Tag Archives: Cakes

Banana Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana pecan cake with Cream cheese frosting

Once again, it’s that time of year when we are bombarded with talk of New Year’s resolutions. Weight-loss companies and gyms descend upon us with ad after ad trying to convince us to partake of their services, to “make this year your year” and finally shed those last few pounds. You can’t get on social media or watch any morning show this time of year without hearing about how we’re all supposed to be making tons of New Year’s resolutions – start keeping a journal! more date nights with your significant other! gossip less! – many of which we’ll break in mere weeks.

overripe bananas

So I’m not going to be too big on the resolution front this year, but I am using the New Year as an excuse opportunity to start a new blog project, which I’m very excited to share with you! Starting Monday, each week will be a themed week of blogging, where each day’s recipe will revolve around a stated ingredient, cooking/baking method, cuisine, etc. – variations on a theme, if you will. 🙂

banana pecan cake, before frosting

This idea started rolling around in my head a few months ago; I’ve spent some time fleshing it out, and I think it will be really fun. I am a list maker, and my brain responds very well to patterns and sequences and the like, so it’s quite easy for me to organize my blog this way. Also, when I cook I tend to enjoy finding an ingredient or cooking/baking method and then want to explore it and stick with it for a while, then move on to something else. So this way, I’ll be able to share that without things seeming like I’m stuck in a rut. And this is quite flexible too – I’ll keep doing it until, well, until it’s not fun anymore, I guess. 🙂

Banana Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

And no, it’s not a New Year’s resolution, because I will not feel guilty if it doesn’t end up working out for whatever reason! This starts on Monday, and I’m so excited for this!! I hope you, all my dear readers, will love it.

banana pecan cake

And now let’s eat cake! This is one of the simplest yet tastiest cakes I’ve ever made. And since it’s only one layer instead of two, there’s less calories per slice. How’s that rationalization? Lol! It’s a great use-up for those bananas quickly blackening on your counter, it comes together quickly, and tastes more impressive than it looks. I used pecans mainly because I had some, but walnuts work well too. Whatever you like. Enjoy!

slice of Banana Pecan Cake

Source: Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten


3 overripe bananas
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, plus a handful extra for decorating the cake

6 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Make the cake: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round cake pan. Set aside.
Peel the bananas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash them somewhat with a fork. Add both sugars and then beat together with an electric mixer until combined. Add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go. When the flour mixture is almost or just barely combined, turn off the mixer and complete mixing it with a spatula. You want it just combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
When the cake has cooled, make the frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternately you can add the ingredients to a clean mixing bowl and use a hand mixer with clean beaters. Either way, beat the ingredients together until just combined. Add the sugar a little bit at a time and mix until smooth. (If you dump the sugar in there all at once, you’ll end up wearing most of it.)
Using a rubber spatula, plop the frosting, in gobs, on the center of the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread the frosting evenly to the edges of the top of the cake and smooth the top. There’s probably enough frosting to coat the top and sides if you want, but I kept mine just on top because 1) it’s way less messy that way, and 2) I am a fiend for a good cream cheese frosting, and I loved a thick layer.
Place the extra pecans decoratively on top of the frosted cake. Slice into wedges and serve.

Pumpkin Apple Cake

Pumpkin Apple Cake

Happy Monday, y’all! I’m finding Mondays to be a very good television viewing night. Every Monday evening our TV is glued to NBC; and now I actually sort of look forward to the most universally dreaded day of the week. Hey, whatever works, right?

pumpkin apple cake, before baking

pumpkin apple cake, out of the oven

“The Voice” is hopelessly addicting, I always have to watch it. I occasionally sing along if I like the song (be grateful you only know me virtually, your poor ears have been spared!) and of course I have to be catty critique the song choices (for the love, people, lay off the Beyoncé songs already!). Then “The Voice” ends and “The Blacklist” comes on. Have y’all seen that one? OMG. I’ve gotten completely hooked. It’s so friggin’ good! The acting and writing is extremely well-done, so suspenseful with just the right amount of dry humor. And what on EARTH is going on with her husband?? Aaahh! I went and got my mom hooked on it too, aren’t I nice?

