Malted Brownies

My favorite chocolate chip cookie is a Malted Chocolate Chip cookie. The malted milk powder produces a cookie that is both chewy (in the center) and crispy (along the edges) and gives it a flavor that is just extra yummy. So, when I came across a recipe for Malted Brownies, I knew I had to try it.

One thing that was slightly different about these brownies is that they are frosted. Which might make you think that they are going to be like a snack cake, but I can assure you they are not. The consistency is all brownie! And the frosting also has malted milk powder in it, so you are getting double dose of it. It’s made with marshmallow crème (or fluff) and while it was delicious on these brownies, it would make a great filling for a chocolate cake.

Surprisingly these brownies weren’t overtly sweet considering the frosting. I think that was due to the fact that bittersweet chocolate is used to make the brownies. They are rich though, so I would suggest cutting them into 24 pieces as opposed to 12 like I did.

Malted Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips*

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

7oz. jar marshmallow crème

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

*The original recipe called for 8oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13 x 9 – inch baking pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate together in 35 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate mixture and continue whisking until combined. Add the flour, milk powder, cocoa powder and salt and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the brownie mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack before spreading frosting on top.

While the brownies are cooling make the frosting. In a large bowl beat the butter using a handheld mixer until creamy. Add in the marshmallow crème and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add in the malted milk powder and cocoa powder and continue beating. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.

Spread frosting over cooled brownies. To make slicing the brownies easier refrigerate for about 10 minutes so the frosting can set.

Slice into 12 large brownies or 24 small brownies.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

One of my favorite cheesecake flavors is White Chocolate Raspberry. One day I got to thinking what about a cupcake that incorporated those flavors, just without the cheesecake part. I knew I wanted the frosting to be white chocolate, but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate raspberry into the cupcakes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fold fresh raspberries into the batter or make the cupcakes with a raspberry swirl. Ultimately, I decided to make a true raspberry cupcake by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree and raspberry powder – made from freeze-dried raspberries – into my batter. 

To make the raspberry puree and the raspberry powder I used my food processor to process the fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries and then used a fine mesh sieve to sift the seeds out of the raspberry powder and pressed the raspberry puree through the sieve to separate it from the seeds. A quick tip, I processed the freeze-dried raspberries first and then the fresh raspberries afterwards so I wouldn’t have to clean my food processor in between. If you are wondering where you can get freeze dried raspberries from, I found mine at my local Target. And while you could make these cupcakes without the raspberry powder, adding it really enhances the raspberry flavor, especially if you end up with a batch of raspberries that aren’t incredibly sweet. The powder also intensifies the color of the cupcakes without having to use food coloring to get a nice pink color reminiscent of raspberries.

Once the raspberry powder and puree was ready, I incorporated the puree into my wet ingredients and the powder into my dry ingredients and then mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with milk. When filling my cupcake liners, I erred on the side of caution when filling them since I wasn’t sure how much they would rise. As you can see, I filled them about 3/4 quarters of the way…

Once they were baked though I noticed that they didn’t rise that much and I could have filled them just about to the top. And I have to mention that the smell of these cupcakes is pure raspberries. There was no doubt what the flavor was going to be.

After letting them cool in the pan for 15 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they were cooled it was time to make the frosting.   

Now, for the white chocolate frosting you may be tempted to and they are easier to come by, but don’t use white chips for it. With most brands, white chips do not contain cocoa butter and thus cannot be called chocolate. If you do use them, your frosting will not be smooth, but instead will have chunks of the chips in it even after melting and beating it into your frosting (I speak from experience). It’s best to buy white chocolate in bar form and check the ingredient list to make sure it does contain cocoa butter. For this recipe I used two Lindt White Chocolate bars that you can find in the candy aisle or you can use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars that are normally found in the baking aisle.

I started by melting and cooling the chocolate and then I gradually beat it into butter that I had already beaten. I opted to make the frosting in my stand mixer so I could keep it running constantly while adding in the ingredients. Once the chocolate was incorporated, I then gradually added in confectioners’ sugar and finally vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Adding the whipping cream helps to make the frosting light and fluffy. And in case you are wondering, even with the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar the frosting is not overly sweet. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped swirls on each of the cupcakes and topped some with a fresh raspberry for a final touch.

Raspberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

6oz. (1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries,

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

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

In the bowl of a food processor add the freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse a few times until they become a powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.

Add the fresh raspberries to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the raspberries until they have broken down. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the seeds from the puree. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter on medium speed until cream. Add the sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract and finally the raspberry puree until just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk on low speed. Raise the speed to medium until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: About 2 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

8oz. white chocolate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Chop the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to love and gradually add in the cooled melted chocolate.

Still on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

Add in the vanilla extract and salt increase the speed to medium and then finally add in the heavy cream and beat for another minute or so.

Marbled Pound Cake

If you can’t choose between a vanilla or chocolate cake, then a marbled cake is for you! And if you are thinking that it might be double the work because you have to make to separate batters that’s not the case at all. With today’s recipe I started off by making the vanilla batter and then dividing it in half and adding cocoa powder to one of them.

Once I had the two batters ready it was time to fill my prepared pan. I used a cookie scoop and a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop alternating scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter in the pan to get the marble effect.

After tapping the pan a few times on my counter to release any air bubbles I used a small off-set spatula to smooth the top of the cake. I then placed it on baking sheet and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 70 minutes.

After letting the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, I transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.  

And then it was time to slice it. And as cheesy as it sounds, I get a slight tinge of excitement when I bake a cake that is supposed to have a surprise inside or look a certain way and it works. The joys of baking! As you can see, the marble look was just about perfect with this loaf cake. Even more exciting though, was how delicious the cake was. I used to love the Marble Loaf Cake from Entenmann’s, but I feel like they changed their recipe because it doesn’t take like how I remember. Thankfully I have a replacement now that I can make myself.

I actually ended up baking two loaves and decided to slice the second one and freeze it. This is the perfect type of cake to freeze, it has no frosting and is moist but dense enough to withstand being frozen and thawed. I wrapped each of the slices in plastic wrap and then placed all of them in a resealable bag in my freezer. When I am ready to eat a slice, I will leave it out on my counter for a few hours so it can defrost.

Marbled Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

*To make your own combine 1/4 cup whole milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then stir to combine.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray, or, lightly grease with butter and then coat with flour.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cake flour and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter of medium-high speed until creamy.

With the mixer on low add in the sugar. Continue mixing on low until the butter and sugar are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture has become light and fluffy (about 5 minutes.) Scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk.

Divide the batter in half and add in the cocoa powder to one half. Mixing well to incorporate it evenly among the batter.

Using a 2 ice cream scoops (or 2 1/4 cup measuring cups, or 1 of each) alternate scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and using a small off-set spatula or butter knife smooth the top of the cake.

Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and baked in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 70 minutes.

Let the cake cook in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe from Zoe Francois

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Feliz Cinco De Mayo! I was planning on making a different version of these crumble bars last year for Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up making a Key Lime Bundt Cake instead. And truth be told, these crumble bars are not the exact recipe from the ones I saw. I decided to tweak the recipe to use ingredients I had on hand and I thought the filling from the original recipe sounded too sweet since it listed two cans of condensed milk (and one is sweet enough) so I used the filling recipe for my Key Lime Pie. What I ended up with was a delicious crumble bar with hints of coconut in the crust and topping and a filling that was perfectly sweet and tangy.

I began by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I combined all of the ingredients – flour, shredded coconut, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, Kosher salt and coconut extract (which is completely optional, but, will up the coconut flavor) – and pulsed it until it started to clump together but was still crumbly. I reserved a cup of the mixture and pressed the remaining amount into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan I lined with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it was beginning to brown. I actually took it out of the oven at the 15-minute mark but since it still looked a bit undercooked, I decided to leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. You don’t want to leave it in too long though as you will be baking it again with the filling and you don’t want the crust to get hard during the second bake.

While the crust was cooling, I made the filling. In a large bowl I beat egg yolks until they were pale and fluffy and then added in condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest. Now, I used key lime juice, but you could easily just use freshly squeezed lime juice. I prefer the flavor of key limes over regular limes and while I would love to use freshly squeezed key lime juice, key limes are a rarity at my local supermarket.

Once the crust had cooled, I poured the filling on top.

And then sprinkled the reserved flour mixture over it.

