Seasonal Baking: Pear and Bluberrry Vanilla Cake with Honey Drizzle

I adapted this recipe from one I found on juliasalbum.com and it originally called for peaches. However, peaches are a stone fruit that aren’t in season until this summer. I substituted pears for peaches and it turned out wonderfully! The blueberry and pear worked great as complementary flavors, with the sugar and honey adding a subtle something extra. The cake itself was not very sweet, which went well with the fruit flavoring. This recipe yielded an impressive presentation for a minimal amount of effort and got rave reviews at the dinner party I brought it to. Try switching up the fruit to make your own unique and winning combination!

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Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 pears, sliced into wedges
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Precook the pears by peeling, segmenting into wedges (I cut them into eighths), and then sauteeing over medium high heat in butter and brown sugar (approx. 2 tablespoons of each). I sauteed the pears in the butter for approx. 2 minutes before adding the brown sugar. I then allowed the pears to cook for an additional 8 minutes (until they were soft enough to bite into but not completely cooked).
  2. Spread pears onto shallow pan to allow them to cool while you mix the cake ingredients.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Grease the side and the bottom of the pan with butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of a 9×3-inch springform pan (or 9 inch round cake pan) with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper too.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, together into a medium bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat butter, sugar, and 2 eggs until very light in color and fluffy, 2-3 minutes on high speed. Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and continue beating until very creamy and light in color, for about 1 more minute.
  6. Keeping the mixer speed low, mix in the flour mix until combined. Do not overmix.
  7. Transfer the cake batter to the springform pan. Top with sliced pears, and scatter blueberries evenly on top in the spaces between the pear slices. Sprinkle the fruit with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  8. Bake until cake turns golden, and the tester comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour, depending on your oven.
  9. When the cake is done baking, let it cool (still in the baking pan) on a wire rack. After cake has cooled for about 40 minutes, release the cake from the springform pan. At this point, if the cake is cool enough, you can slide your hand under the cake, between the parchment paper and the bottom portion of the springform pan and move the cake with the parchment paper attached to its bottom onto a cake plate easily.
  10. If using a 9 inch round cake pan, cook in pan for about 40 minutes or more (up to 1 hour, depending on your oven), then invert onto a plate.
  11. After cake has cooled and just before serving, dust some powdered sugar on top and drizzle with honey.

I recommend cooking the cake for approximately 40 minutes. I prefer my cakes dense and moist, and cannot stand when they come out dry! Happy baking. 🙂

xoxo

Sarah

The Yummiest Raspberry-Swirl Cheesecake You Ever Did Taste

Whatever you are doing right now, stop and get your baking mitts on.

I have a raspberry cheesecake recipe that will change your life. Okay, maybe that’s just a little bit dramatic for me to say, but it is really really tasty! I promise.

Classic and delicious, I made this for Christmas and (according to my family) now must prepare to recreate it EVERY Christmas for the rest of my life. Good thing I am not scared of commitment! Well, at least I’m not when it comes to desserts. Haha just kidding…mostly.

Why a raspberry cheesecake on Christmas you might ask? Well, when my step-sister was home for Thanksgiving she wasn’t sure she could/would come down for Christmas. She needed some convincing.

I knew bribery would solve her indecisiveness.

I told her I would make her anything in the whole wide world for dessert if she would promise to make the trip down to see us. She chose raspberry cheesecake.:) Done. Google and Martha Stewart came to my aide…and voila!…we had the yummiest raspberry-swirl cheesecake you ever did taste.

Raspberry-Swirl Cheesecake

Ingredients
  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Boiling water, for roasting pan

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.

2. Make sure you have a couple of trusty assistants who will diligently supervise and provide emotional support.

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3. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

4. Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside.

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5. Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used a large bowl and a hand mixer); mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.

6. Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.

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7. Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.

8. Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake.

I kept the raspberry sauce that remained after swirling, refrigerated it overnight along with the cheesecake, and drizzled it over the slices when serving. Yum.

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Writing this makes me want to go bake it again so I can eat it…all of it…

Want to see the original recipe? Find it here.

I hope that you all had an absolutely fabulous Holiday Season! Wishing you all the best for 2015!

xoxo

Sarah

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

While browsing recipes to try for Thanksgiving this year, I stumbled upon this delicious and simple marbled pumpkin cheesecake. I don’t know about you, but I have an intense love for cheesecake. Like, a have it as my wedding cake someday love for cheesecake.

As much as I love eating cheesecake, which is clearly a lot, I enjoy baking it even more. Have you ever seen Waitress? It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, and in it the main actress (Keri Russel) creates amazing pies. Her baking skills, independent attitude, and fortuitous friendship with an elderly man named Joe ultimately lead to her transformation as a successful business owner. I like to pretend I’m her when I’m trying out a new cheesecake creation. A girl can dream, right? Anyways, I digress. I found this pumpkin cheesecake recipe on Pinterest, and I knew it would be the perfect dessert to bring on Turkey Day.

