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Lemon Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Frosting

I want to eat this cake all day, every day.  Lemon + raspberry is a match made in heaven.  Add those to a light, buttery cake and you’ve reached something truly sublime.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Jam Swirl & Raspberry Icing

When I first made this recipe, it was actually as lemon cupcakes with a raspberry frosting, for my friend Casey’s birthday.  But even as I was making it, I was mentally adapting it into a cake.  Because let’s face it, cupcakes are a pain in the rear.

Lemon Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Frosting

And then as I was making the cake, I had the idea of adding some jam swirled throughout.  1) Because I’m a huge fan of jam, and 2) because it does add a lovely moistness and complement to the lemon.

Jam is my jam.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Jam Swirl & Raspberry Icing

This dessert is perfect for the winter months, because it tastes of springtime and warm days and lemons are usually plentiful.  But it would be just as appropriate in summer for a light group dessert.  Basically this is a year-round winner.  YOU’RE WELCOME. [Read more…]

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A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group

I want to eat this all day, every day.

It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them.  Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake.  My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.

I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people.  Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had.  And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed.  It’s literally the best.

healthier-strawberry-shortcake-for-a-big-group-nessa

But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements.  And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.

I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything.  And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love.  You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of.  Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner! [Read more…]

Apricot Linzer Torte

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. And BOY, was I wrong about this.

Apricot Linzer Torte

See, for the past two or three years, basically every time I’ve gotten with my friend Shalya for dinner, the conversation has eventually turned to food (okay, fine, it’s on food 92.5% of the time), and every single time she’s begged me to make a linzer torte.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice

Every single time.  And I always told her she was a weirdo, because who is obsessed with linzer torte, but fine, yes, I’ll make a linzer torte if she comes to my house.  But that day finally came.  And it was glorious.

Apricot Linzer Torte closeup

See, in my (limited) experience, linzer torte is basically just a simple buttery pastry crust with some jam in it, and a lattice topping.  Something that’s fine adorning a bakery case somewhere, but not something that anyone ever really chooses.  Fine, and sturdy, but not setting the world on fire.  Which just goes to show, I have been eating the WRONG LINZER TORTE all my life.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice closeup

This linzer torte recipe is anything but “fine”.  The dough basically punches you in the face with a combination of spices so aromatic my house smelled like heaven.  Pair that moist, tender spiced crust up with slightly chunky apricot jam, and you have a simple and perfect match made in heaven. [Read more…]

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe.  These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting done

Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them.  I mean, it would be rude.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough.  I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting lemons

And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening.  The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late.  Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting finished

Right call.  The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate.  Even without the icing they’re perfection.  But the icing is a work of art itself.  Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.

In other words, you should make these TODAY. [Read more…]

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

So, I had this post all written and ready to publish, then it mysteriously disappeared. Like, hit save and *poof*—everything was gone. So you’ll have to take my word that it was probably the most interesting, witty piece of food writing known to man.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Or probably not. Guys, my brain is totally fried. Looooong hours, too much on my plate, getting ready for travel, not sleeping well. I know from experience that the way I’m living right now is a no-fail recipe for gaining weight (I have last fall to prove it). I’ve had absolutely no time or energy to cook, but I knew that if I didn’t make something I’d end up having a Farm Burger #4 chicken burger every day for lunch. Which…hello, 15 pounds.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad done

So this caught my eye a few weeks ago. I’m a sucker for chicken salad. All of it. All the kinds. But I tend to be lazy about making it, because it takes a number of ingredients and then I eat it so fast. Plus, it’s not always the healthiest.

lemon almond chicken salad green onions lemon

lemon almond chicken salad lemon zest

The ingredients for this chicken salad were super simple. And more importantly, healthy. I didn’t even cook my own chicken breasts. Just saute up cooked chicken with some spices, zest the lemon, slice the scallions, and you’re rockin’ and rollin’. It’s light and fresh and perfect for August in Georgia (and a healthy work lunch). [Read more…]

Persimmon Muffins with Lemon & Cardamom

I went on a roll this fall of trying new fruits and veggies that I’d never had before.  I tried acorn squash for the first time (definitely delish!), and then that same week saw these weird little orange tomato-like things in my grocery store and just had to grab one. Turns out it was a persimmon, specifically of the fuyu variety.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffin

So the next logical question was what to make. I browsed a ton of recipes, but most were salads, and I definitely didn’t want to go that route (boring). Then I found this somewhat odd-sounding muffin recipe and had to give it a try.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffins

I “healthied it up” by using half whole wheat flour and cutting down on the sugar just a little. The persimmons gave it a lovely sweetness, with the lemon giving it a tart complement. The overall texture of the muffins was pretty light but still hearty, due to the whole wheat flour. And, like most muffin recipes, they came together in a flash.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffins with Blackberry Honey

I ate one fresh out of the oven with blackberry honey from Croatia, and then took them to work for my breakfast for the next few days (with honey from New Zealand…I definitely have a honey souvenir addiction!). This is such an easy and versatile recipe that you could swap out the persimmons for many other fruits, and even swap in a different citrus zest to mix things up (orange would have been lovely here as well). [Read more…]

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

I actually made this about a month ago, but haven’t had a chance to bring its greatness to you yet. I love ricotta, and I love lemon, so this is a recipe tailor-made for me. First of all, it’s super easy—just blend everything together, throw it in a pan, and call it a day. But secondly, it can do double duty as both a breakfast and a dessert.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

This is the perfect antidote to holiday food excesses. It’s light and sweet and tart, so a great alternative to all of the heavy, rich desserts we’re usually consuming this time of year. It would be great to have on hand for company to just snack on whenever they want.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake slice

If I had any complaints about this recipe, they would probably be about the texture, which can be a little dry, but since it’s pound cake that’s really more the nature of the beast. It’s good on its own, but even better with some tea or coffee.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake Mini

I had some overflow batter, so I greased up a ramekin and baked little individual pound cakes. Next time I think I’d use a few more ramekins and do shallower mini cakes, or else it can get a little bread-y. [Read more…]

Grilled Zucchini with Lemon Salt

Last weekend my friend decided to come over for dinner kind of last-minute, to help me put my (so pretty!) new bed together later that night. I typically just order Thai food on Saturday nights, but wanted to cook dinner as a thank you. Sometimes my dinners get a little overambitious and exhausting, so he requested (and I concurred) that we should keep it simple. So I got a few salmon fillets and marinated them, and then decided to stick to a grilled theme with these beauties.

Grilled Zucchini with Lemon Salt

I’ve experimented with a number of grilled veggies, including zucchini a few times. However, this recipe has a unique element—lemon salt.

grilled zucchini with lemon salt lemon zest2

The bright, salty citrus combined with the smoky char marks on the zucchini really elevated this from average grilled zucchini to something that just felt special, while also being super easy.

Easy + fancy? I’m on board.

[Read more…]

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Yeah, I know, it’s weird.

We have regular zucchini bread. We have chocolate zucchini bread (seriously, it’s awesome!). But lemon? Color me intrigued…

lemon zucchini bread finished

My love affair with lemon is legendary and long-standing. But something about this recipe kind of weirded me out, so I kept passing over it and trying other things. Then I told myself to put my big girl panties on and give it a try.

lemon zucchini bread zucchini shredded

First, I had to shred zucchini, and anyone who knows me can tell you that I absolutely HATE shredding things—mostly because I usually end up shredding my fingers too. But I survived.

lemon zucchini bread lemon zest

And lemon zest is the best! It’s basically an excuse to make any recipe. I also decided to make this recipe a little healthier so it would be a good breakfast food (vs. a dessert), so I used way less glaze than the recipe called for. [Read more…]

Oat Brown Sugar Strawberry Shortcake…and Happy Birthday ‘Merica!

Happy 4th of July! Here in Atlanta, everyone will be swimming…and by swimming, I mean trying to avoid floating away in a flash flood, not hanging out poolside. I will hopefully be avoiding the worst of the rain down on the Gulf Coast, but we’ll see how that goes.

Oh, yeah, back to ‘Merica. You know, apple pie tends to get all the glory when it comes to “American desserts”. But for my money, nothing is more American than strawberry shortcake.

brown sugar oat strawberry shortcake finished

brown sugar oat strawberry shortcake strawberries

First of all, it’s got the colors working in its favor. I mean, just look at it. And it’s got the sweet/cold/creamy combination that apple pie just can’t match. There’s no question that my go-to summer dessert is strawberry shortcake. This one’s a little different, though.

brown sugar oat strawberry shortcake baked

And what makes it different is the oat flour. I happened across this recipe on A Cozy Kitchen and was immediately intrigued. The oat and brown sugar combo definitely sounded up my alley. I’d also never used oat flour, so I was curious about how it differed. It was kind of amazing actually, because it added this whole new, cool texture to the shortcakes. They were moist and fluffy when they shouldn’t have been (I mean, look how thin I accidentally cut them). They were moist and fluffy the next day, which everyone knows is death to biscuits. So I totally recommend going the extra mile and making the oat flour. It’s so easy, it’s not even an extra mile, really. Not even an extra kilometer. Extra few feet…?
[Read more…]

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