Brown Sugar Toffee Pound Cake

One of the biggest (and ongoing) lessons of my adult life has been to find ways to celebrate myself. They don’t have to be ((and mine typically are not) huge, grand, pricey gestures. But they are necessary. And, mind tend to taste really good.

This past week, I turned 33. Per a tradition I’ve been keeping for about nine years, every year for my birthday, I bake a new cake to celebrate…well, myself. 32 was an amazing year for me. There was a lot of new changes, a lot hard work, and a lot of great accomplishments–among them, getting a year older.

Great accomplishments always call for great cake. I’ve made quite a few great pound cakes in past years for past birthdays, but the pound cake will jus† always be my favorite, so here we go again for Year 33.

This year’s pound cake is pretty simple in terms of ingredients, but I did a few things differently that set it apart from some of the other ones I’ve made.

First, I used brown sugar instead of white to give it a deeper, more caramel-y sweetness. Combined with the five eggs, using brown sugar also gives the cake a denser texture, which I’m a huge fan of. So far as mix-ins, I added Heath Toffee Bits, which I’ve also never used in a cake before but thought they would pair well with the brown sugar and denseness of the cake. The other new addition was the browned butter frosting, which I’ve done in glazes before, but not frosting itself.

While I do think the cake is delicious enough to eat on its own, I do think the browned butter frosting added a really pleasant, nutty flavor to it that cut through some of the sweetness. Also, toffee bits are now a new favorite add in for me, so you’ll probably be seeing those used a bit more in baked goods to come on here.

I really liked my 33rd birthday, and I really liked this cake.

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Brown Sugar Toffee Pound Cake

Recipe Adapted from Bake From Scratch

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or Butter Vanilla emulsion
  • 1 (8-ounce) package toffee bits

For Browned Butter Frosting

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or Butter Vanilla Emulsion
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Directions

For Cake

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Combine the milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk-extract mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined after each addition.

Stir in toffee bits and pecans.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan a few times on the countertop to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

For Browned Butter Frosting

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer

Carefully pour butter into a bowl. Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter, and stir until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add more milk until it reaches desired consistency.

Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Place in the refrigerator to allow frosting to set, about 30 minutes.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #452.

Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

The heat where I live has been pretty intense these past few weeks. It keeps my tastebuds in a summer mood, and with that summer mood comes a craving for citrus, fresh fruit, and/or both.

So far as I’m concerned, lemon is good at any time of year, but there’s just something about the summer and heat that makes it taste even better. Same thing with raspberries. Whenever and however you put them together, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a perfect summer-y bite.

I’ve said it on here before, but one of the most important things in a good dessert for me is texture. I’m typically not a fan of ones that are completely ‘smooth’ or creamy, even when it comes to ice cream. I want to be able to have some use for my teeth.

I’ve made a lot of cakes, but they’re not typically my favorite dessert, mainly because most of the time, cake is a ‘one-note’ dessert in terms of texture. When it’s made right, it’s supposed to be light and soft and smooth. There are only a couple of exceptions to that rule; the cookie cake is one of them.

I first started making cookie cakes several years ago and fell in love with them mainly because they’re everything I like in a dessert, especially when it comes to the texture. While on the one hand, it’s a ‘cake’ it’s also a very loose cookie dough so the finished texture comes out ultra dense, rich and chewy– just the way I happen to like it.

The base of this recipe is an ultra lemon cookie dough batter. And when I say ultra, I do mean ultra; lemon juice, lemon extract and the zest of two full lemons are in this thing. I promise, you will taste the lemon. Added to that are fresh raspberries that I layered throughout the cake. As they baked, they burst and bled out, rather beautifully I think.

I ate this with a huge scoop of whipped cream on top, and it made for several bites of pure summery bliss. Enjoy.

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Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Lady Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 oz fresh raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-10 inch deep dish pie dish and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest and stir together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat butter and sugar with a mixer at high speed until creamy. Add eggs, beating until well combined. Stir in lemon juice and extracts.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture in 2 batches, stirring just until combined.

