Raspberry Lemon Bakewell Tart

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The Great British Baking Show.

Do you watch it? I. Am. Obsessed.

Beautiful baked goods, British accents, contestants who actually seem to like each other? It’s the best kind of reality TV.

I’ll admit that I watch a lot of reality food television, but I always feel like it’d be too competitive for me, or that I couldn’t do it because I like to bake but don’t do a lot of cooking (and I certainly don’t cook meat). But, with this show, the bakers get to practice two of the three recipes for each week, and then are given a recipe to follow for the “technical” challenge.

For the first few episodes on Netflix I followed along and knew what I would bake, and even felt pretty confident that I could handle the unknown challenges. The bakes become more complicated as the episodes go on, but I’ve loved seeing them make some cakes that are on my calendar for the coming months, like Dobos torte and Schichtorte. It’s also (of course) given me so many other things that I now want to bake!

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Anyway, all of that to say that Bakewell Tart isn’t even on this season of the show. BUT, it is British, so there’s that?

This was a super fun project for a Friday evening. I got to make a nice short pastry crust (grated butter from the freezer for the win!), plus use up most of my leftover lemon curd I’d had hiding in the freezer. Plus, um frangipane– moist delicious almond cake. Lemon, raspberry, and almond! Three of my favorite flavors baked into one simple tart that makes a great dessert but isn’t too sweet which makes it completely acceptable for breakfast too.

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I followed this recipe without changes for once. I added about half a cup of raspberry jam and a third of a cup of lemon curd. Next time I’d probably add extra jam.

Although this isn’t as decadent as many of my desserts, this has been growing on me all weekend. I find myself sneaking another sliver when I walk through the kitchen. If you’re looking for something a little different and also tasty, give this one a try!

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Rum and Coke Cupcakes (and Molasses Cookies!)

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I’m sharing these cupcakes because I do think they’re beautiful, and the flavors are great. The frosting and the caramel are perfect, but both were salvaged only after first following a recipe that yielded soupy caramel liquid and a meringue buttercream that ended up in the trash. I’m still not happy with the cake layer– it was too dense and a little “gummy.” Not inedible by any means, and the other components saved it, but next time I’ll just stick to my reworkings of the toppings, and pick a more trusted cupcake recipe.

I’m not sure exactly what went wrong with the cupcakes. I was skeptical about the instructions to simply add all the wet ingredients to the dry at once, but I followed them anyway. They didn’t seem to rise as much as I thought they would while baking. Maybe I shouldn’t have added all the rum and coke syrup called for while they were cooling. I don’t yet have a go-to cupcake recipe for baking with alcohol, but maybe I could have turned my Honey Whiskey Cake into cupcakes. Perhaps I’ll try that next time. That might still not be as light as a typical cupcake, but it also might hold up to the syrup better. Anybody have any recipe or other suggestions?

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See? A little dense… 😦

Overall, the cake has a nice cola flavor (with a hint of cherry), and the frosting is heavenly. It almost has a “fizz” to it and has good notes of rum and cola. The caramel is also amazing! It’s got a stronger cola flavor than the other components. I would love to cook it a little longer and make some caramel candies sometime.

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I’ll just share a link to the original recipe here. I quartered everything to make 10 medium cupcakes. The only thing I changed for the cake was to use cherry cola and then to add about 6-8 drops of Lorann cola, rum, and cherry flavorings to the batter with the wet ingredients. I did follow the caramel recipe, but I guess “deep amber” is much darker than I imagined. I was able to fix the caramel by simply cooking the entire mixture longer, until about 212 degrees on the candy thermometer I pulled out. I also added a few drops of cola extract to the caramel.

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Sad sad frosting. Ended up in the sink.

I ended up with just my standard whipped cream frosting (about 3/4 cup whipped cream, a few heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar, and a few drops each of cola and rum flavorings).

