Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

When I’m planning a summer party there are lots of things to consider, but food is typically what I think about first, more specifically dessert.  It’s like in my DNA.  I want the best dessert to impress and please my audience and fit in with the season.

But there are lots of other things to think about too.  Music to keep the guests upbeat.  Right now, I’m loving Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Ed Sheeran, but it’s fun to incorporate all genres, just make sure nothing is too slow or it seems to slow the party down with it.

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

A signature cocktail is always a hit too.  While it’s necessary to have beer, wine, soft drinks, and water on hand, it’s better to choose one or two signature cocktails (even better if they can be prepped ahead) instead of having a fully stocked bar.  This saves money too.

Of course, everyone needs a place to sit and hang out.  Summer parties are my favorite because everyone can hang out outside as long as the weather is nice.  It’s always good to have a contingency plan, but when the mess can stay outside, the party is that much more fun for me.  And living in Michigan, I am taking every moment I can to enjoy the outdoors while the nice weather is here.

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

My deck with all the flowers in bloom is my favorite place to party, whether it’s just me, a few close friends, or a big shindig.  I have loved our mosaic table since we first got it, and in case of rain, our indoor dining tables are ready and waiting.

Arhaus is one of my favorite places to shop for furniture.  I always stop in the store when I’m shopping at the mall and they have awesome dining furniture.  I have been on the hunt for a new kitchen table and this classic one caught my eye.

Arhaus Dining Table

Whatever table you happen to have, new or old, indoor or outdoor, this Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake will make it even better.  It is so perfect for a party because all your guests will ooh and ahh at its beauty and it serves a serious crowd.

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

I took strawberry shortcake to the next level by making a sturdy yet moist cake loaded with bananas.  Layering it with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh, ripe sliced strawberries gives all these contrasting textures and flavors.  I even made it with gluten free flour.

What is so surprising about this cake, is how light and almost refreshing it is, making it perfect for summer nights.  Be sure to sweeten your summer parties with this cake!

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

5 ripe, mashed bananas
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
¾ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose or gluten free flour blend
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup milk (I used almond-coconut blend, use what you love)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 pound strawberries

Instructions

  1. Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two 8 or 9 inch baking pans and line the bottom with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sugars, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Combine the milk and orange juice in the measuring cup. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour and stirring between each addition. Once everything is added, stir just until combined and evenly divided among the two prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes completely in pans.
  5. Once the cakes are cool and you are ready to assemble, whip the cream until stiff peaks form, but be sure not to make butter 🙂 I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer works perfectly. Add the vanilla bean paste and confectioners’ sugar and beat just until combined.
  6. Place one cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a little less than half of the cream on the cake and top with sliced strawberries. Place the other cake on top and top with the remaining whipped cream and pretty, whole strawberries.
  7. Serve immediately or store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, though it may weep or wilt a little.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

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Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake #SundaySupper

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

I love hearing Mom’s stories.  Even though we spend much of our days talking, lately she has shared some stories I hadn’t heard before.

It’s so interesting to hear her perspective on life and what has happened to her.  Even though I might have sometimes thought her life was a bit mundane, I have been proven wrong over and over again.

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Big Boy is one of the popular chain restaurants in our area.  I loved it there as a kid.  We’d go on the weekend and enjoy the salad bar and broccoli soup.  I mentioned, after seeing a commercial, that I’d never had their fresh strawberry pie.  I asked Mom if she had.

She said yes, but what she really liked was their hot fudge cake.  Since I had never heard of this dessert, I asked for more information.  She went on to explain that it was dark chocolate cake with ice cream in the middle, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

As many times as I had been to Big Boy, how had I not only not had but not even heard of these fabulous desserts???

Mom and her friend would go out to lunch and split a sandwich or have soup and salad and then split dessert.  That was their routine and apparently it involved a lot of hot fudge cake.

I was instantly inspired to recreate that cake to celebrate Mother’s Day and all of Mom’s stories, and well everything about Mom because she’s the best.  And also I really wanted to try this cake and homemade has to be better than the one in the restaurant.

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Enter Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake.  I made this with carob (though no one will ever know), but you should feel free to make it with chocolate – you know the drill.

Whatever you do, just make this!  The cake itself is crazy moist and rich and fluffy.  Mom couldn’t stop raving about it.  I mean, it has to be trimmed to make the ice cream cake, right???  Then premium vanilla bean ice cream goes in the middle – nothing but the best for Mom.

