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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June Meal Ideas

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No-Bake Desserts

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments | The Pajama Chef

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

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Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Shortbread #SundaySupper

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust #SundaySupper

On Grey’s Anatomy this week (which was an amazing episode) Meredith, in her signature voice over, said no one waits for their world to explode, their life to change.  But that’s never been true for me.

Since I can remember, I have been waiting for my world to explode, in ways both good and bad.

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust

The good isn’t so hard to deal with.  Waiting for an agent.  A publisher.  A friend.  For someone to see my work and love it.  Waiting for that moment of bliss when my parents and I will jump up and down crying tears of joy.

I mean it’s no fun waiting for those things, but they aren’t haunting and give me hope for the future.

The bad explosions, they’re not so fun.  Maybe it’s because I’m so creative, but I’ve always been a what if, worst case scenario kind of girl.

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crustq

When Mom leaves the house, I sometimes worry she will get in an accident.  When Mom and Dad are gone together, it’s even worse.  I worry I don’t appreciate Dad enough.  I’m just waiting for one or both of them to be gone.

There are the times when my stomach hurts and I worry it’s an appendicitis.  A runny nose might be spinal fluid (Grey’s is to thank for that one too).

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust

The house might burn down.  We might crash the car.  I might fall down the stairs.  My world might explode.  And even though I think about it all the time, I’m not prepared for it.  None of us can be.  We can take precautions and be careful, but explosions happen without warning.

So we hug and make plans and have fun and talk and cook and bake and make the most of what we have and pretend we aren’t waiting for explosions.

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust are the perfect summer dessert that can transport us to another world, a happy world, because everyone is happy when they are baking.  These are pretty easy to make and so full of bright, lemon flavor.

The shortbread crust is taken to another level with poppy seeds.  But really, it’s that gooey lemon topping that makes us fall in love with lemon bars.  How can you not want to dive right in to that goodness?

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust

Lemon Bars with Poppy Seed Crust #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

Crust
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Zest of 2 lemons
Filling
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter, sugar, flour, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. This is easily done by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work too. The dough should come together and be soft and pliable. Press it evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes until light golden brown.
  3. While it bakes, make the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, sugar, eggs, and flour. Be sure it is fully combined and pour it over the hot crust. Bake for about 30 minutes until a golden brown crust has formed on top but it is not fully set.
  4. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars and serving. Lemon bars may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped individually in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator about an hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Costco Connection

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes! Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting!

Sunday Supper Small Bites Recipes for Entertaining

SMALL STARTERS

PINT-SIZED PROTEIN

DEMI-DESSERTS

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.

 

May Meal Ideas + Shinola Giveaway!

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I am so excited to share some wonderful May recipe ideas with you and even more excited to share a Shinola card case giveaway with you.  You probably know I live in the Detroit area.  I am always looking for amazing local products and Shinola never disappoints.  Dad has a watch and a card case and I have a journal that I picked up when he and I visited the store last year.

Shinola Card Case Giveaway!

Enter the giveaway and then check out our dishes for this month!

Beverages

Entrees

Sides

Desserts

 

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments | The Pajama Chef

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

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Spring Recipe Roundup

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Brunch

Entrees & Sides

Desserts

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

The Pajama Chef | Ninja Baker | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies #SundaySupper

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

I’m redesigning my room.  Or maybe just designing it for the first time.

It’s something I’ve thought about and been meaning to do and now I’ve finally taken the plunge.  Well, we have; it’s pretty much a team effort.

Dad is painting the room.  It’s purple-y pink and glorious.  It’s really impossible to love two paint colors more than I love these.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Now it’s time to order the furniture and wait for it to be delivered.  After searching in stores and online, I’ve finally settled on some goodies from Restoration Hardware.  And I only visited the store three times and the website oh about fifty.

It feels sooooo good to be doing something, making progress, creating change.  But it is a lot of work.  Like a lot.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Moving things around, measuring, mapping out, cleaning, generally hustling and organizing and trying to find things when they are all over the place and none of those places are their normal positions.

Really, I shouldn’t complain though, because I think painting is a lot harder than Dad remembered.  It’s slow and tiring.  And yet, he’s determined to paint more rooms, which is kind of super jump up and down exciting, even though I still want to move far, far away from here.  Oh yeah, #CaliforniaDreaming.

But I mean, what’s not to love about pink and purple paint and new furniture and soft bed linens and happiness and sunshine and butterflies?

