Pages

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake with a Lemon Glaze



We recently had some work done in our kitchen and had to clean out our pantry.  It's amazing what you can find when you clean out a pantry.  I found lots of expired things which went in the trash, lots of "what was I thinking?!" ingredients that I know I'll never use, and I also found a few yummy treasures.  The best thing I found was a jar of raspberry jam.  Now this may not sound like some rare exotic food, but to me it's magical.

Raspberry jam takes me back to my childhood and sneaking a spoon for a sweet treat...oh so good.  I know I can get a jar at any grocery store, and we even have some in our refrigerator, but for some reason, finding that jar got my baking mind going.

I started thinking about what sorts of things I could make with the jam and came up with a pound cake.  It's getting cool in my neck of the woods and when that happens, my baking choices tend to veer towards nice, hefty cakes, cakes that fill you up and feed a big crowd.

This raspberry swirl pound cake is just that, rich and sweet, with a nice moist texture and that denseness that every pound cake should have.  You won't need a big slice of it to satisfy your sweet cravings.  It's also a crowd pleaser and feeds a lot of people.  

I added a lemon glaze to offset the sweetness of the cake and to make it a little bit fancier looking.  It's an optional addition, but it only takes about 5 minutes to do so I think it's worth it.

You'll find the recipe after some of the pictures.  If you give the recipe a try, I'd love to know what you think about it!


Ingredients

All the ingredients needed for the cake.
Layers of batter and jam

Layers of delicious raspberry jam and rich, thick batter ready for the oven!

 The finished cake!

The lemon glaze dresses this cake up and makes it perfect for a fancy occasion.


Unfortunately I forgot one important step when I made this cake.  I forgot to swirl the layers.  Amazingly, it made a few swirls during the baking process, but some of the jam did pool at the bottom of the pan (top of the cake).  It just added a big pocket of raspberry goodness which was delicious, but I think it would have looked nicer if I had remembered this step.

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake with a Lemon Glaze Recipe

Ingredients

For the cake...
  • 1 cup or 12 oz jar raspberry jam, seedless or seeded
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 8 oz or 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the glaze...
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
Directions

For the cake...
  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Prepare a large bundt pan by either greasing and flouring it, or spraying it with a baking cooking spray.  I prefer the latter method because the outside of the cake, once baked, looks much better.
  3. Place the jam in a small bowl and stir until consistency is more spreadable.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder.  Set aside.
  5. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl and add salt and sugar.  Continue beating on medium-high for about 8 minutes.  Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  6. Turn the mixer setting to low and add eggs, one at a time and waiting until fully incorporated before adding the next one. 
  7. Add vanilla.
  8. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until smooth.
  9. Add about 1/3 of the batter to the prepared bundt pan.  Then add about 1/2 of the raspberry jam.  Add another 1/3 of the batter and then the rest of the jam.  Top with the remaining batter.
  10. Using a knife, carefully swirl the mixture.
  11. Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.  Keep an eye on the cake after about 1 hour just to make sure it isn't getting too dark.  Different ovens cook at different temperatures.
  12. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack.  After about 15 minutes carefully invert the cake onto the cooling rack and remove from the pan.  Cool completely.
For the glaze...
  1. In a medium bowl mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  If it's too thick, add a little bit of water to thin it and if it's too thick, add some powdered sugar to get the consistency desired.
  2. Drizzle over the cooled cake.





Monday, May 11, 2015

Blueberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe






With fresh local rhubarb in plentiful supply a few days ago, and blueberries picked last summer in my freezer, that were just begging to be used,  I became inspired to come up with a fruit coffee cake recipe.   Fruit coffee cakes are a nice change from heavier nut-laden ones and are always a welcome twist when served to guests.  

My recipe is adapted from mmmisformommy.com's cake which is a wonderful rhubarb buttermilk cake that I tried at a friend's house once.

This coffee cake is filled with fruit, it's not too sweet and the streusel topping adds a nice crunch with a light cinnamon flavor.

The whole thing together is buttery goodness that melts in your mouth, especially with your morning coffee or tea.

My apologies up front on this post.  I usually like to include step by step pictures of the process, but unfortunately my camera was not cooperating so I only have pictures of the finished product.  It looks pretty tasty if I do say so myself and it's an easy cake to put together.  If you have any questions about the preparation since there aren't any photos of it, just let me know in the comments section.




Blueberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe

Ingredients

For the cake...