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I probably had twice as much frosting as I needed, so I whipped up a half batch of ginger molasses cookies (see my holiday baking post here) and topped them with the extra frosting and caramel. I might have enjoyed the cookies even more than the cupcakes (but that might just have been after all the frustration with the cupcakes). People at work still seemed to really like the cupcakes though, so I do think with change to the cake recipe and/or syrup amount, these would be perfect for a cocktail-themed party, or just a friend who really loves rum and cokes (rums and coke?). Party on 🙂

 

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Brownie and Orange Butter Cake Cupcakes

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I meant for these cupcakes to be another spring-inspired dessert. We finally had some 60 degree days here this past week and it felt amazing! (Now of course we are supposed to get snow this week, but let’s ignore that for the moment…) So, as I said, I thought some nice butter cake, orange zest, orange curd, bright orange wrappers… all that would translate to a beautiful spring dessert. Well… maybe. They also kind of look like Halloween with the orange wrappers and the black brownie showing through. So I guess they are multi-functional! Maybe I will put them on my baking calendar for October as well! Then I guess you’d probably change the flower color to more orange, or a creepier black.

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Anyway, back to what really matters here– the taste! The brownie is dense and fudgy. It has no leavening so it stays level and away from the cakey side of the spectrum. Next time I’d probably swap half the flour for cocoa just to get an even richer chocolate flavor, but it’s great the way it is too. The butter cake has a pound cake-like texture, also a little dense. In this case I was happy it wasn’t a light texture like most cupcakes, the density really helps it hold up to the brownie layer and allows the orange zest flavor to come through more than I think it would in an airier cake.

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The dense (but not dry!) cake stands is then filled with a generous amount of homemade orange curd that soaks into the cake and amplifies the orange flavor without being too sweet. The little vanilla whipped cream flowers on top reference spring, and help to cover up the hole from filling the cake. They also provide a nice creamy contrast to the fudge brownie. I thought about completely icing them, but I like the way this looks, and I actually think it was the perfect amount so that it complemented the brownie rather than neutralized it.

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I will admit to not having left my house yesterday. It was cold and windy and I was exhausted from running around all week. It was a little difficult to motivate myself to come out from under the covers to bake these cupcakes, but I am sure glad I did! Even though they have two layers, they are both super easy and the second layer comes together while the first one is cooking. I was lucky and had orange curd and whipped cream in the freezer, but both of those could be made pretty quickly too, and you could easily make the orange curd a day or two in advance.

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I’m writing this Monday morning, though it may not get posted until later. Oh Mondays. I can’t say I’m really looking forward to work this week. I have set myself a goal of trying to really make some significant progress towards figuring out all the paperwork and logistics that I’ve so far mostly ignored. It feels pretty overwhelming at the moment but I know it will only get worse the longer I leave it… Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated haha. I really thought having a “hands off” advisor would be so great for my working style, since I like to work independently. And maybe it will be once I’m in the writing phase, but I sure feel like I could use a little more help, prodding, and direction in this stage! Anyway, I hope your week gets off to a lovely start, and that if you have time you’ll consider whipping up these cupcakes!

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I was originally inspired by this recipe, but then decided to make cupcakes instead of a loaf, and to add all the orange elements and the whipped cream. I’m changing the recipe below to reflect that next time I want to add cocoa in addition to flour, but feel free to just use flour if you want.

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Brownie and Orange Butter Cupcakes

Makes: 6 medium cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 T chocolate chips
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with six liners
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir brown sugar into warm butter and chocolate.
  4. Add egg and extracts and stir.
  5. Mix in flour and cocoa until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly between six cupcake liners and tap to level out. Bake for 10 minutes. (Brownie will not be “done,” it bakes more with the next layer.)
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • scant 2 T milk

 

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 320.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
  3. In a small bowl combine flour and baking powder.
  4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to the bowl, starting and ending with the flour.
  5. Divide the batter into the six cupcake liners and try to spread it smoothly. (Don’t worry, it will spread more once it’s in the oven!)
  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Orange Curd

  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2.5 T butter, soft
  • 1.5 eggs
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Cream butter and sugar with zest until light and fluffy
  2. Add eggs slowly and mix to combine.
  3. Add juice from the orange, lemon juice, and salt and continue to mix until well combined.
  4. Add to a small saucepan and cook for 10-15 minutes over low heat until it thickens (should be around 170 degrees if you have a thermometer).
  5. Let it cool to room temperature before using it to fill cupckaes

Whipped Cream

(You really need such a small amount for six cupcakes, I used some I had left over. Otherwise be aware that even this scaled down recipe will make way more than you need.)

