It’s blueberry season! Every year, my sister Helen takes her daughters blueberry picking with a bunch of their school friends and their families. They go to this blueberry farm up in the hills and have an absolute blast while they’re there. Helen’s youngest daughter, Sophie, is a little blueberry-picking speed-demon and can fill up a bucket faster than you can say blueberry pie!
Anyway, whenever they go, they always make sure to bring me back a bagful of the beautiful little blue gems. This year was no exception. The berries are always so sweet and juicy. If you’ve never had blueberries fresh off the bush, you’ve got to find a way to try some. Commercially sold blueberries are good, but they pale in comparison to these ones. I think it’s time for some Blueberry Buttermilk Cake!
BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE
2 – 2½ cups fresh blueberries
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup demerara sugar (or white granulated sugar)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13-inch baking pan.
Place blueberries in a small bowl.
Take 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss it with the blueberries. Coating the blueberries with flour helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
Combine remaining flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and beat in eggs, one at a time.
Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions until completely combined.
Fold in blueberries.
Spread batter in prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle top evenly with demerara sugar.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cake can be served warm or cool completely before serving.
NOTE: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own homemade buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to the cup till it reaches the 1-cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk with a wire whisk for a few seconds.
I keep trying to create gluten free recipes for my daughter, Spunky. It’s not always easy though. Especially with baked goods. You usually have to use 2 or 3 different non-wheat flours, and add specialty ingredients like xanthan gum, guar gum, gelatin, or agar-agar. And some things just don’t turn out right when you try to convert them using commercial gluten free flours.
That’s why I was so happy to discover Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour at my local grocery store. My sour cream coffee cake turned out great with it! It really took the guesswork out of converting an old family favorite into a gluten free recipe. I decided to research and learned that there are other brands of cup-for-cup flour replacements out there like King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour, or Cup4Cup Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour, but since Bob’s Red Mill is what my local grocery store carries, that’s what I used for this recipe. I’ll have to experiment and test the other brands someday. If you have a favorite cup-for-cup gluten free replacement flour, feel free to try it out with this recipe and then let me know how it turned out.
GLUTEN FREE SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or angel food cake pan.
Mix streusel ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream.
Spread half the batter in the pan, then sprinkle half the streusel over it. Top with the rest of the batter, and finish with the remaining streusel.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 10-15 minutes, then loosen from sides of pan with a knife.
Remove cake from pan and place topping side up on a serving plate.
You can substitute buttermilk or yogurt in place of the sour cream in this recipe.
This cake can be made in a 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan. If you prefer to use a 9×13-inch pan, I would just pour all the batter into the pan and then sprinkle all the streusel on top. It’s a pain to make the layers, though it can certainly be done. Just bear in mind that you’ll have to spread the batter really thinly if you want layers.
I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.
Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold blueberries into batter.
Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.
NOTE: My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.
A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.
This recipe is one of those that’s been around forever under one name or another. It was given to me by one of the nurses at work. She’s been making it for years and she said it’s always a hit at her house. I’m glad I got the recipe from her because it was a hit with my family, too, though I did tweak it a little (as always). I increased the peaches, cut down on the sugar, and added vanilla extract. I can tell it’s going to become a favorite at our family get-togethers and at potlucks, too. This one is a definite keeper!
PEACHES AND CREAM CAKE
1½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. each) cook & serve vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
1 cup milk
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 large (29 oz. each) cans sliced peaches
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
6 Tbsp. peach syrup from can
½ tsp. vanilla extract
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling on top (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
Drain both cans of peaches, reserving 6 tablespoons of syrup for later.
In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla puddings together.
Add milk, butter, and eggs.
Beat together with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.
Spread in prepared baking dish.
Arrange peach slices to cover top of batter.
Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
Add sugar, peach syrup, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined.
Spoon over peaches, then smooth with a spatula.
Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
NOTE: To make cinnamon sugar, the ratio is 1/4 cup sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Store in an airtight container. For this recipe, you’ll probably only sprinkle about a couple of tablespoons or so over the top.
