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Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

Oohhhhhh look at that warm, sweet, gooey glaze!

Banana bread with espresso glaze...easy and delicious dessert or breakfast, warm and not too sweet, easy banana bread recipe

I’m not really into icings or glazes, but this espresso glaze takes something as simple as banana bread to a whole other level.  This banana bread is fairly straightforward, albeit with a little topping of crunchy turbinado sugar and a hint of cinnamon and espresso powder.  But add that glaze and you have a bona fide hit on your hands.

Banana bread with espresso glaze...easy and delicious dessert or breakfast, warm and not too sweet, easy banana bread recipe

What’s great about the recipe is that it can feel really special, or just be an everyday sort of thing.  I’m not hugely into banana bread, but I am hugely into this.  Seriously, what are you waiting for?  It can be in the oven in 15 minutes.  Go.  Go now. [Read more…]

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Birthday Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Every year (minus last year), I make myself a special birthday cake.  I try to pick something that’s really captured my imagination, that seems a bit fancy and more complex than I’d usually convince myself to tackle.  Something special.

This year, for reasons I can’t even quite explain to myself, I made a vanilla spice Coca-Cola cake with salted peanut frosting.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Frosting

Yes, you read that right.

It’s kind of conceptual…while I’m not a fan myself, boiled peanuts in Coke is considered a Southern delicacy.  Consider this the deconstructed cake version.  But without the weird texture issues.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-sliced

It was really a gameday decision.  I’d pored over my whole Pinterest dessert board and nothing was really jumping out at me.  But then I finally got it into my head that this vanilla spice Coke cake was going to be my base.  I’ve never had a traditional Coca-Cola cake, but my understanding is that it’s almost always chocolate.  When I ran across this recipe from Local Milk, I was intrigued…the way the flavor profile was described so beautifully, and as an interesting transition into fall,I decided it had to happen.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting

But the frosting that went along with it was just way too finicky for my exhausted and busy self to deal with.  I looked at tons of different recipes but nothing really felt right, until I saw this salted peanut frosting.  Since I love all things peanut butter, I was on board right away, and I thought that it would be a fun complement to the cake.  While this was a bit overly sweet for my tastes (or maybe that was because I also ate a gallon of queso, so I felt a bit ill), the flavor was bomb and the cake was insanely moist.

I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe down the road, and not just for a special occasion—the cake base itself (minus frosting the layers) was super easy and fast.  As you can tell, frosting cakes is not my particular skill set.

So happy birthday to me, and cut yourself a huge slice of cake and pour a Coke! [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…]

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice

But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead.  And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)

banana cake with caramel frosting sugar butter beat

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter).  But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake.  The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice2

This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake.  And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.

I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions.  This is a thing everyone does, yes?

Humor me… [Read more…]

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt

In general, puppy chow is at the top of the list of “foods I’m never, ever allowed to have in my house”.  Because I will eat it ALL—I love it.  But I think this specific recipe may literally be my favorite food in the world.  It is that good.  Life-changing, even.

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt

When I first saw this recipe on Food 52, I was obsessed, and couldn’t wait to try it out. The dark chocolate twist was right up my alley (I’m definitely dark vs. milk), and I knew the sea salt would add a perfect balance to what can sometimes be an overly sweet snack. I also made a few changes based on my own preferences…I decreased the amount of powdered sugar and increased the peanut butter (and the chocolate chips, a little) to tailor it to my exact tastes.

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt done

And I done good. Now *this* is what I call a Sunday night…

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt finished

I took this into work (okay fine, what I hadn’t already eaten the night before) and we devoured it in no time flat.  [Read more…]

Apple Pie Scones

I had other things I planned on posting this weekend, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe from you for a minute longer.  This recipe needs shared IMMEDIATELY.

Apple Pie Scones

I spent almost a week home with the family for Thanksgiving, and it involved a fair amount of cooking and baking.  Sabbath morning my mom asked what I’d like to make to go along with our awesome chili-cheese omelettes.  I needed something simple and fairly quick, since we were all starving, and scones felt like the simplest option.

apple pie scones wedges ready to bake closeup

I was really tempted by a cinnamon scone recipe I’ve been eyeing for months, but then this jumped at me.  I took a chance, and BOY, did I make the right choice?!

apple pie scones baked

The strangest thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t include any milk or buttermilk.  That made me nervous, and I was worried these would be dry or wouldn’t rise well, but I was totally wrong.  The shredded apples and the applesauce gave them all the moistness they needed, and the texture was perfect.  They’re pretty healthy as scones go, and have such a great flavor. [Read more…]

Dutch Baby (or German Pancake)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last! Things have been nuts with work, and some travel as well. While I haven’t cooked much, I actually have a backlog of recipes that I just haven’t been able to find the time to put together and post.

