Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake

Calling all summer lemon lovers! I have to say, after having taken a much-needed blogging hiatus, YOU passionate dessert foodies have all inspired me to come back to share my adventures in the kitchen. Let’s get right to business. >I know, all this time away from blogging and I am suddenly robbing you of a story but maybe you are done with my insights and just looking for a good recipe “sans” deep thoughts. Maybe.<

This Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake recipe glows of summer and is the perfect refreshing crowd-pleaser to close out a good BBQ. I know, it is seemingly unfashionable for most guests to say that they WANT dessert, but let’s get real- ‘Need’ and ‘Want’ are two entirely different beasts. Seldom does one NEED dessert, so with that word out of the equation, let’s focus on those who WANT dessert, secretly or overtly.

This tender, beautiful slab cake is studded with juicy blueberries and a refreshing zing of lemon. As if this cake couldn’t get any more delicious, the cloud of lemon cream cheese frosting is gorgeous ‘as is’, but if you feel you need to go that extra crowd-pleasing mile, you can opt to arrange more berries on top. I chose to add a bit more lemon zest because that tart contrast with the smooth cream cheese is a jaw-dropper.

Admittedly, I’ve been on a slab cake binge these days. If you follow my account on Facebook you might have noticed the trend. The fun with slab cakes is that they are quick to put together, easy to share and leave everyone wanting more! Without further ado…here it is. Drop me a comment if you are running to the kitchen to whip one up ASAP!

Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake

Cake Ingredients

3 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

12 TBS butter (1 ½ sticks), unsalted cut into cubes

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 TBS lemon zest

4 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups blueberries, plus additional if using to decorate

Frosting Ingredients

8 TBS (1 stick) butter, room temperature

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

2 pinches of salt

3 tsps lemon juice

Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Then beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Lastly, add in the lemon juice and zest.

With your hand mixer speed on low, mix in a third of the dry mixture until just combined, then mix in half of the buttermilk and continue alternating the dry mixture and the buttermilk until a smooth thick batter is formed. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fold in the blueberries using a spatula and then spread evenly into the pan.

Bake 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with no wet batter attached. If necessary add an additional 10 minutes. Once cooked, allow to cool completely.

Frosting Directions

Once the butter and cream cheese have softened to room temperature, place in a medium-size bowl. Using your mixer, beat until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure all of the cream cheese has been incorporated. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until smooth. Add lemon juice and beat until well mixed. (Note: I like to pre-cut the cake into small squares since the cake is quite deep; it can yield anywhere from 12-24 slices depending on how big each slice is portioned.) Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. If desired arrange blueberries on top or sprinkle more zest. Refrigerate cake before cutting. The cake can be refrigerated but is best served at room temperature.

Put the Lime in the Koloa Coconut Rum Jell-O Shots

It’s your lucky day. No really, it is. St. Patrick’s Day carries with it the stigma of good luck and good fortune. There is no better way to celebrate than to skip the long story and go straight to the recipe. The clock is ticking and you need to get those celebratory Koloa Coconut Rum and Lime Jell-O shots chilling. Continue reading ‘Put the Lime in the Koloa Coconut Rum Jell-O Shots’

The Pops Special Sunday Breakfast Sandwich

It was just a simple sandwich. He was a simple man. He was kind-hearted and quiet, he is what many would call ‘the salt of the earth’. That was my paternal Grandfather, Nunzio Alioto. He was always there with a smile and a helping hand for family or someone in need. He to me was the embodiment of Continue reading ‘The Pops Special Sunday Breakfast Sandwich’

Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans

Talismans. Do you have them? I do. Maybe not as my driving force but they do exist in my world. Sometimes they are for me those ‘angels’ that I think maybe watch out for me and guide me. For me, they are often the reminders I have of ‘those’ that are special to me.

