Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

Are you one of those people who counts down the days until Starbucks brings back their Pumpkin Spice Latte for the Fall? Or, are you like me? You’re not a coffee drinker, but, tend to order at least one during the season because you’re into pumpkin and the taste isn’t that bad even though it is coffee. Either way, I have the dessert for you today to get your pumpkin spice latte fix without all the caffeine and you don’t have to wait for it to cool down to truly enjoy it. A Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake.

While you do need two different batters to get the pumpkin spice and latte portions of the cake, you don’t start out by making two separate ones. You start off by making the pumpkin spice one, dividing it in half and adding an espresso mixture and cocoa powder to one of them.

Next, the fun, and depending on how you do it the messy part. Initially when I tried this recipe I tried to halve it to make a loaf sized cake. Something went wrong and while it tasted okay, the texture was a little weird. It was kind of rubbery. When I added the batter to the pan I used two cookie scoops to alternate adding it in. I think I was low on patience that day because it felt like it was taking forever. So, the next time I made the recipe, per the instructions and used a Bundt pan I decided to add the batters to piping bags. Well, instead of using 16-inch ones, I opted to use 12-inch ones. Which were too small so as I was piping the batter into the Bundt pan it was overflowing a bit from the top of the bags. In the end though, very little batter was lost. Once I was done piping all the batter into the pan I tapped it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and to make sure the batter had incorporated together and settled.

I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes and after letting the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once it was cooled, it was time to enjoy a slice. And even though it was a bit of a mess to get the batters into the pan the cake did end up with a nice pattern.  And yes, the taste is very on point with your traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons instant espresso

3/4 cup evaporated milk

2 1/3 cups cake flour*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder

*To make my own cake flour, I used 2 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour, removed 4 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of the flour and replaced it with the same amount of cornstarch. After whisking it together I then sifted it to make sure it was well combined. For future reference, when a recipe calls for cake flour, you can simply use all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons per cup of flour and replace it with cornstarch. Whisk the two together and then sift.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray, or grease with butter and lightly coat with flour.

In a small bowl whisk together the instant espresso and 1 tablespoon of the evaporated milk, until the expresso has dissolved.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice & Kosher salt.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the pumpkin, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract and oil. Beat on low until combined.

With the mixer on low, add the in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the remaining evaporated milk.

Divide the batter in half. In one half add in the espresso mixture and the unsweetened cocoa powder. Fold the batter until the expresso mixture and cocoa powder is incorporated into it and no streaks of either remain.  

Using two cookie scoops, two large spoons, or two piping bags, alternate adding the batter to the prepared Bundt pan. Once all the batter has been added, tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and to ensure the batter is well incorporated.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before inverting and letting the cake cool completely.

Slice and enjoy.

Recipe from Better Homes & Garden

Apple Fritter Bread

Are you tired of apple recipes? I hope not, I have one more that’s just as good as the previous two I posted recently – Apple Pie Spice Cake & Apple Butterscotch Cookies. Today I am bringing you an Apple Fritter Bread. All the deliciousness of an Apple Fritter without the guilt of it being fried. And just for a quick recap, an Apple Fritter is a deep-fried donut filled with apples and cinnamon.

With this bread, cinnamon coated apple pieces are layered between the batter and then swirled in before baking.

The result, each slice is filled with apple cinnamon goodness. For that final apple fritter touch, the bread is drizzled with a sour cream icing. If you are not a fan of icing though this bread would be just as delicious without it.

Apple Fritter Bread

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Sour Cream Icing:

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Milk, if necessary

*I used whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9.25 x 5.25 loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the apples, light brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla until the mixture in smooth. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread half of the apple mixture on top. Top the apples with the remaining batter and then top with the remaining apple mixture. Gently pat the apples in the batter and use a knife to swirl the apples into the batter.

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

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

Once cooled, make and drizzle with the sour cream icing. In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. If you find that the mixture is too thick whisk in 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it’s a consistency easy to drizzle.

