Blueberry Peach Buckle

Labor Day… Today marks the unofficial end to the summer for most, calendar-wise though we have until the 22nd. And with temps planning to hit the high 80’s in New York this week, it doesn’t seem like summer is letting go that easy! So, if you’re craving a dessert that’s reminiscent of summer flavors and you’re still able to get fresh peaches in your neck of the woods (although frozen would work, or you could sub the peaches for apples) this Blueberry Peach Buckle is for you!

Now, you may be wondering what exactly a buckle is. I know I was when I saw this recipe. Well, it’s a fruit cake, usually made with blueberries, that has a streusel topping. When the cake bakes the batter will rise whereas the blueberries and streusel topping will weigh it down, the surface of the cake will then buckle. Truth be told, I didn’t really see this happen with the one I made.

Overall this cake was good, but, there are two things I would do different next time. I found the streusel topping to be a bit sweet so I think I would cut back on the granulated sugar and have an even amount of both sugars. Also, add in another chopped peach. I could barely taste the peach pieces in the cake. Oh, and there is a third, either omit the orange zest or add in another 1/4 teaspoon. I really didn’t get the orange essence.

A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side did make this cake extra yummy though regardless!

 

Blueberry Peach Buckle

For The Cake:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk*

2 cups blueberries

1 large peach, chopped

 

*I used whole milk

 

For the Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with butter or spray with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and orange zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and then gradually beat in the milk with the mixer on low. Your batter may look curdled due to the milk and zest interacting. Add the flour mixture and continue to meat until well incorporated. Your batter will be thick. Fold in the blueberries and chopped peach and spread in the prepared dish.

To make the streusel, in a medium bowl combine the sugars, flour, nutmeg and salt. Work the butter in with your fingers until clumpy. Scatter it over the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then serve with the ice cream.

Recipe from Food Network

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower has become the rage in recent years. People have been using it to make pizza crust, rice, and it’s a great substitute for pasta, especially in Mac and Cheese. Hence the recipe I am sharing with you today.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that I actually enjoyed this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese more so than the traditional Mac and Cheese I normally make. Using cauliflower as opposed to pasta makes the dish a lot lighter and the cheese sauce was much lighter as well since the base is heavy cream and cream cheese as opposed to milk and flour.

I began by cutting a large head of cauliflower into small florets. I then boiled them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes until the cauliflower was crisp tender. You don’t want to boil them too long as you don’t want your Mac and Cheese to become mushy. After draining the cauliflower I patted it dry with a few paper towels and then transferred it to a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. You could use frozen cauliflower and steam it in your microwave oven. Once again, don’t overcook it.

Next, I made the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan I simmered heavy cream and then added in cream cheese and mustard, whisking it until it was smooth. I then stirred in cup of cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder until the cheese melted. Not a fan of cheddar, try mozzarella, Monterey jack cheese for a little kick, or a combination of your favorite cheeses. I then poured the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, stirred it together and then topped it with more shredded cheddar cheese. I baked it in a preheated 375 oven for about 15 minutes and it was ready to enjoy.

This recipe would also be delicious with broccoli!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 cup heavy cream

2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter, or spray with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt.

Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then pat dry between paper towels. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish.

In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream to a simmer and then whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder and continue whisking until the cheese melts. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and stir to combine.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Recipe from Food Network

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

I’ve been wanting to make this Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake for over a year now. Somehow it just got away from me last summer and it almost did the same this summer. I truly feel the flavors of this cake are ideal for the summer months. This isn’t my first crepe cake though, last fall I made a Chocolate-Pumpkin Crepe Cake which was quite delish.

Unfortunately this crepe cake wasn’t a hit amongst my friends who tried it. Not because of the taste but because they weren’t keen on the crepes. They agreed that the lemon curd cream filling between the crepes was good but the crepes themselves not so great. Not so much the flavor, but, the texture. Which I can completely understand. Eating a cake of crepes is nothing like eating a fluffy moist cake. I myself enjoyed it, but, I’m a texture person. In other words, I like sprinkles on my ice cream, nuts in brownies and cookies and so forth. Oh well… You can’t always bake something that everyone will rave about.

One thing I have to point out… This very apropos cake stand I used for this cake. It has a glass lemon as the stem between the base and the plate. I got it from a dear friend’s mom a few days before I made this cake and it made making this cake a little more fun!

 

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd*:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 5 to 6 lemons

 

Crepes:

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup flour

6 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

An additional 3 tablespoons of butter to cook the Crepes

 

Assembly:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crushed amaretti cookies, for garnish (optional)**

 

*If you opt to use store bought lemon curd, you will need 1 cup.

**I used Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats

 

Directions:

Lemon Curd: Beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the whole egg. Once well combined, gradually add in the egg yolks, then the lemon juice. The mixture may appear curdles. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cool. You can keep the lemon curd in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Crepes: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Once the batter is cold, stir it the batter until smooth again. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1 ounce of batter on the skillet and tilt it to even distribute the batter. Cook until the edges on the crepe turn golden and then carefully flip and cook until just set. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Melt another 1/2 teaspoon of butter and continue cooking the crepes in the same manner. Mix the batter between each crepe. Stack the crepes on top of one another and let cool for 30 minutes. You will have between 16-20 crepes.