I then baked it in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling had set and the crumble topping was beginning to brown.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1 cup old-fashioned oats*

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)

For the filling:

1 14oz. can condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup lime juice**

Zest of 1 lime

*can substitute quick oats

**I used key lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together but is still crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining amount into the prepared baking pan, just on the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a hand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the condensed milk and then the lime juice and lime zest.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and sprinkle the top with the reserved crust mixture.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the filling is just set and the crumble topping is golden.

Let cool completely on wire rack and then refrigerate for at least hour before slicing into 12 bars.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Quick & Easy Cheese Danish

After finishing the Blackberry Lemon Cake I made for Easter last month I had about 2 cups of cream cheese frosting left. I didn’t want to toss it or put it in the refrigerator, since that meant I would have to use it within a few days and I had no clue what I would use it for, so I decided to freeze it. I know a lot of people freeze anything and everything, but I always have reservations when it comes to freezing baked goods and frosting. Slowly but surely though those reservations are going away.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to use the frosting for at first. It crossed my mind that I could make a mini carrot cake. But then I remembered that I had puff pastry in my freezer as well so I decided that I would try to make Cheese Danishes with it.

To defrost the frosting I put it in the refrigerator overnight. Since it only consisted of cream cheese, butter and sugar I decided to stir in an egg yolk to help thicken the mixture.

After defrosting a sheet of puff pastry I sliced it into 4 squares and brushed the outer edges of each with an egg wash.

I then folded the corners of each square and then folded the sides to form an octagon.

Next I placed two tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each square. I brushed the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkled sugar on each.

I baked them in a 400 F preheated oven for 14 minutes. Right out of the oven the cream cheese mixture was quite puffy…

But, within 30 seconds the pastries had deflated. Considering that the cream cheese mixture browned considerably in the oven I could have probably taken them out a minute or so sooner, or, lowered the oven temperature. Regardless though, they were quite good and a good way to use the leftover frosting. I had enough frosting that I could have made 8 of these, but I decided to stick with 4 since I was testing the recipe out. The recipe below is for 8 Danishes, but, if you only have a cup of frosting left you can make 4 like I did.  

Quick & Easy Cheese Danishes

Ingredients:

2 sheets frozen puff pastry

2 cups cream cheese frosting

1 egg yolk

1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of water, for egg wash

Sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Defrost the puff pastry per the instructions on the package. Slice each sheet into 4 squares and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the outer edges with the egg wash. Fold the corners of each square and then the sides to form an octagon.

When the puff pastry is just about defrosted stir together the frosting and egg yolk.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the formed puff pastry.

Brush the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the cream cheese is set and the puff pastry is a golden brown.

Let rest for a few minutes before enjoying.

Mascarpone Cake

After making the Tiramisu Cheesecake I posted two weeks ago I still had about a cup of mascarpone cheese left. While I could have used it to spread on toast or crackers, I decided to bake something else with it. I came across a recipe for a Mascarpone Cake that sounded simple and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.

This is one of those recipes that most people love… It comes together in one bowl. No need for sifting or mixing your dry ingredients in one bowl and then combining them with your wet ones in another. You simply mix all of your wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones at the end. And after baking and cooling it’s time to enjoy.

This cake tasted just as the recipe sounded… delicious. It was reminiscent of a pound cake for me, just not as a dense. And not sweet at all. If you do you need a bit for sweetness to it, you can follow the original recipe and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar once it has completely cooled.

Mascarpone Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray (or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese and oil and continue beating until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared ban and 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen

Tiramisu Cheesecake

I attempted to make Tiramisu Cheesecake before but the recipe I had just wasn’t a good one. The cheesecake filling didn’t have that classic coffee flavor that traditional Tiramisu has and with the two times I tried making it, neither time produced a cheesecake that firmed up. I was determined though. I had a tub of mascarpone cheese in my refrigerator that was quickly approaching its expiration date and I wanted to make something with it besides a traditional Tiramisu. So, I did a Google search for “desserts using mascarpone cheese” and what came up was nothing too exciting. Then I did a search for Tiramisu Cheesecake and came across a recipe that I decided to slightly tweak in hopes of finally making a cheesecake that sliced well and had the coffee flavor I am used to when it comes to Tiramisu.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I processed about 20 ladyfingers into fine crumbs and then added in melted butter and Kahlua and processed it for a few more seconds to combine everything. I then transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I baked it on a baking sheet in a 350 F preheated oven for 6 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack while I made the cheesecake filling.

