Grandma’s Apple Crumb Cake

Grandma's Apple Crumb Cake

I remember my grandma making coffee cakes and sweet muffins for breakfast, along with eggs, sausages, hot coffee and a big pitcher of milk on the table. The older generation really loved their coffee cakes. I’ve noticed that many Millennials and Gen Z’s think coffee cake contains coffee. Maybe some coffee cake does contain coffee, but in general, coffee cake is called that because it’s typically eaten with coffee. A classic coffee cake is usually a subtly sweet cake with cinnamon, crumb topping and maybe some icing. The Apple Crumb Cake recipe I’m sharing with you has the elements of a classic coffee cake, but so much better! The cake is fluffy and soft, the crumb topping is chunky and plentiful, and the apples are perfectly tender. And don’t get me started about the icing!

Why do most of our grandmothers cook and bake so well? Because they’ve had decades of trial and error to perfect their recipes, tweaking them here and there until they’re approved and loved by their families, neighbors and friends. This cake has had its share of trial and error. She has earned her place as a well-loved, delicious, beautiful queen of coffee cakes.

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Grandma's Apple Crumb Cake
Keyword apple, cake
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Apples
Crumb Topping
Cake
Keyword apple, cake
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Apples
Crumb Topping
Cake
Instructions
Apples
  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer apples to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Work in butter with your fingertips until mixture looks like wet sand. Press together to make 1/2-inch chunks.
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom*, or a 9-inch springform pan, with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of cake pan with aluminum foil and place pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat eggs and vanilla into butter mixture in three separate addition, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk milk and sour cream together.
  6. On low speed, mix flour mixture into batter in three separate additions, alternating with milk mixture. Beat just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Smooth top with a spatula.
  8. Drain any excess liquid from apples. Top cake batter evenly with apples, then topping mixture.
  9. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and continue cooling.
Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of cream. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Recipe Notes

*To find the cake pan I used, click here.

Sweet Cornbread Muffins

These soft, tender, fluffy, sweet cornbread muffins are my favorite version of cornbread ever! No hate to the crumbly, savory cornbread that some people prefer. Coincidentally, the latter has fans who leave the angriest comments on my cornbread posts. Maybe their cornbread is making them cranky. This cornbread recipe is delightful and would cheer up anyone, especially when it’s served warm and slathered with butter and honey. Positively divine.

I used a square muffin pan because it makes the muffins look absolutely adorable. The pan is also known as a brownie pan. The pan details are in the recipe notes. Feel fee to use a standard round muffin pan instead.

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Sweet Cornbread Muffins
Soft, tender, fluffy, sweet cornbread muffins
Keyword cornbread, muffins
Servings
square muffins
Ingredients
Keyword cornbread, muffins
Servings
square muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 12-serving square muffin pan, also known as a brownie pan.* (You can also use a traditional round muffin pan. The baking time may be a little shorter.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream, oil and butter until smooth.
  4. Add egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined. A few lumps are okay.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan, filling wells halfway full. (Fill 2/3 full if using a round muffin pan.)
  6. Bake until edges turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes. Do not over bake!
  7. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes them transfer muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
Recipe Notes

*I used a Fat Daddio's square muffin pan. It's available at kitchen stores and online.  If you can't find that one, Chefmade also makes a good one. The cavities on that one are a little smaller, so the baking time may be shorter. To find it, click here.

If you're using a dark colored pan, reduce your oven temperature to 325ºF

Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

This perfect pumpkin cake brings back so many memories. The tender, moist texture reminds me of the pumpkin cake bars I used to make in junior high. I got the treasured bar recipe from an old children’s cookbook. I lent the cookbook to a neighbor and never saw the book or the recipe again. Through trial and error, I came up with this cake, which I think is even better! It’s so delicious it doesn’t need frosting, but the classic pairing with cream cheese frosting takes it over the top.

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Pumpkin Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, pumpkin
Servings
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, pumpkin
Servings
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Pumpkin Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line the bottom of an *8-inch round cake pan with **parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin purée with an electric mixer, until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer, until creamy.
  2. Beat in vanilla extract and salt until well combined.
  3. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar.
  4. Beat in heavy cream a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Stir with a spatula to smooth out any bubbles.
Recipe Notes

*To find the cake pan I used, click here. **To find the parchment rounds I used, click here.