Assembly: Beat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the lemon curd with a rubber spatula until combined. Then fold the cream-curd mixture into the remaining whipped cream until completely combined.

Place 1 crepe on the center of a cake stand and spread 3 tablespoons of the curd mixture evenly over the crepe. Repeat layering with remaining crepes and curd mixture, ending with a crepe.

Whisk together the remaining cream and confectioners’ sugar with the mascarpone and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Spread the mascarpone cream on the top and the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and garnish with crushed cookies before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Lemon Blueberry Snack Cakes

I don’t have enough space in my kitchen to store all of my baking supplies so I keep them nicely organized on a shelving until in my basement. Not long ago while grabbing my Bundt pan to make a pound cake I thought it was about time I use my snack cake pans again. I’ve only used them once to make these Chocolate Snack Cakes. So, the wheels started turning to come up with a flavor. Initially I was thinking of making a Raspberry Cake with a Lime Curd Filling, then, it became a Raspberry Cake with a Lemon Curd Filling, next, a Lemon Raspberry Cake with a Pastry Cream filling, but, since blueberries were on sale the week I decided to make them it ended up being a Lemon Blueberry Snack Cake. Maybe another day will try out one of those other flavors. Oh, and in case you are wondering what a snack cake pan is, it’s essentially a pan that will make cakes that look like Twinkies. I have this one from Fat Daddio, which I believe isn’t available anymore, but, Wilton makes a similar one.

I tweaked the recipe that I used to make this Lemon Cake a few years back and then gently folded in blueberries that I dredged in flour (a little trick to ensure the blueberries won’t sink to the bottom of the batter while baking). I then divvied the batter among my snack cake pans and baked them in the oven. If you don’t have snack cake pans, you can use the batter to make cupcakes. They are delicious on their own, but, it you opt to make the cupcakes top them with cream cheese frosting and decorate with lemon zest and a few more blueberries for a little extra wow.

 

Lemon Blueberry Snack Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

5 oz. buttermilk*

3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup blueberries, dredged in flour

 

*I made my own buttermilk by stirring together 4 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 cup whole milk and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it curdled. You can refrigerate the leftovers.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a snack cake pan with baking spray. If making cupcakes, line a cupcake tin with liners.

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light & fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beat until just combined. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Fold in the blueberries and pour batter into the pan. For the snack cake pan use about 3 tablespoons of batter per cavity, for cupcakes 1/4 cup of batter.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

S’more Brownie Bites

Happy National S’mores Day! Will you be enjoying the campfire treat today? Truth be told, I had my first actual s’more last year and I must admit it was pretty good. I am not a big marshmallow fan so I think that’s why I never tried one, also, I’ve never been camping. Although you don’t have to go camping to have a s’more. Last year friends and I made them for dessert after a BBQ by roasting the marshmallows over sterno gel chafing fuel. Believe it or not, it actually worked! For today’s s’more treat I made S’more Brownie Bites.

I started by making the brownie batter. I melted a stick of butter in a small saucepan and then added in mini chocolate chips and whisked it until it was melted and smooth. I transferred this a medium bowl and stirred in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer I then beat in all-purpose flour. And finally I stirred in mini chocolate chips. Now, the recipe called for quinoa flour along with all-purpose flour. I decided to omit the quinoa flour and just used all-purpose flour. I honestly didn’t want to spend money on quinoa flour which I probably wouldn’t use again and it didn’t seem necessary to the outcome of the recipe. I even researched making my own quinoa flour, but, it just didn’t seem worth the time and effort. Sorry if I sound so negative, but, I’ve finally learned that tweaking a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand is obviously much easier but also builds one’s confidence in the kitchen and you truly learn what works and doesn’t work. Back in the day, I would avoid a recipe if it included an ingredient not readily available or a bit on the pricier side, but, now I look for ways to make the recipe work with what I have on hand.

Once the batter was ready, using a small cookie scoop, I filled a mini cupcake pan, which I lined with liners, with the batter. Next, I pressed three mini marshmallows into each of the brownie bites and then topped them with crushed graham crackers. Here’s my simple trick for crushing graham crackers… Break them up a little and add them to a quart-size Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, removing the air, and then using a rolling pin, roll the graham crackers to crush them to your desired consistency. I opted to leave the graham crackers with little pieces to give the tops of the brownie bites a little texture to them.

After baking in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes they were ready! One downfall of baking marshmallows is that they melt considerably, so removing the brownie bites from the pan wasn’t as easy as just removing basic cupcakes. I let them cool for a few minutes before removing them so that could have been part of the problem, but, I also didn’t want to remove them right out of the oven since I wanted the brownies to settle a little before removing them. Removing them too soon could have resulted in smooshed brownie bites. Regardless, they still tasted yummy! The extra mini chocolate chips in the batter really added another level chocolate goodness to the brownie part and the marshmallows were perfectly melted into the brownies.