Pumpkin Apple Cake

I share this cake today because it’s a perfect TV viewing dessert or snack. Easy to throw together, uncomplicated, seasonal, and uber-delicious. You can’t go wrong, it’s just perfect. One thing I loved about this cake is that there aren’t many spices in the recipe, so the unadulterated pumpkin flavor really shines through. The original recipe called for none of the usual spice suspects, but I couldn’t resist throwing in just a touch of cinnamon. Don’t get me wrong, spiced pumpkin desserts are delicious, but I really enjoyed tasting the pure pumpkin flavor this time around. And the apple lends wonderful moisture and just a hint of background sweet/tart notes.

pumpkin apple cake

Pumpkin apple cake

So, my beloved readers, I really want to know: what TV shows do you watch? What are you completely hooked on? What great television viewing do you recommend? And what snacks or treats have you made to accompany a night on the couch?

Pumpkin Apple Cake

{One year ago: Chipotle Pumpkin Chowder}

Source: slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennie Perillo

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup buttermilk
1 large apple, peeled and grated
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×9” square baking pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon to combine.
In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and oil. Whisk vigorously until thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the buttermilk, then gently fold in the apple.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, gently spreading it to the edges. Bake until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the cake pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Happy Monday everyone! I had a WHIRLWIND of a weekend – I was a culinary volunteer at the NYC Wine and Food Festival. I had shifts Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and by about 3 pm yesterday I was BEAT. It was a blast though. I met some amazing chefs, tasted some crazy good food, gained some invaluable cooking experience, and made new friends. And though I am exhausted today, it was totally worth it.

components of caramel apple cake

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be making some food inspired by things I saw and tasted at the festival, and I’ll expound on my experiences more, too. Today, though, we are having cake. I hesitated to blog this recipe, because mine didn’t really turn out as perfect as I’d hoped. But, it was delicious, and with a few recipe notes, I think yours will be quite successful.

caramel butter cream frosting

apple filling

There are three components to this cake, none of which are terribly difficult to make. The cake itself is a basic yellow cake batter; then there’s a sautéed apple filling that goes in between the cake layers, and then a caramel butter cream frosting, which was incredibly tasty. It comes together quite nicely.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

caramel apple layer cake

So – recipe notes! I changed the original recipe a little. The cake batter called for the liquid to be half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of applesauce. I hate applesauce, and I’m not buying it, even for baking. So I scoured the fridge and found some sour cream. Then I thought that the combination of sour cream and heavy cream might make the cake batter too thick, so I used whole milk instead of the cream. It worked perfectly fine, but if you want to go with the original ingredients, it’s half a cup each of heavy cream and applesauce.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Secondly, the filling was a hot mess, but I quickly realized (too late of course) that it didn’t have to be. The recipe instructed to slice the apples. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not slice your apples. Chop or even dice them instead. The cake doesn’t cut properly when you slice them and the filling slides out all over the place and hangs out and just generally makes the whole endeavor become an ode to sloppiness. There’s no reason for this. Chop the apples and you should be fine.

caramel apple layer cake

And lastly, just make sure your caramel sauce is cooled but pourable. Obviously you don’t want to melt the butter for the frosting. That would be sad.

caramel Apple layer cake

Source: adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray, November 2007

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbs unsalted butter
3 crisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs heavy cream

2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade, cooled but pourable

First make the CAKE. Preheat the oven to 350 F. generously grease two 9” round cake pans. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Line the cooling racks with parchment (otherwise your cake will stick). Run a knife around the edges of the cakes to release the layers, then invert the cakes onto the racks. Let cool completely.
Make the FILLING. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the apples and the sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. I immediately poured it into a small mixing bowl, which I think made assembling the cake easier.
When the filling and cakes are cool, make the FROSTING. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the caramel sauce. Mix until just combined.
Now assemble the cake. Place 1 cake layer (your ugliest one, if there’s a discrepancy) on a cake plate. It’s helpful, though not essential, to line the cake plate with two pieces of parchment paper. This will make your finished frosted cake look a lot neater. But, not necessary.
Spread the apple filling evenly in a layer on the top of the first cake. Top with the second (prettier) cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting. Cut into wedges and serve.

