Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sweet As Honey

Happy Spring Everyone! Wednesday was my father-in-law's 72nd birthday. Happy birthday Bob! I'm not quite sure why I associate pie and banana pudding with him, but a couple of years ago I made him a banana pudding pie and this year I conjured up a new creation of banana pudding cheesecake-- doesn't that sound amazing? It was a great way to celebrate the first day of Spring. And tomorrow if the weather cooperates, I'm heading out to find a patch of Texas bluebonnets to plop Hayden in the middle of to take his picture. It's what Texans do!

Grandpa Bob, Mr. H and Hayden

I've been baking so much lately, trying to get new pictures and recipes for the cookbook that I've neglected my fellow Cake Slice Bakers. This month's cake got so much praise that I just had to take a break from my regular schedule and make it. I like honey, but don't love it like I do cream cheese or chocolate. I use it in recipes, but it's never a major flavor component in anything I make. This cake was good, really good. There's honey in the cake, then after it's baked it get topped with a honey butter glaze, sliced almonds and even more glaze. After it cools slightly, the topping because somewhat chewy and crunchy, while the cake soaks up that glaze and becomes moist and sticky with a tight, tender crumb. I'm glad I made this cake and I hope you will too! Nothing says Spring like birthdays,  wildflowers on the side of the road and fresh local honey.

Honey Bee Cake adapted from Vintage Cakes
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup  firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup natural sliced almonds

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan or 9 by 3-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper circle and set aside. 
To Make The Cake: In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are well mixed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla on low speed until blended; increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.
Spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will turn a deep golden color and be firm on top, and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle will have moist crumbs attached. The cake might crack on the surface as it bakes; don’t worry, this simply provides a way for the cake to soak up more honey glaze.
To Make The Glaze: In a small saucepan combine the honey, sugar, and butter over medium heat, stirring until combined. Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner to keep warm.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate, right side up. Be careful, the cake is hot! Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. Pour half of the glaze over the cake, evenly sprinkle the cake with the almonds, and then pour the rest of the glaze over the almonds. Let cake cool slightly, but serve warm. 
The honey in this cake makes it a good keeper (5 days) when well wrapped and stored at room temperature.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sunshine In A Muffin

Ever see a recipe that looks good then someone else makes it and put their twist on it and it seems so much more enticing? That's what happened to me with this recipe. This recipe comes from two fantastic and talented bakers, Jane (Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal) and Lululu (lululu at home). Between their pictures and descriptions of this beautiful muffin (and my adoration of anything with strawberries and cream cheese) these muffins were bound to be whipped up in my kitchen at some point. I made these around Valentine's Day and they were just LOVE-ly. 

These muffins were awesome. I simplified the instructions just a bit and added orange zest to brighten up my muffin batter. Strawberries and oranges are just so summery to me- I love that combo even more than strawberries and lemon. You get that same vibrant punch from the zest but it's much more aromatic and not as tart.

I think I liked these so much because they were so.....creamy. I'd describe the muffin to you, but Jane said it best when she said the cream cheese center "just barely evokes the flavor of cheesecake, and it's subtle enough so that it doesn't make the muffins too rich, nor does it make you feel like you're eating something that belongs on a dessert cart. It also doesn't firm up into a thickened streak within the muffin, but melds nicely into the batter itself, augmenting the moistness of the muffin's soft interior." Well said my friend. Well said. 

Strawberry-Orange Cream Cheese Muffins 

Cream Cheese Mixture: 
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. 

For The Cream Cheese Mixture: In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.

For The Muffins: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, orange zest, vanilla and eggs until incorporated.

Using a spatula, stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined but do not overmix.

Spoon  the batter into the prepared tins, filling them no more than 1/2 full.

Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.

Top the strawberries with a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture, a tablespoon more of muffin batter, and finally a few more pieces of strawberry.

Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, until they’re light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a rack to cool. 

Makes about 15 muffins.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Musselman's Winner and LTBG Is On Facebook!

The winner of the Musselman's prize pack is commenter #56 Julia from cook&burn. Congratulations! Julia please email me your address.  

Thanks everyone who entered my giveaway! I promise you a real post with a recipe is coming soon!

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On a side note, Lick The Bowl Good is on Facebook. Yay! "Like" me if you're interested in keeping up with my daily baking and cookbook updates. The FB badge is on the left sidebar. 

Someone has been into my almond jam bars. I'll give you one guess who. Hint: He left his pacifier behind as evidence. 

Yup! Hayden! Look at that stinker. He thinks because my face is hidden behind a camera, I don't see him. There is no shame in his game. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Musselman's #AppleSauceInstead and A Giveaway!

It's March! How are those New Year resolutions working for ya? I confessed a couple months ago that I don't make resolutions because I'm bound to break them, however I still care about my health and what I eat. I gained weight while pregnant then dropped 35 pounds after Hayden was born. Slowly, that weight has been creeping back on and it's frustrating.  I'm not a runner and I don't have a gym membership and I was not blessed with a teenage boys' metabolism, however I can still make smart decisions about the way I snack and that's where Musselman's applesauce comes in. 

I was sent 3 varieties of Musselman's applesauce (Original, Natural and Cinnamon) as part of their #ApplesauceInstead campaign. All you have to do is swap a snack for a cup of Musselman's applesauce- that's it! I'm not a big snacker but I do eat chips with sandwiches for lunch and I like my dessert. I'm trying to be healthier about my decisions and reach for applesauce instead. Mr. H has been packing it in his lunch and Hayden loves it too! The Natural applesauce only has 50 calories 4 oz. and the Original and Cinnamon (my favorite!) only has 90. It's naturally fat and cholesterol free and is very low in sodium. 

Along with my applesauce, I also received a Musselman's branded yoga ball. That thing is so fun! I have to be honest though and tell you I fell off several times and laughed along the way but you just gotta get back up and try again, right? Hayden likes to bounce on it too. So as the year progresses, rather than obsess about my weight I'll just think twice about grabbing the Cheetos or the Oreos and choose #AppleSauceInstead. 

Would you like to win a Musselman's prize pack? One winner will be chosen at random and will receive 3 varieties of applesauce along with a yoga ball. 

All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me what you'll replace with Musselman's applesauce. One winner will be chosen at the end of the week. 

Visit Musselman's on Facebook for more info about healthy snacking.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

An IHOP Gift Card Winner!

The winner of the $25 IHOP gift card giveaway is commenter #31 Melissa of My Recent Favorite Books. Congrats Melissa! Please email me your mailing address. Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway sponsored by IHOP. I hope despite not winning a gift card, you'll all head over there and try the new Griddle Melts! Have a great weekend!  

My Father-in-law (left) and Hayden (right)

But before I go, I wanted to share a photo with you. This is a picture of my Father-in-law, Bob, on the left in 1942 and a pic of Hayden in 2013. I'm amazed by their similarities- such beautiful babies!
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