Tag Archives: Cake

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.

For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.

For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”

And so it does.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cold shortening
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Advertisements

Cranberry Creme Fraiche Cake with Almond

Who knew cranberries and almonds taste so yummy together? I used my leftover Thanksgiving cranberry compote to make this festively pink Bundt cake. I saw the recipe at The Kitchn and knew I had to make it – anything with creme fraiche!

The cake is pretty dense – not your airy, light cake, but more substantial and with nice texture combinations from the sliced almonds that bake into the cranberries and cake batter.

My favorite part, by far, was the glaze. Served at a recent dinner party, everybody agreed it was lovely!

Adapted from The Kitchn…

Cranberry Creme Fraiche Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crème fraîche (usually one small tub)
  • 1 1/2 c. whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • Cranberry Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the inside of a 10-cup Bundt pan with the melted butter and dust it lightly with flour (note: using melted butter is so much easier than trying to get softened butter in those Bundt crevices!).

Whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the crème fraîche (in two increments), beginning and ending with the flour and beating after each addition until just combined.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Swirl half the cranberry sauce over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce, and then swirl the remaining cranberry sauce over the batter. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Cranberry Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry juice (reserved from making the cranberry sauce)

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, and cranberry juice in a small bowl until smooth (I added some orange juice to loosen it up a bit).

Pretty in pink!

A tasty way to use my last Thanksgiving leftovers, eh? Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Lemon and buttermilk – makes me think of summer winds, cotton dresses and thick slices of freshly baked Bundt cake… the perfect recipe to make with  my buttery yellow Bundt pan…

In celebrating the vintage nature of my cookware, I give you an old-fashioned cake recipe, seasoned only with buttermilk and fresh lemons, with an extra lemony glaze drizzled all over.Adapted from Baking and Books – a great foodie blog you should check out!

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

For the Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (mine was smaller, so I poured the extra in a little loaf pan) and set aside. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix; just fold gently until the batter looks well blended. Fold in the lemon zest and juice.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, stopping about 2 inches from the top, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan (Note: if using smaller pan, check it at 45 min.). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: in a medium bowl add the lemon juice to the 2 cups of confectioners sugar, mixing vigorously to get rid of any lumps of sugar. If the glaze isn’t thick enough to coat the cake, add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. The glaze should be thick but pourable.

Invert cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Spoon the glaze over hot cake and allow to cool completely before cutting. Best the day it is made, it will keep fairly well, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Just because I couldn’t ignore the bright daffodils in Grant’s front yard, I picked a bunch and arranged them with a few dogwood sprigs for a little Bundt centerpiece. So pretty!

The cake is moist and flavorful – and that glaze! I thought it tasted like something you’d get from a bakery at $3 per slice.

Yum – enjoy with coffee or tea.

Happy Spring, friends! xoxo

Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Great cookware can inspire my culinary mind as much as reading a savory magazine or watching The Food Network. So it happened with my colorful new birthday presents.

The best way to celebrate them is with cakes inspired by their shape and color. So, for my 1970s orange Bundt pan…

I made an orange-poppy seed cake that would have been poplar in that decade. (Or any decade, really).

It’s a bit semi-homemade, but don’t let that stop you. It’s sweet and spongy, with a bite of orange zest and tiny pops from the seeds. My friend Nikki gave me the family recipe:

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 0z frozen  OJ concentrate ( thawed ) – half a can
  • 1 pkg  yellow cake mix
  • 1  C sour cream
  • 4  large eggs
  • 1/3  C  canola oil
  • 1 1/2  Tbsp  poppy seeds
  • 2  Tbsp  sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350; butter and flour a Bundt pan.

In a bowl  combine the above, mixing well between ingredients, then mixing at medium speed for 2 min. Pour into greased/floured Bundt pan. Bake 40-50 min. or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 min. in pan, then finish on wire rack.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve!

