Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strawberry Lovin'

This is my submission for Rach's June Baking Challenge. The challenge for this month was strawberries! Yesterday was my birthday (yay!) and I was going to post my celebration dessert, but I didn't want to feel rushed in editing the photos and uploading the recipe so instead, I present you with Strawberry and Blueberry Cobbler Cake. I originally spotted this cake at The Kitchen Sink and was taken aback. It looked so lovely. Kristen said it tasted almost like a strawberry shortcake. I'm not a huge fan of shortcakes so I wasn't sure I wanted to make this but I'm glad I did.

I did have a minor problem when I made this. I doubled the recipe and put equal amounts into 2 pie plates. One for us and one for my neighbor- their son was graduating. Only I wanted to use my new-to-me Corning ware pie plate that I got from Goodwill for only $2.99! Only that's where my problem was. The recipe calls for a 10-inch pie plate and this one was significantly smaller so it overflowed in the oven and burned all over the place. It was a freakin' mess.

I immediately smelled the smoke and rushed into the kitchen. I pulled out both cakes- the Pyrex pie plate was just fine- thank God! I scraped the over-flowing lava-like cake batter off of the edge and took out about half a cup of batter. I cleaned the oven as best I could and popped them back into the oven to finish their baking with a sheet pan underneath them, just in case.

With 10 minutes left to go on my kitchen timer, I went to check on the cakes and the berries had completely sunk despite me flouring them :-( Bummer, I hate when that happens. So I added a few more blueberries to the top of the cake and popped them back in. When the timer beeped at me I went to check them and they looked perfect. Nothing like they should but, but perfect to me.

Oh my gawd, this was delicious! I didn't think my husband was going to like it, but he went back for seconds! We finished this cake off in a day and a half, it was that good. It didn't taste like a shortcake to me at all. It was definitely cakey, but very moist (maybe because I added more fruit) buttery, vanilla-y and very reminiscent to a cobbler, so I renamed it. Beside if I want strawberry cake, Ill make this one! Despite my many mishaps, I would definitely make this cake again (in my Pyrex pie plate, not my pretty Corning ware find) :-)

Strawberry and Blueberry Cobbler Cake adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons raw or granulated sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

NOTE: You can use all strawberries (1 pound) or a combination of berries that you prefer. Use enough to cover the top of the batter.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Award and a Virtual Potluck

Kristen from Whatcha Eatin'? and Kathy from Three on Food bequeathed (my mother-in-law loves this word) to me this "lovely blog award". Thank you so much Kristen and Kathy, I very much appreciate the sentiment.

I'm supposed to pass this award on to 10 other bloggers who I think are just as lovely. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings because I love you all or I wouldn't visit your blogs, so I'm going to pass this along to blogs who I think are fabulous that don't get the recognition I think they deserve and to those that if you don't know about you should!

  1. Treehouse Kitchen
  2. Elissa from 17 and Baking
  3. Debbmarie from Let Them Eat Cake...
  4. Debby from A Feast For The Eyes
  5. Erin from Erin Cooks
  6. Lorelei from Mermaid Sweets
  7. Kristen from The Kitchen Sink
  8. Shari from Whisk: A Food Blog
  9. Julia from Dozen Flours
  10. Julie from Sporadic Cook

That was tough narrowing down to only 10!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And just for fun because my birthday is tomorrow (woo-hoo!):

Consider yourself invited to my virtual potluck birthday party, what what are you bringing with you to the celebration?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Little Zing!

I made these bad boys to take to my mother's house for Sunday dinner because my stepfather loves key limes. We grilled outside and had steaks, sausage, potato salad, corn and these yummy lime squares. They're like a key lime pie in bar form- tart, creamy, zesty and buttery. They were a perfect ending to a family meal.

I first saw these on Two Peas and Their Pod. Maria saw them on Evil Shenanigans. Both versions looked luscious, which is why I made them--duh! They both made the crust with only graham crackers and not with pistachios like the original recipe called for. And they also used fat free sweetened condensed milk. I chose to use full fat milk because that's what I had and I added pecans to the crust. And I also added a bit more lime zest to the filling for color. It was nutty, zingy and delicious!

Either way you like, nuts or no nuts, full fat or fat free, added zest or none, you must make these. I suppose if you want something different you could make this with lemon or even grapefruit. A little goes a long way, so be sure to spread the tangy love!

Lime Squares with a Pecan-Graham Cracker Crust adapted from Everyday Baking


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
  • 2/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup graham-cracker crumbs (1 package)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest


  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.*

In a food processor, finely grind pecans with graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and zest. Blend in butter. Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool crust, 30 minutes.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice and zest; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving. Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut. To store in refrigerator, cover with plastic wrap.