One thing I like about making cheesecakes is that it is a one-bowl dessert. Which means it’s quick and there’s not a lot of clean-up afterwards. In a large bowl I beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour and salt with a hand mixer on medium speed until it was combined and smooth. I then added in sugar, Kahlua, vanilla extract and espresso granules. Finally, I added 4 eggs, one at a time, and beat everything until it was just combined.

I then poured the cheesecake filling into the cooled crust and placed it on a baking sheet and baked at 325 F for about an hour.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it overnight. Unfortunately, it did end up with a small crack in it.

Using a fine mesh sieve, I dusted the top of the cheesecake with cocoa powder. I then carefully removed the ring from the pan.

I made a small batch of whipped cream which I used as a “glue” to place ladyfingers I cut in half around the cheesecake. I used 13 ladyfingers.

I filled a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining whipped cream and pipped dollops of it around the cheesecake. I thought about dusting the top of the whipped cream with more cocoa powder, but I decided that what was already on the cheesecake was enough. I didn’t want the cheesecake to be overpowered by it.

And while the ladyfingers around the cheesecake gave it a pretty look, they were a bit of a pain when it came to slicing it. I ended up removing them as I sliced. And while the decorative ladyfingers may have been a bit of a fail the flavor wasn’t. It had the perfect amount of coffee flavor. If you want to reduce the coffee flavor in your cheesecake, I suggest omitting the instant espresso and/or reducing the amount of Kahlua you use in the cheesecake filling.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

18 ladyfingers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur*

 

For the Cheesecake:

3 8oz. bricks cream cheese, at room temperature

8oz mascarpone cheese (1 cup)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons coffee liqueur*

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant espresso**

4 large eggs, at room temperature

 

For Topping:

Cocoa Powder

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

13 ladyfingers, cut in half

 

*I used Kahlua

**I used Café Bustelo

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

To Make the Crust: In a food processor, process the ladyfingers into fine crumbs. Add in the melted butter and coffee liqueur until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while making the cheesecake filling and lower the oven temperature to 325 F.

For the Cheesecake: In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour and salt with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until incorporated. Add in the coffee liqueur, vanilla extract and espresso granules and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until just blended. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes, until the sides of the cheesecake are set but the center is still jiggly.

Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate overnight.

To decorate: Make whipped cream by beating together the whipping cream, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form.

Using a fine mesh sieve, dust the top of the cheesecake with the cocoa powder. Carefully remove the ring from the pan and using some of whipped cream place the halved ladyfingers around the cheesecake. Transfer the remaining whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the cheesecake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe for Tiramisu Cheesecake filling slightly modified from Spruce Eats

Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today I am sharing the cake I made for Easter. I wanted to make something Spring-y this year and something that wasn’t the typical yellow or chocolate cake. Not that there is anything wrong with those. You can never go wrong with a classic! After searching around the internet for some ideas I settled on a Lemon cake with a Blackberry filling and Cream Cheese Frosting. I used to love lemon flavored desserts and then I went thru a phase where I just didn’t care for them. I must have eaten a lemon dessert that rubbed my taste buds the wrong way. Thankfully this lemon cake was just the right amount of lemon without being overpowering or sweet.

Now, this cake was almost a complete failure!  I made my blackberry filling a few days before and I followed a recipe I found online that seemed good but turned out to be overly sweet and was more syrup-like than a cake filling. I soon realized that the amount of sugar that the recipe called for was more so for a pie filling that also required a lot more blackberries than I was using. Now some people have that much of a sweet tooth but not me. Thankfully I bought two packages of blackberries in case of a mishap. The second time I added less sugar and I didn’t strain the blackberry mixture to remove the seeds. I did that the first time and I think that contributed to it being more of a syrup as well.  And once I refrigerated the mixture it was the perfect consistency to fill my cake.