It kind of tastes like orange ice cream. Sooo sweet, it will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Insane Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Ganache Cake

The actual name of this cake is sour-cream chocolate cake with peanut-butter cream cheese frosting and chocolate peanut butter glaze. It is a cake so sinfully decadent that it would make Nigella Lawson’s head explode. To give the cake its “just desserts,” I enrolled it in a chocolate-cake challenge against my gourmet chef-friend Tonya.

I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few years ago, and was encouraged when my friend Ellie made it and said it nearly killed a party she took it to. It took a bit of work, as most layer cakes are wont to do, but it’s worth it. Here’s why: three layers of dark and moist sour-cream chocolate cake covered in a cream-cheese and peanut butter frosting, then slathered with the most ridiculous amount of thick peanut butter chocolate ganache. I just drooled writing that.

The cake has an interesting addition of vinegar – I still haven’t figured out what that does, but I think I like it. All together, it tastes like a wonderful Reece’s candy – but way better. The ganache is like a truffle layer over the creamy frosting. As Tonya pointed out, the cake isn’t TOO chocolatey, so it doesn’t compete with the peanut butter frosting and ganache. Here’s the recipe, if you dare:

Insane Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Cake

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans (I used 9-inch and it was fine). Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in salt to combine. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans. I did this all by hand, but feel free to use an electric mixer.

3. Bake for 30 min., or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. When cool, cover in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 min, which will make them much easier to frost. (Make the frosting recipe below while you wait)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate (I put squares of parchment paper under it, to keep my new cake plate clean – remove before serving). Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Once frosted, chill the cake for another 30 minutes, which will help the ganache drip all over it (and make the ganache recipe below while you wait!).

5. To decorate with the ganache, pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter – I used Skippy’s

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Ingredients for ganache:

  • 8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (admission: I didn’t have this, so used milk. My bad!)

1. In a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm. Because I didn’t have the half-and-half, mine was too viscous, but it still tastes wonderful and set up nicely.

Isn’t that pretty? Tonya brought what she called a chocolate “Black-Out Cake” because during the war, people would make it whenever there was a blackout. It is a rich and moist cake with chocolate pudding between the layers, and a crumbled layer of cake all over the top. Brilliant!

Our judges declared a draw because the cakes were so different. Mine was called “most unique” and “most American,” while Tonya’s was “best classic cake” and “most European.” And then they all fell into sugar comas.

Seriously, this much sugar and chocolate gave me a headache like I’d been drinking a 20-oz quadruple espresso drink.

And here are the chefs!

Until the next foodie fight, enjoy, friends! xoxo

Double rainbow (OMG) cake!

Sometimes, it’s as if everything happened just as it should. As if I were meant to find this rainbow cake recipe more than a year ago and never make it until… As if my friend Ben had never sent me the most awesome video ever, Double Rainbow (a.k.a. Naturegasm), which makes me cry with laughter every single time… As if I hadn’t seen this even awesomer Double Rainbow remix, which I could watch on repeat…

To quote the video, “What does it mean?!?

Now, you don’t have to cry like the guy in the video, but this is pretty neat. I also like to call this my Psychedelic Cake, Anna’s Technicolor Dream Cake and the Tie-Dye Cake.

All rainbowness aside, the cake is very tasty, albeit completely Semi-Homemade. That makes it perfect for kids, if you have them. The Sprite keeps it nice and slightly tangy and the whipped topping makes a pillowy frosting. I took the leftovers to work and all that remained were a few rainbow crumbs.

Double Rainbow (all the way across the sky) Cake!

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes white cake mix (buy the appropriate number of eggs and oil)
  • 2 cans Sprite
  • gel food coloring
  • 16 oz fat-free whipped topping
  • 2 oz instant fat-free sugar-free pudding mix (2 boxes)

Preheat oven to whatever the box says. Mix the cake mix with the soda according to regular instructions on box. It will be lumpy afterward. Separate into six bowls, a little over 1 c. in each. Mix in the colors of the rainbow…ROY G. BIV. You will be impressed with the gel food coloring. It’s less messy and the colors are so vivid!