Use a spatula, to spread exactly half of the batter into the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle exactly half of the berries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter so that they are partially submerged. Spread the other half of the batter on top, and sprinkle/press the rest of the berries on top.

Bake until light golden brown and almost set in the center, approximately 50 to 65 minutes. (The middle should be puffed up and slightly firm to the touch.) Cover loosely with foil you’ve sprayed with cooking spray to prevent excess browning if need be.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #445.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake & Strawberry Lemon Curd

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

I’m dedicating today’s post to all the mothers in my life, in appreciation for all the work that they do. I truly believe that the mothering I’ve received (from my mom, as well as from many mother-figures) is one of the greatest blessings of my life. I am who I am because of them.

I hope all of you who do celebrate this holiday can somehow do so with the mothers and mother figures in your life.

For all who do not celebrate it, I hope you’ll at least stick around a few minutes longer for the food.

I knew leading up to it that I wanted to make something special for today, something that put me in the mind of springtime, as Mother’s Day always does. When I think of Spring, I automatically think of citrus, and since lemon is a favorite flavor of several mothers in my life, that’s the direction I decided to go in here.

This cake is going into the You Can’t Mess This Up category, seeing as it’s a one-bowl recipe that requires zero creaming or heavy machinery outside of a spoon, a bowl and your own two hands. With lemon juice, lemon zest AND lemon extract, it’s just about as lemon-y as can be, but I also really appreciate the inclusion of two other ingredients that really make it something special: cornmeal and rosemary.

You might think that cornmeal would make a cake crumb too coarse and unappetizing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for this one. It’s plenty moist, but the cornmeal gives the cake’s texture a unique ‘body’ and flavor that I think really works with the lemon. The herb is a no brainer; you can’t go wrong with lemon and rosemary.

I’ll be honest, I was just as excited to make this curd as I was to bake the cake; the cake may have been an excuse FOR me to make the curd, actually. The curd is sweet from the strawberries, and yet the lemon gives it that sharp, fresh acidity that hits that area in the back of your tongue just right; you know the one I’m talking about.

The idea of making/having a dessert that was essentially, strawberry lemonade ‘flavored’ was the impetus behind this whole thing, and I have to say I was SO pleased with the results. I think once you try it, you will be too.

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Lemon Cornmeal Cake & Strawberry Lemon Curd

Recipe Adapted from Our State and Blossom to Stem

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2½ cups whole buttermilk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, stem removed and leaves chopped

For Curd

  • 1 1/4 cups frozen strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 3-4 lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, fully dissolved in a few tablespoons of water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and sliced into 6 roughly even slices

Directions

For Cake

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, buttermilk, beaten eggs, lemon juice, and rosemary. Stir just to moisten.

Spit the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the cornmeal cake starts to brown and show cracks. (Cakes are done at an inner temp of 190°. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For Curd

Place the strawberries in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat. Simmer the strawberries until they have some give when prodded with a silicone spatula. They don’t need to be very cooked berries, but you don’t want frozen centers either. It shouldn’t take any longer than about 5 minutes.


Add the strawberries to a blender. Then add the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and blend until thoroughly pureed. Then crack each egg into the blender and blend until just incorporated (just a quick pulse is all you need for these).
Place the mixture back in the saucepan, add the cornstarch water.

Heat gently over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a heat safe spatula, until the mixture reaches 170°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir gently. The mixture will be fairly runny, but don’t worry, it will thicken up in the refrigerator.

Pour through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl (ideally one with a pouring spout). Transfer to jars or other airtight containers and refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #431.

Pound Cake with Strawberry- Raspberry Compote

This past week I had a birthday. I’m now 32 years old.

Last year, when I turned 31, I was still on my hiatus from blogging, but every year before then, I had a tradition of ‘celebrating’ my birthday on the blog that’s a carry over from my ‘real life’:

I bake myself a birthday cake.