  • 1/2 cup cream, chilled
  • 1/8-1/4 cup powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  1. Whisk cream until soft peaks.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until you reach desired pipeable texture.

Assembly

  1. Cut out about a 1 inch circle from the middle of the cupcakes. I made mine as deep as the butter cake layer. Cut off the cone of cake about half way to make room for more orange curd.
  2. Fill the cupcakes with a nice helping (about a teaspoon, more or less) of orange curd. Replace the cake tops onto the cupcakes.
  3. Pipe some whipped cream over the top to cover up the whole. (I used a Wilton 2D tip and slowly turned the piping bag to create drop flowers.)
  4. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Chip Muffins with Coconut and Lime

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Just a quick recipe here. I followed Cookie Monster Cooking’s recipe for Lime, Dark Chocolate, and Coconut Muffins. I did cut the recipe in half, and it made 6 muffins. They hardly rise at all, so fill up your pan all the way! (I wouldn’t even bother using liners next time, they didn’t stick at all!)  I also used mini chocolate chips, and a little less than the recipe called for, though you wouldn’t have to cut them. I was just worried about too many chocolate chips (I don’t know what I was thinking!).

The overwhelming impression is a yummy chocolate chip muffin with a good base of coconut flavor and just a hint of lime. I’m not sure you’d notice the lime if you weren’t looking for it. Next time maybe I’d add some extra zest or even lime juice. The texture is a bit more dense than a cupcake, and even than many muffins– I think it’s the coconut oil. The flavor is great though and, even though they look a little unassuming, I keep sneaking extras out of my container.

I’ve been enjoying them plain, but warmed up with a little butter would be great, or you could even go crazy and spread some lime curd on them. (I had originally thought about filling them with lime curd but I’m glad I didn’t because they are too crumbly to cut well for filling.)

I will definitely whip these up on another weekend when I want some quick, delicious, and that feels a little healthier with coconut oil and wheat flour. They do have an egg, so they are not vegan, but I think using banana instead of egg would be delicious as well! Let me know if you try it! (Follow the link above for the recipe.)

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Cookies and Cream Macarons and Lemon Macarons

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I had wanted to make macarons for at least a couple of months. BUT, I had never tried a macron (or even seen one in person)! So one week before I planned to try to make them, I walked downtown to a bakery and carefully picked out two to try. I bought a lemon raspberry and a coconut lime. I carefully carried them home in their little package and bit into them delicately, one at a time.

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I was amazed by how fragile they were, how tender the almond-based cookie, and how well the buttercream held the pieces together even as I bit into them. I immediately knew they would be difficult to recreate at home, just as all the recipes I had read were saying.

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I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated by macarons. I made three different batches with three different recipes last Saturday, and I was really only happy with one of them. BUT, I do think that seeing the results of the other recipes was essential in the learning process. The only way to know what recipes mean when they say the batter should flow “like lava” is to get in there and experiment! I now think if I tried those two “failed” recipes (and let me be clear, both still made tasty cookies), I could get them to work much better, just by knowing what the batter should look like and what cookies should look like when they are ready to come out of the oven.

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So, don’t be intimidated. I kept reading about how I should age my egg whites, and weigh out all my ingredients. And I did that for a few recipes. BUT, the recipe that I was happiest with? Measurements were by volume, and I just let my eggs come to room temperature for a few hours before separating them. I didn’t even sift my almond flour and powdered sugar together (although the almond flour was really fine as I bought it).

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The recipe I was happiest with was from Broma Bakery.

