Thursday, June 18, 2015

Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake ~ #BundtBakers


 Believe it or not it's that time of the month that #BundtBakers present their creative creations of deliciousness.  This month the theme for #BundtBakers was chosen by the extremely talented,   Anne of From My Sweet Heart.  In the cake, on the cake, around the cake or all of it,  lemon was the theme.  Immediately I knew that I wanted to use the combo of strawberries and lemons.   Strawberries paired with lemons are lovely.  The sweetness of the berries balances out the tartness of the lemons and together they are a fantastic pair,   complementing one another fully.   


 I loved this cake from the moment I started mixing all the ingredients together.  The batter is flavored with grated lemon, lemon juice and a small amount of lemon extract.  All three lemon sources allow for the perfect lemon taste to the cake.  A delicate yet perfect lemon flavor shines in each bite of this cake.  Sour cream, butter and eggs all lend a hand in offering a richness to the cake too.  And then lastly the strawberries which are sliced and diced and then tossed with a little bit of flour and powdered sugar are folded into the batter to pair up with the lemon.  A perfection of a cake.



 A simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice could easily be used to drizzle over this bundt.  I decided I wanted to have a bit of a fancier topping than just a simple glaze.  I also needed to cover up some of the areas on the cake that didn't release as gracefully from the pan as I had hoped.  I added some melted butter, lemon peel and dash of lemon extract to the powdered sugar and lemon juice to create exactly the topping I was after.  I was delighted visually as was my taste buds.  The frosting topped off the cake perfectly with decadence.



 Embrace the strawberry season as fresh strawberries are in abundance and bake up this cake.  Or buy some fresh strawberries at the super market if you can't pick them fresh.  This cake is perfect for those that want to impress yet simple enough to do so with truly very little effort.  


I send Anne big hugs of happiness for her fantastic choice of a "lemony" theme for our #BundtBakers group this month.  I enjoyed every minute of baking with lemons (and strawberries) by my side!   I also want to thank the creator of this group, Stacey of Food Lust People Love, for the amazing job she does to keep all the bits and pieces together to make the #BundtBakers such a fantastic group each and every month.  Merci beaucoup to both of you!!! 


Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake 
               (recipe adapted from I Heart Nap Time

Cake Ingredients-
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP flour 

Frosting Ingredients-
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice - more or less depending on what consistency you want

Directions -

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.   Grease and flour bundt pan - set aside. 

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt - set aside. 

In a large bowl beat together butter, sugar and lemon zest for 2-3 minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition.  Add in lemon juice and lemon extract. 

Add to butter mixture the flour mixture and sour cream - alternating between the 2, starting and ending with the flour.   

In a medium bowl toss strawberries with powdered sugar and flour.  Gently fold strawberries into batter.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.  

Place cake into oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Bake for 60 min - 1 hr and 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean.  Cool cake for 20 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.  Cool completely before frosting (or glazing).

While cake cools make your frosting.  Melt 4 TBSP of butter and pour over powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir to incorporate.  Add in zest of lemon,  lemon extract and lemon juice and mix well.  Alter consistency of frosting by adding in more lemon juice if you wish. Pour over cooled cake, using a butter knife if needed to direct the frosting to a specific location.  Slice and enjoy!! 


Happy Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake Baking!



BundtBakers
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Delicious Coconut Banana Bread



I have baked hundreds of banana breads.  It really is one of my most favorite thing to bake.  I often find myself looking over the bananas at the market for those that are no longer perfectly yellow or even slightly green but rather for bananas that have brownish-black speckles on them.  I have an eye out for ripe, banana bread ready bananas.  Bananas that are overly ripe are gems in my eyes. 



Recently, I found a gem of recipe for banana bread.  I am so excited to be sharing it with all of you! Honestly, I may have found my all time favorite recipe for banana bread.  It's made with a few unusual ingredients that you don't usually find in banana bread.  Coconut milk, canola oil and even almond extract are a few of these unusual additions in this recipe.  

The first time I made this recipe I followed it to the T.   I used all the required measurements and ingredients.  The bread came out amazing!  Absolutely delicious with a lovely texture.   The only way this banana bread could be any better would be if I could make it a bit healthier.  The original ingredient list called for all-purpose white flour and white sugar.  Which is fine but I really wanted to see if I could alter the recipe slightly and still get the same delicious results. 