I’ve mentioned it here before that even in the pre-Covid days, as an introvert, I wasn’t much of a celebrator of ‘My’ day. For many years, it’s just passed with little fanfare or fuss. And I’m okay with that.

But I do take the time and effort to make sure that if I don’t have anything else on my birthday, I have cake. A good cake.

And to be perfectly honest, if I want a really good cake, I typically prefer to rely on the girl in the mirror.

My preferences for birthday cakes have varied over the years, and usually it just ends up being a casual decision that I make on the fly depending upon what me and my taste buds are in the mood for.

It may have been a number of things that swayed me in the particular direction of today’s recipe for my 32nd birthday.

My taste for desserts nowadays that aren’t overly sweet. My increased want for simplicity in baking that lets simple ingredients shine with their simple but delicious flavor. Or, it could’ve just been that my schedule is somewhat hectic nowadays and I just didn’t have time to do a three layer cake over the course of two days.

Regardless of the reason, I’d say the results turned out pretty tasty.

This really was the only kind of birthday cake that I wanted this year; a simple, golden slice of pound cake, and a side of sweet & tart fruit to eat with it. The ‘side’ of fruit turned out to be a strawberry-raspberry compote that comes very quickly and easily.

I love several things about this: first, even though it’s a pound cake, it’s not overly sweet. If you’ve made them before, you’ll probably notice that 1 cup of sugar isn’t the norm where most pound cake recipes are concerned. But I actually thought that worked out for the best, especially when the cake is paired with the compote, which is sweet, but also tart, which balances out the flavors wonderfully.

Pound Cake and Strawberry-Raspberry Compote

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour & Epicurious

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 16 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For Compote

  • 1 container (10 ounces) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) fresh raspberries

Directions

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan

In a large bowl, with a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until very light.

Beat in the sugar gradually and then the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and extracts.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. (I had extra batter leftover; about 1/2 cup’s worth. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if your loaf pan is not deep enough to fit all the batter, DO NOT OVERFILL IT. Overflowed cake batter in the oven is a PAIN to clean up. Just let the excess go.)

Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly in on top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Remove the cake from the oven, and loosen its edges. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool

For Compote: Bring strawberries, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced to 3/4 a cup. (You can check the consistency by examining how it sticks to the back of a spoon after you’ve stirred it.)

Let cool completely before refrigerating.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #400, hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Rock Cakes

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, then you’ll know that biscuits and scones are some of my favorite things to bake. However, if you’ve paid attention to my personal techniques for making both of them, you’ll also know that it’s a process. Not a difficult one, but one that does involve a little more time, effort and tools than some may be able to spend.

No judgment; sometimes I’m the “some” that I’m talking about.

There’s nothing wrong with taking short cuts in the kitchen so long as the finished product still tastes good. Even though it’s still my preference to go with my tried and true way of doing things, there are times during the week when I don’t have time to ‘go the longer way’ in making biscuits or scones, and I too choose to ‘take a shortcut.’

The quickest shortcut for making biscuits that will still turn out tasting great are Drop Biscuits, where you make a biscuit dough, but rather than going to the trouble of rolling out the dough, you just scoop it out and plop it onto a pan and bake it off. The result is a biscuit that has a craggy outer texture, but (so long as you haven’t overworked the dough) is still tender on the inside. The scone counterpart to a Drop Biscuit, is the Rock Cake.

Don’t be thrown off by the name. Rock Cakes are far from the tough hockey pucks you may be imagining they taste like. In my opinion, the name likely comes from their appearance. Because the dough hasn’t been rolled, smoothed out, or given time to rest, it bakes with an uneven and craggy exterior. But that exterior is where the rough inconsistency ends.

If you break open a rock cake, you’ll find that the texture is much closer to a traditionally made scone than you might expect. It was close enough to where I was genuinely surprised at the result. They’re not as fluffy or light as normal scones, but they are tender enough to where you’re not disappointed that you took the shortcut in the first place to make them.