Place the wire rack with the cake over a baking sheet or a piece of wax paper and drizzle with the icing. Let sit for a few minutes to let the icing set before slicing.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Apple Butterscotch Cookies

So, I’m on a bit of an apple kick. I welcomed Fall on here with an Apple Pie Spice Cake, I recently made an Apple Fritter Bread that I will be sharing very soon and today I am bringing you a recipe for Apple Butterscotch Cookies. They do say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but, I am just not sure if that also applies to apples baked into desserts.

These cookies are perfect for Fall. Not just because of the apples, but because the cinnamon and butterscotch in these cookies would pair perfectly with a hot cup of tea or cider. Both of which are a welcome relief to combat the slight chill in the air of a perfectly crisp Fall day. As for the texture, they are firm around the edges and perfectly soft in the middle. The ideal combination of any cookie.

Apple Butterscotch Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Granny Smith apple peeled and diced

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until creamy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low until just incorporated.

Add in the diced apple, chopped walnuts and butterscotch chips and mix until everything is well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to drop the dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are set on top and starting to brown around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

No Churn Key Lime Ice Cream

Today marks the unofficial end of the summer. While the calendar may say that we still have a little over two weeks left to the season, with schools back in session, pumpkin spice everything popping up in stores and some cooler temps there is no doubt that Fall is just around the corner. That’s fine by me as it is my favorite season. It’s been quite some time since I posted an ice cream recipe, just under two years and surprise surprise it was for a No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream, so I decided that this unofficial end was the perfect excuse for another ice cream recipe. A flavor that can help to extend the feeling of summer… A No Churn Key Lime Ice Cream.  

If you love a classic key lime pie you are going to love this ice cream. It has all the ingredients of the traditional pie (key lime juice, lime zest, sweetened condensed milk), whipped cream (folded into the mixture as opposed to piped on top) and graham cracker crumbles. And best of all you don’t need an ice cream machine to churn up a batch of it. Just mix all the ingredients together and transfer it to loaf pan and then freeze until firm.  

No Churn Key Lime Ice Cream

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crumble:

4 graham crackers, crumbled

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons sugar

Ice Cream:

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon key lime or regular lime zest

1/3 cup key lime juice*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups heavy whipping cream

*Can use fresh key limes or Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the crumbled graham crackers, sugar and butter and mix together until well combined. Reserve 1 tablespoon and set aside

In another medium bowl whisk together the condensed milk, lime zest, key lime juice, vanilla extract and salt and set aside.

Using a hand mixer on medium speed beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Fold the whipped cream and graham cracker crumb mixture into the condensed milk mixture until everything is combined and no streaks of either mixture remain.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the reserved graham cracker crumb mixture on top. Cover with a piece of wax paper and aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Recipe from Southern Living

Homemade Pickles

Pickles, you either love them or hate them. It’s one of those food items that there doesn’t seem to be an in between about. I am on the “love them” side of the fence so when my cucumber plant started producing more cucumbers that I could possibly eat or give away I decided to turn them into one of my favorite snacks.

To begin, I sliced two cucumbers into spears. I first sliced each of the cucumbers in half and then sliced those halves into halves or thirds depending on the size of the cucumbers. Next, I placed the cucumbers into a 32oz. wide mouth jar. I topped the cucumbers with chopped dill and smashed garlic cloves and tucked a bay leaf on the inside of the jar.

In a liquid measuring cup I combined water, rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper and stirred everything together until the salt dissolved. I sampled the mixture to ensure that it had the right about of sweetness and spiciness.

I then poured the mixture into the jar with the cucumbers.

And then sealed it and refrigerated it for at least 24 hours before trying one of the pickles.

Now, my pickles were more on the spicy side than sweet side, but delicious nonetheless. If you would prefer a sweeter pickle, like a bread & butter one, increase your sugar amount, if you just want a delicious pickle without the sweet or spicy aspect I would omit the red pepper flakes. One more thing to note, make sure you are starting with cucumbers that have a nice crunch to them. They will hold up much better, and still have that crunch, after sitting in the water/vinegar mixture. You could also try this recipe with other goodies from your garden… Carrots, sting beans, or even asparagus.

Happy pickling!