I was completely delighted with my alterations!  My "healthier" substitutions were a success as the bread still tasted wonderful along with the soft crumb presence in each slice.  In place of the white flour I used whole wheat flour and then swapped out the white sugar for maple syrup.  The best part of this healthier version was when I could tell my friends and family that they didn't have to feel guilty about eating such a delicious banana bread.  It was a HUGE hit all around!  



Impress you friends and family and make this banana bread.  Everyone will love you for it! 

Coconut Banana Bread 
 (recipe altered from The Recipe Critic)
  
 Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil (melted coconut oil could easily be used in place of the canola oil) 
1 cup maple syrup (granulated white sugar can also be used in place of the maple syrup)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 2 Tbsp (extra flour is added because of the use of maple syrup)
3/4 cup all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium size bananas) 
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan (I used a tea loaf pan which is 12x4) and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together oil and maple syrup.  Add in eggs and extracts.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mixing well with a whisk.

In another medium bowl combine mashed bananas and coconut milk.  

Alternating with the wet ingredients and flour mixture add them to the oil/maple syrup mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded coconut over batter and swirl gently with a butter knife to slightly incorporate into the unbaked bread. 

Bake bread for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.  If the coconut starts to brown too much cover with tin foil until bread is completely baked.  Cool bread before slicing.  Enjoy! 



Happy Coconut Banana Bread Baking!

Monday, June 1, 2015

(SRC) Taco Pizza



We eat a lot of pizza in our house.  At least once a week we are throwing a pizza in the oven or ordering one up from one of our local pizza joints.   It's a meal that everyone enjoys and will eat. 

 As I searched for my recipe pick for this month's  Secret Recipe Club assignment I immediately settled on this fantastic pizza recipe.  I knew my family would eat it and I would enjoy making it.  I thank you, Anna of Cheese with Noodles  for sharing this recipe with me!  


Just as I suspected it was so much fun to make this pizza!  It came together quickly and with simple, pantry ready ingredients.  One of the best parts of this recipe is that the pizza dough is homemade AND the technique for allowing the dough to rise is done in the oven as it bakes.  Completely brilliant!  The dough is mixed up and then patted/rolled onto the prepared pizza pan and then placed into a cold oven which is only then turned on to 375 degrees F.  As the oven heats up, the dough gently rises.  Simple as that!


As you can see from the picture above instead of using the traditional pizza sauce, refried beans are used in it's place.  Thus the foundation for this Mexican flavored pizza.  I sprinkled a Mexican blend of cheese and then some chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced black olives.  Once the pizza was baked to melt the cheese I then placed some avocado slices and chopped up cilantro for additional "taco" ingredients and color.  This recipe is perfect for all taco toppings.  It all depends on what you like and what you have on hand.   I envisioned adding some lovely red onions, dollops of sour cream and a side of salsa on my next Taco Pizza.  Yum!!


Definitely try out this Taco Pizza.  It won't disappoint!!   I was completely delighted with it and send Anna of Cheese with Noodles big hugs of gratitude for this recipe.  I can't wait to make it again along with some of her other mouth watering recipes (I have my eye on her recipe for Triple Peanut Butter Cookies). 




Taco Pizza 
(recipe from Cheese with Noodles)

Pizza Dough Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (my addition) 
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup water
2 TBSP olive oil

Pizza Toppings 
1 can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend) 
A variety of toppings from below.....
sliced black olives
cherry or plum tomatoes, cut into quarters or small pieces
red onions, chopped into small pieces
avocado slices
ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning
dollops of sour cream
salsa
cilantro, chopped 

Directions:

In a large bowl fitted for a mixer prepare pizza dough by whisking together flour, taco seasoning, sugar, salt and yeast.  Add in water and oil and with your dough hook mix well all together. Dough should resemble a soft gum.  Add in water or flour if need to be to obtain such a consistency.  

Grease pizza pan and then gently pat dough out onto the sheet.  Make sure there is rim of dough higher on the edges than in the inside.  Place into a cold oven and heat to 375.  Bake for 15 minutes - starting timer when you place the pizza in the oven. Remove from oven and then spread refried beans over the dough and sprinkle with cheese.  Evenly scatter toppings that you wish to be baked such as tomatoes pieces and black olives.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.  Top pizza with remaining desired toppings, slice and enjoy!! 