I had just bought a muffin top pan that I wanted to try out, and this seemed like the perfect recipe to break it in. I had really great results with it, but if you don’t have one that’s no problem. The cakes will probably just spread a little more on a regular sheet pan–and as a remedy to that, you can always place the batter/dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to make a bit more stiff before baking.

These are really great smeared with butter and jam alongside a cup of your favorite morning beverage– or just by themselves at any time of day.

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Rock Cakes

Recipe Adapted from BBC Food

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (225 grams) self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (about 125 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut in to cubes*
  • 1 cup (150 grams) dried fruit (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Dried Cranberries)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. spray the cavities of a muffin top pan (Mine makes 12 at a time) with cooking spray, or line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and cut in the cubed butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. (You can cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork, a pastry blender, or as I always prefer, grate the butter in with a box grater). Mix in the dried fruit.

In a small clean bowl, beat the egg and milk or heavy cream together with the vanilla extract.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until the mixture just comes together as a thick, lumpy dough. Add a teaspoon more milk/heavy cream if you need it to make the mixture stick together.

Place heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. If you’re not using a muffin top pan, leave space between them as they will flatten and spread out to double their size during baking.* (As a way to lessen the spread, you can always place the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking to make it ‘stiffer’)

Sprinkle the tops with white sugar.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden-brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool.

Linking to Fiesta Friday #380, cohosted by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Cranberry Pound Cake

Happy eve of Christmas Eve everyone. We’ve reached the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas series on the blog. And as with every year, I feel a little blue about it. I’ve said before that the lead up to Christmas Day is actually my favorite part of the season, not the actual day itself. Once the day comes, it’s already almost over and the next one is as far away as it’s ever going to be. Add to that this year has been… a particularly different kind of year and holiday season for most of us.

2020 has been very, very difficult. Unimaginable, really. If you’re reading this and you have experienced particular hardship, tragedy or loss in 2020–also if the holiday season is a typically bleak and sad time of year for you in general– please know that you are in my thoughts. I wish there was a way that I could send/share some warmth, compassion and light in your direction–or at the very least some of my food.

I don’t know what all is going to happen in 2021. After the year we’ve had, it’s rather pointless to try and make predictions. The best that I can do is to remain grateful for all of the blessings I have in my life, and to hang on to the hope that better things and times are on the horizon for myself, and for all of you reading this blog post.

12 Days/recipes of baking a lot of work, but I do it because it never fails to insert a lot of light and cheer into my holiday season. To those who’ve been following along with it, I hope that my little baking series has done the same for you.

I decided to close out the series with pound cake, because why not? It’s something that I think it’s safe to say, most people like, and it gave me another opportunity to work with an ingredient I’ve been particularly obsessed with this season: fresh cranberries. Cranberries are a perfect addition to pound cake because as with many other desserts, they provide a much needed tart and slight bitterness to balance out all the sugar. With six eggs in the batter, this cake is extremely dense and rich, but the cranberries give it a real lift of freshness that almost makes you forget about pesky little things called calories. This is a really delicious cake, you guys. Try it sometime.

I wish everyone a sincere and heartfelt Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind.

 

Day 1: Orange Cranberry Buns

Day 2: Sausage Bread Pudding & Cranberry Sauce

Day 3: Sugar & Spice Crackers

Day 4: Cranberry Cookie Tart

Day 5: Spicy Gingerbread Sticks

Day 6: Reindeer Munch

Day 7: Jell-O Butter Cookies

Day 8: Gingerbread Blondies

Day 9: Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Day 10: “Berry” Christmas! Scones

Day 11: Chocolate Turtles

Day 12: Cranberry Pound Cake

Cranberry Pound Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • a few tablespoons orange juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 16 cup (10 inch) Bundt or tube pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld one) beat the butter at medium speed until creamy and lighter in color. Gradually add the sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears. (Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you’re doing this to ensure even mixing.)