Pumpkin Pasties

Pumpkin Pasties

Even though there’s a heatwave where I live at the moment, I’m dreaming about all the delicious fall treats I’ll be baking this year. Let’s look forward to cool, crisp weather, the smell of pumpkin or apples baking, and sipping a warm mug of something spicy while we wait for our bakes to come out of the oven.

Inevitably, every fall, the Harry Potter movies come on at my house and it’s nice to have some popcorn and sweet treats to enjoy while watching the movies. And these Harry Potter Inspired Pumpkin Pasties are perfect for that! If you’ve read the Harry Potter books, you may remember the Pumpkin Pasties being mentioned. There are many interpretations out there, but I imagined them to be crispy and flaky on the outside with a sweet pumpkin filling. I included a delicious flaky pie crust recipe here, but feel free to use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. I sprinkled mine with raw turbinado sugar before baking which provides a sweet delicious crunch. You can also use maple sugar or sparkling sugar. To find the sugar I used, click here.

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Pumpkin Pasties
Harry Potter inspired sweet pumpkin filled hand pies
Course Dessert
Keyword pastry
Servings
hand pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Filling
Assembly
Course Dessert
Keyword pastry
Servings
hand pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Filling
Assembly
Instructions
Pie Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Work shortening into the flour mixture with your fingertips until evenly dispersed throughout.
  2. Work butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips, creating flat dime size pieces.
  3. Mix ice water and vinegar together. Sprinkle over flour mixture a little at a time, stirring until dough comes together. You may not need all of the water depending on your climate.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough briefly by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not overwork dough! Form dough into two discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.
Pumpkin Filling
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, sugar, egg, heavy cream, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 12 5-inch rounds, re-rolling scraps as needed. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheets.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on each round, leaving a half-inch border. Apply egg wash to edges of rounds.
  4. Fold dough over and press edges together. Crimp edges with a fork. If any filling oozes out, wipe it up with a paper towel or it will burn.
  5. Brush pasties with egg wash. Cut a half-inch slit into the top of each pastie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Herb Crust

Pot pies belong to everyone. They date back to ancient times and many cultures worldwide have various versions of savory pies. It’s a very popular comfort food dish here in the U.S. and many people already have a favorite recipe. The recipe I’m sharing here isn’t the only way to make a pot pie, but it’s one way to do it that happens to be delicious! I usually bake pot pies in a casserole dish, and you can certainly bake this one in a casserole dish if you want to. But I thought it would be nice to save a step and try baking one in a skillet. I love baking other things, such as cornbread, in a skillet so I had a feeling it would be good. I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Click here to find the skillet I used.

I had a ton of fresh herbs on hand, so they ended up in my pie crust on a whim. I was very pleased with the results. Feel free to switch up the herbs and use your favorites. Typically when you bake or roast something with fresh herbs, they tend to turn black and crispy. But don’t worry, they’ll be safely nestled inside the crust. And speaking of the crust, this one is tender and flaky due to my grandmother’s method of working the fat into the dough with your fingertips. You want to end up with flat dime size pieces throughout. A little vegetable shortening helps to add structure and flakiness and the butter makes it taste good. A touch of vinegar helps to inhibit gluten formation, so you’ll have a tender, flaky crust rather than a chewy one. And if you’re one of those people who tends to over work your dough, the vinegar can help with that. But please do yourself a favor and don’t over work your dough!!

Now I’m going to give you the best piece of cooking advice my grandmother ever gave me: Taste as you go! Taste everything as you are preparing it, not just when it’s done. So when you’re making your filling for this pot pie, add the herbs, salt, pepper and sage a little bit at a time until it tastes good to you.

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Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Herb Crust
Skillet chicken pot pie with fresh herbs baked into the crust
Course Main Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Herb Crust
Filling
Course Main Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Herb Crust
Filling
Instructions
Herb Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Work shortening into the flour mixture with your fingertips until evenly dispersed throughout.
  2. Work butter and herbs into the flour mixture with your fingertips, creating flat dime size pieces.
  3. Mix ice water and vinegar together. Sprinkle over flour mixture a little at a time, stirring until dough comes together. You may not need all of the water depending on your climate.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough briefly by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not over work dough! Form dough into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.
Filling
  1. In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and carrots until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour and cook one to two more minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Stir in chicken broth slowly. If your sauce seems lumpy, use a whisk and vigorously whisk until smooth. Simmer on low until thickened. Stir in heavy cream. Add herbs and seasonings to taste. Add a splash of chicken broth if your sauce seems too thick.
  3. Mix in chicken and peas. Remove form heat. Set aside until skillet is cool enough to handle.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a 10-inch round. Place dough over filling, tucking ends under and crimping with your fingers or with a fork. Brush pie with egg wash. Cut a 1-inch X in the center of pie to allow steam to escape.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cover edges of crust with strips of foil if they start to brown too fast.

Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing

Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing

I had pineapple smoothies two days in a row. There’s something so vibrant and refreshing about pineapple. It feels sunny and tropical. Should scones ever feel sunny and tropical? I’m going to say yes! Scones deserve a summer vacation too. They can take a break from tea parties and coffee shops and enjoy a little sunshine.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you experience your first bite of a scone with a burst of pineapple flavor. I immediately thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” There are probably other pineapple scones out there in the universe, but they’re definitely not well known, like the very popular blueberry scone for example. I’m going to go so far as to say, pineapple scones are better than blueberry scones. There, I said it. (And this is coming from a person who loves blueberries.)

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Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Pineapple Scones
Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Pineapple Scones
Cream Cheese Icing
Instructions
Pineapple Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Work butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or with a pastry blender until pea size chunks form.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together heavy cream, pineapple juice and vanilla.
  5. Stir heavy cream mixture into flour and butter mixture until a shaggy dough is formed.
  6. Fold in pineapple.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly, by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not overwork dough.
  8. Pat or roll dough into a 7-inch round. Cut dough into 8 wedges.
  9. Place scones about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Brush scones with egg wash.
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 18-22 minutes.
  11. Transfer scones to a cooling rack to cool completely. Drizzle with icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar and pineapple juice. Whisk until smooth.

Lemon Scones

Lemon Scones

Yellow is the color of happiness and sunshine. These adorable Lemon Scones will bring you a burst of lemony brightness even on the grayest day. The pretty, vibrant yellow sparkling sugar adds a pleasant crunch to the tops. It’s a nice contrast to the soft, tender interior of the scones. These little gems would shine on any breakfast or brunch table. I served them with blueberry jam and green tea, which was so delightful, I’m still smiling.

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Lemon Scones
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword lemon, scones
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Lemon Scones
Icing
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword lemon, scones
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Lemon Scones
Icing
Instructions
Lemon Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Work butter and lemon zest into the flour mixture with your fingers or with a pastry blender until pea size chunks form.
  4. Stir in heavy cream and lemon juice until a shaggy dough is formed. If your dough seems too dry, you can add 1-2 more tablespoons of heavy cream.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly, by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not overwork dough.
  6. Pat or roll dough into an 8-inch round, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut out rounds using a 2" or 2 1/4" inch round cutter.**
  7. Place scones about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush scones with heavy cream. Sprinkle generously with sparkling sugar.
  8. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 16-19 minutes.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack. Decorate with icing.
Icing
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream and enough lemon juice to form a stiff icing.
  2. Transfer icing to a piping bag or a plastic zip bag. Snip off the tip of the bag. Pipe lines in a spoke pattern onto the scones.
Recipe Notes

*To find the sparkling sugar I used, click here.

**To find the cutter I used, click here.

Brioche Cinnamon Buns

Brioche Cinnamon Buns

I can honestly say that cinnamon buns are one of my favorite foods ever!!! Yes, this statement required three exclamation points. Bring on the cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon twists. I love them all. I’m especially fond of this recipe because it never disappoints. The brioche dough is soft, fluffy and easy to work with. I love that it contains cornstarch, which is a decades old secret to tender dough. I chose this recipe to share with you because you’ll have a very high chance of success with it. Yeast can be moody, but she’s always in a good mood when I make these buns.

I topped these cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, but you can top them with fruit, nuts, honey or a simple vanilla glaze instead. They’re amazing topped with peaches and cream too.

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Brioche Cinnamon Buns
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Instructions
Brioche Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk warm milk and yeast together. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt on low speed until combined.
  3. Keeping mixer at low speed, gradually add milk mixture. Continue mixing on low until dough comes together.
  4. Increase speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding more.
  5. Continue mixing on medium speed until dough is smooth and stretches easily, about 10 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
Assembly and Baking
  1. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12"x 16" rectangle.
  4. Spread softened butter evenly onto dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over butter.
  5. Starting at a long end, roll dough tightly into a log. Trim off 1/2 inch of uneven ends.
  6. With seam side down, slice log into 12 equal sections or 9 equal sections for large buns. Place rolls in prepared baking pan.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Heat oven to 350ºF. Remove plastic wrap. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool 20 minutes. Top with cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. Beat in milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Recipe Notes

*To find the yeast I used, click here.