  • 2 cups washed and chopped rhubarb (Cut into about 1 inch pieces.  Any smaller and the rhubarb tends to disappear along with the flavor.)
  • 1 cup rinsed frozen (do not thaw) or fresh blueberries
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
For the streusel topping...
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened just slightly, or not at all
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease and set aside a 13 x 9 inch pan.  I like to use non-stick baking spray to prepare my pan.
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the fruit and the 5 tablespoons of sugar.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and the 1 1/3 cups sugar until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix until just smooth.
  4. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, and the mixer on the low setting, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between the two and mixing until just smooth.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the fruit.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.  It's a thick batter so you'll need a spatula to spread it around.
  7. Prepare the streusel topping by mixing together the butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon.  I use a fork and work the butter into the mixture until it's crumbly.
  8. Sprinkle over the top of the batter, covering it completely.
  9. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out cleanly when inserted in the middle.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it cool before serving.  I find that if it is served while still too warm it tends to fall apart a bit.  Of course it still tastes pretty good so if you just can't wait, go ahead and give it a try!


Just imagine presenting this to a houseguest for breakfast or taking it to a brunch at church.  It's absolutely delicious and people will enjoy it.  I hope you do too!



Friday, March 27, 2015

Artichoke, Asparagus and Shrimp Salad Recipe




I rarely find a salad I don't love, especially one that has a nice mix of ingredients like this one.  The nice thing about this salad is that it has vegetables, shrimp and pasta so it's like a meal in one!  You get your protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.  What could be better!

A couple of weeks ago my local supermarket had a special deal on fresh asparagus and it looked so delicious I decided to come up with a new recipe to highlight it. I came up with this salad and I think it turned out pretty nicely!  

So, if you like shrimp, asparagus and artichoke hearts, then this salad is for you.  If you like salads without mayonnaise, then this salad is for you.  If you like ingredients that remind you of the spring and summer months ahead, then this salad is for you.  Grab a crusty loaf of sourdough bread to serve with it and you have the perfect meal.

It doesn't take long to make and, with a couple of shortcuts, it's easy to assemble too.  The complete recipe and directions are below, after the photos.

Enjoy!

Delicious ingredients ready to turn into a salad!

Orzo, cooked and ready for the dressing.

Cooked asparagus and quartered artichoke hearts ready for the salad.

This dressing is really good on all sorts of salads.

Ready to eat, this salad is one of our family favorites! Yummy!

Artichoke, Asparagus and Shrimp Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup orzo, uncooked
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts (in water, not marinated)
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined. Tip: if you don't have time to cook the shrimp, use frozen shrimp instead.  Just remember to peel them and remove the tails.
For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Directions:
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.  Cut back the cooking time by about 1 minute because the pasta should be al dente so it can soak up some of the dressing.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Rinse the asparagus and chop into bite sized pieces.  Simmer in a saucepan with water until just fork tender.  Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Drain the can of artichoke heart quarters.
  4. In a large bowl, combine orzo, asparagus and artichokes.
  5. In a small bowl, briskly whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  6. Pour dressing over salad and gently combine.
  7. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.  Keep any remaining salad refrigerated.  This salad is good for a day or two, but because of the shrimp I don't recommend keeping it too long or it could spoil. 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Easy 15-Minute Valentine's Day Vanilla Candy Tutorial


My daughter came to me the other day and suggested this Valentine's Day candy blog post.  I've always made her cake pops for her birthday and she absolutely loves the candy coating I dip them in so she's always thinking of things to make with it.

She happened to come across a couple of bags of the candy in our pantry and wanted to eat some of it.  I explained that it probably wasn't a great idea since it was right before dinner. I happened to have my cookie cutters sitting out and she came up with this fun idea instead.

About 10 minutes later, a tray of these festive sweet treats was hardening in the refrigerator.

For a candy that only takes a few minutes to make with only a couple of supplies, it sure looks beautiful.  She's planning on making them for teacher gifts this year.

So here are the incredibly easy instructions.  Once you have all of the ingredients, it only takes about 15 minutes to make.  Just remember to work fast once the candy is melted because starts hardening fairly quickly.

Supplies you'll need:
  • Bag of Vanilla Candy Wafers (depending on how many candies you'll be making, you may want more)
  • Red gel food coloring (liquid works too)
  • Cookie cutters
  • Toothpicks
  • Decorative sprinkles (optional)
  • Baking tray lined with wax paper
Step 1 - Melt the candies

Vanilla candy wafers ready to be melted.
Melted candy wafers ready to be turned into candy!
Follow the directions on the candy package to melt the wafers.  Spoon some of the melted candy into a separate bowl for adding color.