Add the flour to the butter mixer alternatively with the milk (begin and end with the flour). Beat at a low speed, just until combined after each addition. Add the extracts and the cranberries, stirring just until combined.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Lift and tap it down on the counter a few times (this will prevent air bubbles from forming).

Place the cake pan on a sheet pan, then bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Pound cake is done at an inner temp of 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

For icing, stir together ingredients in a small bowl, then use a small fork to drizzle on top of cake. Allow icing to set for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cortadillo Mexicano (Mexican Pink Cake)

Hi everyone.

It’s been…a while, hasn’t it?

The last time I posted I had just turned thirty and was sharing my birthday cake with y’all, which had become a yearly tradition for me on the blog.

By now I’ve already turned thirty one and SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED in the past year, both in my personal life and in the world.

Many of you that follow this blog are bloggers are yourselves, so I don’t really have to explain to you that this is more than just a passing hobby; it takes up a lot of time and effort. Last fall at around the time of my last post, I was making a huge move and a taking lot of new steps that ate up a LOT of my time. I wanted to still be able to blog, but with the less and less free time I had, the more my priorities just had to shift.

But the truth is, I missed it. I missed it a lot. Cooking is still a sport for me, but doing it without blogging took more of the joy & pleasure out of it that I got before than I expected. I wasn’t looking for, or trying out new recipes or techniques. I wasn’t taking my time with it. Cooking became something I was only doing because we had to eat and eating out all the time is expensive and not feasible.

I missed cooking and baking for much than just because I had to eat; I missed cooking and baking to make me feel good–blogging provides that for me.

So over a year later, here I am. I’m going to re-shift my priorities again to try and make room for this blog and that ‘feel good’ place of cooking that I needed much more than I realized.

My birthday was nearly a month ago, but hey: why not still celebrate with cake?

There are dozens if not more of Mexican panaderias around where we live. I’ve been meaning to experiment with some of the delicious and pretty desserts I’ve seen displayed inside some of them myself for a while now, and today’s recipe was always one of them.

Mexican Pink Cake is actually a light and spongy vanilla cake that’s spread with pink frosting and sprinkles. I’ve seen some that are filled with jam, but I kept mine pretty simple, which is how I’ve often seen it done in panaderias. And let me tell y’all, it couldn’t be easier; there’s no need for mixers, creaming butter and sugar, or even multiple bowls. I had this baby put together and in the oven within 15 minutes. It was done in a less than an hour.

If you’re scared of baking or just need a super quick and painless but still delicious dessert to throw together, then this is it. Apart from that, isn’t it preeeeetty?

Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe. 

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Cortadillo Mexicano (Mexican Pink Cake)

Recipe Adapted from Karen’s Ordinary Life

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk

For Frosting

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • red or pink food coloring
  • nonpareil sprinkles

Directions

For Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray thoroughly with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the flour with the baking powder and the salt and stir a few times with a fork. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract together with a wire whisk or a fork.

Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the sugar-eggs mixture, starting and ending with the flour.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and tap it a few times against the counter top to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.

For Frosting

Cream butter until it is fluffy, then sift and mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Add the vanilla, the food coloring and 1 tablespoon of the milk. You may not need to add all the milk, it depends upon your preference for how stiff or loose you want the icing to be. 

Spread it over the cake with a spatula. Add the sprinkles.

Linking this post to Fiesta Friday #351, co-hosted this week by  Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Apple Cider Pound Cake

It’s that time of year again.

Even though I live on the West Coast and the seasons don’t really ‘change’ here, late September is the time of year that I finally start to accept that autumn is upon us and that I can and should start baking those autumn flavored foods.

Oh yeah. Late September is also my birthday.

I turn thirty today y’all. 3-0.

It’s not that I think 30 is old, but it feels weird that I’ve reached it. I have literally no idea where the last decade went. It’s been a whole lot of change and transition. I can honestly say I never would foresaw any of it. But I am grateful. My 20s were…something lol. I’m looking forward to 30 hitting much differently.