Homemade Pickles

Ingredients:

2 medium-to-large cucumbers

1 cup water, at room temperature or cooler

1 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 bay leaf

Directions:

Slice the cucumbers into spears. Slice the cucumber in half. Then slice each half into quarters. If your cucumbers are on the thinner side then only slice the halves into halves as well. Use your best judgment. Alternatively, you could also slice the cucumbers into rounds

Place the cucumbers inside of the jar you will be using. Make sure the jar is tall enough to leave about 1 inch of space between the cucumbers and the top of the jar. This recipe is ideal for a 32oz. jar.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the water, rice wine vinegar, sugar, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Give everything a few good stirs until the salt has fully dissolved.

Top the cucumbers with the dill and garlic and place the bay leaf on the inside of the jar. Pour the water mixture into the jar until the cucumbers are fully submerged. Seal the jar and refrigerate at least 24 hours before enjoying.

Recipe modified from Cookie and Kate

Rosemary & Tomato Focaccia Bread

I decided to plant some veggies and herbs again this year. I passed on planting zucchini again, which I used to make these delicious zucchini fries last year, and went with cucumbers and eggplant instead. I haven’t picked any eggplant yet, but, I have picked quite a few cucumbers. Some of which I turned into some yummy pickles. That’s another post though. I also planted tomatoes again this year, but instead of beefsteak one’s I went with cherry tomatoes. And for the herbs, I went with rosemary, basil, sage and lemon thyme. I mainly planted the herbs in hopes of repelling mosquitoes. While they have been around I will say that it hasn’t been as bad as past years. Initially I wasn’t planning on picking any of the herbs, but, they grew so well that I decided it would be a shame not to use them. So, I decided to use the rosemary and some of the tomatoes to make homemade focaccia bread.

Now, I am always leery of working with yeast. I am apprehensive that it won’t proof well enough, that my final product will be tough and not flaky and whatever else can go wrong. Believe it or not, the weather also plays a factor. While you may think that a humid day will help your bread rise quicker, that’s not always the case and a very cool day can make your bread take even longer to rise. I baked this focaccia on a rainy unseasonably cool summer day that had very low humidity and it came out perfect.

I completely relied on my stand mixer to knead the dough using the dough attachment. And for the first rise I preheated my oven to 200 F, turned it off and then put my dough, that I had placed in a greased bowl, in there for about an hour so it could rise. It’s a good trick I learned and have done it every time I need dough to rise. When I removed it from the oven it had doubled in size. And for the second rise I rolled the dough out on my counter that I dusted with flour and let it rise for a few more minutes.

Once the dough was ready, I transferred it to a 9 x 13 – inch baking pan that I lined with parchment paper. I stretched the dough to fill the pan and then poked deep holes into the dough. Next, I sprinkled the dough with minced fresh rosemary and sliced cherry tomatoes. I drizzled a few tablespoons of olive oil over everything and then sprinkled it with salt.

I then baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until it was lightly golden on top and the bread had cooked through.

I let it rest for a few minutes before removing it from the pan using the parchment paper and slicing off a piece to enjoy! The texture was spot on. It was firm with just enough chew. You can definitely customize this focaccia to your liking by using different herbs, vegetables and so forth. One thing I would avoid using though is sun-dried tomatoes. That’s what I was initially thinking of using instead of the fresh ones, but, I thought that the sun-dried tomatoes would burn while they were in the oven. The fresh tomatoes do get a nice sweetness to them while baking.

Rosemary & Tomato Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup warm water (about 110F)

1 teaspoons sugar

1 package of active-dry yeast (0.25 ounces)

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment add the water and sugar and stir combine. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and give it a quick stir to mix it into the water. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy.

With the mixer on low speed gradually add in the flour, olive oil and salt. Once everything has been added increase the speed to medium-low and continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it isn’t, this means that the dough is too sticky and you should add in additional flour, about 1/4 cup. Add it gradually until the dough is the right consistency.

Remove the dough from the bowl and use your hands to shape it into ball. Grease the mixing bowl, or another bowl, with olive oil and place the dough inside of it and coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and place in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes so it can rise. It should just about double in size. To ensure a warm spot, preheat your oven to 200 F and then turn it off and place the bowl inside of the oven with the door closed for the allotted time.