I’ve recently had a lot of my ‘angels’ on my mind. I recognized that having something of theirs with me, during especially busy or stressful times, gave me an extra reason to smile and relax while being a bit in the eye of a hurricane. I only realized my gravitation toward these seemingly magical objects while speaking with a friend over dinner. It must have sounded incredibly peculiar when I blurted out that my new favorite dress is one of my Grandmother’s. I mean, is it normal to say you are rocking your grandparent’s clothes? Maclamore and Ryan Lewis sing it about it Continue reading ‘Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans’

Portobello, White Wine and White Truffle Polenta

When you get a text from your Italian friend, that your teenage son intercepts, there is quite a lot of laughter that prevails. It will probably be one of those stories that goes down in our family history book of crazy things Secondo thinks I’ve done. I often joke that he may very well be in therapy later in life for all of the mistakes in parenting I’ve made but at least I hope I’ve given him some of the funniest stories to share, ergo, THE BEST MATERIAL.

I was texting with an Italian friend of mine that lives here in the States and after the initial message my son intercepted the subsequent texts. Continue reading ‘Portobello, White Wine and White Truffle Polenta’

Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas

This year I tried to quit Christmas. I know, what a bah-humbug thing to say. I started my campaign to escape the holiday in early December of 2017. And yet, even with a plan to take 2018 off, it was a bust. When I realized my failure about 45 days out, I was in disbelief. How could I have had such a failure of epic proportions?

At the risk of being overly honest, the holidays carry with them a hint of childhood grandeur sprinkled with magic AND Continue reading ‘Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas’

Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers

So, based on my last blog, you may be wondering about that Super Hero Podcast I was telling you about. The funny thing is, I was a bit underwhelmed by it overall. Yet, it must have left its mark on me because here I am thinking about it again. Odd!

Perhaps it is time to figure it out. What is my superhero power if not restricted to (a) invisibility or (b) flying since both of those are, well, not really possible in our current existence.

I started to think about a variety of things … cooking, being a devoted friend, keeping in touch with people (family/friends) maybe it was less about it being a superpower and more about it being a quality I am proud of or want to emulate. I think on many levels I like to see others comfortable and happy. That’s hardly a superpower. But I do think there is power in my actions and words that span the gamut. Continue reading ‘Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers’

Poached Pears & Superpowers

During my recent travels I checked into the hotel, changed into my workout clothes and headed to the gym. It was all relatively standard, nothing out of the ordinary until I deviated from my music mix and took a detour into a podcast. There was a time that I was practically a podcast jockey, bouncing from story to story, but I think I eventually burned out from the binge. I took a long podcast hiatus and then boom, here I am back at it. I am craving a good story. I somehow needed to kick-start my creativity and not feel like I’ve abandoned my sacred space; the perfect mash-up of cooking and blogging. For weeks I’ve wanted to frolic in my kitchen, yet I was just too tapped out. Continue reading ‘Poached Pears & Superpowers’

Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cake & Love

Sometimes a girl just needs to wallow in romance. I am not talking about a card and dinner on Valentine’s Day, which is hardly refutable, but let’s talk about the other 364 days of the year – sheer opportunity to live out LOVE.

There is no denying that one’s interpretation of love evolves with time. Certainly, romantic love changes over the years. At first, it manifests itself as being demonstrative, often extremely physically and even somewhat financially driven – dinners, movies, gifts. Then it grows into friendship kindled by passion, and it becomes stolen glances, laughter, unexpected smiles, a graze of a hand, deep kisses that take your breath away, your favorite latte, a walk on the beach, a whispered thought, pajamas tucked into your suitcase with a note, and all of your other bucket list wishes. For as much as I am a realist, I am a believer in the good and a dreamer that love will find a way. Love in all of its glory…just spending time together and not sharing your time becomes a gift. Continue reading ‘Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cake & Love’

Romano Stuffed Artichokes

Some weeks you just can’t hide from your past, it finds you. That’s not necessarily a horrible thing; it is just a fact. This was in fact an unexpected theme throughout my week. It was subtle at first, hardly noticeable, until I attended my son’s open house. I know that it may sound odd, but when I reflected back I realized that three things had rekindled my past. A photo from 2014 that appeared in my FaceBook memory feed transported me back in time to the avocado incident. This mistake and all of the complications it brought with it was in many ways the primer for what was to follow a few years later. An abundance of memories came flooding back into my consciousness. Continue reading ‘Romano Stuffed Artichokes’