Now, butter and flour two cake pans. In the first pan, pour half the red, then orange, then yellow, etc. ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. So the blobs of color will spread out but not mix. In the other pan, do the same, but with the colors in reverse over: purple, blue, green, etc. It will look like this:

Bake the cake for however long the box tells you to bake it. Let cool completely before moving to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make your frosting by mixing the pudding and whipped topping until smooth. Add frosting in between the cake layers and all over the top, of course!

Enjoy, friends! I know you will … xoxo

Pink lemonade cake with foamy citrus glaze

One of the first things I do when moving to a new town is join, or start, a book club. I recommend all my friends do this –  a great way to meet new people and widen your social network beyond the work crew. Naturally, work friends may dominate, but at least you’re introducing new blood to the mix.

I typically post a funny ad on Craigslist, telling a little bit about the books I like to read and inviting other wine-loving women to join. In Oregon, I posted an ad for the “Anti-Chick Lit Book Club” and I was overwhelmed with responses, including many from men, applauding the move away from Elizabeth Gilbert books. But hey, you may want to start an Elizabeth Gilbert Lovers club! More power to you.

My group’s last book was “Let Me Eat Cake,” a chronicle of one woman’s obsession with cake and a brief history of the confection. It was a weak foodie book, if you ask me, and it made me feel kind of disgusted by the end. Orangette‘s book is far superior as far as food reading goes.

Regardless, we had a sweet-themed club, complete with mini key-lime tarts, chocolate cupcakes and my pink lemonade cake with a foamy citrus glaze…

Don't come between a sweet tooth and her sweets

Admission: I totally Sandra-Lee’d this cake. That means it involves a box of cake mix and powdered pink lemonade. But you know what? I work late, and sometimes I just don’t have time to do it all from scratch. It turned out so moist, with a wonderful sweet bite of lemon – everybody loved it.

Here I have adapted it from Paula Deen’s sons’ recipe

Pink Lemonade Cake with Foamy Citrus Glaze

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Butter for coating pan
  • 1 box white cake mix (18.25-ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons pink lemonade drink powder (Country Time is best)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Glaze:

  • 1 pound confectioners’ (powder) sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 6 tablespoons frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • Water, as needed
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two round cake pans (mine were 9-inch) and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper; set aside.

    For the cake, in a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and lemonade powder. Prepare the cake batter according to the package directions, using the eggs and the oil and water. Stir the lemon zest into the batter. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minuets. Carefully turn cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    For the glaze, beat together the confectioners’ sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the pink lemonade concentrate, zest and vanilla. If the glaze is still too thick, add a little water, in 1 T increments. You can make this as thick or thin as you wish.

    Transfer one cake to a cake stand or large platter. Using an offset spatula, spread the top of the cake with a layer of glaze. Place the second cake on top of the first. Spread the remaining glaze over the top and sides of both layers.

    The glaze spilled over my cake like a frothy mess. I loved it, and just covered the pools with hydrangea flowers from my garden (well cleaned!). I love how you can see the specks of lemon zest throughout, and just that faint pink color.

    Happy Fourth of July, friends! xoxo

    Buttermilk spice cake with pear compote

    A man once told me, “There is no word quite as lovely as buttermilk … it conjures up such warm and lovely feelings.”

    As many of us discovered at an early age, buttermilk’s taste does not live up to that soft and sweet name. Instead, it tastes quite sour and will always remind me of the assisted-living home I worked at in high school (the residents ordered it with pepper sprinkled on top!).

    This cake is not sour in the least. Instead, I believe the buttermilk adds a moisture and slight tang to balance the sweetness.

    Adding lime zest, allspice, ginger, black pepper and ground star anise (which you’ll have to grind yourself) makes it just delightful, especially paired with a simple pear compote made with Boscs, sugar and lime juice.

    The recipe recommended a dollop of creme fraiche on top, but I think it is fine without it. My only real complaint is that I don’t have a 1/8 tsp measure, so I don’t think I added enough of the spices and they were overwhelmed by the vanilla beans. Still quite tasty, I just recommend not skimping on the spices.

