Tag Archive: baking


Lemon Blueberry Cake

For what ever reasons, I decided to make a lemon blueberry cake.

Maybe it was Oscar week and I always like to experiment with food choices for that meal. Maybe because winter has dragged on, and I needed something light and refreshing to eat. Maybe it was because I saw a great and luscious picture over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

She made her cake from scratch. I used lemon cake mix. And my cream cheese frosting came from a tub.

Normally, I am not a person to make layer cakes. They require effort to make them straight and pretty. Bundt cakes require less effort and still tasty. But I really loved the look of this cake so I decided to go with it.

So to make a great picture, I put all of the ingredients, including one cup of blueberries, in the bowl. Now doesn’t that look pretty?

cake mix

Now, here is the problem. Once you start mixing those blueberries, the color immediately begins seep out of the berries. My lovely yellow cake is getting muddled with every stir of the spoon. I was not going to get the lovely color contrast.

Has that ever stopped me?

Cake baked

So I moved on, got those lovely pans filled and into the oven. At the right time, I got them out and, boy did it smell good in my house. As you can see the blueberries went down, which was okay in my book. I wanted to have the majority in one spot for the glorious effect later on.

I did what any improviser does best, I carried on and frosted the cake. The first layer went top down and I put a coating of frosting on. That cream cheese frosting was tasty. The next layer went top down. My goal became to use as much of the frosting that was left. It was going down. and around. I recently saw one suggestion of giving a thin layer all around the sides and top before going full blown with the rest of the frosting. I tried this and found I did not have as many crumbs trying to make a mess of my cake.

Cake

Which turned out quite lovely once I added the extra blueberries as an edible garnish. It was very tasty. And the sliced version had some of that contrast I was going for.

Cake slice

But if I ever do this again, I am making sure to put the blueberries in the cake pans first and then cover with the batter. Secondly, I am using more frosting in the middle. You can never have enough frosting in the middle.

What are you baking to get rid of the winter blues?

The Cinnamon Chips

Last week I talked about making cookies with Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips.

Apparently, they have been around for a while. One of my friends reported eating muffins made with these chips that were very tasty.

I need to find that recipe. In the meantime, I looked on the back of the bag and found a recipe for oatmeal, raisins, cinnamon chip cookies.

Now I know I should not recommend eating  dough because of the raw eggs but the dough was fabulous. Maybe it was the two sticks of butter.

The Batter

Or the cup of brown sugar.

 
I baked them up and the kids who claim to not like raisins were eating the cookies until I told them which cookies were the one with raisins and which had the butterscotch chips.
 
Let me confess that the kids liked those better. It might be the dash of orange flavoring I put in the batter of the butterscotch cookies. When my husband thinks I am not looking, he puts the butterscotch chips in his hunting gorp mixture as well.
 
Still, I really liked the cinnamon chips. So while I was at the Hershey website looking for muffin recipes I found this one for applesauce bars. It looks good and I might have to buy more of these cinnamon chips.
 

I would have a picture of the cookies but they have all been eaten. Maybe next time.

What new baking products are you trying?

Jackpot Drop Cookies

Ah, summer time.

Sure, there is nothing like playing and doing whatever you want to do. That is if you are not in 4H.

My kids are having fun and playing with friends. But they also have to get ready for the County Fair at the beginning of August. Or sooner if you took on a cooking project which my daughter did. So on July 5th she has to present three cookies she made herself from a recipe in the Cooking 101 manual.

So the family is going to be forced to sample the cookies she makes. By herself with no help from me.

I am there in the kitchen giving helpful hints as we go through each step.

Be quick with the non-stick spray and do not over load the pan with that stuff.

Turn on the mixer on after the beaters are firmly on the bottom of the bowl.

Keep the dog out of the kitchen at all costs during this cooking adventure.

It is ok to sample a few chocolate chips.

After sifting flour and mixing it with the baking soda and baking powder, we move on to the next step.

Cream together some other ingredients.

Egg, softened butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla

 
Next comes the mixer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Look at her technique! No splattering!
 

Time for the dry ingredients to be added.

So now is when the mixer can still be used but it gets a little harder. Once the nuts and chips are added, she has to use a spoon to stir the rest of the ingredients in the dough.
 