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The cookies and cream macarons turned out perfectly (in my humble opinion). The cookies have chocolate extract (I made my own), the buttercream has actual Oreo filling mixed in, plus lots of extra vanilla, and the whole combination tastes like an amazing cookified version of cookies and cream ice cream. I baked mine for exactly the 17 minutes and was very happy with the texture. I plan to make these any time I need to seriously impress somebody!

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After my success with the previous recipe on Saturday, I made another batch of cookies and cream on Sunday, plus tweaked the recipe a little to make lemon macarons (see recipe below). I filled the lemon cookies with a lemon vanilla buttercream and a dollop of lemon curd. I probably could have cooked them an extra minute or two, because many of them ended up a little hollow, but they were still pretty and tasty!

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I am definitely dreaming of other macaron flavors now, especially since I scored a 12 pack of Lorann flavoring oils for like five dollars the other day. Cake batter macarons? Rootbeer macarons? Cinnamon roll macarons? The future is bright, my friends.

(Or at least the baking future. The school future looks like drowning in rather pointless assignments, still not figuring out a direction, desperately hoping for more funding next year and/or a summer job, etc. BUT, in other big news, my partner and I have a place to live next year! And we will be all to ourselves and not have dumb loud downstairs neighbors or have to share space with anyone and I am So. Excited.!!)

Anyway, on to macaron recipes:

Lemon Macarons

Cookies

  • 2/3 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 large egg whites (about 90g), room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tsp lemon extract
  • few drops of yellow gel or powdered food coloring (optional)
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond flour, powdered sugar, and lemon zest in a small bowl.
  3. Beat egg whites and salt on high speed for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks. Then add white sugar, lemon extract, and food coloring, and beat for 1 to 2 more minutes until very stiff peaks.
  4. Gently add the powdered sugar and almond flour mixture on top of the egg whites. Use a rubber spatula to slowly fold the ingredients together. (You should definitely check out Youtube videos or other online tutorials to help with the “macronage” part.) At the end your mixture should flow like lava off of your spatula.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and squeeze the stationary bag evenly to make about 1 or 1.5 inch circles. The batter should spread evenly and the tip should sink in with 30 seconds or so, leaving smooth circles. Let your circles sit out for at least 45 minutes to develop a bit of a “shell.”
  6. Preheat the oven to 300, and bake each tray of macarons nested on another baking sheet (so you have two sheets stacked on top of each other, one empty, one with the macarons– this helps them cook more evenly) for 17-18 minutes. The macarons should lift pretty easily off of the parchment when done but should not really (or just barely) start to brown.
  7. Allow macarons to cool to room temperature before removing. You can make the frosting during this step.

Frosting

  • 4 T butter, soft
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 T milk or heavy cream
  1. Cream the butter and extracts until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and the milk 1 T at a time until the frosting reaches piping consistency.

Lemon Curd

I used some leftover lemon curd from my Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes. You only need about half a cup (if that). So you could use store bought, or make your own.

Putting it Together

  1. Pair up your macaron cookies with each other so that two cookies have about equal size/shape.
  2. Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of one of the pair of cookies. Then either pipe or spoon about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into the center of that ring.
  3. Gently place the other cookie onto the first, pressing down very slightly to stick them together.
  4. Let your macarons “mature” in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two for best results before enjoying them. They should last in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week, or you can freeze them if you need to keep them longer.

 

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Homemade Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

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I have seriously wanted to make faux Oreos (dare I say “fauxreos”? Yes, I dare) for several years. They are such a classic childhood treat, and still just about the only mass produced sweet I will buy for myself. That is, until I discovered how amazing (and relatively easy) the homemade version is. Everybody in the office who tried one said they were “Amazing!,” “Way better than real Oreos!”, and “The best cookies ever!”

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The cookie doesn’t get crispy like a traditional Oreo (though I think the New York Times has a recipe for peppermint patty cookies that has a crispy chocolate wafer cookie, so you could always use that if that component of the texture is important to you). I actually preferred the softer bite, especially as the cookies were thicker than expected.