Happy Taco Pizza Baking!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Frosting (for #bundtbakers)


Are you ready for a delicious bundt cake!?  How about one that is jam packed with mini chocolate chips within a lovely vanilla cake and then topped off with a chocolate ganache, chopped almonds and mini marshmallows?  This month the Bundt Bakers group that I am part of was given spectacular guidance by Laura of  Baking in Pajamas  to incorporate the flavors of "rocky road" into a bundt cake.  Chocolate, marshmallows and chopped nuts are all ingredients that make up "rocky road".  Dried fruit can also be featured in a "rocky road"  combination, especially when found in treats made in England. 



After much thought and exploring of different cakes and combos of the rocky road flavors I decided on a simple and decadent chocolate chip cake that is then drenched in chocolate ganache.  On top of the chocolate ganache I sprinkled chopped almonds and soft mini marshmallows.  All the flavors in an American version of rocky road.  I did consider sprinkling some chopped dried apricots too over the ganache but unfortunately forgot all about it until the cake was half way gone.   I love the idea of having dried fruit in a rocky road baked sweet.  I think that would be delicious!  Those bakers in England are smart cookies for sure!


Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Frosting 
(cake recipe found on Boston.com)

Cake Ingredients :
3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
2 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet,  milk chocolate or dark 
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Cake Directions -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Pour mini chips into a separate bowl and toss with 2 Tbsps of flour mixture, coating chips well.  Set aside both bowls. 

In a large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add in sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute with each addition.  Add in eggs and then yolk, one at time, beating well with each addition. Lastly, add in vanilla extract.

Put mixer on lowest speed and add into the wet mixture the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the with the 1/2 and 1/2, beginning and ending with the 1/2 and 1/2.   Add in flour tossed chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan.   Cool cake on a rack for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 

While cake is cooling, make frosting.  Pour chocolate chips into a medium bowl that can be covered tightly with either a plate or tin foil.   In a medium sauce pan, heat heavy cream over medium-low heat.  Bring cream to a gentle simmer, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips and DO NOT stir but rather cover bowl with a plate or aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes uncover bowl and gently whisk hot cream and chocolate chips together until all the chocolate has melted.  Let mixture cool and thicken for at least 20-30 minutes before pouring over cake.  Finally, sprinkle chopped nuts and then mini marshmallows over the chocolate drenched cake.  Serve and enjoy! 



Happy Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Topping Baking!

Please take a moment to browse through my fellow Bundt Bakers "rocky road" creations.  All the links can be found below.


 
BundtBakers
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EASY Applesauce Muffins


I have always enjoyed baking with applesauce.  I love how it can replace oil and still give a nice moist texture to what I am baking.  I recently discovered a beautiful recipe for muffins that uses 1 1/2 cups of applesauce.  This large amount of applesauce not only replaces some of the oil but it gives a wonderful flavor to the muffins.  





My girls gobbled up these muffins.  "Yum, yum",  they said.  They had them for breakfast heated up with a lovely pat of butter smeared on it and then again for snack after school with a layer of PB.  I had quite a few myself and found that I liked them best heated up with a cup of tea.  Whether you are looking for a healthy muffin for breakfast or a sweet treat for an afternoon snack this is the muffin recipe for you.  I altered the original recipe just a tiny bit by splitting the flour into 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 whole wheat.  I also added some chopped walnuts and an apple chunk to the top of each muffin to give it a special appeal to the aesthetics and texture of the muffins. 



Best part of this recipe.  It's EASY!!  Let's make some muffins friends!

EASY Applesauce Muffins
(recipe slightly adapted from Catch My Party)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs 
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple - peeled, cut into chunks

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 2 regular size muffin tins and set aside.   

In a large bowl combine well first 8 ingredients (all of the dry ingredients) and set aside.  In a medium size bowl combine eggs, oil and applesauce - stir well until thoroughly combined. 

Add wet mixture into the dry mixture - mix well all together with a wooden spoon.  Batter will be thick. 

