Hate to be that girl, (#sorrynotsorry) but my favorite cake, and probably dessert all together, is a good ol’ vanilla cake. 

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I had a stint with cheesecake being my favorite dessert, and spent many years having it as a birthday cake. I may have spent a couple years favoring banana cake. But for most of my life, and likely most of my future, vanilla birthday cake has been where it’s at for me. My husband insists chocolate cake is the best, but I’m all set. 

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Sometimes I still stray from my favorite on my own birthday, but typically I’m looking for a really tender, strongly vanilla birthday cake. This one fits the bill! I like the addition of a chocolate mousse filling to mix things up a bit- I know, call the police, we’re putting chocolate on vanilla here, it’s UNHEARD of. 

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Now, let’s talk about this French buttercream because I can’t even. I’ve made a lot of frosting recipes, and it’s honestly not my strong suit in the world of desserts. For some reason I just usually prefer that super sweet canned stuff. I’ve made traditional buttercreams. I’ve made whipped buttercreams. I’ve made Swiss buttercreams. But I’d never made a French buttercream until now, and I feel totally duped for never having known about it. It’s too good. 

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I am using the recipe from Mikey’s In My Kitchen for this cake. Basically, French buttercream takes a lot more work, like, A LOT. But the results are seriously unbelievable. It’s so amazing, I really hope you try it! I am absolutely in love!

Enjoy guys!

Best White Birthday Cake

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter room temp
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 batch French Buttercream recipe see link above

For the Chocolate Mousse Filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tbs. instant vanilla pudding mix

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease two 9 inch round cake pans
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture alternating with the cream mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until fully combined.
  6. Pour into cake pans, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to fully cool before frosting.

For the Mousse

  1. Melt the chocolate chips, and let cool slightly.
  2. Whip the heavy cream and pudding mix until soft peaks form. Mix in the melted chocolate.
  3. Chill until ready to frost your cake.

For the Cake

  1. Put the chocolate mouse the center of the cake, stack, and frost with your French buttercream, or frosting of choice!

Summer just gets me in the mood for lemon. I want lemonade, lemon desserts, everything lemon is on my craving list right now. There’s just something about the sweet, sour, freshness of lemons that always gets me. 

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Lemons + Cupcakes = LOVE. 

We’ve had some family in town the last few weeks, and everyone always wants something sweet at a get-together, so I put together these triple lemon cupcakes! The cake is lightly flavored with lemon, and it’s filled with a beautiful lemon mousse. Top it off with a fluffy lemon buttercream, and you’ve got a perfect cupcake in my book. 

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For this recipe, the batter is very dense, so it’s important to separate the eggs. Folding in the whipped egg whites lightens the batter, and helps lift up the cakes while they bake. So, when you’re mixing up the batter initially, you’ll notice it’s very thick. After folding in the egg whites, you’ll still have a relatively heavy batter, but it should be smooth and silky, and much lighter. 

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Once the cupcakes are baked off, remove some of the cake from the middle to make room for the filling. If you’ve got a handy-dandy cupcake corer, it’ll be perfect. Otherwise, you can just use a knife. As for filling the cupcakes, I recommend using a piping bag, or simply cutting off the tip of a plastic bag with the filling inside- it’s much easier to use this method to actually get the filling inside. 

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The frosting is whipped up with a little heavy cream for a super light, fluffy frosting that still holds a lot of sweetness. The flavors and textures really work for this cupcake- the cake itself is dense, and with sweet, light filling and frosting, it’s a perfect bite. This recipe calls for lemon curd in every piece of the cupcake- make your own lemon curd here!

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Enjoy!

Triple Lemon Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd

For the frosting

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your muffin tin.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg yolks.
  3. Add in the sour cream, lemon curd, lemon extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until fully combined.
  4. Add in the self-rising flour and the all purpose flour, and mix until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated. The batter will be thick, but very smooth.
  7. Scoop into the lined muffin tin, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, and the cakes are slightly browned. Allow to cool completely before filling or frosting.