 

S’more Brownie Bites

  • Servings: 24 Brownie Bites
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Ingredients:

3-4 large graham crackers, finely crushed

1 stick unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups mini chocolate chips

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour*

Mini Marshmallows

*Original recipe called ½ cup all-purpose flour & ½ cup quinoa flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a mini cupcake pan with papers liners and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add in ¾ cup of the mini chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Using a handheld mixer, gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and thick. Finally, whisk in the remaining ½ cup of mini chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, fill each paper line with the batter. Press 3 mini marshmallows into the center of the batter and then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, the marshmallows will be puffed and lightly golden. Let cool for 20 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe From Food Network

Malted Oatmeal Cream Pies

Have you been doing a lot of baking this summer? Unfortunately I haven’t. I did my fare share for a July 4th celebration, including the cake below, but, other than that baking has been to a minimum. It’s primarily due to the fact that it’s been a little warm and humid and that coupled with the fact that I don’t have air conditioning does not make for the ideal recipe to turn on my oven.

I did make some Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies and while they were good, they were a bit too cakey for my liking. And that brings me to the recipe I am sharing with you today… Malted Oatmeal Cream Pies, a la Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. Truth be told, I have never had a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie, but, when I saw this in an issue of Food Network Magazine last year (yes, it’s taken me that long to finally make them) I knew I wanted to try them.

One of the things I liked about this recipe is that you got the oatmeal texture of the cookie without the actual pieces of oatmeal because the recipe calls for you to pulse the oatmeal along with almonds. I think the next time I make a batch of oatmeal cookies I will try that out. What I didn’t like… The size of the pies. The recipe called for the dough to be scooped out in 1/4-cup balls, a little too much for my liking especially since the cookies were pretty thick. I think next time I make these I will keep them on the smaller size, maybe just use a cookie scoop. The cream part though was delish and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

 

Malted Oatmeal Cream Pies

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon malted milk powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

For the Filling:

5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon malted milk powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Begin by making the cookies. Whisk the flour, malted milk powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the oats and almonds until coarsely ground, set aside.

In a large bowl (or using a stand mixer) beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture until just combined and then add in the oat mixture and beat until just combined.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1/4-cup balls of dough and place on the prepared sheets about 2 inches apart. Freeze until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies until just golden and crisp around the edges, about 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the filling. In a large bowl beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and, malted powder on medium speed until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and add in the milk and vanilla extract until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. If the filling is too thick add more milk, too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar. Spread the filling on half of the cookies and then top with another and enjoy!

Recipe from Food Network

Zebra Cake

It’s one thing when a cake is appealing to the eye on the outside, but, when you cut into a cake and reveal a hidden surprise on the inside your eyes widen in wonder and delight. That’s the excitement behind a Piñata Cake. Who wouldn’t want to cut a slice of cake to only have sprinkles and candy come cascading out? A smile (and squeals from little one’s) is sure to follow. The same can be had when the cake itself reveals a pattern or design. Think of a Checkerboard Cake (Sorry for the pictures in both of those posts – Nighttime baking is not a blogger’s friend when it comes to taking pictures.)

I recently made a cake to celebrate a friend’s daughters (aka my nieces) dance recital performance – it was their first. Since I was making a cake for one of their birthdays the day before I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake for their recital celebration. And since I was making a themed cake for that birthday I also didn’t want to make a cake that I would have to heavily decorate – I was actually able to find doll-sized versions of their dancing shoes to top the cake with so I figured that was perfect enough decoration. So, I figured I should do something special with the inside. After a little thought I decided to make a zebra cake with a Nutella mousse filling since they both like the hazelnut spread.

To make things super easy I went with box cake mix – a yellow cake mix and a chocolate cake mix. I prepared both per the box directions. Whenever I use cake mix I normally use Duncan Hines. One of the reasons, and it will sound silly, is because it has a Wilton approved emblem on it. Truth be told though, Duncan Hines is perfect for making a zebra cake because they do not have pudding in the mix which can make the cake batter thick and not ideal for making this cake.

Once my batters were prepared, I poured a ¼ cup of the yellow cake batter in the center of two 8-inch cake pans that I sprayed with baking spray. Next, I poured a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake batter in the center of the yellow cake batter, and then a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake mix in the center of the previously poured yellow cake mix. I continued in this pattern until the pan was about 2/3 full. You won’t use all of the batters, but, just about.

I gently tapped the pans down and then baked them in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. I let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then inverted them on cooling racks to cool completely.

One cooled, I torte the cakes to remove the dome that formed on both. The zebra pattern was instantly visible and I was quite excited that it worked.

The pattern was even more visible once the cake was layered and cut into.

You could really customize this cake. Use a white cake mix and tint it colors to show your team spirit, someone’s favorite colors or even a gender reveal cake.

And here’s a pic of the birthday cake I made the same weekend – An Elena of Avalor themed cake.