My Mom’s Apple Cake

My Mom's Apple Cake

As promised this morning, I’m ba-ack! It’s today’s second post, to make up for my absence yesterday, and yes, we are having more apples. This recipe is extra-special because it’s the apple cake my mom has been using for years, and she gave me the recipe when I got married.

apple cake batter

This cake is very moist and tender, filled with bites of apples and earthy, fall spices. I absolutely love it, 1) because objectively speaking, it’s a great cake that is simple to make and comes together quickly; and 2) I love it in that biased, subjective, nostalgic way we all love childhood favorites and family recipes.

apple cake, before baking

The cake itself is very easy to make, and I think it’s pretty versatile, because of all the ways you could potentially serve it. I can say with some authority that it’s delicious unadorned and just served plain. But you could dust it with some confectioners’ sugar – that would be very pretty and tasty. Or, you could ice it if you wanted, and a simple frosting would not detract from the cake’s flavors. A cinnamon cream cheese would be lovely, or a basic vanilla butter cream would work nicely, I think. I’m betting a glaze would be lovely too. Maybe something with apple cider? Or maybe apple brandy? I have not tried any of those, though I’m definitely getting some ideas for the future; but please let me know what you think if you do!

My Mom's Apple Cake

Anyways, enjoy this one, guys. It’s wonderful and so, so perfect for fall.

my mom's apple cake

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ tsp salt
½ cup plus 1 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
3 cups peeled and diced apples (3 medium)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a bundt pan very well, making sure you coat all surfaces.
Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When that is combined, add all of the buttermilk, beat until just combined, then add the other half of the flour mixture; mix until just combined. Shut off the mixer.
Fold in the apples with a spatula. Spoon the batter into your prepared bundt pan (it will be thick), and then bake about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm (with ice cream!) or cool to room temperature first.

Funnel Cakes #SundaySupper

Funnel Cakes

Welcome to another #SundaySupper! The theme this week was Fall Foods, which of course got me pondering what says fall to me. And as I was perusing all my apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato recipe options, I suddenly thought of the Texas State Fair. It comes around Dallas every fall, and it’s a Very Big Event. Growing up, my family never missed it.

funnel for funnel cakes

I haven’t been in years; and there’s really no functional equivalent in New York. I rather miss it. Around this time of year I’m always nostalgic for the rides, the car show, and Big Tex. And of course, the food.

frying funnel cakes

frying funnel cakes

In recent years, the Texas State Fair has become nationally notorious for its insane, over-the-top fried foods. Apparently there is quite the competitive one-upmanship going on, and vendors are seeing what you can’t fry. The results have been disgusting sounding things like fried Oreos, fried butter, and fried Dr Pepper. Thanks, but no thanks.

Funnel Cakes

In my heyday, the only fried foods were the normal items, like French fries, corn dogs, and my personal fave – funnel cakes. My mom and I would have considered it the highest form of sacrilege to attend a state fair without a funnel cake in the afternoon. So I decided to make them at home, and attempt to reminisce in my kitchen. Oh, and also attempt to explain to my non-Texan husband what the Texas State Fair is all about. At least I succeeded at the funnel cakes…

funnel cakes

These may look complicated but they couldn’t be simpler to make, honest. Anyone can do this. And they’re soooooo good. Be sure you check out the rest of the #SundaySupper team – I’ve linked to all the recipes below. There’s some great-sounding dishes there, so get inspired for fall cooking and baking!

Funnel Cakes

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

In a wide saucepan, pour in 1-2 inches of oil and heat to 375 F.
In a large bowl, beat together the milk and eggs. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Dump the flour mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
Take a funnel and cover the narrow end with one finger. Pour in roughly ½ a cup of batter. Position the funnel over the hot oil and remove your finger. Pour the batter into the hot oil in a swirling motion, going in concentric and overlapping circles.
Fry on both sides until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Repeat with remaining dough until done.

Check out the rest of the #SundaySupper links!

Amazing Breakfasts, Brunches, and Breads

Apple Spice Muffins from Pixie Dust Kitchen
Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze from The Messy Baker
Apple Spice Waffles from Treats and Trinkets
Pumpkin Spice Latte Donuts from Daily Dish Recipes
Mini Pumpkin Pancake Kebobs from The Urban Mrs.
Mini Apple Cinnamon Rolls from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Cinnamon Apple Crepes from Juanita’s Cocina
Maple Apple Bread from The Foodie Army Wife
Pumpkin Bagels from Mess Makes Food
Pumpkin Ale Pretzel Buns with Black Sea Salt from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Outstanding Soups, Starters and Sides:

Butternut Bisque from A Distinguished Palate
Bacon, Corn and Shrimp Chowder from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Pumpkin Tomato Sauce with Andouille Sausage from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Parmesan Polenta from That Skinny Chick can Bake
Farro Date Salad with Mango and Arugula from Shockingly Delicious
Butternut Squash Tian with Herb Topping from Food Lust People Love
Caramelized Fig and Red Grape Goat Cheese Dip with Brown Butter Sage Biscotti from Eat,Move,Shine
Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup from Alida’s Kitchen