Step 2 - Color some of the melted candy

Some red gel food coloring gives some of the melted candy a pretty pink color.
Add some of the red gel food coloring into the melted candy that you set aside.  Stir in completely. Add more food coloring if you want a darker color.

Step 3 - Form the candies

Lay out cookie cutters on a wax paper lined baking tray.
Pour melted candy into the cookie cutter mold.  Make it about 1/4 thick.
Swirl in some pink melted candy to get that special look.
Add sprinkles if desired.
Place cookie cutters on top of the wax paper lined baking tray.

Fill the cookie cutters with about 1/4 inch of the melted vanilla candy.  Then, add some of the pink melted candy and used a toothpick to swirl it in.  A little candy may seep out of the bottom, but not much and it can be removed later.  Remember to work quickly because the candies start to harden right away.  

Add sprinkles if desired.

Step 4 - Cool the candy

Carefully place the tray into the refrigerator and cool for about 10 minutes or until completely solid. Remove from the fridge and then gently pop the candies out of the cookie cutters.

That's it! This is a wonderful project for kids to help with. They make a great gift for friends and family. I know that my daughter had loads of fun making these and wants to make them again soon.


If you need more pink and white treats, check out my Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe.  They are out of this world delicious.  You can find the recipe HERE.




Saturday, January 31, 2015

Easy No-Sew Valentine's Day Felt Heart Table Runner Tutorial



Ah Valentine's Day...one of those fun, craft inspiring holidays.  I'm not sure why, but every time it rolls around I want to make something with hearts.  It's probably because there are hearts around every corner.

The idea for this runner came about while I was sidelined with pneumonia.  Laying around all day for a week tends to make me think of all sorts of creative things.  Luckily I had my notebook by my side so I could jot down any projects that came to mind.

This turned out to be one of my favorites, and it worked well for me since I didn't have the energy to walk up and down the stairs to my sewing room.  I just sat around cutting out felt shapes and glueing them together while I recuperated.

The result was this charming no-sew felt table runner.  It only took about 2 hours to make, not including drying time, and it looks like something out of a magazine.  I especially love the open pattern which makes it looks like that hearts were just scattered on top of the table.

This project is the perfect Valentine's Day decoration for the table.  It looks really good set on a solid color tablecloth or on wood like in the picture.

So without any further ado, let's get started...

Supplies you'll need:

Felt (various colors) - 10 - 20 sheets depending on the size of your hearts and runner
Fabric glue (clear drying and water resistant)
Sharp scissors
Heart shaped template (like a cookie cutter)
Cotton swabs or toothpicks to apply the glue
Felt tip pen
Wax paper

Felt comes in so many wonderful colors.  Here's the collection I used for this project.

Assemble the felt you want to use.  I used shades of pink, some red and some white.  I think it would also look pretty in red and white, different pinks, or even one solid color.

Cut out the hearts:

Trace around the template

Lovely felt hearts ready for assembly

Using a felt marker and your heart shaped template, start tracing and cutting.  I used two different sizes of hearts for a couple of reasons; 1) The different sizes add a little interest to the runner and 2) The smaller ones are a stabilizer for the larger hearts.  They act like a joint between them and make the runner more secure.  Cut plenty of hearts.

Assemble the runner:

Layout the hearts on wax paper

Cut a piece of wax paper to the desired size of the runner you want.  I use wax paper as a size guide because it's easier to peel off the felt runner if some glue spills on it.  It also protects your working surface.  If you want a thicker runner, just tape two pieces of wax paper together.  Start laying out the hearts, adjusting to your liking.  Add the smaller ones as desired.

Glue the table runner together:

Get supplies ready to glue

Glue every overlapping edge. Don't worry, the glue will dry clear so you won't see it.

Once you have the layout that you like it's time to start glueing.  Pour some clear drying fabric glue into a paper cup and, with a cotton swab or toothpick, start applying glue anywhere that the hearts overlap.  Be generous with the glue.  Tip:  Use a water resistant, clear drying fabric glue.  This runner cannot be washed, but it may need spot cleaning which is why you want the glue to be water resistant.

Set the runner aside to dry for a couple of hours.  Set a couple of baking trays on top of it to press it down so it dries flat.  I add some magazines in each tray to weigh them down.


That's it!  You are done.  Just put it on your table and wow your Valentine.  I may be biased, but I think that the only way this runner could look any better is with a big box of chocolates right in the middle!

If you like making table runners and like to sew, check out one of my favorites.  It's a quick and easy piece that is a showstopper on any table.
You can find the tutorial HERE.