NOTE: *The recipe says to line the bottom of a pan with parchment paper and leave a 2-inch over hang. This is a great idea, but I think it needs 2 pieces of parchment, one going each way so it's easier to remove. I baked mine in a metal pan and I hard time loosening the crust from the side of the pan. A second piece of parchment would have helped. In fact I had 2 pieces originally and I removed it because the recipe said to use only one...go figure.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Deliciousness on a Bagel

This is a quicky because I've been so busy lately and I don't have much free time to blog. I've been trying to keep up on your blogs, but it's overwhelming sometimes. I'm working more than I usually do, which means I come home tired and sitting in front of a computer is not on my priority list.

I appreciate all your comments and I'll get back to your blogs in a few days. I've added quite a few of you to my blog roll and to my google reader, but if I have overlooked you and you'd like me to follow your blog, then please leave me a comment and I'll add you to my list.

Okay, on to one of my favorite breakfast treats. My sister turned me on to this little yummy. Her boyfriend orders this from Einstein Bros. but it's just as easy to replicate at home. It is down right delicious- the perfect combination of sweet and savory, crispy, creamy and chewy.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Bacon Bagels
  • blueberry bagel
  • cream cheese
  • bacon, cooked

Slice and toast bagel. Schmear with as much or as little cream cheese as you'd like on both sides of the bagel. Stuff with crispy bacon (2-3 slices). Sandwich together and scarf it down.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If you like pina coladas & getting caught in the rain.

You make Pina Colada Cake...and just in time for Father's Day!

This is my third installation for The Cake Slice Bakers. We're working our way through the fabulous cake book- Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. I don't know how to convince you that you NEED to get his book. It boasts page after page of tall gorgeous celebration cakes--swoon!

This cake has a brown sugar cake filled with a pineapple, jam-like filling speckled with vanilla beans, drizzled with rum (I used Malibu coconut rum!) and topped with a magnificently creamy coconut meringue buttercream. I fancied up my overly white cake with toasted unsweetened coconut shavings.

My overall impression was that this cake was lacking something. The cake was good but I wish it had coconut or pineapple in it not just around it. I think it could have been much more moist that way. Also the filling was good but I thought it was a little sweet and didn't have that punch of lime that I was expecting. Maybe zest would remedy that. The cake with the filling tasted very similar to a pineapple upside-down cake. And the coconut meringue buttercream, while it sounds enticing... just didn't do it for me. This would have been fab with a pineapple cream cheese frosting. I realize that would have turned it into a pineapple cake, but I'm okay with that.

Pina Colada Cake from Sky High Cakes

Brown Sugar Cake

  • 3¾ cups cake flour
  • 1¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 tbsp rum – light, amber or dark (for drizzling over cooled cakes)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line the base of three 9inch cake pans.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk gently to combine. Add the brown sugar, butter and 1½ cups of the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low blend to incorporate. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk the eggs with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk and the vanilla and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and beating only long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter between the 3 pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.

Pineapple Filling

  • 1 can (20 ounce) crushed pineapple in juice (no added sugar)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 inch piece of vanilla bean split in half

Combine the pineapple, sugar and lime juice in a pan. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan too. Warm over a medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, 2 to 3 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the juices have almost completely evaporated and its turned jam-like in consistency. Let the filling cool completely before using. (Can be made a day in advance and refrigerated)

Coconut Meringue Buttercream

  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1½ tsp coconut extract

Put the eggs whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment so they are ready to go.

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Beat the egg whites briefly at medium speed. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, being careful to avoid the beaters. Continue to whip until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the butter, several tablespoons at a time and continue to beat until a smooth fluffy frosting forms. Add the coconut milk in several additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Add the coconut extract and mix until smooth.


Place one layer flat side up on a cake stand. Sprinkle a generous 3 tbsp rum over the cake. Spread half of the pineapple filling over the layer, leaving a small gap around the edge. Add the second layer, sprinkle with more rum and cover with the remaining pineapple filling. Top with the third layer and sprinkle with the remaining rum.

Frost the top and sides of the cake with the coconut buttercream. Decorate with some thin shreds of coconut and slices of pineapple if desired.

Makes one 9-inch triple layer cake.

For a printer friendly version, click here.

Visit the other Cake Slice Bakers to see how they did!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hugs and Chocolate Kisses

What do you do when you have a bowl full of Hershey Kisses that you bought for your husband during the holidays (Christmas and Valentines) that seems to be never ending? In fact they seem to be mating and multiplying like rabbits.

