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.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I recently made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday celebration. Secretly I was happy to make it because it meant I wouldn’t have to make frosting to decorate the cake and I could final try a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Yes, I have never had it before. Not really sure why… I like pineapples and obviously I like cake, but, it never crossed my mind to make one.  Well, as they say, there’s no time like the present.

This cake is super simple to make, especially if you use a box yellow cake mix. After preheating my oven to 350 F, I melted a stick of unsalted butter directly in a 9×13 inch pan in the oven. I checked on the butter every so often to make sure it didn’t burn and also to tilt the pan so the butter wouldn’t melt in one spot. Once the butter had melted I removed the pan from the oven and sprinkled 1 cup of light brown sugar over the butter. Next, I arranged 12 pineapple slices – I used pineapple slices in pineapple juice and I reserved the juice to make the cake – and then place a maraschino cherry inside of each pineapple.

Next, I prepared the cake mix per the box directions. The cake mix called for 1 cup of water and I opted to use ½ cup of the reserved pineapple juice and ½ of water. You could also use an entire cup of pineapple juice. Since this was my first time make the cake I didn’t want to go overboard with the pineapple flavor, next time though – yes, there will be a next time for this cake – I will use the entire cup. Once the batter was ready I poured it over the pineapples and cherries in my prepared pan. I was concerned that the cake might end up sticking to the sides of the pan, but, once I added the batter to the pan some of the melted butter rose up to the sides so I didn’t have to worry about that. I spread the batter a little to even it out and then baked it for about 40 minutes – until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake came out clean.

I let the cake cool for a few minutes in the pan and then inverted it onto a cake board and platter. I was initially just going to use the cake board, but, was concerned that the syrup that was created by the butter and sugar would spill over so I went with the platter as well. After inverting it, I let the pan rest on the cake for a few minutes to make sure that all of yumminess had dripped down. I easily removed the pan and a few pineapple stuck to the pan, I removed them and placed them on the cake.

I can’t wait to make this cake again. It only took about an hour from start to finish and while I was concerned that it would be overly sweet and that the cake would be very thin, the outcome couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The cake was just the right height and was fluffy and light and the sweetness was right on point with the cake, pineapples and light brown sugar. One other thing that’s nice, thanks to the pineapples it’s so easy to cut this cake into 12 equal portions!

 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

12 pineapple slices in pineapple juice, reserve the juice*

12 maraschino cherries

1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box to make cake**

 

*I used a 20 oz. can & an 8 oz. can. The 20 oz. can had 10 slices and the 8 oz. had 4.

**Substitute the water with the pineapple juice

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the stick of butter in a 9×13 inch pan and place in the oven to melt. This will take a few minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Arrange the pineapple slices over the sugar and then place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside.

Prepare the cake mix per the box instructions and then pour over the pineapple slices. You can tap the pan down or use a spatula to even out the batter.

Place in the oven and bake 35 – 45 minutes, until the cake has browned and pulled away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cake cool for a few minutes and then invert on a platter. Let the pan sit on top of the cake for a few additional minutes so all of the syrup can drain out and then remove the pan. If any pineapples or cherries remain on the pain just remove them and place them on the cake.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Crumbles are great for the warmer months. They can be made with pretty much any fruit, are super simple and pair well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Summer is an ideal time for cherry pie, blueberry pie and strawberry rhubarb pie… How about making one of those into a crumble? Today, I am bringing you just that… A Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble.

A little backstory on Rhubarb… You may think that rhubarb is related to celery because it pretty much just looks like red celery and that it is a fruit because it’s primarily used in dessert, but, both accounts are wrong. Rhubarb and celery while they may look alike are not part of the same family, and based on the theory that fruits have seeds, rhubarb is not a fruit. Rhubarb is used in baking because its tart flavor will not become overly sweet when added with sugar and other sweeteners. To me rhubarb tastes like an unripen apple. If you’re keen on tart flavors then raw rhubarb may be perfect for you, but, avoid eating its leaves as they contain high levels of oxalic acid which can cause kidney damage, granted, you would have to eat a pretty hefty amount, but even a small amount can make you sick so why take the chance. Anyhoo, back to the crumble.

I began by making the topping… I mixed flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred all of the ingredients together until it formed into clumps and then refrigerated it for 10 minutes.

In another bowl I made the filling by tossing together chopped rhubarb, quartered strawberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, salt and to thicken the filling, cornstarch. I transferred this to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Once everything had sat for its designated time I covered the fruit with the crumb topping…

And baked it in a 375 preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Until the filling was bubbly.