Since the cake is so insanely soft and fluffy and moist, it absorbed some of the ice cream, but who cares?  After cutting into pieces, it is served with hot fudge sauce and a cherry on top.  I skipped the whipped cream – it doesn’t need it – but it you want some, go for it!

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

The cold cake and ice cream against the hot fudge, the rich cake and fudge paired up with the sweet ice cream, the burst of color and flavor from the cherry.  I totally get why Mom loved this cake.  And I’m so glad this time we got to split a piece.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup carob or cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (I used almond-coconut, use what you love)
½ cup olive oil
1 cup strong black coffee, hot
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Assembly
1 pint vanilla bean ice cream, softened
Hot fudge sauce, homemade or store bought
Maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan and line it with parchment leaving overhang for easy removal later.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, carob or cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in eggs, milk, oil, coffee, and vanilla until a glossy batter forms. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan.
  3. Once the cake is cool, line an 8 inch square pan with plastic wrap. Remove the cake from the pan and cut it in half across the long sides of the cake. Place half in the bottom of the pan. You will need to trim excess cake (snack time!). Spread the ice cream over the top, followed by the other half of cake. Cover with plastic and press down slightly. Place in the freezer for at least two hours and up to overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, cut the cake into pieces using a large serrated knife. Top with hot fudge, a cherry, and serve. Cake may be stored in the freezer without the hot fudge for up to 1 month.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary.

Cake recipe adapted from Blahnik Baker

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Amy from My World Simplified for hosting!

Sunday Supper Mother’s Day Food Ideas

CHOCOLATE TREATS

ENTREES

SIDES AND SALADS

SWEETS

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Flourless Chocolate Torte #SundaySupper

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Though we live in a rather built up and populated area, we are lucky enough to have a lot of wildlife around.

I mean does it get any better than having Target and Costco practically within walking distance, a major highway just a couple miles away, and birds and bunnies and deer and more frolicking in the yard?  I think not.

The majesty of wildlife is really something.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

We’ve had a raccoon visit us right at the kitchen window, which Mom still finds horrifying and I still love.  Raccoons also had a habit of getting into the hummingbird feeders, which is rather strange to me.

There have been deer, from a mom and her baby to majestic visitors, grazing at the bird feeder.

Ducks.  Lots of ducks, sometimes twenty at a time.  The best is when the trail of babies come from half a neighborhood away, waddling through the street like they own the place.  I never get tired of watching them.


More squirrels and those oh-so-adorable but oh-so-destructive red squirrels than we know what to do with and enough chipmunks to keep us entertained at all times.

Birds and hummingbirds fly and sing and eat and fight with each other.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

There have been groundhogs (with babies!) and opossums and wild turkeys, hawks and butterflies and dragonflies.

Recently the bunnies have come back out, just in time for Easter!

This Flourless Chocolate Torte is also just in time for your Easter dinner.  I used carob, you’ll use chocolate, but either way it is out of this world, crazy delicious.  It has almost this pecan pie without the nuts thing going for it with all the butter, eggs, sugar, and bourbon.   Small slice is rich enough to satisfy, making this impressive, yet deceptively easy to make dessert perfect for a crowd.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

The top is crackly and crunchy and the interior is silky smooth and just a little gooey.  Plus, it’s naturally gluten free.  Whether you are gluten free or not, you need this cake in your life!

Happy Easter!

Flourless Chocolate Torte #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

18 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
9 ounces carob or dark chocolate chips
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
7 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch cake pan, line it with parchment and butter the parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, place the butter and carob or chocolate chips. Melt in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the butter and chips are completely melted. Stir until well combined.
  3. Stir in the sugar and allow to cool for a couple minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to stir in each egg completely before adding another. Stir in the vanilla and bourbon and mix until a glossy, uniform mix is formed.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-60 minutes. I know that’s a wide range – the original recipe called for 30 minutes, but mine took about 60. I don’t know if that is just because of the carob, so start checking at 30 minutes, but be prepared to cook it for 60.
  6. The cake is done with the top is crackly but the cake is still rather jiggly, particularly in the center. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Well Plated

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Cindy from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings for hosting!

Make Ahead Sunday Supper Brunch Recipes

Breakfast Pastries

Eggs

Sides and Veggies

Sweets

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

It’s sale season and I’m doing some hard-core shopping, mostly from the comfort of my own home of course.