    This recipe comes to you from Bon Appetit…

    Buttermilk Spice Cake with Pear Compote

    Ingredients:

    For pear compote —

    • 2 T sugar
    • 1 T fresh lime juice
    • Large pinch of salt
    • 3 Bosc pears, peeled, quartered and cut into cubes

    Method:

    Mix sugar, lime and salt in heavy saucepan. Add pears and toss to coat. Cover and cook over medium-low until pears are just tender, 10-12 min. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

    For spice cake —

    • 1 c. plus 1 T flour
    • 1/4 c. cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp ground whole star anise (or anise seeds)
    • 1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
    • 3/4 c. sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 three-inch piece of vanilla bean, split
    • 1/4 tsp grated lime zest
    • 3/4 c. buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

    Sift first nine ingredients into medium bowl. Set aside. In large bowl or Kitchenaid, beat butter until fluffy, then add sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add lime peel. Beat to blend. Beat in flour  mixture alternately with buttermilk, in four additions. Scrape down bowl and mix thoroughly. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until browned on top and a tester comes out clean, approx. 30 min. Cool completely on wire rack.

    Slide knife around edges to loosen, then invert on rack, peel parchment off and invert onto serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar.

    To serve, slice a big piece of the moist cake and spoon pears on the side. Top with creme fraiche, although I think I prefer it without.

    Num. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

    Blueberry crumb cake

    One of my New Year’s resolutions is to express my appreciation for those I love. Food, of course, is one of the great loves of my life. So I made this recipe for my love of food and my favorite blue-eyed blueberry fan, who makes me tortilla soup when I am too sick to even prepare a packet of Top Ramen.

    This cake is like a coffee cake and we have enjoyed it in the mornings with a cup of coffee or tea. It would be delicious with other berries – I’m thinking blackberries or huckleberries or raspberries – but blueberries were on sale at Harris Teeter, so that’s what I went for. The cake is moistened with sour cream, like Ina Garten’s blueberry muffins, and topped with a streusel spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.  A tasty combination of textures.

    Ina’s Blueberry Crumb Cake

    For the streusel:

    1/4 c. sugar

    1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed

    1 tsp. cinnamon

    1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

    1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted

    1 1/3 c. flour

    For the cake:

    6 T unsalted butter at room temp.

    3/4 c. granulated sugar

    2 large eggs

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    1/2 tsp. lemon zest

    2/3 c. sour cream

    1 1/4 c. flour

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1/4 tsp. baking soda

    1/2 tsp. salt

    1 c. fresh blueberries

    Method:

    Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 9-inch round baking pan.

    For the streusel: Combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in melted butter, then flour. Mix well and set aside.

    For the cake: Cream butter and sugar in bowl of electric mixter with paddle, on high speed, 4-5 min. Reduce to low and add eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla, lemon zest, sour cream.

    In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to batter until just combined. Fold in blueberries and stir with spatula until mixed.

    Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread with a knife. With your fingers, crumble streusel topping over the batter. You may  not need all of it. Bake for 40-50 min. until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

    Crunchy crumb topping

    I baked this while my other love rolled around in the sunlight:

    Cats and sun spots = happiness

    Enjoy, friends! xoxo

    Pear-almond cake with chocolate chunks

    Almond Joy

    At first I didn’t think I would like pear and chocolate together. It just sounded weird, somehow. But this cake is really tasty, especially when served cold. My only problem with the recipe is that the batter is thick and there isn’t much of it. I found it difficult to spread in two layers in my spring-form pan. Next time, I will put it all perhaps in one layer, with the pears on top. We’ll see. Also, you do not need a standing mixer for this.

    You can find the recipe at RachaelRayMag.com. It is a basic cake batter layered with sliced pears, dark chocolate chunks and then drizzled with an almond glaze. Those almonds on top really pull it all together. I need to bake more with almonds. The pear is really moist and the chocolate adds a nice contrast. Plus, extra powdered sugar on top is always good.

    The “rustic” cake is supposedly Roman in origin, so take that as you will. The result: a lovely cake for any occasion, with pears and chocolate and almonds. I’m a chocolate-pear convert!

    IMG_4564

    Enjoy, friends! xoxo