I let the crumble rest for a bit and then enjoyed some with what else, a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you’re looking for some more easy summer cakes to make check out the Dump Cakes I posted about a few years ago or the Apple Streusel Dump Cake I made for Thanksgiving last year.

And, if you happen to buy too much rhubarb and need another recipe to try out, check out these Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

For the Topping:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 cups 1-inch pieced chopped rhubarb (about 3 stalks)

1 quart strawberries hulled and quartered (about 4 cups)

Juice of lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Make the topping: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, both sugars and the lemon zest. Add the melted butter and stir the mixture until it forms small and large clumps. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Let rest for 10 minutes and then transfer to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or a 9-inch square baking dish.

Top the filling evenly with the topping mixture and place the dish on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Let the crumble rest for at least 15 minutes before enjoying.

Serve warm and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Food Network

Rainbow Cookie Donuts

Happy National Donut Day! In honor of the day I decided to make Rainbow Cookie Donuts.

If you do a Google search for Rainbow Cookie Donuts you normally see a rainbow cookie – the tri-color cookie separated by raspberry jam and then covered in chocolate – shaped like a donut. A bit much if you ask me. I really wanted to make one similar to the one a coworker brought me from a local donut shop by her – Honey Pig Donuts. Instead of the donut being layered the colors were marbled together.

I knew that my go-to Rainbow Cookie recipe wouldn’t be right for these cookies… It’s not light enough and I would end up with a donut that would be quite dense. I was going to try and tweak the recipe to get the right texture, but, then I came across a Rainbow Cookie Cake recipe that would be perfect, once I halved the recipe.

Once I made the batter I divided it in three and tinted each of them. I normally only tint the green and pink layer when I make the cookies, but, since I was making them in donut form I decided to tint the natural color layer with a bit of yellow so each part of the rainbow donut could stand out. Next, I transferred the batter to piping bags and snipped a small portion of the tip off and then piped the batter into donut pans that I sprayed with baking spray. I filled the cavities about 3/4 full and then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

After the donuts had cooled I melted a few tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam in a small saucepan over medium-low heat to melt it. Once melted I used a brush to brush the tops of the donuts with the melted jam.

While the jam settled I made the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat I combined chopped semisweet chocolate with heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt and stirred the mixture until it melted. Once melted and smooth I removed it from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. I gave it a few more stirs and then dipped the tops of the donuts into the melted chocolate. After dipping them I placed them on a cooling rack that I set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet so the chocolate could set.

And there you have it… Rainbow Cookie Donuts. While I enjoy the cookie version, I really love the lightness of these donut versions. The almond flavor really shines through as opposed to the cookies where the raspberry jam flavor stands out more for me. Truth be told, the donuts are delicious on their own without the melted raspberry and chocolate glaze. I kept the sans raspberry and chocolate glaze version in an airtight container at room temperature for three days and they still tasted delicious and I kept the raspberry chocolate glaze versions in the fridge for a day or two longer and they still tasted good – I let them come to room temperature before enjoying.

Rainbow Cookie Donuts

Ingredients:

Donuts:

1 1/2 (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

7 oz. almond paste, grated

1/2 tablespoon almond extract

1/2 cup while milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

red, green & yellow food coloring

Raspberry Glaze:

4-5 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

Chocolate Glaze:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions:

Spray two donut pans with baking spray and preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and continue beating for a few more minutes until combined. Add in the grated almond paste, almond extract and milk and beat well until combined, making sure the almond paste is completely incorporated.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder and gradually add it to the butter batter while mixing on low. Continue mixing until the two mixtures are well combined.

Divide the batter among three bowl and tint it with the food coloring. Transfer the batter to three piping bags and snip the ends off. You could also use Ziploc bags and snip one of the corners off. Pipe the batter into the cavities of the donut pan haphazardly to create a marbled effect. Fill the cavities about 3/4 full. Tap the pans down before placing the oven to even the batter down. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Let the donuts cool in the pans for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Rinse and spray the pans again before piping in the next batch of batter.

Once the donuts have cooled, melt the raspberry in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, do not let it boil. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the donuts with the raspberry jam.

As the jam settles make the glaze by heating the chocolate, cream, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Give the mixture a few good stirs. Place a cooling rack on a wax-lined cookie sheet and then dip the tops of the donuts into the melted chocolate and place on the cooling rack so the chocolate can cool and set.

Recipe for Donuts adapted from Always Order Dessert