It was cheesy. It was pumpkin-y. It was delicious. And the best part is that if you can mix stuff together, you are qualified to make this delicious dessert. I think it would work just as well at Christmas as it did at Thanksgiving. Happy baking!

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust

• 1¼ cup graham cracker crumbs

• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices (I substituted ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg)

• ¼ cup melted butter

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Filling

• 2 packages of 8oz cream cheese at room temperature

• 1/3 cup granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons heavy cream

• 1 egg

• 1 cup of pumpkin puree

• 1/3 cup brown sugar

• ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spices (I substituted a dash of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)

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Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with spices and melted butter. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.
  3. Refrigerate crust for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and heavy cream. Mix on low speed until fluffy.
  5. Add the egg. Blend well.
  6. Reserve and set aside 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Add the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices to the remaining cheese mixture.
  8. Blend well.
  9. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the chilled crust. Spread evenly.
  10. Using a spoon, drop dollops of the reserved cream cheese mixture onto the pumpkin cheesecake batter. Using a knife, make swirls to create a marbled effect.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the center is set.
  12. Turn the oven off, leave the door open and let the cheesecake cool for at least 1 hour.
  13. Refrigerate for a few hours before slicing.

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And ta-da! You have a yummy and festive holiday dessert! I adapted this recipe from the one found on roxanashomebaking.com. You can reference the original recipe here

xoxo

Sarah

*Top pic is also taken from roxanashomebaking.com. The rest are my own. 

Two Must-Try Recipes

If you remember my Halloween Bucketlist, one of my October goals was to make something spooky and delicious for the Halloween potluck at work! Baking is one of my favorite things to do, and getting back at it was so much fun!

For inspiration, my Pinterest perusing did not let me down. I found not one, but two!, dessert recipes to try and they were a huge success! I have shared the recipes below, and I hope that you all enjoy!


Halloween Oreo Cookie Bars

These were so easy to make, and tasted incredible!

Ingredients:
1 pkg. Halloween Oreos
Halloween Funfetti Cake Mix (15.25 oz.) (I used regular Funfetti mix because I couldn’t find the Halloween edition)
1 egg
1/4 c. oil (Canola or Vegetable)
1/4 c. milk


Cookies

First you line a greased baking dish with Oreos…

Batter

Then mix up the Funfetti Cake Mix, egg, oil and milk…

Prebake

Spread the batter evenly over the Oreos. Crush approximately 9 more Oreos and press them into the top of the batter and bake at 350°F for 20-25 mins.

Bars

And then…voila! you have scrumptious Halloween Oreo Cake Bars! (You can find the full recipe that I followed here.)


and then we have…

Reese’s Frankenstein Cupcakes

 

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These little guys were much more difficult, but also a lot more fun, to create!


Ingredients (adapted from original Reese’s Frankenstein Cupcake recipe found on Your Cup of Cake):

Chocolate Cake:
1 devil’s food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 C. oil
2/3 C. sour cream
1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Frosting:
1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
5-6 C. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Green food coloring
For Decorations:
Reese’s Cups (20)
White chocolate melts (1/3 Cup) (I used Nestle white chocolate chips for melting instead)
Chocolate M&M’s (40) (I used Reese’s Pieces since I couldn’t find chocolate M&Ms!)
Chocolate chips (40)
Chocolate sprinkles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a large bowl and add eggs, oil, sour creme, buttermilk and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
3. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 14-17 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
4. Let cool.
5. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. The continue to add in more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add more milk if it becomes too thick and add food coloring. I found that you needed a lot more powdered sugar than the recipe originally called for in order to get the frosting thick enough!
6. To Make Eyes: (see photos) Melt white chocolate melts, pour into a small bag to make a mini piping bag, pipe dime-sized circles onto wax paper then immediately place a brown Reese’s Pieces on top. Let set for a few minutes.
7. Pipe green frosting onto cupcakes and shape the frosting into Frank’s head. You can make it as square-shaped as you like! Place a Reese’s Cup on top, put eyes on and then chocolate chips as”bolts” and use the sprinkles to make a mouth!

Getting the frosting to the correct consistency was definitely the most challenging part of this recipe. I think they turned out well for my first try! I figured out that the key is adding more cream cheese and powdered sugar to make it thicker…

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 Frosting difficulties aside, they still turned out super cute and I had a lot of fun making them! Do you have any fun Halloween or fall recipes to share?

xoxo

Sarah