint leaves (torn, stems can be torn and used too–almost one of the small packages at the grocery store with a few leaves reserved for later addition if desired)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, combine the grapefruit juice, simple syrup and the grapefruit zest and bring to a boil.

2. Remove from the heat and add the basil leaves. Set aside to steep in for 5 minutes.

3. Add the lemon juice to the sorbet base, strain through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool.

4. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, then process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.***

5. Transfer to a freezer-proof container with a lid and freeze until firm, 6 to 8 hours.

***Pour into a chilled dish. Check back in an hour and stir the frozen edges back in, and to do this hourly for 3-6 hours at which point it will be frozen and ready. Apparently you can also use an immersion blender or pop it in a blender before pouring into the dish to get some air into it. Even with the ice cream maker I think it’s nice to scrape a good bit of the top layer with a fork before serving or a few hours after it’s frozen. It’s really not as hard as it sounds and well worth it!

 

P.S.–it’s also an appropriate dish for a pescetarian! I think it’s my first one!

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