My birthday usually passes by without very much fanfare. But for the past few years, I have given myself a tradition/present of baking myself a birthday cake. I had a little less time this year to go all out than I did last year, but I still wanted my cake, so I just went with something nice and easy–but still delicious.

If there’s one thing that autumn put me in the mind of and the mood to have, it’s apple cider. I’m a Midwestern girl, so cider mills, cider and apple cider donuts and the like are a huge part of my childhood. It feels weird if I go without them. This year for my 30th birthday on the West coast, I thought I would give myself a present that would remind me of the Midwest.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen that I have a huge interest in making a bunch of variations on pound cake. It’s a Blank Canvas recipe; wonderful on its own, even better the more flavor variations you can give to it.

This pound cake is flavored with all of the autumn spices, as well as one full cup of apple cider. The smells alone while it baked reminded me of being back in the Midwest. After it finished baking, I rubbed it with a cinnamon sugar coating. It’s that cinnamon sugar coating that really made me feel as though I was biting into a denser, richer apple cider donut. It’s truly delicious.

Happy autumn to all, and Happy 30th to me.

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Apple Cider Pound Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-16 cup Bundt pan.

In a medium size bowl combine the flour, spices, salt and baking powder and stir together with a fork. Set aside. Combine the apple cider with the vanilla extract in a small bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using a large bowl and a hand-held one, cream together the butter and flour until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula in between.

Add the flour and the apple cider mixtures alternately the the egg-butter mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Pour and spread the batter in the bundt pan. Lift and tap the pan against the countertop a couple of times in order to prevent air bubbles while baking. Place the bundt pan on a sheet pan.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven, for about 50-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine baked fast, so check it early, especially if you have a gas stove) Cakes are done at an inner temp of 195F-200F.

Transfer cake to cooling rack set inside baking sheet and cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert directly onto cooling rack.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle warm cake with cinnamon sugar, using fingers to rub it onto sides.

Cool cake completely for about one hour before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

Linking to Fiesta Friday #295, co-hosted this week by the wonderful Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau.

Rosemary Pound Cake

When it comes to the list of my favorite fresh herbs to use in the kitchen, rosemary is right at the top.

I love the clean, fresh smell. I love that the leaves are easier to pluck off the stems than some other herbs (looking at you thyme).

Up until today, pretty much all of my culinary uses for rosemary were for savory dishes. I can’t and don’t do without it at the holidays when I’m roasting my turkey. It lends itself so well to braises and stews of all kinds, but especially those with poultry.

For this past year’s 12 Days of Christmas, I baked with it for the first time in savory rosemary and thyme flavored crackers that I really enjoyed.

Today’s post marked the first time I ever baked something sweet using rosemary. I was really intrigued going into it, but also a little nervous. The general concern with using rosemary in whatever you’re cooking, is over seasoning with it. Like lavender, too much rosemary in a dish can make it up tasting like soap. Blegh.

I said in a post a couple months back that pound cake is a blank canvas recipe. That means, that It tastes wonderful all on its own, but the addition of extra ingredients can take those muted flavors and turn them into something even tastier. I’ve tried this concept multiple times with other pound cakes on the blog and I thought that it would interesting to try and see what rosemary could do as a flavor booster.

I was very pleased with how this turned out. The texture itself is just as pound cake should be, but the obvious star is the rosemary. It gives such a unique, but delicious flavor that manages to temper the sweetness of the cake, while also giving a freshness that can almost fool you into thinking it’s “lighter” than pound cake actually is. It almost makes it taste more….grown up, flavor-wise. If that makes any sense.

This is an easy and special dessert and I think you should try it. The End.

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Rosemary Pound Cake

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour (make sure it’s not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or preferably vanilla bean paste)
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk

For Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A few teaspoons of water or milk

 

Directions

Grease and flour a 16 cup tube pan (Or 2 9×5 inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium size bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt. Stir together with a fork, then set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld one) cream together the butter, sugar, chopped rosemary and vanilla on medium speed until pale and fluffy (it’ll take about 4-5 minutes).