Once the dough has risen turn it out on a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that’s about a 1/2 inch thick. Cover the dough again with a damp paper towel (you will probably need two) and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F and prep a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper leaving a slight overhang. Transfer the dough to the pan and use your hands to stretch the dough to fit into the pan. Use your fingers to poke holes all over the dough. The holes should be deep enough that you reach the bottom of the baking pan. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil all over the dough and then sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, sliced tomatoes and additional sea salt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is slightly golden on top and is fully cooked through. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the bread using the parchment paper and let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. If you are not planning on serving all of the bread at once, slice what you are going to eat and wrap the leftovers in wax paper and store in an airtight container or resealable bag.

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No bake cheesecakes can either be a hit or a total miss. It all depends on whether the filling firms up enough while refrigerated. Unfortunately, they don’t sometimes and instead turn into a total mess when slicing into them. It’s happened to me! But since I am not one to give up, I am always willing try something again, just not the same recipe if it failed the first time, I decided to try my hands at a no bake cheesecake again. And I’m happy to say this recipe I tried for a No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake was a winner in all regards. The strawberry flavor was spot on, the texture was perfect and the crust was a combination of pretzels and graham crackers.

First up, I made the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed mini pretzels and graham crackers into crumbs. I then transferred the mixture to a medium bowl and stirred in sugar and melted butter. Once it was well incorporated I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could opt to use a 9-inch baking dish instead. I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes. And then placed it on a wire rack to cool completely.  

While the crust was in the oven and then cooling I prepped the strawberry puree. In the bowl of my food processor I added in 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries that I rinsed, hulled and sliced in half. Quick tip, I processed the pretzels and graham crackers first so I could give my bowl a quick rinse before using it for the strawberries.

I processed them for about a minute or so to turn the strawberries into a puree.

Next, I transferred the puree to a medium saucepan and simmered it on medium-low heat until it was reduced to about a 1/2 cup. I initially started this in a small saucepan, but, once it started to simmer I was scared that it was going to turn into a complete mess on my stovetop so I transferred it to a larger saucepan. This step took the longest, about a half hour. At one point, I thought I had reduced the mixture enough but when I transferred it to a measuring cup I had about 3/4 of a cup so I returned it to the saucepan for a few more minutes and it was finally reduced to a 1/2 cup. I then let it cool to room temperature.

Once the crust and puree was cooled it was time to make the filling. In a medium bowl I beat heavy cream using a hand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks formed. In a large bowl I beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until it was smooth and creamy. I then added in the strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat it on medium-high speed until everything was well incorporated and the mixture was once again smooth and creamy.

Using a rubber spatula, I folded the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I was careful to do this slowly as I didn’t want to deflate the air in the whipped cream. Once the two were mixed together I then spread the filling into the crust and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula. I then covered it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day I sliced up strawberries and tossed them with sugar and whipped up another batch of whipped cream, this time sweetened with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and topped the cheesecake. Since I opted to make mine in a springform pan I carefully removed the ring from it before spreading the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then piped dollops of whipped cream around the edge using a Wilton 1M tip. Since I was taking this cheesecake over to a friends’ house for dessert I carefully placed the ring back on the cake before covering again.

Final verdict… It was delicious. The strawberry flavor was spot on without being overly sweet. Also, the texture was perfect. Sometimes with cheesecakes they can be a bit dense, but the texture of this cheesecake was more smooth and fluffy. This was definitely attributed to gently folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 cup salted mini pretzels crumbs (from 1/2 cup whole mini pretzels)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (6 full sheets of graham crackers)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 cup heavy whipping cream

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

1 cup confectioner’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup heavy whupping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the Crust:

Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix together until well combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch pie dish. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan/dish you use. Make sure it’s in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before filling.

For the Filling:

Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should have between 1 1/2 – 2 cups of puree. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until you are left with a 1/2 cup (or slightly more) of puree. This can take between 25-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a hand mixer beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the cooled strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Make sure the mixture is creamy and smooth, if there are any lumps in the mixture continue to beat until they incorporate into the mixture.

Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly as you don’t want to deflate the air from the whipped cream.

Spread the filling into the cooled crust and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. The longer it stays in the refrigerator the better it will firm up.