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, maybe I got carried away there.  We’re talking about paint and furniture not agents and book deals.  But still, with some sunshine and warmer temperatures, happy dance may be my new permanent position.

Oh, and lots of Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies.  You don’t even have to feel that bad about eating these cookies.  They’re loaded with carrots, raisins, dried cherries, coconut, oatmeal, and coconut oil.  They are soft and moist with a subtle spice and taste even better than they smell.

Really, though, that needs to be the finishing touch for my room.  Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookie Candles.  Someone needs to get on that ASAP!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 15 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup shredded carrots
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried tart cherries
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes or chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream coconut oil with sugars until combined. I did this by hand, and it’s super easy – no need to pull out the mixer! Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add the carrots, oats, raisins, cherries, and coconut and stir until well distributed.
  4. Take about golf ball sized portions of dough and place them on the baking sheet, spreading them out as much as possible. Bake for about 19 minutes, until mostly set. Serve warm or cool completely on the tray. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes! Thanks to Anne from Simple and Savory for hosting!

BREAKFAST

CAKES, PIES, AND SWEETS

COOKIES AND BARS

Main Courses

Pastas

Seafood

Veggies and 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.

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Roundup

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Side Dishes

Entrees

Desserts

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

Savory Moments | The Pajama Chef | Ninja Baker | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars #SundaySupper

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

You probably know this about me by now, but I like fancy things.  I have since I can remember.

I have two memories from preschool: being sent home for chicken pox, which I did not have at the time, and wanting a dress similar to one a girl named Allison was wearing.

I wore Mom’s clothes, bought high heels before any other girl my age, wouldn’t leave the house without lipstick at age five, and hated playing and getting dirty at recess.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

An early obsession with home shopping channels led to ordering a gaudy giant cubic zirconia ring when I was about six.  I wore it for years and it was set in real gold.  Now I’ve graduated to other real stones, though my parents probably wish I would have stayed in the home shopping phase.

It’s just in my blood, you know, to wear makeup and hair spray my hair until it doesn’t move and wear dresses and heels and jewelry.  I can’t explain it, it’s there, in m DNA.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

This attraction to fancy things extends into other realms like food.  Definitely food.  Like when I have fish shipped in from Seattle (shout out to my friends at Pike’s Place Fish!) or order truffles whenever a restaurant happens to have them (okay this has only happened once, but I’m ready for a sequel).

And these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars.  I know you’re like nothing is fancy about a PBJ anything, but you are oh so wrong.

First combining anything with cheesecake automatically takes it up a notch, but the real fancifying ingredients are the red currant jelly and peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

Sure, you could use plain old grape jelly to top off this decadent treat (just make sure you use jelly whatever flavor you choose), but when I saw red currant in the store I knew I had to buy it.  The bright, slightly tangy flavor is perfect and something different without being weird.

I know you are thinking the peanut brittle is just a garnish, but it’s not.  At all.  It adds crunch and a buttery peanutty flavor that brings the whole thing together.

Get fancy and make these bars!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

Crust
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Filling and topping
32 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 ½ cups red currant jelly
½ cup peanut brittle, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Make the crust. In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt until combined and the crust holds together when pressed. Pour into the prepared pan and press firmly into the bottom and ¾ the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 12 minutes until light golden brown. Cool while you make the filling.
  3. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Make the filling. In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and peanut butter using a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar slowly while the mixer is running. Add in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla bean paste and mix until light fluffy and well combined. Pour into the baked crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown on top and the filling wiggles in the center. Cool for about 2 hours.
  5. Once the cheesecake has cooled for awhile, heat the jam in a medium microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted without too many lumps. Pour evenly over the cheesecake and tilt it to cover the surface completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight until set completely.
  6. Once chilled, cut into bars, sprinkle with peanut brittle, and serve. Bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

Notes

Filling adapted from Martha Stewart

Additional chilling time is necessary

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes.  Thanks to Wendy from Wholistic Woman for hosting!

Finger Foods

Hors d’oeuvres

Seafood

Sweets

Veggies

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.

Weekly Meal Plan #7 2017

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Lots of fun variety for this week’s plan!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Sunday

Breakfast

 

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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Weekly Meal Plan #6 2017

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Okay, let’s be honest, I’m skipping right to dessert and making that creme brulee!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Slow Cooker Greek Meatballs 1

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Sunday

Side Dish

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

Pies and Plots | The Cooking Actress | Foodtastic Mom | The Spiffy Cookie | Big Bear’s Wife | The Pajama Chef

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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