Spring Themed Palette Knife Painted Cake – Tutorial

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate I decided to try my hand at a Palette Knife Painted Cake. Using a spatula and buttercream frosting you basically paint a picture, design, flowers onto the sides of a cake. It’s definitely a lot more forgiving that piping a design on a cake and cake easily be fixed with a little more buttercream and some extra strokes of your spatula.

I used a yellow box cake mix to bake a two layer 6-inch cake. While the cake was cooling I whipped up a batch of my go-to Fluffy-Vanilla Frosting from Martha Stewart. I reserved about 3/4 cup of the frosting and then applied a thin crumb coat to the cake and then refrigerated the cake for about 30 minutes. While the cake was in the refrigerator I tinted the reserved 3/4 cup yellow and tinted the remaining frosting teal, for the background of the cake.

I then applied a generous amount of frosting to the cake and smoothed it as much as possible. I wanted a fairly thick layer of frosting around the cake for the next steps.

Next, using the tines of a fork I created a basket weave pattern around the cake. To begin, I placed the tines of a fork at the base of the cake and dragged them upwards about 1-inch. You don’t want to press so deeply that you are touching the cake though, hence, having a thick coat of frosting on the cake. Then, holding the tines horizontally above the first set of lines on the left I dragged the fork to the right stopping when I reached the last line from the bottom set of lines. I repeated this pattern up the side of the cake until I reached the top. I then started the next row with a set of horizontal lines, and then vertical and so forth. Continuing the alternating pattern until the entire cake was covered.

I then reserved about a tablespoon of the teal frosting and then tinted the remaining frosting green by adding in green gel food coloring. Using a tapered spatula and starting at the base of the cake I began dragging the tip of the spatula through the buttercream to create stems. Making sure not to press too deep as to touch the cake, but, going deep enough to create a channel. I passed the spatula through a few times to make sure it was deep enough making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass. I did this around the cake and even added in a few smaller channels between the larger stems.

To paint these channels, I picked up a small dollop of the green frosting and then using my fingers I round the frosting onto the tip of spatula so it was smooth. Next, I simply dragged the frosting through the channels. I repeated this step – making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass – until all of my stems were painted with frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour.

After the hour, I removed the cake from the refrigerator. Using the reserved yellow buttercream I painted flowers onto the cake. Using a rounded spatula I picked up a small dollop of yellow frosting and once again smoothed it with my fingers. I then pressed the dollop onto the cake and pulled the spatula away to create a petal. I continued doing this around the cake. I’ll admit, my petal didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped. This step actually reminded me of the pulled dot design on a cake. I actually wondered afterwards if it would have been easier to create the petals using that technique, although then the cake wouldn’t completely be a palette knife painted cake then.

I got the idea for this cake from The Cake Blog, for more detailed instructions click here .

 

Meyer Lemon Scones

I recently purchased 2 bags of Meyer Lemons to make a pie which I will be sharing with you in a couple of weeks in honor of Pi Day. I was pretty sure I only needed 1 bag of the lemons since each bag had about 6 each, but, I wanted to be sure I had enough in case of any mishaps and I figured I could always make something else with the extra ones. Initially I was thinking of making muffins, which I may still do, but quickly realized that most lemon muffins include poppy seeds, which I didn’t have. Then I came across a recipe for scones and for some reason I always thought that scones were difficult and time-consuming to make but the recipe I opted to try was the complete opposite.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the prep work that went into making these scones. I was cooking/baking about three or four other things so my counter was a mess and I was trying to make sure I didn’t overcook or burn anything. What was nice about this recipe was that it only required two bowls to mix all of the ingredients and it came together quickly. After stirring together my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder) I added in diced cold butter. Here’s a tip, if you want to ensure your butter is cold enough and incorporates into the flour well, freeze it for a few minutes and instead of dicing it grate it in to the flour mixture. I then used a combination of a pastry cutter and my hands (actually just one hand, I ended up with a pretty bad cut on one of my fingers when I was cleaning lemon zest off my Microplane Grater) to work the butter in and get the mixture into the consistency of small peas. In a measuring cup I whisked together the heavy cream, an egg yolk and lemon zest and then added this to the flour mixture and stirred it until the dough formed. I then transferred the dough to a baking sheet, formed it into a circle and then cut it using a pizza cutter into four equal pieces. I separated the pieces so they weren’t touching and then brushed them with heavy cream. While the scones were baking, I whisked together a glaze of confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and lemon juice to pour on them right out of the oven. I was never one to add glazes to my baked goods, I always thought doing so would make them super sweet. But, I have come around and realized that all glazes are not super sweet and sometimes can add another level of flavor to things. Like the cardamom glaze on the Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake I posted a few months ago… YUM!

These scones were delicious and made for a nice breakfast treat. Maybe next time I will add some blueberries. Blueberries and lemon go together like peanut butter and chocolate!

Meyer Lemon Scones

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and diced

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1 large egg yolk

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons

 

For the Glaze:

1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the butter and using your preferred method (knives, pastry cutter or hands) work the butter into the flour mixture until the consistency is smaller than peas.

In a measuring cup whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk and lemon zest and then pour over the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a shaggy dough forms and everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix the dough.

Transfer the dough to a small cookie sheet and form it into a circle.

Using a knife (or pizza cutter) cut the circle into 4 equal pieces. Separate the pieces a bit so they are not touching and brush the pieces with heavy cream.

Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

Bake the scones for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the edges of the scones are beginning to brown.

Drizzle the glaze on the scones immediately after removing them from the oven. Enjoy warm.

To store, place the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Dessert for Two

Slow Cooker Sunday: Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

I have an abundance of apples from my recent apple picking outing and while I have been enjoying eating them, I decided to use some of them to make a homemade pear-applesauce. Making homemade applesauce is quicker and easier than you may think. And healthier since you can control the level of sweetness. You could also customize the flavors by adding in different fruits (i.e. peaches, mangoes, cranberries) or different spices.

I began by peeling, coring and chopping 2 lbs. each apples (I used red delicious and granny smith) and pears (I used Bartlett). I added the apples along with pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice and water to the inset of a slow cooker.

I set it took on low for 4 hours and was left with apples and pears that were perfectly tender for the next step.

I removed the cinnamon stick and using a slotted spoon transferred the apples and pears to the bowl of a food processor. To prevent the sauce from becoming too watery I didn’t add too much of the juices. I then pulsed the mixture to my desired consistency, making sure no large apple or pear chunks remained.

I transferred the pear-applesauce to a container to let it cool and then covered and refrigerated it.

 

Slow Cooker Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

Ingredients:

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 pounds pears, peeled, cored and chopped

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup water

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker (at least 6 quarts) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the apples and pears are tender, about 4 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency. You could also transfer to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher for a chunkier sauce.

Let cool and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Recipe from Real Simple

If you would prefer to make this on the stove, increase the water amount to a cup and combine all of the ingredients in large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 25 minutes.

For both versions (slow cooker or stove top) you could substitute apple juice for the water.

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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

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