It’s Bashful’s birthday today. She’s turning 23. Where did the years go? It’s so true that time flies faster the older you get. Like her namesake, Bashful is shy and sweet and kind-hearted. Been that way since she was a little girl. She spoke just fine at home, but hardly said two words outside. Without fail, every new teacher she had would call me at the beginning of each school year to ask if things were alright at home because she never said a word in class. I would have to explain that that was just her way but if they called on her to answer, she would, even if she hadn’t raised her hand. She answered in this tiny little soft-spoken voice, but she answered. She’s all grown up now but when I look at her, I still see that quiet little girl who always stood to one side silently watching the world with big, solemn eyes and a shy smile.
This morning I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and of course, she asked for her favorite Strawberry Cream Cake. Its always been her favorite and that hasn’t changed over the years. I’m not surprised. This cake is so fabulously good. I make a moist vanilla cake for the base, use sliced fresh strawberries in the filling, and cover it up with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s Yummy with a capital Y!
STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, then spray the paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy.
Slowly pour in the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Then add the vanilla, beating until well-combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a spatula.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Invert cakes, peel off parchment paper, then re-invert so cakes are top side up.
Cool completely before frosting. Trim tops off to make cakes level if desired.
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
Hull, wash, and slice strawberries.
Toss in a bowl with sugar and set aside until ready to use.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar, add more or less as desired
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it less sweet.
Beat until stiff peaks form.
If you want really white frosting, omit the vanilla or use clear vanilla extract.
If you have cake strips, use them! They really help the cakes to rise up evenly with nice, level tops.
This is one of the best desserts to serve for Cinco de Mayo! It’s so yummy with its gooey center and sweet, crunchy top. It goes great with a cup of coffee for a mid-afternoon snack, too. In fact, it’s delicious anytime! I usually serve it at room temperature, but you could serve it warm if you want to. We never seem to have any leftovers so I couldn’t tell you whether it’s good cold out of the fridge or not. There are a lot of variations of this recipe out on the internet. Mine isn’t much different from the others out there. It’s so easy to make and everyone loves it. You’ve got to give it a try. If you don’t have Mexican vanilla, use regular vanilla extract. Likewise, if you don’t have demerara sugar, just use regular white sugar. No. 1 really likes the crunch from the demerara sugar, though. This recipe is really versatile and no matter what you use, it’s always a big hit!
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla extract
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
⅓ cup demerara sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Beat cream cheese, white sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
Open cans of crescent roll dough and pinch seams together to form 2 rectangles.
Press one rectangle into bottom of prepared baking dish.
Spread cream cheese mixture over crescent roll dough in baking dish.
Top with second rectangle of crescent roll dough.
Pour melted butter evenly over top.
In a small bowl, stir together demerara sugar and cinnamon.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter.
Bake until crescent dough is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
NOTE: I find that it makes it a lot easier to handle the crescent roll dough if you place a piece of waxed paper down on your counter, then unroll the crescent roll dough on the waxed paper. Pinch the seams together and pat and stretch the dough out to the right size on the waxed paper. Then pick up the waxed paper, flip it over onto your baking dish, and carefully peel the waxed paper away. Do this again for the top crust with the second can of crescent roll dough and a clean sheet of waxed paper. It’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to pinch the seams together and stretch the dough to the right size after you’ve already placed it on top of the filling!
I’ve been making this cake for years. It’s so good and easy to prepare. It always turns out moist and flavorful. I also love its versatility. If you don’t have margarine or butter, you could substitute butter-flavored Crisco shortening, or even use cooking oil if you’re really desperate. You could bake it in a loaf pan instead of a bundt pan if you want a more traditional “butter cake” look. I like to make small loaves of this cake (as pictured below) to give to my neighbors during the holidays. You could also exchange the flavorings and use lemon extract and lemon yogurt to make a delicious lemon cake that goes great with a nice cup of hot tea. Hmmm……. I wonder….. what if we tried orange extract and orange yogurt, or strawberry extract and strawberry yogurt, or almond extract and plain yogurt?….. The possibilities are endless, don’t you think?
