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Blueberry Breakfast Cake

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Cake for breakfast? I’m there.  I’ve had this recipe to try for quite awhile but I just never got around to making it. I do breakfast for dinner pretty often for two primary reasons: a) I love breakfast foods and b) I don’t get up early enough to make it all that often. Answer: breakfast for dinner.

I always keep buttermilk around but if you don’t you can make your own by souring milk. For instance, if you need 1 cup of buttermilk stir 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk and let stand for 5 minutes until it thickens. Also, I raided my frozen blueberries earlier in the week so I didn’t have a full 2 cups. I used mixed fruit instead which was delicious but you’ll have to watch baking time, etc. because fruits like strawberries and cherries have a lot more moisture than just blueberries. I liked the mixed fruits but my husband prefers just blueberries.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries and flour for dusting00
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with some flour, then whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Orange We Gonna Stop MS? -Orange Marmalade Cake

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We had an absolutely beautiful day here in Iowa. Sun shining and 70-degree weather. I had Border Collies sunning on our deck all day. Who could blame them? I know the weather won’t last but I took advantage to break out the grill. Also, I made a fantastic cake. Orange week continues with this cake. This cake recipe comes from The Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Is it weird that an Episcopal priest enjoys this series of books? Well, I do. I won’t tell you that this is exactly how parish life plays out but trust me, there are some similarities. For instance, I have a big, black dog and I love this cake.

This cake takes a little time because it has a few steps but they are all well worth it. If you like orange at all or you need a cake that induces thoughts of springtime here you go.

 Orange Marmalade Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Orange Syrup:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup orange marmalade

For the Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup well-chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup well-chilled sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans (I just line my pans with parchment paper. It saves a lot of time and a lot of mess and your cakes come out perfectly).

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer, beat the butter until combined, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

Evenly divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to racks and cool in the pans for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the orange syrup: In a bowl, stir together the orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers and spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remaining. Let layers cool completely.

Microwave the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until of spreading consistency.

Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the waxed paper, and then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer. Frost the cake with whipped cream. If desired, use the remaining marmalade for a garnish. Chill 2 hours before serving.

Carrot Cupcakes

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I’ve had a pretty mean craving for carrot cupcakes lately. What’s not to love? Dessert that counts as a vegetable! While scrounging in my fridge I came across a bag of baby carrots that I didn’t know existed. Clearly, this was a sign from the divine creator that I was meant to have carrot cupcakes! And kids, when God speaks, I listen. Usually.

This is a very versatile carrot cake recipe and you could do this as a 9×13, a layer cake, a bundt cake or just about anything else. I happen to like cupcakes so here we are. Having said that you’ll need to vary your baking time a bit if you want one of the other cakes. I love this cream cheese frosting recipe but if you go with a layer cake you’ll have to use a different recipe. This frosting is pretty loose, making it perfect for cupcakes or a 9×13 but not great for a layer cake. Another thing, don’t get lazy and use bagged carrot shreds, shred them yourself with a box grater or a food processor (second only to the Kitchen Aid Mixer, greatest invention EVER).

This recipe comes from my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook which is the first place I go hunting for recipes. They are always spot-on and they have lots of little tips and tricks.

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded (if you use baby carrots you won’t have to peel them)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans (recipe makes about 24). Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. Mix granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. While mixing, add oil in steady stream. Mix until light in color and emulsified, about 20 seconds. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes on wire racks before frosting (at least an hour).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

In food processor, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes

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I don’t think it would come as a great shock to anyone that I adore cupcakes. Cake of any sort gets my attention and little personal-sized ones are just so convenient! With a family as small as ours we rarely go through a whole cake anyway; making cupcakes allows me to send what’s left to work with my husband. I stress-BAKE, not stress-EAT.

I’m always trying new cupcake recipes (thank you Pinterest) and this one caught my attention because it breaks the cardinal rule of baking: NEVER over-beat anything once the flour is added. It releases the gluten and makes your cakes tough and rubbery, incase you were wondering. But this recipe does just that. And I’m always curious when rules get broken. So, I made a date with my mixer and this recipe. Plus, I needed a bribe for my amazing worker bees who were cleaning the church on Saturday. God Bless the Worker Bee!

Note: the frosting recipe makes a whole lot more than you will need. I threw a tablespoon of Chambord into the mix, chilled, and rolled some truffles. Two for one deal!

Norwegian Gold Cake

Makes one cake or about 20 cupcakes-

Preheat the oven to 325° F for cake or 375° F for cupcakes. Grease the bottom of a 10-inch tube or bundt pan, or line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Beat together for five minutes:

  • 1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter

Then add:

  • 5 eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition

Then add:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 
1/4 t. vanilla extract
  • 
1/4 t. almond extract

Beat for two minutes.

For a cake, bake for about one hour, checking after fifty minutes. For cupcakes, bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sour Cream Ganache Frosting

Melt:

  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Then stir in:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • A pinch of salt

Spread onto completely cooled cake. I just dipped the cupcakes into the frosting.

Cheesecake

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I love cheesecake. Also, I’m a purist. I don’t like strange flavors and I don’t like weird toppings. Just give me a whole, monster, 5-pound cheesecake that is dense as clay and I’m happy. However, baking a really good cheesecake can be finicky. There are things like water baths and checking to see if it is done, and the worst is when the cream cheese gets clumpy and gross and ruins your whole cake. Bleh. If any of these concerns sound familiar to you, get ready, cause I have a treat for you. This cheesecake is ridiculously easy. You just throw the filling into a blender and boom you have yourself a silky, smooth cheesecake. This recipe has a different crust than your usual graham cracker crust. Personally, I really like it but if you want to go with the original I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t.

Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Cheesecake:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10″ springform pan with PAM. WRAP the bottom and up the sides of the pan with a square of aluminum foil, to protect against any leaks. Make sure your springform pan is properly aligned and that it tightly seals when you snap the ring shut!

For crust: Sift together flour, baking powder and sugar. Mix together with butter and egg. Press the mixture along the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.

For cheesecake: Place the cream cheese, flour, 2 eggs, sugar and milk into a blender and process on high for 3 minutes.  Pour into the prepared crust.

Bake for 55 – 60 minutes (mine took at least 15 minute longer because I was using a 9” springform). Cool and remove from springform.