But it’s hard work.  Harder than writing.  Harder than finding an agent.  Well, maybe it’s not that hard but still it’s not easy.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

I scour websites for designer finds I love in my size.  That’s the complicated part.  There are so many things, pretty things, things I would love to have, sometimes hundreds of them.  But almost none of them are my size.  You know, there’s that awesome pair of velvet pumps that I’ve been searching for all season in a random 10.5.

Right now the sales are all entering final sale phase.  What are your thoughts on final sale items?  I get it.  I totally get it.  These sites and stores have had this merchandise for what feels to them an eternity.  It’s marked down at least 70% and they never ever want to see it again.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

If I’m in a store and I try something on and love it, I’ll probably buy it.  Though I have had those moments when I try something on at home again and wonder if I was looking into a magical mirror or had lost my mind temporarily.  Still, I’ll take my chances.

Sitting at home, though, how am I supposed to have faith that gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress I have been lusting after for a year will fit.  It’s not worth the risk.  Not at all.  My fashion loving, anxiety ridden mind is overwhelmed by the possibilities.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

And so I make cake … and eat it for breakfast because Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake is pretty much made for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.

Grapes are an underutilized fruit in baking.  When baked (or roasted with vegetables for a savory application) they become jammy and super sweet, practically melting in your mouth.  They pair so well with the fruitiness of a great olive oil and the slight texture from polenta aka cornmeal.

You could definitely serve this for an afternoon snack or dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but it really belongs at breakfast.  The perfect fuel for a day of shopping, decision making, and risk taking.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup fine cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups seedless red grapes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, and oil until very well combined and lightened slightly in color. Alternately add the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the lemon and orange zest and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the grapes and pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

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Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyForHolidays #DonVictorHoney #CollectiveBias

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Bundt cakes don’t get enough credit.  They might lack the heaps of frosting in a towering layer cake.  They might not have the immediacy of cookies.  And they don’t have the fudginess of a brownie.

But in reality they have oh so much more.  They are easy to make, mixing up quickly and then baking in the oven without too much checking or turning.  Endless flavor combinations are possible in a bundt cake.  And they are really quite beautiful.

When I unmolded this beauty from the pan (always the scariest part of bundt cake making) and topped it with the nutty caramel, it almost took my breath away.  This cake belongs as the centerpiece of a holiday table or can be given as a gift to some very happy recipients.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar is the star of this bundt cake.  Honey is sometimes a flavor that can fall to the background of baked goods, but that is so not the case with this cake.

What is so unique about Don Victor® Honey is that it has honeycomb right in it that is fully edible.  I didn’t know that before working with this honey, but now I am so excited to experiment with it in different ways like mixing it into salad dressing or serving is as part of a cheese plate.  It can also be spread on toast or an English muffin with a bit of butter if you like.  Like all honey, it should be stored at room temperature to prevent crystallization.  Unlike a lot of honey, Don Victor® Honey is raw, filtered honey, not heated or processed in any other way.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

I am also excited to give it as a gift this holiday season because I love introducing my friends and family to new products that I have fallen in love with.  It is an easy to give, inexpensive gift that is perfect for coworkers, bosses, teachers, and more.  Be sure to stock up at Walmart, like I did.  Unlike other honey, Don Victor® Honey is available in the Hispanic aisle.

Shopping at Walmart

Back to the Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel.  The cake itself is unbelievably moist with the flavors of the honey, orange, and olive oil coming through.  It also has a swirl of plump dried cherries and cranberry jam, because all bundt cakes need a swirl 😉

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Then there is maybe my favorite part of the cake: the honey pecan caramel.  I will make this sauce again and again for topping on ice cream or waffles or just eating with a spoon – it is that good.

Be sure to check out Don Victor® Honey and make this bundt cake for the holidays!

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup dried sweet cherries
Juice of 1 orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
¾ cup olive oil
4 large eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cranberry jam (another flavored jam will do, but try to pick a bright color)
Caramel
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
½ stick unsalted butter
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cherries and orange juice. Allow to soak while you prepare the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sugars, honey including the comb, oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla until fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Add the orange juice only from the cherries and mix to combine.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Top with cherries and jam, trying to keep them away from the sides of the pan. Cover with the other half of the batter and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes while you make the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey including the comb, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in toasted pecans and flaky sea salt.
  6. Loosen the cake from the pan by sticking a thin knife around the edges. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle the caramel slowly over the top. Allow cake to cool completely before cutting and serving. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
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Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

While this may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, I may make it a tradition in my house.  I mean there’s only so much pumpkin pie one person can eat, right?