Fill prepared pans 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle muffins with chopped walnuts and insert one apple chunk into the top of each one.   Bake for 20-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly and serve. Store muffins in an air-tight container.  Enjoy!!! 




Happy EASY Applesauce Muffins Baking!

Monday, May 4, 2015

{SRC} Breakfast Quesadillas


Do you ever find yourself stumped as to what to feed your kiddos?  I am constantly on the hunt for new meal ideas for my girls that are not only appealing to them but also healthy and well balanced.  This month my wishes were granted for a fantastic breakfast/snack to offer the girls.  It was through my fantastic Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month of May that I discovered, Breakfast Quesadillas on My Hobbie Lobbie


Trisha of My Hobbie Lobbie has a wide variety of recipes on her blog.  They range from a vast amount of delicious Goan food from India to healthy options for breads and even sinfully rich dessert recipes.  A well rounded collection of recipes. Honestly, it really wasn't easy for me to pick a recipe from Trisha's collection.  Just as soon as I picked one I would then find yet another one that I wanted to make.  But, as I stated above I am constantly keeping my eyes peeled for new, fun and healthy recipes to make for my precious girls. Breakfast Quesadillas won!  Winner for me and winner for the girls too.  They LOVED these delicious wedges of yumminess.  



The recipe calls for a tortia that is slathered with peanut butter and then layered with banana slices and sprinkled with dark chocolate chips.  Once the tortia has been folded in half it is then cooked in a frying pan on both sides until the insides become all warm and melty and the tortia is a pretty golden brown. Delicious.  And yes, healthy. 

I had lots of fun with this recipe as the second time I made it I switched it up a bit and made my own variation.  I made a scrumptious almond butter, maple cream and strawberry version.  Devine.  Deliciously devine.  


The possibilities are endless with these breakfast quesadillas.  Imagine making one with Nutella, almond butter and banana slices or even cream cheese and green olives for a savory version. Yum!  What version would you like best? 

Breakfast Quesadillas 
(recipe from My Hobbie Lobbie)  

Ingredients:
1 tortia - white or whole wheat
3 Tbsp peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1/2 banana, sliced
10-15 dark chocolate chips 
non-stick spray, butter or coconut oil - for greasing your frying pan 

Spread peanut butter on 1/2 or all of tortia.  Place banana slices over PB and then sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.  Fold tortia in 1/2 and place in a heated medium size frying pan that has been greased well.  Lower heat to medium-low and cook each side until golden brown, about a minute on each side.  Cut into wedges and serve.  Enjoy! 

Happy Breakfast Quesadillas Making!

Friday, May 1, 2015

ONE Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


My girls love being in the kitchen with me.  Stirring, measuring, rolling and mixing are all skills that they have become comfortable with and are quite good at doing.  Yes, there is often a thin layer of flour or sugar on the counter when all is said and done but the smiles on their faces and confidence in their step makes the mess worth every inch. 


Recently my girls and I decided that we really should make a chocolate cake.  We had already made a lovely chicken dinner all together so why not finish it off with a fantastic chocolate cake!  I grabbed this recipe from Taste of Home and within 15 minutes the girls and I had placed our cake into the oven.  Boom! The hardest part was waiting for it to bake....and then of course cool so we could frost it. 


We all agreed that this cake was THE. BEST. ONE bowl chocolate cake we had ever made (even though it was really the first one we had ever made).  It was moist, chocolaty and very tasty. A chocolate perfection.  The frosting and sprinkles made it extra special as it really could be eaten without such decadence but who eats chocolate cake without frosting?  Not our household.  Cake and frosting are always paired together. 




Grab your kiddos and have some fun in the kitchen baking up this cake.  It is truly simple to make.  And of course delicious too!   Definitely well worth the wait for it to bake, cool and frost.  



ONE Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 
        (recipe from Taste of Home)

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 TBSP milk - to get desired consistency
Sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips - if you wish to make your cake extra special


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together first 6 ingredients.  Add in eggs, oil and buttermilk.  Mix well all together and then add in hot water and mix to combine.  

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Make frosting by beating butter until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes.  Add in powdered sugar and then cocoa and vanilla.  Add in milk 1 TBSP at a time to achieve desired consistency. 

Frost cake and sprinkle with sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips etc.   Enjoy! 

            Happy ONE Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Baking! 






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