1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 8-oz. container vanilla yogurt
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
Alternately beat in flour mixture and yogurt until just incorporated. Do not over mix. It’s okay if batter is still lumpy.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow to cool 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
I decided to try making petit fours for my Mother’s Day Tea Party this year. I found this Betty Crocker recipe, so armed with all the ingredients and my daughter, Bashful, by my side, we set to work. While I baked up the petit fours and got them glazed, Bashful set about rolling the gummy candies and cutting out adorable little flower and leaf shapes to place on top of each one. Don’t they look cute? I think she did an excellent job!
Petit Fours (pronounced peti fur) are a confectionery typically made of tiny little pound cakes or sponge cakes that are glazed and decorated. The name petit fours is French in origin and literally means “small oven.” They can be covered with fondant or coated with any flavor of frosting or glaze. Sometimes they’re filled with jam, chocolate, buttercream frosting, or whipped cream. Decorated with piped rosettes, hearts or ribbons, chocolate swirls, fondant flowers, dragees, nonpareils, or any tiny edible ornamentation, they make a sweet and elegant addition to a baby or bridal shower, afternoon tea, or dessert table.
It’s a lazy Sunday morning at Casa Catastrophe with nothing more pressing to do than get caught up on missed TV episodes, so my daughter, Bashful, and I decided to bake this coffee cake that we found in one of my old Pillsbury cookbooks. Not only did it taste delicious, but it looked lovely! Like something purchased from a fancy bakery. It was pretty easy to make, too. Don’t let the lengthy list of ingredients or instructions scare you. The hardest part to me was getting the crust evenly up the sides of the springform pan. But don’t worry about making it perfectly even. Ours was such a mess but it turned out looking great!
RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE
2¼ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter or margarine
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sour cream
1 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ cup raspberry preserves
½ cup sliced almonds
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Grease with shortening and flour bottom and sides of 9 or 10-inch springform pan.
In large bowl, mix flour and ¾ cup sugar.
With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.
To remaining crumb mixture in bowl, stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, almond extract and 1 egg until blended.
Spread batter about ¼-inch thick over bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan.
In small bowl, mix cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and 1 egg until blended.
Pour into batter-lined pan.
Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cream cheese mixture.
In another small bowl, mix reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds together.
Sprinkle over preserves.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown.
Prajitura Desteapta. Nope, it’s not a disease or some Amazonian jungle plant. It’s actually a Romanian custard cake. I had to bring dessert to my sister Helen’s house for dinner last night so I went searching through my recipe box for something to make. I wanted to bring something different. Maybe make something I hadn’t made in a long time. Lo and behold, I came across this recipe that was given to me years ago by my friend, Lyudmila.
According to Lyudmila, “Prajitura Desteapta” means “Smart Cake.” I guess they call it that because it’s super easy to make which is pretty smart in my book. The ingredients are all things you usually have in your fridge and pantry. While it’s baking, the cake separates into two layers – a thick, cake-like layer on the bottom and a softer custard layer on top. Lyudmila’s original recipe gave metric measurements for the ingredients. I’ve noted the American equivalents for those who want them. By the way, in America, this cake is called “Magic Cake” and it’s easy to understand why.
PRAJITURA DESTEAPTA (SMART CAKE)
250 gm butter or margarine (1 cup)
8 eggs, separated
300 gm sugar (1½ cups)
2 packets vanilla sugar (1 tsp. vanilla extract)
225 gm flour (2 cups)
1 liter warm milk (4 cups)
powdered sugar, for dusting on top
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9×13 rectangular pyrex baking dish.
Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.
In an extra large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add melted butter and vanilla and continue beating.
Beat in the sifted flour until well blended.
Slowly add milk, beating on low speed. Batter will be very thin and watery.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Carefully fold beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
Pour into prepared pyrex baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking!
Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to chill.
Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares and serve.
It’s better if your eggs are at room temperature when you start.
The butter should be melted but not hot. Make sure to cool it to room
temperature before using.
Vanilla sugar is a very popular baking ingredient in Europe. Dr. Oetker is a very
well-known brand, but unfortunately is not easy to find in the U.S. However, you
can easily substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar in this recipe.