Plus, this cake is a breeze to make because it’s made with Miss Jones Baking Company cake mix and frosting.  You know me, I’m not typically a fan of cake mixes and would prefer to make things from scratch because of all the crazy weird ingredients in them that I know are not good for me.

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

The convenience of a boxed mix and especially the frosting can’t be denied.  And now that I know about Miss Jones Baking Company has these high quality, organic mixes with ingredients that I would use if baking a cake from scratch.

It is such a win win to be able to save time by using a mix and know that it is as high quality if not more so than the ingredients I have in my pantry.

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

Plus, Miss Jones is running a contest right now.  All you have to do is use one or more of their products to make a wonderful sweet treat and fill out the form on their website, or enter via Instagram or Facebook.  You can find all the details on their website.

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

Because Miss Jones’ mixes are meant to be doctored up with a variety of ingredients, the sky is the limit to your creation.  I made this delightful Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake.  It is super moist but has a bit of chew from all the oatmeal.  And those plump, juicy raisins are bursts of flavor.  For the frosting, I simply used Miss Jones Cinnamon Sugar frosting – it is so flavorful I didn’t have to add anything.

I loved expressing my creativity with Miss Jones and you will too!

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

Oatmeal Raisin Snack Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 18 servings

Ingredients

1 box Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Cake Mix
¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup jumbo raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
3 large eggs
½ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 container Miss Jones Cinnamon Sugar Frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a 9 by 13-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together applesauce, eggs, and milk. Add the cake mix, oats, raisins, and cinnamon and stir until well combined. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  3. Once cake is cool, evenly spread the jar of frosting over the cake. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
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Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake #SundaySupper

Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake

I can feel the change coming.  I can feel it in my body, my mind, my spirit, my soul.  Summer is waning and fall and winter are rapidly approaching.

It was a delightful summer, which makes it all the worse to say goodbye.  I don’t want to give up the long days, the sunshine, the warmth, the sandals, the sundresses, the feeling of freedom that I’ve had for the past few months.

My body is starting to ache, to feel that chill, to grow tired as the sun sets earlier and earlier each day.  The little differences aren’t noticed by most but to me they are a warning that the time is growing precious and I must enjoy it.

Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake

My mind is leaning toward sadness.  Sadness that I am losing that feeling of freedom and happiness that does not come nearly as easily when the weather is crappy, the days are short, and home is where I spend most of my time.  The cold months drag and trick my mind into being sad, as the sun is rarely seen and when it is it is only a trick, not matching the warmth it brings to mind.

My spirit is being corralled.  Forced to rein in concerts and dinners out and walks around the neighborhood or town.  It is time to focus mostly on work, on a better future, which is good, but as my soul is showing it, not an easy task to accomplish.

Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake

This time of year is my reminder that another year has passed without accomplishing my goals.  It is another year I am stuck in Michigan and as just an aspiring writer, but at the same time, I feel I have inched closer to my goals and hope that very soon, I will take a giant leap forward.

Because I am grasping onto any remnants of summer, I have a summery Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake for you today.  It is incredibly moist from the zucchini and blueberries with a soft crumb.  The topping totally takes it over the top and makes it worthy for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea or for dessert with a scoop of ice cream.

Plus, cakes like this freeze incredibly well.  So when winter has me down, I will definitely be reaching for a slice in the deep freeze.

Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake

Zucchini Blueberry Coffee Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 18 servings

Ingredients

Cake
3 large eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping cups grated zucchini
2 cups blueberries
Topping
¾ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 by 13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until combined. Stir in the zucchini and blueberries. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Make the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon until well combined and clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over the cake.
  4. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The View from Great Island

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Also a thank you to this week’s host The Wimpy Vegetarian!

Appetizers

Desserts

Entrees

Sides

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Peach Layer Cake

Peach Layer Cake

Did you watch the Olympics?  Tell me I’m not the only one who was completely and totally obsessed and riveted from start to finish.

I watched swimming, track and field, beach volleyball, gymnastics, archery, wresting, judo, badminton, table tennis, and more.  All day long.  We’re talking twelve hours a day.  Not that I just sat on the couch and did nothing, but it was on all day and I kept up.

Peach Layer Cake

Of course, with all this watching, I spent much of the last two weeks wondering if secretly somewhere inside me is a gold medal award winning swimmer … even though I can’t swim.  Also if it’s too late to get into rhythmic gymnastics, because I feel like I could actually do that.