For the Topping:

Before serving, prep the toppings and decorate. In a medium bowl stir the sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside. In another medium bowl combine the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. If you made it in a springform pan, carefully remove the ring. Spread the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a great dessert to make during the summer months since you don’t need to turn on your oven. While traditional tiramisu is delicious, variations offer a nice twist and a melding of flavors. I’ve made a Pumpkin version, a White Chocolate Blackberry version and today I am sharing with a Salted Caramel version.

I always like to look at the back of my wrappers, packages and so forth when I buy things. You never know what delicious recipe you may come across. That’s exactly where I found this recipe. It was on the back of a package of ladyfingers I bought.

I started by prepping all the ingredients to assemble the tiramisu. First, I made the salted caramel. I must say, I have made caramel before and had more failures than successes and I was able to ace this salted caramel on my first try. So, this will definitely be my go-to when a recipe calls for caramel, I will just omit the salt. While the caramel cooled, I made instant espresso and allowed it to cool before whisking in Kahlua and I beat together mascarpone cheese along with heavy cream.

Then it was time to start assembling. I dipped 12 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture and then arranged them in an 8 x 8 baking dish and drizzled the top with a few tablespoons of the salted caramel.

I then spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top and then repeated the layers.

And finally, I dusted the top with cocoa powder before covering and refrigerating it for at least 4 hours before serving.  And I must say, this may be my favorite variation of tiramisu I have made to date.

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

For the salted caramel:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Tiramisu:

1/4 cup sugar

8oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups brewed instant espresso, cooled

3 tablespoons Kahlua

24 Ladyfingers

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Directions:

For the caramel: Clip a candy thermometer to a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and water to the saucepan and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to boil. Cook undisturbed until the temperature on the candy thermometer reaches 350 F.

Decrease the heat to low and slowly whisk in the heavy cream and cook for an additional 2 minutes until smooth, whisking constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt. Allow the caramel to cool for 25 minutes before using.

For the tiramisu:  In a large bowl combine the sugar, mascarpone cheese and heavy cream. Using a hand mixer on medium-high speed beat the mixture until soft peaks form.

In a medium bowl stir together the cooled espresso and Kahlua. Dip half of the lady fingers in the mixture and arrange them in an even layer in an 8-inch square baking dish.

Drizzle the arranged ladyfingers with 3 tablespoons of the cooled salted caramel. Top with half of the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat the layers one more time. Store the leftover salted caramel in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Dust the top of the final layer of the mascarpone mixture with the cocoa powder. Cover with a piece of wax paper and aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

Merry Christmas in July! It’s probably hard to think about Christmas during this time of the year, especially with everything going on in the world. I am longing for those cooler days though. I totally get that summer is supposed to be warm and some days hot, but, I just feel that this summer has had more days of unbearable heat and humidity than in recent years. Even the days that haven’t been that hot have been too humid for my liking. If it’s 83 degrees, I want it to feel like 83 and not 93 because of other factors. In my post for last year’s Christmas in July recipe, Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies, I discussed the origins of the “holiday.” This year I am sharing a tidbit of information I recently learned, people actually have Christmas in July parties! Sorry, if this comes across as a shocker to me. I have heard of Christmas in July for years, but, never knew that people actually had parties to celebrate. Sounds like a fun idea, but, I definitely wouldn’t put up my Christmas Tree this early in the year regardless of how much I love Christmas. Instead, to celebrate Christmas in July I am sharing with you a Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcake recipe.

To amp the peppermint flavor in the cupcakes not only did I add peppermint extract to the batter, but, I infused peppermint into the milk by crushing peppermint candies and adding them to the milk while heating it so they could dissolve into it. And while the frosting also called for milk, I opted to just use peppermint extract to give it a peppermint flavor. The final product, a cupcake that’s making me long for all the sweet treats that are to come with the holidays!

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

4 starlight peppermint candies, crushed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Sprinkles or additional crushed peppermint candies to decorate.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes: Start by making the peppermint milk. In a small saucepan over medium hear (or using a glass measuring cup in a microwave) heat the milk and crushed candies together until the milk is hot but not boiling. Stir to melt the candies in the heated milk. Pour the heated milk over the cocoa powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. 

In a medium whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

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

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method and then top with sprinkles and/or crushed candies.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.