This is the part where we do not talk about the taste testing. One must make sure the dough is ready for baking. Using two teaspoons, dough is placed on the pans. Pans are placed in the oven for ten minutes and then taken out.
 
 

 The book says to put them on wire racks. I prefer using newspaper but I guess this way is better. By the time the second pan came out, we were able to sample the first batch. This was when I taught the fine art of picking the ugliest cookies for sampling.

 

We plan to make another batch on Thursday before our Friday Fun night and again on Sunday. On the fifth, she will have to have a plate of three cookies, a copy of the recipe and a day’s menu with the cookies as a component of one meal. This year I think she is getting a blue ribbon for her efforts.
 
Are your kids doing any special projects this summer?
 
 

Spice Cake Adventure

Oh, I know what you are thinking.

“She had an adventure with a Spice Girl.”

As if. I mean, I am a small town girl who loves her small town life and cannot fathom paying anything over $50 for a handbag. Posh Spice went to the Royal wedding. Scary Spice has her own reality TV show and a baby with Eddie Murphy. I don’t know what the other Spice girls are doing. Probably laughing everytime they go to the post box and pick up some ridiculous royalty check.

Spice Cake with Peanut butter Icing

My adventure had everything to do with cake. In this case it was the cake for Father’s Day that had to be spice cake with Peanut Butter Icing.

It started when I went to my local grocer and there was not a single box of spice cake mix on the shelf. None.

Cherry Chip, yes. Various chocolate, yes. Funetti, oh yeah. But no spice cake. I knew what was going to happen at that moment if no spice cake with peanut butter icing showed up for dessert the following night. Personally, I was not in the mood for tears and frustration. So I grabbed a box of yellow cake mix and plotted my next move.

I thought about what makes a good spice cake which are the spices. I knew there were spice cake recipes from scratch. I knew those recipes would detail the type and amount needed. So I looked up a recipe for spice cake and found one that would help me get there.  

Everything I need to make faux spice cake

I grounded the ginger and cloves, using the last of what I have in the grinders. I would really like more of these as the flavor is wonderful but I am not sure I can find them anymore.

 
My 14 y.o. measured out the rest in order to complete his present to dad of helping to make the meal. I mixed it all together put it in the bundt pan and, well, there it is. Those lines mean a part of the cake stuck to the pan and I had to play “jigsaw puzzle” with the cake.  Hate it when that happens.
 
Naked Spice Cake

While it was baking, I found the Peanut Butter Icing recipe on line. I thought I had printed a copy a few years ago. But it, like so many things, has disappeared in my house.

 
So the recipe which I once again cannot find combined 1 stick of butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. I blended by hand and all turned out fine.
 
Maybe I am not like my grandmother who could make anything from scratch. But I can make a tasty cake from a box even when the box mix did not start that way.
 
Oh, and the husband loved it.
 
What did you make special on Father’s Day?

Mmmm, Lemon Pie

I was at my monthly quilting day at my favorite sewing shop when I noticed a pie recipe in the break room. When you come for an all-day quilter, beside your class fee you bring a snack to share. I usually bring lemon bars or something chocolate because after sewing for a few hours you need a sweet pick-me-up.

This was an unusual pie recipe calling for a whole lemon. That’s right, the whole lemon. I asked about the owner about the recipe and she said it was delicious. She had substituted Stevia for sugar and it still came out very good. So I took the recipe home and decided to find a time to make it.

Oscar night seemed appropriate as Hollywood seems to be the place to have strange things in a recipe. Nothing seemed stranger to me than quartering a lemon, throwing it in a blender with your other ingredients and turning it into pie filling. So here is the recipe from Cooks.com.

Easy Blender Whole Lemon Pie

The Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1  thin-skinned lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 eggs
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 unbaked pie shell

The Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Quarter the lemon, remove all seeds and the white membrane. I also cut off the nubby ends of my lemon.

    Quartered and membrane removed

  3. Place filling ingredients in blender or food processor. I choose the processor. Blend for 1 1/2 minutes.

    Lemon Puree and Shell

4. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until set.

I made my pie a day ahead of time because Sunday always gets busier than it should. And right again I was. But we had it during the Oscars. The kids under the age of 10 found it too sour for their tastes. My son who loves sour things ate most of his. The husband and I finished off the pie yesterday.

The end results

We thought it was wonderful.