Now, if I wanted to use Oreos in baking, I think I’d still go with the good old fashioned packaged variety, for price and ease. Plus I’m not sure how well the buttercream would hold up to baking. But for pure snacking fun, these are a great nostalgic treat! Even better dipped in a glass of milk 🙂

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I used the recipe here, and for once hardly made any changes. I did use two tablespoons less butter, and I did add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the filling. Other than that, I think the recipe is great as is. Don’t be afraid to run out of filling, I skimped on the first handful of cookies and had to go back and fill them again.

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These would be great for a party or a bake sale, and they hold up well at room temperature for a day or two. You can also put them in the fridge if you’re saving them, but I highly recommend letting them come to room temperature before you eat them. That way you get more of the chocolate flavor coming through, and the frosting will actually let you twist the cookies just like the real thing!

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These were a perfect complement to a hectic day yesterday. I attended my first ever defense (and actually asked a question, even if I think I mangled it a little!), had a TA meeting, a coffee date, and gave a presentation in my night class. Giving away these little cookies and seeing everybody’s reactions kept me cheerful. Hopefully they will do the same for you!

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake

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Sometimes on a Friday afternoon you just really want some chocolate, you know? (Or heck, it can really be any day at any time, but somehow last Friday afternoon it felt especially justified.)

Ever since I made my Double Decker Strawberry Poke Cake I’ve been plotting a chocolate peanut butter version that I hoped would actually be able to better incorporate the drizzly, saturating nature of the sauce that I always think poke cakes should. Let me tell you, we are halfway there with this cake. You can clearly see in the picture that the peanut butter sauce does soak into the cake, but only into the larger holes. I used both ends of a pair of chopsticks to poke the holes. The bigger holes definitely allowed the sauce to permeate the cake, while the smaller ones only drew it in a little. The moral? Don’t be afraid to poke that cake! Release some tension, give it lots of good stabs. This chocolate cake is pretty sturdy (though still tender when you eat it), so go for it!

This cake has grown on me. A deep chocolate color, good (but not overpowering) chocolate taste. An amazing peanut butter sauce (seriously, I now want to put this on EVERYTHING!), and then a good layer of vanilla whipped cream and whatever peanut butter candies you have somehow managed to keep laying around. It’s definitely not the best thing I’ve ever made, but for a quick throw some things together kind of cake, it is quite delicious. Plus, after 24 hours or so the flavors all come together even more nicely.

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I based the cake recipe off of one found here, and used the peanut butter sauce recipe from Crazy for Crust. If you only make one thing from this post make that sauce! It would be great on ice cream, in between cake layers, on brownies, in a milkshake, etc. Seriously addictive!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake

*I made the cake, then while the cake was in the oven I made the sauce. *

Makes: 1 single layer 8in square cake. Serves 9-12.

Cake

  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 plus 1/4 plus 2T flour
  • 1/2 plus 1/4 plus 2T sugar
  • 1/4 plus 2T cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk (or, if you can deal with a little coffee flavor, cold coffee)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8in square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the cream and lemon juice together in a small bowl and let sit for at least five minutes. (You could also just use 1/2 cup and 1/2 T buttermilk if you have it)
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. Add the egg, milk (or coffee), oil, and vanilla to the mixer and stir briefly to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (I used what I had frozen as leftovers from my Peppermint Patties (see here)).
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5-6 T water
  • 1 t vanilla
  1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat and stir until mixed.
  2. Add the water, 1 T at a time and stir until combined. (It will seem at first as though the water won’t mix in, but keep stirring and it will, I promise!)
  3. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. (You can always warm it back up a little before pouring over the cake if you need to.)

Whipped Cream Frosting

(I thought this made the perfect amount, but if you’re big on frosting you might want to go up to 3/4 cup heavy cream and increase the sugar and vanilla to taste.)

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
  1. Whip the cream until soft peaks.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, to taste.

Assembly

  1. Poke holes in the cake once it has been out of the oven for a few minutes. I suggest using the big end of a chopstick or wooden spoon. Although it will feel like you are destroying your creation, in this case larger holes are better to allow the peanut butter sauce to get all up in there!
  2. Pour the peanut butter sauce over the top of the cake. Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour to soak in.
  3. When cake is at room temperature or has been refridgerated, make the whipped cream and add it to the top of the cake.
  4. Top with chopped peanut butter cups, peanut butter chips, reeses pieces, or any other candy you happen to have.