You make these scrumptious cookies, that's what!

I wanted to make blossom cookies using the kisses but the only recipes I seemed to find were for peanut butter blossoms. If you have been reading long, you know that I don't like chocolate and peanut butter together, so those were out. I wanted to make snickerdoodle blossoms but couldn't find a recipe so I adapted a recipe from Land O' Lakes that was similar to what I was looking for. I subbed the almond extract for vanilla and rolled them in cinnamon sugar for a snickerdoodle-esque cookie and topped them with milk chocolate kisses.

Buttery, cinnamony, sugary, chocolatey. These were delish!

Snickerdoodle Blossoms adapted from Land O' Lakes
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 48 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped*

Heat oven to 375°F.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, vanilla extract and salt; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. If dough is too soft, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until very lightly golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate kiss in center of each cookie and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar over them while they're still warm. Remove from cookie sheets; cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 4-5 dozen.

NOTE: *I used a small ice cream scoop and was able to make 60 cookies-- 12 more than the recipe states. score! Make sure you have a few extra kisses on hand when making these.

Also, be sure to allow these to cool completely before stacking them. The cookies may be cool, but the kisses may be melty in the center and you want them to stay pretty and blossom-y.

Look boobies!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Perfect Pearing

I saw this recipe for Red Wine and Pear Sorbet on the PBS show, Everyday Food. I don't drink red wine so I thought, "oh I'll never make this" and quickly fast-forwarded through it. Then I remembered I still had POM juice in the fridge and rewound it and paid careful attention. I immediately pulled out my laptop and bookmarked this recipe.

My mother-in-law loves pomegranate juice so I decided to make this for her birthday and I served it with angel food cake and strawberries. I wish I had doubled the recipe though because we quickly consumed it and I was longing for more.

Since POM juice is sweeter than red wine, I cut back slightly on the amount of sugar and I added a few drops of red food coloring just to brighten it up a bit. It came together quickly and morphed from a frozen solid mass into a smooth blush beauty with the assistance of the food processor. Tart, smooth, creamy, sweet and refreshing. A perfect fat free summer treat.

POMegranate and Pear Sorbet adapted from Everyday Food
  • 1 cup POM juice
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 lb. ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt
  • a few drops red food coloring, optional

In a small saucepan, bring juice, water, and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Add pears; reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice, food coloring (if using) and a pinch of salt; cool completely. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Freeze until solid, about 6 hours (or overnight).

With a fork, break frozen mixture into large pieces. In two batches, purée in a food processor until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to an airtight container; freeze until ready to serve (sorbet will be soft).

Makes 1 quart

NOTE: I made this in two steps. On the first day I boiled the juice, sugar and pears and poured it into a pyrex dish. I then froze it for a couple days, then processed it til smooth on the third day. Do what you can with the time you have. This recipe's flavor will not be affected, in the least.

See my other POM recipes:

Updated: I entered this in the ice cream social sponsored by ScottySnacks, SavortheThyme and Tangled Noodle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla = Neapolitan Cupcakes

Several weeks ago while visiting a fellow food blogger I came across an idea for a cupcake. You see, Maria, from Two Peas and Their Pod, visited a cupcakery and brought home several different flavors. One of them was a Neapolitan cupcake. I've been dreaming of that cupcake ever since. Thanks Maria!

I had intentions of adapting a basic one-bowl chocolate recipe into a two tone batter, but then I remembered that the PBS show, Everyday Baking, had a recipe for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. But I had some strawberry meringue buttercream frosting leftover from my sister's strawberry birthday cake so I used that to top these black and white cupcakes with. Voila- a Neapolitan Cupcake was born!

They're so pretty and girly and would be perfect for a wedding or baby shower, Mother's day, birthdays and even a backyard barbecue or luncheon. With the flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, there's something here for everyone.

I adapted the original version of these cupcakes because all the reviewers said they were very dry. I wanted to make them despite their claims so I added a little vegetable oil and upped the amount of milk in the batter. They weren't dry to me. At the same time, I don't think there was anything spectacular about these cupcakes. They were good, but the strawberry buttercream made them even better.

Black-and-White Cupcakes adapted from Everyday Baking

Vanilla Batter:

  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Chocolate Batter:
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters; fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each, side by side.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add oil then eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with strawberry meringue buttercream.

Makes 24 cupcakes

NOTE: Click the link to view the recipe for Strawberry Meringue Buttercream.

Be sure to use regular white cupcake liners so you can see the distinct separation of the chocolate and vanilla batters.

Related Posts with Thumbnails