Dutch Baby

July has been a whirlwind. My mom came for a visit, which was great. We cooked an awesome dinner one night, but I also talked her into getting burgers, Thai, and Chinese takeout. Which was bomb. Then last week I was up in New York for work, then spent a long weekend in L.A. with a bestie hiking the Hollywood Hills and drinking copious quantities of wine. On top of insane work hours, what few minutes of free time I can squeeze out are taken up by the last stages of planning for our Scotland trip right now (!!).

Dutch Baby Pancake

But I realized last night that I’d never posted this dutch baby recipe, which is practically criminal. These things are awesome. These aren’t something I grew up with, but it was the recipe for apple pie german pancakes that gave me the idea. I had some leftover batter, and so I looked up what to do with it. I effectively made one of these, and have been hooked ever since. They’re easy, fast, incredibly versatile, and delish! [Read more…]

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.” ~ Marilyn Wann

That quote basically encapsulates my struggle right now. I love food. I don’t believe in diets, because I think that permanently denying yourself foods will just make you want them more. Plus, why take all the fun out of life?? But I am trying to be good most of the time right now. And looking at these pictures is pure torture, because I remember how GOOOOOOD these cinnamon rolls were.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

But I have a secret. I’m not really into cinnamon rolls. Except these cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are like if you just took the gooey center of the roll (the only good part) and made it ALL of the roll.

THESE CINNAMON ROLLS ARE EVERYTHING.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting done

People had raved about The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe, so when I decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls I knew I had to try these ones. I was scared, honestly. Cinnamon rolls look like so much work, and I’ve never thought they were worth the effort. Boy, was I wrong.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting cut2

These are 5-star levels of gooey, they’re sweet, they’re maple-y, the bread is moist and soft. Perfect. They’re perfect. And they were actually not that hard to make. Yes, there were a few steps, but they weren’t hard or even super time consuming. I just had to plan ahead in terms of starting them the night before, but otherwise they came together pretty easily.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting 2

How decadent are these cinnamon rolls?? Well, I polished off the last four (DON’T JUDGE.) the morning that I gave blood (so I could start eating healthy the next day, natch), and when my cholesterol results came back they were like 50 points higher than normal. It was insane. Granted, I’d also had like seven of them the day before. Still. Crazy. [Read more…]

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

Isn’t it great that breakfast means you can have all kinds of dessert-y things but it’s totally fine because it’s breakfast? Like, people would find you weird if you ate chocolate cake for breakfast, but coffee cake? Totally cool.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

This is one of those super-good-desserts-but-also-totally-appropriate-for-breakfast recipes. It’s adapted from an apple cake I made a while ago—I remember thinking at the time that I just HAD to try it with pears (one of my favorite fruits), but never got around to it. This winter break I found myself with several insanely juicy and fragrant Harry & David pears and knew right away what I must do with them.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze done

This cake really is the best of both worlds. It’s my kind of dessert—lightly sweet, hearty, a mix of warm and comforting flavors. But it’s also really quite healthy. I use white whole wheat flour entirely, which not only gives it lots of fiber but also a wonderful nutty flavor and great texture. It’s made with oil, I cut back on the sugar the original recipe calls for, and it’s full of fruit and nuts as well. As breakfast goes from time to time, you could do worse.

pear cake with honey glaze pears

Look at these guys…aren’t they gorgeous?! [Read more…]

Smitten Kitchen’s Whole Lemon Tart…Birthday Celebration Part 1

A few years ago I decided that, for my birthday, I’d make myself a dessert that’s just a little fancier than normal. Something I’ve been lusting after but required more time or effort than I’m typically willing to put into things. Since I don’t tend to like store-bought desserts that much, it was a way of making sure I got something I’d really like. And, boy, has it produced good results so far?! Two years ago I made these amazing vanilla almond cupcakes with peach jam filling, and last year I tried out Smitten Kitchen’s red wine chocolate cake.

Whole Lemon Tart

This year, since it’s a “technicolor” birthday (as my co-worker says), I decided that I didn’t have to pick between the two desserts I was eyeing. So this is part one of 30th birthdaypalooza, and Smitten Kitchen has once again done me a solid.

Whole Lemon Tart done

This lemon tart is absolutely jam-packed with flavor. While I love lemon things, I am often turned off by lemon flavor that’s cloying or fake tasting, which is always a danger. But this tart is so bright and fresh and in-your-face with its real lemonness. Lemon-ity?

whole lemon tart lemon slices

What’s also fascinating is that you throw the entire lemon into the filling (not whole, that would be weird…). I don’t know why that makes a huge difference, but it does. And while it looks like there are a million steps in the recipe below, it’s really not that difficult or time consuming. As long as you have time during a couple parts of the day (so you can make the tart crust and let it chill, then freeze a little, then bake), you’re golden. And the butter—oh, the butter! This tart is lemon-y, creamy, tangy, rich, custardy goodness. [Read more…]

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