This cake is best enjoyed after a night in the fridge, and should keep for 4-5 days covered in the fridge.

 

In non baking news, let’s just agree not to ask, ok? Ok! Thank goodness for cakes and cookies and sweets!

 

 

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Spring is Coming: Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes

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These must be some of the springiest cupcakes that have ever sprung! Look at those lovely wrappers I bought at the local cooking store when I realized I had run out! The cake has orange juice and both lemon and orange zest, plus lemon olive oil. They are filled with homemade lemon curd and then topped with orange zest whipped cream frosting. I’ve been enjoying a week of weather in the 40s/50s here in Burlington, so I wanted to celebrate with some Spring-inspired treats.

I was inspired by a few recipes, but mainly used this one as guidance. I did change a few things, and swapped out the cream cheese frosting, so I’ve reprinted my changes below.

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The cupcake is the perfect lightness and the olive oil and added lemon curd keep it from being too dry. The fresh burst of lemon in the center is a welcome addition to an already citrusy bite.

Although the weather has been gorgeous, work has been a little less so. I’ve just been generally feeling overwhelmed by everything that it feels like I have to do and the lack of guidance. Really makes me thankful for my chemistry teaching experience, and more than a little nostalgic for it! On a positive note, I did just have a nice meeting where I was reassured of my abilities and given chocolate… So between that and the fact that I brought an iced London fog latte and one of these cheerful cupcakes for snack today, I just might be ok.

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So, the moral of the story? Make these lemon orange cupcakes and you too will feel like you can handle life!

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Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes

*Makes 8-9 cupcakes*

Lemon Curd (Make this at least four hours ahead of time. I made mine the previous day. This recipe makes about four times as much as you need, but I have plans to use the rest of mine next week, and it should last in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or two.)

  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3.5 T butter
  1. Zest 2 lemons and add the zest and the sugar to a food processor or blender. Pulse until well combined.
  2. Cream the butter in a stand mixer.
  3. Add the lemon sugar to the butter and beat to combine.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and then the lemon juice.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about ten minutes, until thickened. (If you have a thermometer, cook until about 170F).
  6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Press plastic wrap across the top of the curd and put in the fridge for at least four hours up to 24 hours.

Olive Oil Cakes

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of half an orange
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon olive oil
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and line at least nine wells of a cupcake pan.
  2. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar, lemon and orange zests, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time.
  5. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the orange juice to the stand mixer, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. (The batter will be fairly liquid-y. Don’t worry!)
  6. Fill cupcake liners a little less than 3/4 full and bake for 13-18 minutes. (Mine were done at 13.)

Orange Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of half an orange, very fine
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t orange extract
  • few drops orange food coloring
  1. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. While it beats, add the vanilla and orange extracts along with the zest and food coloring.
  2. Add the powdered sugar to taste.

Assembly 

  1. Use a paring knife to cut a small well in the center of each fully cooled cupcake, carefully remove the cone of cake and set aside.
  2. Add about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd to the center of each cupcake and replace the cone of cake. You will probably have to “smoosh” it down a bit.
  3. Frost the cupcakes with the whipped cream. (If you use a piping tip like I did, be aware that you may have to clean it out a few times during the process if your orange zest gets stuck.)
  4. Share and enjoy!

 

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Maple Banana Corn Bread

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Is it banana bread? Is it cornbread? Is it baked oatmeal? It’s kind of a crazy (delicious) cross between all three!

I was inspired by this recipe but of course I changed  a few things. Still, it was marvelously simple to dump everything in one bowl, transfer it to a loaf pan, and 40 minutes later to have a great treat.

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It’s got a nice maple/oatmeal/banana flavor with the wonderful gritty texture of cornbread. I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast with some maple sea salt butter slathered on top, but it’s also a nice dessert with a bit of whipped cream and maybe some berries.