Alas, it’s now all over and I don’t have, and it’s pretty safe to say, never will, a gold medal.  Even so, I really only want the Olympics back on.  I need something to watch, something to cheer for, and I don’t want summer to come to an end.

Peach Layer Cake

This is just another sign, along with the incessant mentioning of out “fall like weather” this week that doesn’t particularly seem fall like to me in the slightest, that doom … I mean fall … is impending.

There is something hopeful about the Olympics and summer, and I think we could all use more of that feeling right now with all that is going on in the world.

Peach Layer Cake

So I’ll just have to hang onto summer and find hope in this Peach Layer Cake.  It’s a different kind of layer cake.  A giant 9 by 13 layer cake with tart cherry jam in the middle and Italian buttercream on the outside.

The cake is soft and almost fall apart moist, loaded with fresh peaches.  The jam adds a nice tartness, but it is really that buttercream, that steals the show.  If you have never had or made Italian buttercream, don’t be intimidated by it.  It’s really not that hard to make and it is the BEST frosting you will ever have I promise.

Peach Layer Cake

It tastes like ice cream and whipped cream had a baby and were flecked with lots of vanilla bean seeds.  It’s light and airy, melts in your mouth, and not too sweet.  In fact, it doesn’t even need cake, but it’s not considered okay by most people to eat it by the spoonful right out of the mixer bowl.

Seriously though, make the cake, make the frosting.  It is gold medal worthy.

Peach Layer Cake

Peach Layer Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 24 servings

Ingredients

Cake

4 cups chopped peaches or nectarines, white or yellow

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons honey

5 large egg whites

1/2 + ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 jar tart cherry jam, for assembly

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. butter 2 9 by 13 inch pans, line with parchment leaving overhang to pull the cakes out later, and butter the parchment. If you only have 1 pan, bake one cake, let it cool a bit, remove it, and bake the second in the same pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would also work. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the eggs one at a time, until once again light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the peaches and divide the batter evenly among the two pans. If you only have one, pour half in and bake the other half when it’s done.

Bake the cakes 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, and honey. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Then insert a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Alternately, you may use a small bowl of ice water to test a small amount of the hot syrup as it cooks. If it forms a soft ball in the water, it’s ready to go.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until stiff peaks form. Once the syrup and egg whites are ready, turn the mixer down to medium low and slowly drizzle the syrup in. once all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer back up to high and beat for about 13 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and cool.

Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time to the running mixer – watch your fingers! Once all the butter has been added, if the frosting is soupy refrigerate it for about 15 minutes, then beat it again and it should come together. This always happens to me. Beat in the vanilla bean paste.

Assemble the cake. Using the parchment overhang, remove one cake. Place it on a serving platter and use the frosting to make a boarder around the edge of the cake to hold in the jam. Spread the jam over the rest of the top of the cake. Place the other cake on top. Frost with the remaining frosting.

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Cake may also be frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

http://piesandplots.net/peach-layer-cake-2/

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle #SundaySupper

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Summer is quickly slipping from my fingers and I am not okay with it.  I don’t want it to go away.  This is such a lovely time of year and I am so thankful for it.  For the walks with the flowers and the birds singing.  For the fresh fruit and vegetables.  For the fun clothes and shoes.  The bright colors, sunshine, and warmth.

And now with the Olympics, what more could I ask for?  I couldn’t.  it is just so wonderful and that’s why I’m already starting to dread what is coming.  Fall and … ew … winter.  Life just feels so different then.  It is less hopeful and harder, even if the only thing that has really changed is the season.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

How is this possible?  I mean really.  If everything else stays the same, the difference between June and January is still immense and difficult to grasp and deal with.

I never felt this way when I was in school, and I think I finally discovered the reason.  As a student, I relished summer.  I loved every moment of it for all the reasons I do now, as well as the obvious I didn’t have to go to school thing.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Once fall (really the end of summer) came and I had to return to school, it didn’t matter if it was sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy.  I just trudged into the building and out of the building and slept and ate in between.  I actually hoped for snow since it would mean a day of freedom, likely watching movies and TV.

So not only do the seasons affect how I see the world, but the world affects how I see the seasons.  Life is really quite an interesting thing sometimes.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Since I am buying more fruit than I could ever possibly eat, as though that will stave off winter for longer, I love to bake with it.  Cornmeal isn’t something I typically bake with, but when this Sunday Supper theme was corn, I knew exactly what I was going to make.  Blackberry Cornbread Buckle.