For the filling

  1. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Then, add in the lemon curd, and whip until incorporated.
  2. Cut out a hole in the center of the cooled cupcakes, and pipe in the filling.

For the frosting

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the lemon juice, zest, and lemon curd. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add in the heavy cream, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Frost your cupcakes!

Lemon Curd

by , on
Jul 13, 2015
in

Hi everyone! Super simple and fast post today on how to make lemon curd! 

If you’ve never made custards at home, it’s much less intimidating than it sounds. I’d say the most important tool to have is a good, fine mesh sifter to use at the end- if anything bad happens while trying to temper the eggs, you can just strain out all that nonsense. You’ll be left with a smooth, silky custard afterwords!

Lemon curd is sweet and tart, and it’s amazing even just on toast. I use it as cake or cupcake filling, and you can even mix it into a cake batter for lemon flavor, and for additional moisture in your cake. It also happens to be extremely adorable in a mason jar with a little tag tied around it- hostess gift anyone? Homemade lemon curd, jams, anything that can be jarred, it’s all pretty darn cute. 

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Alright, so here’s the deal with this recipe- you can’t leave it alone. When it starts to thicken, it happens really quickly, and it’s important to keep whisking it the entire time. I promise it’s worth it though! 

The recipe makes about 3 cups of curd, and you can store it in an air tight container in the fridge for several weeks. Spread it on toast, eat it with a spoon, smother your ice cream with it- lemon curd=love. 

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tbs. butter cut into chunks
  • 4 eggs beaten

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring zest, juice, and sugar to a boil over medium heat
  2. Add in the butter, and whisk until melted
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together your eggs. Slowly drizzle in a ladle-full of the hot lemon mixture while whisking to temper the eggs
  4. Pour the entire egg mixture into the pot, and whisk constantly until curd has thickened- about 6-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat immediately, and transfer to your heat-proof, air-tight container to cool.

I’m a huge fan of key lime pie, as is one of my best friends Gabby, so, I’ve made several traditional key lime pies over the last couple of years. That being said, I’ve also eaten a great deal of the stuff. For me, there’s just nothing like a really tart dessert, and key limes provide the perfect balance of tart and sweet. 

Once, I actually made a pie with fresh key lime juice. Bought myself a whole bag of key limes from the store, and it was a horrible decision. Seriously, those things are so flippin small, I must have squeezed at least 35 of them. My wrists and hands were killing me and honestly, it’s just not worth it. 

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Here’s the good news though- most grocery stores sell key lime juice in a bottle and it’s awesome. Super easy, not even expensive, and I swear you won’t notice any difference in taste. Don’t sacrifice your wrists for the love of limes. 

This time around I decided to combine two of my favorite loves- key lime pie and cheesecake. The result is something more rich and creamy than traditional key lime pie, but it still carries a great lime flavor. I also added pecans to the crust for a different texture and flavor. I love these bars, and if you cut them small, it’s a great bit-size treat. I added whipped cream to calm down the tartness and it’s a great mix. Enjoy!

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Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 9-10 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 2 tbs. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

For the filling

  • 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice or lime juice
  • 1/4 flour

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to pulse together the graham crackers and pecans into crumbs.
  2. Add in the butter and almond extract.
  3. Pour crust into an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper, and press down firmly.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then add the juice and flour alternating in two parts each, starting with the flour.
  6. Pour the filling over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
  7. Cool completely and chill before serving!

Even though if you’re in Colorado you know we are having a less-than-summery day today, it’s still the season for cold treats! A couple of years ago my fiance bought me an ice cream maker and it’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever gotten! The possibilities are endless for homemade ice cream.

Just think about it- when you’re in the ice cream section of the grocery store, how many flavors of that stuff do they have? Not sure? That’s because ice cream is sooooooo versatile. You can add fruit, nuts, sauces, cereal, salty snack, really anything you’d like to a solid base of ice cream. Then you can churn it, and, like so many other things, there’s really no comparison to fresh-made ice cream at home.