Comforting Main Dishes:

Autumn Risotto with Chicken & Cranberries from Momma’s Meals
Mushroom and Sorrel Lasagne from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Fig & Pancetta Pasta Carbonara from Nik Snacks
Chili from Casa De Crews
Vegan Mushroom Pie from Killer Bunnies Inc
White Pizza with Kale and Meatballs from The Hand That Rocks the Ladle
Spicy Korean Monkfish Stew (Agu Jjim) from kimchi MOM
Creole Shrimp & Grits Cake from The Roxx Box
Penne with Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Sauce from Webicurean
Bacon Spinach Pasta from Magnolia Days
Chicken, Spinach, and Gnocchi Soup from Cookin’ Mimi
Stuffed Meatballs in Tomato Alfredo Sauce from Family Foodie
Butternut Squash and Lentil Pot Pie from Curious Cuisiniere
Mini Meatball and Goat Cheese Risotto from MarocMama
Onion Tart {Zwiebelkuchen} from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili from Neighborfood

Decadent Desserts:

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallows from Home Cooking Memories
Salted Caramel Apple Crisp Bars from Table for Seven
Apple Cider Five Spice Caramels from girlichef
Pumpkin Bread Pudding from Soni’s Food
Italian Apple Torta from La Bella Vita Cucina
Chocolate Black Bean Cookies from Mama’s Blissfull Bites
Apple Fig and Pomegranate Crisp from Take a Bite Out of Boca
Caramel Apple Sugar Cookie Pizza from Chocolate Moosey
Apple Pie Turnovers from Basic and Delicious
Pumpkin Bourbon Crumb Pie from Gotta Get Baked
Camotes Enmielados (Mexican Candied Yams/Sweet Potatoes) from La Cocina de Leslie
Maple Syrup Pumpkin Bars from What Smells So Good?
Pear Almond Graham Cracker Tart from Vintage Kitchen Notes
Walnut-Stuffed Baked Apples from Foxes Loves Lemons
Buttery Bourbon Ice Cream from NinjaBaking
Caramel Apples from Pies and Plots
Funnel Cakes from The Texan New Yorker
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from In The Kitchen With KP
{Gluten-Free} Pumpkin Swirl Pecan Crumb Cake from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Chocolate Pumpkin Swiss Roll Cake from Big Bear’s Wife
Hot Apple Pizza from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Savory & Sweet Coconut Cream Salted Caramel Apples from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz

Tasty Drinks:

Pumpkin Juice – Harry Potter Style from The Dinner-Mom
The Best Wines for Fall Foods from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

In your opinion, what is the best compliment someone can pay your cooking? Is it effusive praise with superlatives like “amazing!” and “delicious!”? Is it when they close their eyes, moan “Oh my gaaawwwwdddd” and look like maybe you should leave them alone with the food? Is it when they go back for seconds? Or when they ask for the recipe?

making cherry upside-down cake

cherry upside-down cake, before baking

Not to sound like some giant approval junkie, but of course, as a cook, baker and blogger, I love it when people love my food. It’s validation that I’m executing my craft well, and when I’ve made something that people are going to take time to consume, of course I want it to taste great and be pleasing to their palate.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Of course, if something you make doesn’t receive any of the above-described compliments it doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome. But someone telling you it was is very nice to hear, and tells you that you’re on the right track. Or that you have exceedingly polite guests. Ha!

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

This cake is delicious, and yes, I had a request for the recipe, which is what got me thinking along these lines. It’s very cakey and not too sweet. I found it easy to flip, and only had a couple cherries stay in the baking pan. No matter, it was easy enough to place them where they belonged, and I don’t think anyone was the wiser. Enjoy this one with the last bit of cherries for the season!

cherry upside-down cake

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

{One year ago: Pickled Peach Orzotto}

Source: adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

4 tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
14 oz. fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
¼ tsp cream of tartar

First, make the topping. Preheat the oven to 350 F. grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan that is at least 2 inches high on the sides.
In a small saucepan, melt the 4 tbs butter over medium-low to low heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until blended, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the cherries, cut side down, in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and press lightly to adhere. Set aside.
Make the cake. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar and softened stick of butter together in a large mixing bowl, until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in flour in 3 additions alternating with the milk in 2 additions.
Using electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a clean, dry mixing bowl until stiff but not dry. Stir ¼ of the whites into the cake batter to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter atop the cherries and smooth evenly.
Bake until top is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a plate or round platter over the cake and quickly invert the cake onto the platter. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Although it’s quite nice on its own.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