And the first cake I made was a fail as well. I followed a recipe that called for altering a box cake mix and I have done this before with no issues. Well, this time my cake looked more like a pancake. Or an inflated pancake I should say. And even though I added in a good amount of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice my cake just tasted sweet with barely any lemon flavor. Granted the recipe I was following did call for a lemon box cake and I used a white box cake because I was concerned that the lemon would taste a bit artificial but that doesn’t explain why my cake had no height. As it was cooling on my kitchen counter, I was staring at it from my couch in my living room and I was trying to figure out how to get more height out of it. Ultimately, I decided to toss it and just bake a lemon cake from scratch.

After baking and cooking the cake, I wrapped the layers in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. After whipping up a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the layers of the cake and then piped a dam around the cake and filled it with the blackberry filling.

Next, I topped it with the other lemon cake layer, crumb coated it and finally frosted and decorated the cake.

The components of this cake worked well together. If you are not a fan of blackberries you could use raspberries instead and if you want to up the lemon flavor you can add lemon extract to the frosting as well.

Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the lemon cake:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Zest from 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup whole milk

For the blackberry filling:

6oz. fresh blackberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

For the cream cheese frosting:

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. The batter may appear to break apart at this point. It will come together once the flour is added in. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the milk. Continue mixing until the ingredients are just incorporated.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on wire racks.

For the blackberry Filling:

In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch and set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the blackberries and sugar over medium heat. Stir until the blackberries begin to breakdown and the sugar has melted and it turns into a sauce and begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add in the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine.

Transfer to a small container, with a lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cream cheese frosting:

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.

To assemble the cake:

If necessary, torte the lemon cake layers. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over one of the layers. Transfer about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag and snip off the end and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the layer with the frosting. Fill in with the blackberry filling. Top with the other cake and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake (crumb coat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then finish frosting the cake as desired.

Recipe for the Lemon Cake from Food Network

Coconut Macaroon Brownies

If you love chocolate dipped coconut macaroons, Almond Joy candy bars or anything chocolate and coconut, today’s recipe is for you. It’s Coconut Macaroon Brownies!

Up first I made the brownie layer. While the recipe directions called for melting the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in a double boiler, I opted to do in the microwave. I placed the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until it was completely melted and smooth. I set that aside and in a large bowl whisked together, by hand, eggs, sugar, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso granules, vanilla extract and salt until it was smooth. Next, I folded in coconut flour. The coconut flour helped to make the brownies extra fudgy and dense and also keeps this recipe gluten-free. And finally, I folded in milk chocolate chips. I spread this into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that I lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave an overhang on all sides to make clean up easy and more importantly removing from the brownies hassle-free. I then place the pan in the refrigerator for an hour.

Next up, the macaroon layer. Using my stand mixer with the whisk attachment, I beat egg whites until they were frothy and then slowly added in sugar, vanilla extract and salt until stiff peaks formed. Finally, I added in shredded coconut and my macaroon layer was ready.

Using a small offset spatula, I spread the coconut mixture over the brownie base.

I baked it in a 375 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the brownies were set and the macaroon layer had a golden-brown color. I let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours.

I then removed them easily thanks to parchment paper and let them cool for about another 30 minutes before slicing.

And even though I did clean my knife between each slice my brownies didn’t slice perfectly clean. Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from how delicious these brownies are. The chocolate layer is the perfect amount of chocolate without being overly sweet. That’s primarily due to using a dark chocolate as the base and also adding those espresso granules. Coffee really enhances the flavor of chocolate. As for the coconut layer, by using unsweetened shredded coconut as opposed to the traditional sweetened version in typical macaroons, the coconut layer isn’t crazy sweet either. You really do get to taste the coconut flavor.

Coconut Macaroon Brownies

Ingredients:

Brownie Layer:

8 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao), coarsely chopped*

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant espresso granules

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Macaroon Layer:

4 large eggs whites

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

4 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut

*I used Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bars found in the candy aisle

Directions:

Make the brownie layer: Line a 9 x 13 – inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhand on all sides. In a microwave safe bowl add the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until the chocolate and butter are smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, both sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and espresso granules until smooth. Add in the chocolate/butter mixture and continue whisking until smooth. Fold in the coconut flour and then then the milk chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make the macaroon layer: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Slowly add in the sugar, vanilla extract and salt and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and add in the shredded coconut and beat until just combined. Spread the coconut mixture over the brownie layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut into 24 brownies.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Can you believe that Easter is just a little over a week away? Where is the time going? Today’s cake would be perfect for your Easter dessert. Coconut is a great Spring flavor and passion fruit is a flavor that’s not too common but pairs well with coconut. If passion fruit isn’t your thing you could try a key lime curd instead. Coconut and lime pairs together deliciously.