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried tons of different recipes for ice cream and frozen yogurt. This time around, I tried something new for my recipes. I’ve traditionally used custards, and then simply churned them from there. For this recipe, however, I made a sort of sweet cream cheese mousse and then mixed in some standard vanilla custard to make a lighter, more airy ice cream.

Because the texture of this recipe ends up so fluffy before freezing, you can make it without an ice cream making if you don’t have one. I do think the churning process gives it a bit of a different texture, but the base is really delicious so I know it will be great either way. Enjoy!

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

 

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ingredients

For the custard

  • 1 cup half and half or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the raspberries

  • 1 6 oz package fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs. water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

For the ice cream

  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2-3 honey graham cracker broken into small pieces

Instructions

For the custard

  1. Bring the half and half, heavy cream, and vanilla to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks, and sugar until pale.
  3. Take about a half cup of the boiling milk mixture and pour it into the eggs, whisk to temper.
  4. Immediately pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the hot milk, and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick.
  5. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve, and place in the fridge to cool.

For the raspberries

  1. Place the raspberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Cook until sauce has formed.
  2. Add the cornstarch, and cook for a few more minutes until slightly thickened. Take the raspberries out with a slotted spoon, and reserve the juices for later.
  3. Cool the raspberries in the fridge.

For the ice cream

  1. With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in about a half cup of cream, and beat until fluffy.
  2. Add in the rest of the heavy cream, and beat until completely stiff.
  3. Once the custard has cooled, slowly add this into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn this mixture until mostly frozen. Then, add in the raspberries and crumbled graham crackers.
  5. Pour into a bowl or pan to store. Then, swirl in some of the reserved raspberry sauce.
  6. Freeze completely and enjoy!

I’m a huge fan of bread pudding, and no matter how full I am after any given restaurant meal, if there’s bread pudding on the menu I’ll be gettin that. I have not, however, ever  tried to make it myself before. I did make a baked french toast once that was similar in process and texture, but not exactly the same.

 

So for my first attempt I decided to go the mostly the traditional route in terms of flavor and do a simple cinnamon bread pudding. I did, however, use croissants instead of french bread or anything like that. The result is something really buttery, and since croissants are so airy and full of holes, the custard really fills them up and reaches every nook and cranny. 

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Here’s the thing with this kind of dish- you can really do whatever you want with it. You could do maple extract, or almond, and add nuts or raisins (if you like terrible dried fruits) plus you can really use any bread you want. I’ve seen a ton of recipes that just use sandwich bread. 

That being said, it’s totally the kind of thing that you can just throw in things that you already have to make whatever flavor complex you’d like. I made mine with some cinnamon whipped cream, but it would also be great with ice cream or a caramel sauce!

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Still, I’m a simple girl. I loved the result and taste of this. Hope you enjoy it!

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Ingredients

For the bread pudding

  • 6-7 large croissants cut into large cubes
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla instant pudding mix optional*
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

For the bread pudding

  1. Place bread into an 11x7 glass baking dish. You can use other sizes as well, but this amount of bread should fill up whatever size you use.
  2. Mix together the eggs, yolk, and regular sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Remove from the heat, and then slowly whisk the brown sugar mixture into the egg mixture. whisk in the heavy cream.
  5. Pour the mixture over the bread, pressing the bread down with a spoon to ensure every piece gets custard on it. Allow this mixture to sit and soak for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The pudding will puff up a bit while baking, but will settle again once it's cooled.

For the whipped cream

  1. Beat the whipped cream until almost stiff. Add in the sugar, cinnamon, and pudding mix, and continue to beat until stiff.
  2. Serve the pudding warm with the whipped cream on top

Recipe Notes

*The instant vanilla pudding mix will keep the whipped cream stiff for a longer period of time.

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