It’s crazy but true – summer is officially winding down. The weather is cooling off a tad, and my personal Facebook newsfeed is lighting up with first day of school pics. All summer long, I (and pretty much everyone else, I feel sure) try and take as much advantage as possible of all the wonderful summer produce. So the past week or so I’ve been taking stock and asking myself what I haven’t used enough of.


straining raspberry puree

Answer: raspberries. For crying shame, I’ve hardly used them. That is no bueno. So I rectified the situation with a more unusual method for baking with raspberries – let’s make butter cream cake frosting with them. Sure why not?

ready to frost golden sheet cake

raspberry butter cream frosting

I can’t take credit for the creativity involved here as this recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s terrific book. I can assure you, though, that this will be one of the more flavorful frostings you’ll ever taste. Oh, and please don’t think you have to stop with raspberries. What I’m really sharing here is a method for berry butter cream frosting. Use whatever berry you prefer or whichever looks best that day. This will work beautifully with blueberries, blackberries, or probably strawberries too.

golden sheet cake with raspberry butter cream frosting

I did love this cake very much. The frosting tasted so fruity and naturally sweet, but not the least bit cloying. The cake was moist but firm. It was really everything you want in a vanilla cake – quite perfect, really. I think next time I might make cupcakes with this recipe.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

A few recipe notes: I didn’t serve the cake right when I frosted it, and out of paranoia, I stuck it in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out on the counter. I don’t know if I absolutely had to do that or not. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please do share them. As such, it was chilled when I had a piece, and I wished I would have tasted it at room temperature, mainly because that’s how I associate cakes. But still quite delicious. The cake itself is very moist, and the frosting is so fruity and flavorful. As usual, Matt took the leftovers to work the next day, where they absolutely evaporated. I think next time, I will make the frosting, refrigerate it in a bowl (which the recipe said you absolutely should do), and then frost the cake right before serving.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

{One year ago: Jamaican Jerk Snapper and Classic Barbecue Chicken}

Source: slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

12 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk, well-shaken

1 cup fresh raspberries
16 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups (1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar

First make the cake. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. Beat well and scrape down the bowl after each addition. On low speed, beat in the buttermilk until just combined (it’s okay if the mixture looks curdled). Add the flour mixture in three batches, blending until each addition is just incorporated into the batter.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the cake and let it cool the rest of the way. Cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.
Now make the frosting. Puree the berries in the food processor until they are as smooth as possible. Press the puree through a sieve or other fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids and seeds. You are looking for about 1/3 to a scant ½ a cup of puree. Set aside.
In a large clean bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add ¼ cup puree and beat until the color is fully incorporated. Add more if desired, but beware: more will intensify the color, which looks beautiful, but it will make the frosting not as stiff. The choice is yours.
Now, either frost the cooled cake right away and serve, or store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Zucchini Snack Cake

Zucchini Snack Cake

This cake is awesome. Let me tell you why.

zucchini cake batter

1) It comes together soooo easily – anyone, and I mean anyone, could pull this one off.

2) It comes together extremely quickly. Perfect for last-minute guests, or for an oh-crap-I-forgot-I-was-supposed-to-make-something-for-that-gathering situation.

Zucchini Snack Cake

3) It’s an opportunity to sneak in a vegetable and have your kids be none the wiser.

4) It’s great for all you zucchini gardeners who have it coming out your ears. This will use up a whole pound of your crop!

Zucchini Snack Cake

5) This cake is so versatile. You could serve it at brunch, like a coffee cake. You could have it for dessert. You can have it whenever, as an afternoon snack, or a midnight snack.

6) You could frost it if you wanted, but a simple dusting of powdered sugar is really all it needs to be complete and elegant. And nothing at all works, too. I tried it that way. It works.

Zucchini Snack Cake

So get in your kitchen and throw this one together. It’s ridiculously moist and sooo tasty. I hope you love it as much as we did!

zucchini snack cake

Source: New York a la Cart by Alexandra Penfold & Siobhan Wallace

2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting, if desired
½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. zucchini, ends trimmed

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking pan and set aside.
Grate the zucchini on the coarse side of your box grater, or with the coarse grater disk of your food processor. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, confectioners’ sugar, and brown sugar. Stir in the oil until flour mixture is moistened, then add eggs, stirring until a thick batter forms. Fold in the zucchini with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely before serving.