I have made Blueberry Buckle many different times, as it is one of my favorite recipes, but I think this one bested it.  Not only because the cornbread base is so delicious, tender yet hearty with that nutty corn flavor, but also because it rings more as a true buckle.

The cornbread rises in some spots, buckles under the fruit and crumble in others.  It is a symphony of ever changing textures and flavors, each bite a little different than the last.

Let summer take you on many more adventures, including this Buckle!

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

Fruit

4 cups fresh blackberries

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Cake

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup cornmeal

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Topping

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan as well as two ramekins or bowls.

In a medium bowl, stir together the blackberries, sugar, vanilla, and ginger. Allow to macerate while you make the cake.

Make the cake. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the vanilla and salt, followed by the eggs, one at a time. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work as well.

Stir together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir just until the batter comes together.

Spread most of the batter into the 8-inch pan, filling no more than half way. Divide the remaining batter among the ramekins. Top each of the three vessels with an even layer of the blackberries.

Make the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter until clumps form. Distribute the topping over the fruit in all three vessels.

Bake ramekins for about 40 minutes. Bake larger cake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until toothpicks inserted in the center of the cakes come out with a few moist crumbs.

Serve warm or allow to cool completely in the pans. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Janeofmanytrade via Food52

http://piesandplots.net/blackberry-cornbread-buckle-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Appetizer

Breakfast

Salad

Main Dish

Side Dish

Dessert

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Do you have a hidden talent?  Mom and I have debated this quite a bit lately having watched America’s Got Talent and the hidden talent competition on the Today show.  And it was decided that we do not have hidden talents.

But as suggested to me by Kim The Ninja Baker I do have a hidden talent.  And my friends that talent is pitting cherries.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

I pit cherries.  Lots of them.  Cherries for smoothies, cherries for pies and cakes and sauces on top of ice cream.  Cherries in kale salads and paired with cottage cheese.  Probably over a hundred, maybe two hundred, cups every summer.

I did have a stainless steel cherry pitter that I was using, but I used it so much that I broke it.  That’s right, I snapped the metal cherry pitter right in half.  So now I just do it by hand.  Split open the cherry and pull the pit out.

This is easy to do with sour cherries in particular because they are soft, but once you get in the groove with any kind of cherry, it’s not so bad.  I told you how I pitted nine cups of cherries for the popsicles last Sunday in twenty minutes.  This is my summer routine.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

And I never mind doing it.  Not only because cherries are so delicious in so many different things, but because it is a relaxing, mindless activity that washes stress away and makes me feel better as I get in the rhythm.  Just make sure you double check cherries if they are going into the blender.  Better safe than sorry when it comes to wayward pits being blended into oblivion.

I pitted more cherries for this Black Forest Sheet Cake.  After seeing all the black forest masterpieces on the Great British Baking Show, I was inspired.  I took a classic chocolate cake and made it with carob of course, but cocoa powder will work just fine.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Then I topped it with a thick and jammy cherry compote and a rich chocolate/carob glaze.  The end result is a rich, messy cake that is totally irresistible.  The cake is deep and dark and packed with that classic chocolate flavor, intensified with coffee.  The cherries are sweet, the perfect foil, and the drippy glaze rounds the whole thing out.

Do yourself a favor and pit some cherries and make this sheet cake.  Your next summer get together will be even better with it for dessert.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 18 servings

Ingredients

Cake

2 cups granulated sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup carob or cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1 cup brewed coffee, cooled

½ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cherry Compote

4 cups Bing cherries, pitted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Glaze

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1/3 cup carob or cocoa powder

1 stick unsalted butter

1 box confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and lightly flour it.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, carob or cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until a thin batter is formed. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 30 -35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

While the cake bakes, make the compote. In a small saucepan combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Continue to boil, still stirring frequently, for 3 or 4 minutes, until the mixture has thickened significantly. Set aside.

Make the glaze. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and carob or cocoa powder. Add the butter and microwave for 1 minute. If the butter is not melted, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Add the vanilla and slowly stir in the sugar until a thick yet spreadable glaze is formed.

Spoon the cherry compote over the baked, but still hot cake. Spread it into an even layer. Spread the glaze evenly over the cake. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in zipper bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave for 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

http://piesandplots.net/black-forest-sheet-cake/

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