3 cups cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (or use a combo of graham and chocolate wafers)
3 cups cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (or use a combo of graham and chocolate wafers)
It is Stella’s 5th birthday today and she wanted a horse cake. Hmm. A horse cake? Well, Hayley found a photo to work with, and I found an amazing cake recipe on “smittenkitchen”, so we were off to the races. A few hours later and I think we are all really happy with the results!
If you haven’t been to the Smitten Kitchen website yet, do yourself a favour and hop on over for a visit. Deb Perelman has great recipes, both her own and sourced from other cookbooks, they never fail. She calls this one confetti birthday cake, and it is easy to see why. Those little bursts of colour just make the cake look like a party already!
All right, sorry, enough of the horse cake photos, you are no doubt looking for the recipe! We just had so much fun creating it. One of the joys with this recipe is that you only use one bowl, and it takes about 5 minutes to put together.
Preheat oven: To 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick spray or butter.
Make cake: Beat butter, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating until combined and slightly fluffy. Add vanilla and buttermilk and beat to combine. The mixture will instantly look like cottage cheese and you will be sure it’s ruined but I promise it is not. Add baking powder and cornstarch and beat very well to combine. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat one second more. Add flour and mix just until it disappears. Use a rubber scraper to gently fold in sprinkles.
Bake cake: Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the side to loosen the cake, flip it out onto the cooling rack, and slide the cooling rack into the freezer until cake is cool, about 10 to 15 minutes.
(If you don’t have buttermilk, just put 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar into a 1/2 cup measuring vessel and fill to that mark with milk – allow to sit for 10 min and gently stir.)
Easter means brighter, fresher desserts, and this fits that description perfectly. Ideal for brunch, lunch or dinner, these are a real treat. I found the recipe on “Live Well Bake Often”, and, unusually for me ….. I didn’t change a thing!
These buttery little morsels are a great combination of shortbread richness with the tart hint of cranberry and lemon. When I had the first one I thought …. Hmmmm, okay, they are good but maybe not my favourite cookie – however, next thing I knew I was reaching for a second cookie and now I just can’t stop.
In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl rub the lemon zest into the sugar until moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the lemon sugar and beat until light and fluffy, go for at least 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth and creamy.
Add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the cranberries by hand.
Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Gently form the dough into small balls and bake for 13-15 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. They spread out a little but not too much so you can put quite a few on each cookie sheet.
Let cookies cool slightly before moving them to a rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over completely cooled cookies. I used a pastry brush for this step to allow the whole top to get a shiny finish. Watch your glaze mixture carefully, you just want it loose enough to brush or drizzle with either clumping or just running off the cookie.
Combine an apple pie with shortbread bars and you have this winner! I found this recipe in my latest Food Network magazine, from Ina Garden, and I’ve already made it twice. The first time without the nuts so that the kids can take it in school lunches.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the crust, place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined. Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 × 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and ½ inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling, combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a ½-inch border.
Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.
Summer fruit is here, and we have the best of it right out our door. Fresh cherries, peaches and blueberries all ready at the same time inspired this dessert for Sunday dinner …… Don’t you just love Sunday Family Dinners?? We sure do.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, the baking powder, vanilla, and salt; beat until combined. Add egg; beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour (or knead gently until combined).
Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom.
Line crust with a double thickness of foil. Bake crust for 6 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 6 to 7 minutes more or until crust is lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.
CREAMY VANILLA CUSTARD
Whisk all ingredients together in sauce pan, and stir over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
Cover surface of the custard with a layer of plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.
In a small saucepan, stir together cornstarch and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent clumps. Allow to boil long enough for the liquid to lose the cloudy look of cornstarch. Set aside to cool slightly.
Leave cookie crust in tart pan, and spread the custard in an even layer. Make sure the custard is cool at this point, you don’t want your fruit to get cooked! The beauty of this dessert is that it really showcases the mouthwatering flavour of fruit that is in season, and you don’t want to lose that.
Arrange fruit over custard layer.
Brush glaze over fruit, just enough to set the fruit and keep the vibrant colours.
Cool completely before serving.
When the kids were little, we always had birthday “season” with cousin Sara, Shane, Meghan and Hayley all having a birthday within a month (ish). Their all time favourite was angel food cake, and I’ve done a lot with it …. layered with lemon curd, whipping cream and berries being one of the favourites. I think this one hit it out of the park with all those yummy tastes, but in a beautiful presentation. I finally got around to doing it for Fathers Day this year, and it was AMAZING!!
1 box Angel Food Cake mix
1 1/2 cup diced strawberries
confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
2 cups whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Make an angel food cake mix according to the package directions. (total admittance here, I’ve rarely made the cake from scratch – not knowing what to do with all the egg yolks given that we aren’t egg lovers). Once you’ve mixed up the batter, line a baking sheet (17″ x 11″ ish) with parchment paper. Pour the batter out onto this, and smooth with an offset spatula.
Bake for 17 min – check …. it should be just springy to the touch. If not, give it an extra minute or two but be careful not to overcook.
Remove from oven, and turn out onto a tea towel that has been liberally dusted with icing (powdered) sugar.
Roll the tea town up (I started with the long side because I had a lot of people to feed), and yes, keep the tea towel within the rolls.
Allow to cool on a rack for about 20 minutes.
While that is happening: chop up 1 cup fresh berries. Add a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of raw sugar.
Whip up whipping cream. Fold the berries with 1 – 1/2 cups whipping cream.
Gently unfold cake, and spread cream/berry mixture over. Gently, re-roll and finish with seam side down. Place in/on serving dish. Use remaining whipping cream to mound on top, and garnish with fresh berries and a bit of mint if desired.
I love the way the dusting of icing sugar makes the angel food cake look! Sprinkle extra berries around the cake for serving, and if desired add a few sprigs of fresh mint.