This would be a lovely addition to any pot luck or housewarming, or just a nice treat on a weekend morning, to be enjoyed during the week thereafter.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, as I’m experience re-entry to school pains today (!) I think there is good news mixed into my inbox (both electronic and mental) somewhere, but for now all I can sense is the mass amount of unpacking and school work that needs to happen ASAP.

But enough about me, go make this and enjoy!

 

Maple Banana Corn Bread

  • 1 cup oat flour (I made mine by grinding about 1.25 cups quick oats in my blender)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (don’t tell anybody I used Virginia maple syrup…)
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 2 T milk
  1. Mash bananas in a large bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan and bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

*Note: This loaf will not rise as much as typical banana bread might. It stays pretty flat on top, but still has a wonderful dense but not heavy crumb.

 

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Strawberries and Cream Double Decker Poke Cake

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I drove all the way to my parent’s house in Virginia on Saturday. Then, because they weren’t home and I had forgotten my key, I dropped off my cat (she could get in through the cat door) and drove another two hours to see my partner. She had no idea I would be home on Saturday and so it was a great surprise! I also made this cake last night to “surprise” her (even though she sent me the recipe that was the initial inspiration).

Although I’m not a cheesecake (or cream cheese frosting) fan, I did like the idea of a poke cake in the recipe she sent me. I hated the use of a box cake mix, and I was a little wary of sweetened condensed milk making it too sweet. So I guess I really kept almost nothing from that recipe except the strawberry sauce (and even that I mixed up a little). But the idea was helpful.

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I found this recipe for a homemade cake that the blogger said was sturdy enough to stand up to lots of holes. I changed it to remove most of the lemon flavor, and decided to bake it as two layers instead of a 9×13 cake. My parents, grandparents, and aunt were all at the house, so I wanted to impress, and double decker tends to do that! The sauce never really soaked in as much as I wanted, but it was still pretty and delicious!

I went with my usual extra vanilla whipped cream and then also added some strawberry sauce to half of it to make an amazing sweet/tart strawberry whipped cream as well. I wanted to go for a slightly ombre look, though with only two layers I couldn’t do too much. Still, I was happy with how it turned out.

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This was a perfect dessert after a spaghetti dinner– light, slightly sweet, and not too rich.

I didn’t time the different pieces as well as I could have, so it took me three hours or so, but you could easily cut it down to two or less. I’d make sure the eggs and butter were out before you wanted to bake, have two cake pans so you can bake both cakes at once, while the cakes cook make the strawberry sauce and cool two thirds of it and continue to cook the other third. Then once everything is cool you can assemble it and make the frostings.

Yellow Cake Base

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T limoncello (or lemon juice)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and cream the butter and sugar for five minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture, then the limoncello and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour, then the sour cream. Mix until just combined.
  5. Divide batter into two oiled 9 in round pans and bake for 22-28 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 lb strawberries, washed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Blend strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
  2. Heat over medium heat for several minutes to make sure it is combined.
  3. Remove two thirds of the mixture and chill, leaving the other third in the pot.
  4. Cook the remaining third over medium heat until reduced by at least half. (Mixture will be thicker, like pudding.) Remove from heat and cool.

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1T vanilla
  • 3T reduced strawberry sauce (from above)
  1. Whisk cream in a mixer until soft peaks form.
  2. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar. Add more to taste, if desired.
  3. Save 2/3 of the vanilla mixture and set aside
  4. To the rest of the mixture add the reduced strawberry sauce, to taste and whisk briefly.

Assembly

  1. Poke holes with the end of a straw and/or a fork into the warm cakes and spread generous helpings of strawberry sauce over each cake. Allow to cool and for the sauce to soak in.
  2. Once cool, set one layer of cake on the cake plate and top with vanilla whipped cream.
  3. Add the second layer of cake with the strawberry sauce.
  4. Frost the bottom of the cake with the strawberry whipped cream and then the top of the sides and the top with the vanilla whipped cream. (I also used extra strawberry whipped cream to make poofs on the top and added some red, white, and pink sprinkles.)

Store this cake in the fridge. Makes 10-16 pieces.

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