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To begin, I made the passion fruit curd. I wanted to make sure that it would thicken enough so I made it two days before assembling the cake. I have never seen passion fruit at any of the supermarkets I go to, so I opted to buy frozen passion fruit pulp  and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you are thinking of using passion fruit juice, I would just advise on using one that is 100% passion fruit juice, not a blend of other fruits. I began by combining egg yolks, passion fruit juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stirred it until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Since it can sometimes be a little difficult to determine this with the spoon I am stirring with I normally take a small spoon and run the back of it in the mixture to make sure it is thick enough. Once it was, I removed the saucepan from the heat and added in unsalted butter that I cut into chunks, stirring between each addition to make sure the butter was completely melted. I then strained the curd through a fine mesh sieve two times before placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of it and refrigerating it until I was ready to use. A quick tip, the second time I strained the curd I did so into the container I was planning on refrigerating the curd in.

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Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures while making the cake layers. I intended to take pictures of them once they were cooled and I was ready to use them, but I was running short on time. The weekend I made this week I decided was also a good weekend to finally paint my hallway. I had been intending to do it ever since I finished my living room remodel, but the paint cans just sat on the floor with me walking by them everyday and the task on my to-do list every week. Well, the paint cans just started to annoy me, and I didn’t have anything to do so I went ahead and started to paint. Initially I was going to prime beforehand, but I had a lot less primer than I thought and since the paint I was using was paint and primer combined I decided to just use that. Well, I ended up needing a another can of paint. And painting the second coat took a lot longer than I was anticipating so my cake suffered. I shouldn’t say suffered, but it didn’t get the full attention that I was planning on giving it! But back to the cake… I used a recipe that I have used in the past for coconut cupcakes and just baked the batter in two 8-inch cake rounds.

After making a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I sliced the small dome that each of the cakes had to flatten them and then piped a cream cheese border around one of the cakes to create a dam for the curd. I then filled the cake with the curd and placed the other round on top. I crumb coated the cake and after refrigerating for about 20 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I love cream cheese frosting, but I always find that it’s not the easiest to work with when it comes to piping. The cream cheese really makes the frosting soft, so I popped it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before filling a piping bag fitted with a large tip to pipe the rope border around the cake. It didn’t come out as neat as I liked but it was all good. I then sprinkled the top and sides of the cake with coconut and it was good to go. Note to self, don’t ever plan on painting and making a cake on the same day!

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So, the flavors of the cake – passion fruit, coconut, and cream cheese frosting – worked well together. If you want to up the coconut flavor in the cake, you can substitute coconut milk for the buttermilk. For this recipe you could use a cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to get the same consistency as the buttermilk. And you could swap out the almond extract and use coconut extract instead. One more suggestion, I would slice this cake while it’s on the colder side. Once it gets too warm the passion fruit curd makes it difficult to get clean slices of the cake. You could always slice while the cake it’s cold and then let the slices come to room temperature before enjoying.

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Passion Fruit Curd:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

7 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the Coconut Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract**

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk***

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decorating cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, at room temperature

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I refrigerated overnight to defrost

**If you are not a fan of almond flavor you can reduce the amount or substitute with coconut extract

***To make my own buttermilk I combine 1 cup whole milk with 5 teaspoons of vinegar in a measuring cup and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. You could also use a cup of unsweetened coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.

Directions:

For the curd (make a day or two in advance to assembling the cake): In a medium saucepan combine the passion fruit juice, egg yolks and sugar. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add it the pinch of salt and the chunks of butter, one at a time. Stirring between addition to ensure the butter has melted before adding an addition piece. Strain through a fine mesh sieve 2 times. Place in a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray, or grease and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could also use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In three parts, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between each. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the shredded coconut and divide the batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on medium speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

To assemble the cake: If necessary, torte the cakes. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag with the end snipped off and pipe around the perimeter of the cake to create a dam. Fill the cake with the passion fruit curd and top with the other cake. Frost the cake with a crumb coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Use remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Curd Recipe from Garlic and Zest

Coconut Cake Recipe from Food Network