Coconut Poke Cake

coconut poke cake

Today is this little blog’s first birthday! Or first anniversary, or blogiversary! However you want to put it. According to my blog dashboard, my first post was published one year ago today.

making poke cake

glazing poke cake

As I’m writing this, it’s 4:30 am and I’m under the influence of Vicodin, thanks to this irritating head cold. Didn’t see that one coming a year ago! But seriously, I love food blogging so much, and I’m so thankful to my readers. I look forward to this being the first year of many.

Coconut Poke Cake

And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with CAKE!! I chose a coconut cake because it’s so indicative of my food journey and such a great representation of my recovery from picky eating. I detested coconut as a kid and I think coconut cake might have been the only cake I would consistently turn down. Since I’ve opened up my mind and palate, coconut cake (and pie!) have become favorites.

Coconut Poke Cake

So perhaps I’m starting a tradition here… I’ll blog cake on the blog birthdays and margaritas for the milestone of every 100 posts!

Life could be a lot worse than margaritas and cake.

Coconut Poke Cake

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey. I’m humbled to get to share my kitchen adventures with you, and that you take part in this expression of my love of all things food. Have some delicious cake!

Coconut Poke Cake

{One year ago: Beef Puffy Tacos}

Source: heavily adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion and Allrecipes

8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 tbs baking powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp almond extract
5 large egg whites
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 cup whole milk

1 (14 oz.) can cream of coconut
1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 (7 oz.) bag of shredded sweetened coconut

First make the cake. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt, and extracts until fluffy and light, at least 5 minutes. Add the egg whites to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir one-third of the flour into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, then another third of the flour, the remaining milk, then the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times during this process.
Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven.
Immediately, take a wooden spoon and poke holes all over, with each hole being about an inch apart from each other. You don’t have to be too precious about the spacing, just make sure you don’t obliterate the cake. You want a cake with holes, not a crumbly mess.
While the cake is baking, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cream of coconut and the sweetened condensed milk. After you have poked the holes all over the cake, pour this mixture all over top of it. You want to do this while it’s still warm, right out of the oven.
Now set the cake aside to cool. Occasionally tilt the cake pan to let the glaze that will inevitably pool on the sides pour into the holes.
When the cake has completely cooled, prepare the topping. Pour the heavy cream into a clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped topping all over the top of the cake, smoothing it out. Add the shredded coconut on top of the whipped topping, pressing it in gently with your palms if necessary. Cut into squares and serve.

Toffee Coffee Cake


As a habit, I do not eat candy bars. I find most of them to be very unsatisfying and cloying. And that’s even before reading the scary labels or considering the health ramifications. There is one exception to the “very unsatisfying and cloying” rule though: Heath bars. Those could be a serious vice for me if I allowed myself to eat them. So I don’t.


I did, however, allow myself to make this awesome Heath-bar-topped cake and take it to an awesome pool party. And over the course of several hours, seven people (cough*myself included*cough) managed to demolish it. The calories don’t count if you’re out in the sun? Right? Yeah, we’ll go with that.


This cake is ridiculously easy to throw together and it’s unbelievably delicious. It’s not overly sweet and the texture is perfectly moist and cakey without being the least bit dense. And that’s just the cake part. There’s also the toffee bar and pecan streusel on top, and that just makes it food-gasmic. Try it. You’ll see. 😉


Recipe notes: definitely chill the Heath bars before attempting to chop them; this way your knife and fingers won’t be a gooey mess (and it means that more of the candy bar will make it onto the cake!). Also, chopping even a chilled candy bar is not a pretty sight. The Heath bars will fall apart on you – it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. They aren’t there to look pretty, they are there to blend into a streusel topping and taste amazing. And they do. Oh, they do.


Oh, and apologies for the pictures not being up to usual par. That’s kind of what happens when I take food to a gathering. (sheepish shrug)

Source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp kosher salt
4 (1.4 oz.) chocolate-covered English toffee candy bars (I used Heath bars), chilled and chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 F. grease a 9×13-inch glass baking dish.
Using an electric mixer, beat the flour, both sugars, butter, and salt in a large bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer ½ cup of the mixture to a medium bowl and mix in the toffee and pecans. Set toffee topping aside.
Stir baking soda into remaining flour-butter mixture in the large bowl. Add buttermilk, egg, and vanilla, beating until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle toffee topping evenly over batter.
Bake the cake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in dish. Cut into squares and serve.