Tag Archive for 'dessert'

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.

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’

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’

Coconut Pistachio Bites – Mermaid and Cinderella Stories

Life gets tricky, relationships get complicated and the unknown can be terrifying. There are certainly a lot of ways to read or read-into that last sentence so I should explain. Continue reading ‘Coconut Pistachio Bites – Mermaid and Cinderella Stories’

Small Batch Carmel Corn

The holiday season brings with it heaps of food memories. For me, the smells and tastes are triggers. As we work our way through so many of the traditional Sicilian dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation, I feel blessed and cursed. Blessed to have a family so very steeped in traditions in their love of food and cursed that these time intensive delicacies rob me of what little free time I have. There is certainly joy in finding time to cook with my Aunt, Cousin and my Mother, but there is so much pressure to get things done for the big day.

My husband and I are both products of divorced families. As children, having multiple Christmases has its silver lining – seemingly infinite gifts. As adults, the silver lining can sometimes be overwhelming – driving, shopping, cooking (repeat x 4). I end up feeling energy depleted and trying to figure out how I might lighten the load next year.

There is no sugar coating it; four Christmases is A LOT to be merry about. That’s not to say that each celebration is not coveted and special; I love them all. We all do. And we love all of the nice interactions with family and extended family and friends. Yet this year I think I reached my saturation level. I’ve declared that next year I will take the year off. I want to truly appreciate how special it all is, and in order to do that I need to be able to have a holiday where I can just relax. As I shared this with our families the response was very mixed if not perplexed. Even my children were wondering why such measures would be necessary. The reason is simple. I’d like next Christmas to be different. Not complicated or time consuming but indulgent. I am not looking for an epic adventure, just long lazy days, a book and a walk on the beach followed by some festive red cocktail as we head out to dinner.

So I’ve got a dream. Let’s see if I can make it happen. As we head into these final days of 2017, I am making my wish and resolution list and I am going to be a bit selfish with how I spend my time in 2018.

For those interested in a preview (or inspiration) this is what my list is starting to look like.

• Finding the peace in quiet moments

• Work life flow; in the direction of ‘life’ (admittedly there is no ‘balance’)

• More fun, more smiles, more memories, more laughter

• First Friday gatherings with my girlfriends, make a standing date to see the ladies I adore with zero planning

• Travel!

• Be spoiled…

While reflecting on food memories I was ‘reminded’ by Facebook about my favorite childhood caramel corn recipe. This was a ‘camp’ recipe shared with me by the mother of one of my friend’s, and it’s something I’ve never outgrown. >I use the term ‘camp’ loosely because this interlude hardly involved tents or camp fires; it was time away from home in the summer and it was pretty darn amazing!<

This easy Caramel Popcorn is the perfect salty/sweet combo! It starts with fluffy, freshly popped popcorn then it is glazed with real butter and decadent brown sugar, and nuts of your choice — pieces of almonds, cashews and/or pecans make for an irresistible crunch.

Small Batch Carmel Corn

Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

½ cup corn syrup

6 quarts popped corn (1 cup uncooked kernels)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

pecans, walnuts or cashews, to your liking

Directions

Put popped corn and nuts into large bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Boil sugar, butter, syrup and salt for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in baking soda. Stir well over popped corn and nuts. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring in 15 minute intervals. Remove from oven and cool then store in air tight container.

Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas

Dear Santa,

I’d like to quit Christmas this year. Let’s be honest. You get all the credit. I do all the work, and this year it seems quasi impossible to make it as dreamy as days of yore. I know, it is the most wonderful time of the year – unless, you can’t keep up with the to-do list of shopping, tree trimming, house decorating (inside and out), baking, cooking and well…the list continues. Now excuse me for not being reverent, but if this is feeling merry, how much longer can it last? I think it is time to take a stand. If I do nothing for Christmas well then I might just have some time for me. Continue reading ‘Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas’

Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things

I recently read an article that in the end of our lives we will realize that it is probably all of the little moments that were the most important ones. It encouraged me to take a step back, to realize that even when I am rushing through my day to meet all of the expectations placed on me that maybe I should take a second to appreciate what I have- wonderful family, friends and health. Continue reading ‘Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things’

Sloppy Joe-lene (Italian Ice Cream Sandwich- Focaccia Gelato)

I am often asked how I got started with my passion for cooking and yet when I reflect back it was more of an evolution than one life changing revelation.

I wasn’t any sort of prodigy in the kitchen. I certainly enjoyed good food and that is probably what eventually led me down this path. Continue reading ‘Sloppy Joe-lene (Italian Ice Cream Sandwich- Focaccia Gelato)’