Strawberry Cornmeal Cake

Cake, Berries | June 16, 2019 | By

Strawberry Cornmeal Cake- sounds weird, but it’s soooo good. You might remember I made a cornmeal cake before, and it’s almost like a form of coffee cake.

I mean, technically it’s not, but it gives you that similar feel of a very hearty, only lightly sweet cake. It’s a great breakfast cake, and if that’s not already a thing in your life, are you even living? I mean, let’s be honest, I’ll eat ANY kind of cake and call it breakfast cake, but this is more sensible.

The cornmeal creates an interesting texture, even though we’re only using a quarter cup. And I don’t like a dry cake, so I’ve added sour cream here to get to a tender crumb. You can replace that with greek yogurt, or even mayonnaise- I know that sounds weird, but I promise it works totally fine, and won’t make your cake taste weird.

So strawberries are in season, and it’s a great time to bake with them. I’ve sliced them pretty thick here, you want to have substantial strawberry flavor in the cake. When strawberries bake into a cake, they often actually seem to lose a little flavor, so don’t skimp here. My strawberries were pretty big, and sliced them into thirds for this cake.

And we’re topping things off with coarse sugar. I do this a lot with un-frosted cakes. The coarse sugar will bake into the cake just slightly, and it gives you a nice crunch on top to vary up the textures in your cake. Be generous here, it’s worth it!

Last but far from least in my book, I topped each slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream. Strawberries and cream are not new, and it goes perfectly here. Do whipped cream, do ice cream, or eat the cake plain- it’s going to be wonderful no matter what! Enjoy guys!

Strawberry Cornmeal Cake

Servings 16 slices

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 5-6 large strawberries, hulled and sliced thick
  • 2 tbs. coarse sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and generously grease an 8x8 inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to help remove the cake after it bakes. Set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, eggs, and sour cream until smooth. 

  3. Add in the flour, salt, cornmeal, and baking powder. Beat until completely combined. The batter will be fairly thick. Spread evenly in the prepared baking pan. Lay the thick slices of strawberries in rows on the cake, 4 in each row and column. 

  4. Sprinkle the coarse sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the top has become lightly brown. Cool completely in the pan, and slice into 16 pieces. Top with whipped cream or ice cream as desired to serve. Enjoy! 

Blueberry Pie Bars

Bars, Berries | June 9, 2019 | By

I just wanna take a moment for blueberries. Great in nearly every baked good, great as jam, I mean even a strong poptart flavor.

I’m thrilled that blueberries have been on sale lately, it’s about to be blueberry city up in here for a few weeks. This week, it’s blueberry pie bars and guys. These are the perfect summer dessert.

So listen, I don’t like making pie very much. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s great when the holidays roll around and everyone is in the kitchen, but normally I just don’t enjoy rolling out dough. So we’re not doing that today. Instead we’re using a shortbread crust that you simply press into the bottom of your pan. We’re using that same dough for the crumble by adding a few oats to the mix.

The pie filling is pretty simple. Start with blueberries, lemon zest, sugar, and cornstarch and cook them together. The blueberries will release juices and once the mixture boils, you’ll get a thick, jam-like sauce. We’re spreading that over the crust layer after a quick trip to the oven. Then, top things off with the remaining crust, mixed with oats of course, and you’ll send everyone back into the heat for a bit.

Basically, you want to bake these up until the top is lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes should do the trick. Remember, you’ve got a sugary pie filling in there, so it’s important to wait for it to cool off before you remove it from the pan and try to eat it.

And anyways, slice em up and enjoy guys. You can keep them at room temperature, and they’ll last for several days. The perfect party dessert? I think yes.

Blueberry Pie Bars

Servings 16 bars

Ingredients

For the crust and topping:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

For the blueberry filling:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. cornstarch

Instructions

For the crust and topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the salt and vanilla extract. Add in the flour and beat until a dough forms. 

  3. Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until just slightly golden on the edges. 

  4. With the remaining dough, mix in the oats. This should create a more crumbly dough. Set aside, uncovered (to create a more dry crumb).

For the blueberry filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, salt, and cornstarch. The mixture will seem dry, but the berries will release their juice as they cook. Stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is boiling and thickened. 

  2. Spread the blueberry filling over the cooked crust. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Cool before removing from the pan and slicing. 

Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls

Good morning guys! I hope you’re reading this today with a mind ready to bake, this one is the PERFECT weekend baking recipe.

Cherry and almond are a classic combo. If you ever get cherry flavored baked goods, they often have a strong hint of almond. Ever loved those pink grocery store cherry cookies? Me. Too. Those babies are cherry almond flavor all the way. In fact, cherry and almond go together so much for me at this point, I pretty much expect one with the other.

Alright so anyways, today we’re putting them in the form of sweet rolls. There’s a couple of reasons why I love this recipe, first of all, it uses a pretty tried-and-true dough for me. If you’ve baked some of my recipes from Sugar High, the bread portion probably looks familiar. It’s an enriched dough, super soft and fluffy, and perfect for all kinds of sweet rolls.

Another flippin awesome part of this recipe is that it uses a jar of cherry jam as the filling. Because look, who is literally ever in the mood to pit a hundred cherries? I get it, fresh is great for some things. But for sweet rolls, a jar of nice cherry jam is really going to do the trick, make it easier, and it’s going to taste fantastic. Sliced almonds and an almond icing bring home the flavor, and it’s super easy!

If you’ve never made sweet rolls, this is a great place to start guys. And if you live in high-altitude like me, you’re going to need to start with a good bread recipe, it’s the most important part! After you let the dough rise once, you’ll roll it out, spread the jam, sprinkle some almonds, and slice it up. Let it rise once more, and bake to golden. Drizzle over a super simple almond icing, and take a whole one to yourself! Enjoy!

Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls

Servings 12 Rolls

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. + 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  • 5-5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt

For the rolls:

  • 10 ounce jar of cherry preserves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tbs. milk

Instructions

For the dough:

  1. Heat your whole milk in the microwave until it reaches about 120 degrees. Stir in the sugar and vanilla, and then stir in the yeast. Set aside until lightly frothy and bubbled. 

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and softened butter. The mixture will be lumpy. Add the yeast mixture into the egg mixture and stir until combined. Add in the salt, and then add the bread flour 2 cups at a time, mixing between, until you reach 5 cups.

  3. Place the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for several minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky at this point. 

  4. Place your dough into a lightly buttered bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes, or until it has risen by about 1/3 in size. 

For the rolls:

  1. Once the dough has risen one time, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Even spread the cherry preserves all over the top, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the preserves, and then the sliced almonds. 

  2. Roll the dough into a tight log, starting on the longer side of the rectangle. Slice off the ends of the log to create even edges. Cut the dough log in half, then each of those in half, and each remaining section into thirds. This will give you 12 rolls. 

  3. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch cake pan. Place the rolls evenly into the cake pan, and cover with plastic. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes while your oven preheats- the rolls will have only slightly puffed. 

  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the rolls are a light golden brown color. While the rolls cool slightly, make the icing. 

  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk until a smooth icing forms. It should be a consistency that will drizzle well, but still hold it's shape slightly. Drizzle the tops of the rolls generously with the icing, and top with more sliced almonds if preferred. Enjoy! 

Strawberry Layer Cake

Cake | May 19, 2019 | By

Hey guys!! I hope you’re swinging into Monday easy today, and that you’re in the mood for cake! I’m going for another loaf layer cake today because I think they are completely beautiful, and also a totally reasonable size.

This cake is fairly light on the frosting as well. Okay also though, I’ve tried a lot of ways to make strawberry cake. A LOT. and it’s always seemed like no matter how many fresh strawberries I manage to jam into a cake batter, it always comes out not tasting like strawberry. So, this cake actually uses freeze-dried strawberries in the cake and frosting. This results in a super strawberry-tasting cake in the end.

I can always find freeze dried strawberries in the snack section of my grocery store, along with other freeze dried fruit (interesting flavor options here). The dried berries are getting ground up into a powder here. I use a small food processor, but you could do it in batches in a spice grinder, or a blender would even get the job done. You just want them finely ground.

The cake is super simple, and I’m once again using an ermine frosting today. I love this type of frosting because it results in a light, fluffy, super spreadable frosting, and you don’t need powdered sugar or egg whites to do it! You’ll want to cook the flour paste ahead of time and let it cool completely- this step is extremely important, so don’t try to add it in before it’s cooled!

I used a piping bag to create that pretty star effect on the frosting, but that’s optional. Frost this bad boy any way you like, or whatever is the fastest way so you can enjoy it immediately!

Strawberry Layer Cake

Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered freeze dried strawberries
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 3 tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered freeze dried strawberries

Instructions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a 9 inch loaf pan. Set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, and sour cream until combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and powdered freeze dried strawberries. Beat until combined- the batter will be very thick. Add in the milk, and beat until smooth. 

  3. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. 

For the frosting:

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the flour and milk until a thick paste forms. Stir the mixture constantly while it cooks. Remove from heat and cool completely before continuing. 

  2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar for 5-10 minutes, until very fluffy and light in color. Beat in the cooled flour mixture and mix for another 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy. Add in the powdered strawberries and salt, and mix to combine. Frost as desired! 

 

Birthday Cake Blondies

Bars | May 14, 2019 | By

Hey guys, happy confetti day! Whatever day you’re reading this, we’re on the same page. I’ve got a killer blondie recipe, and today I’m turning it into a birthday cake version, and it’s worth a bake I promise.

Actually, blondies (and brownies for that matter) are really simple to whip up. You literally need not a single excuse, and usually just one bowl to do it so. What are we waiting on at this point guys? Plus this recipe makes a full 9×13 inch cake pan full of blondies you’ll dream about, so you can share with friends. If you want, whatever.

So you want to start out by melting some butter- I just do it in the microwave, in a large glass bowl that I’m going to do the whole thing in. Dishes you guys, they suck. Whisk in brown sugar, white sugar, and two eggs. Next is how we get to that birthday cake vibe- vanilla and almond extract. The almond extract really brings out that classic, sprinkle, vanilla-cake-thing we want to taste when anything is called birthday cake.

Then it’s flour, salt, milk, and finally the sprinkles. Use whatever kind you like. Today I’m using a spring-colored mix (of random sprinkles I have in my pantry). I think jimmies and flat confetti sprinkles are kind of your best bet for that classic feel.

What you really want in blondies (similarly to brownies) is that papery, crinkly, delicate top layer, and you totally get that here. Beyond that, let’s go for a soft, fudgey texture that you’ll be addicted to, I promise.

Wait, have we talked about what a blondie is? That feels like a missed point, sorry guys. Blondies are like, meant to be just like brownies except with a vanilla and brown sugar flavor instead of chocolate. I find that most people add in chocolate chips, but I’m really into this recipe sans any chocolate. Really guys.

Okay, anyways, make this, it’s awesome, you’ll love it, enjoy!

Birthday Cake Blondies

Servings 24 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and generously grease a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and regular sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract until the mixture is smooth. 

  3. Add the flour and salt to the mixture, and stir until combined. Gently stir in the sprinkles, working quickly because the batter will be starting to thicken as the butter comes back to room temperature. 

  4. Spread evenly in your prepared pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserting about 2 inches from the edge of the pan comes out clean. Cool completely, slice, and serve! 

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