Add the eggs and the egg white, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined after every addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk (starting and ending with flour) mixing just until combined after every addition.

Spread the batter into the prepared tube pan (or loaf pans). Tap pan a few times against the countertop to minimize air bubbles.

Place the pan on a sheet tray and bake on the middle rack of the oven, 50-65 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached. (The baking time will be dependent upon which pan you used.) Inner temp of cake should be 195-200F.

Allow the cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes before turning out of the pan and allowing to completely cool.

If desired, stir together both ingredients for the glaze, until it reaches the consistency you want. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle it on top of the cooled cake. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes, until glaze has completely hardened before serving.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #284, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Strawberry Pound Cake

In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel like I should give this post a theme. Let’s call it “When Things Don’t Turn Out The Way You Want Them To, But It’s Okay.”

This cake didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to. But it’s okay. So, I’m sharing it anyway.

A Poke Cake is a dessert where a baked, still warm cake gets holes poked through it while it’s still in the pan, then a warm liquid (usually a custard or curd) gets poured into the holes. Once it’s given time to set up, the liquid in the poked holes forms a pretty streaky filling in the cake.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

But, as y’all can see: there is no streaky filling in my cake.

Those of you who are bakers know how this story goes. You try out a new recipe and hope for the best…and sometimes the best just doesn’t happen. It’s not the worst–but it’s not best either.

Had everything with this cake gone exactly according to my plan, then you guys would currently be able to see pretty strawberry streaks running up and down, all the way through it. Y’know, the way a Poke Cake is supposed to look. But unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. The cake itself baked up beautifully. The strawberry filling came together easily. But when it came time to poke the cake full of holes and pour the filling over the top so that it could seep inside, for some reason it just didn’t budge.

Bummer.

Some of you may be wondering, if the Strawberry Poke Cake didn’t work out, then why are you still posting the recipe, Jess?

Well first, it was still an absolutely delicious pound cake.  Second, although it may not qualify as a Poke Cake,  there was still a delicious strawberry filling on one side, and an equally delicious strawberry icing on the other. In light of that, I saw no reason why it couldn’t qualify as a Strawberry Pound Cake.

Third, I thought that maybe I’d go ahead and post the recipe anyway to see if one of you wanted to try it and might have better success than I did. Then maybe, you’ll come back here and post a comment to let me know how it turned out, and I can try to gauge where the heck I went wrong 😉

Regardless, this one of those”When Things Don’t Turn Out The Way You Want Them To, But It’s Okay.” recipes, and I hope that it’s enjoyed.

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Strawberry Pound Cake

Recipe Adapted from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or tube cake pan (at least 10 cup capacity).

Combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and 3 cups of the sugar together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed (or use a handheld mixer and a large bowl).

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until combined. Add the extracts.

Add to butter mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat on low speed just until combined after each addition.

Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Pound cake is done at an inner temp of 195 degrees Fahrenheit)

Meanwhile, during last 20 minutes of the cake’s baking, pulse strawberries and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor until smooth, about 45 seconds. Use a spatula to press the mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Set aside 1/2 cup strawberry mixture.

Whisk together water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine cornstarch mixture and remaining strawberry mixture in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, just until mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Using a long wooden skewer, poke holes about 1/2 inch apart into bottom of cake, wiggling skewer slightly to make holes about 1/8 inch wide. (Do not poke skewer all the way through top of cake.) Pour warm strawberry syrup over cake. Let stand until syrup is absorbed and pan is still warm but cool enough to handle, about 45 minutes.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of a wire rack and lightly spray with cooking spray. Invert cake onto rack, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Whisk together powdered sugar and reserved 1/2 cup strawberry mixture in a medium bowl until smooth. Use a fork to drizzle evenly over cooled cake. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes to allow the icing to harden.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #277, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.