**To find the cinnamon I used, click here.

***To find the vanilla bean paste I used, click here.

To find the baking pan I used, click here.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies by Brownie Mischief
Click here to watch the video.

Crinkle cookies, also known as crackle cookies, have been around for a very long time. The pretty, crispy, cracked exterior and the soft, moist interior are what we love about them! There’s definitely no shortage of recipes for crinkles out there, everything from chocolate to red velvet. I noticed a new wave of interest in lemon crinkles on social media. I even saw an audacious cookie company selling lemon crinkles for twelve dollars each, more money than it will cost for this entire batch! So many of the recipes I tried were disappointing, especially the ones made with cake mix. So I created my own version and I’m sharing it with you. Here’s to making sure delicious lemon crinkle cookies are available for all to enjoy, not just a select few.

This recipe requires a bit of chilling, which I know many people don’t like because they’re impatient. I happen to be one of those people. Old fashioned crinkle cookies require about 3 hours of chilling. My recipe has the addition of cornstarch, which helps prevent spreading and allows for a shorter chilling time. As an added bonus, cornstarch makes the cookies more tender. Win win!

Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice in these cookies is crucial to the best lemon flavor. A bit of pure lemon extract is added to enhance that flavor. Don’t be tempted to use imitation extracts. The flavor will disappoint you. I added two drops of lemon yellow food color, which made them so pretty they look like pure sunshine!

Print Recipe
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon cookies with a crackled, crispy exterior and a soft, tender interior
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in egg until well combined.
  4. Mix in lemon juice and extracts until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Add food color, if using, and stir to combine.
  7. Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes to one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll cookies into balls, about 2 tablespoons each. **I used a #30 cookie scoop.
  10. Roll balls dough balls generously in powdered sugar.
  11. Place two inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for one minute then transfer to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

*To find Americolor lemon yellow gel food color, click here.

**To find a #30 cookie scoop, click here.

To find the striped wax paper pictured above, click here.

 

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.

Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I decided to skip that step since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.

I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.

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Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes
Soft, fluffy mini white vanilla cakes with lilac syrup and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with lilac blossoms
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Lilac Syrup
  1. Combine lilac blossoms, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow lilac blossoms to steep for 2 hours. Pass lilac syrup through a mesh sieve.
White Vanilla Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. On medium speed, beat in egg whites in two additions, then beat in egg until well combined.
  5. On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture, then beat in sour cream just until combined.
  6. Beat in the remaining flour in two additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-33 minutes, or until top is light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.
  9. Cut cakes into twelve 2 3/4-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush mini cakes generously with lilac syrup or vanilla simple syrup.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing butter to fully incorporate before adding more. If mixture looks curdled, keep mixing and it will correct itself.
  5. Switch to a paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla bean paste and salt. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
  6. Remove about 3/4 cup of frosting and transfer to a small bowl. Using a toothpick, place two tiny drops of lilac gel food color and one tiny drop of violet gel food color into the bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Smear a bit of frosting on each mini cake board. Top with a cake round, frosting, then a second cake round. Frost with a crumb coat if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost mini cakes with white Swiss meringue buttercream, then smear small amounts of lilac Swiss meringue buttercream around the sides and top. Smooth frosting with a bench scraper and smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Decorate with lilac blossoms.
Vanilla Simple Syrup (optional)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
Recipe Notes

*If you can't find ultra fine granulated sugar, it's ok to substitute with regular granulated sugar.

**To find the lilac gel food color I used, click here.

***To find the violet gel food color I used, click here.

****To find 3-inch mini cake boards, click here.

Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles

Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles

Hear me out. Imagine you’re in a beautiful room, reclining on a plush velvet chaise lounge. There’s a dainty table nearby. On the table is a cake pedestal with a little pyramid of small, perfectly plump, pink pastries. They’re filled with sweet, luscious strawberry cream. And they’re all yours. This Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles recipe can make that dream come true. Maybe not the velvet chaise lounge, but really any comfortable chair will do while you indulge in these delicious little gems. Profiteroles have a way of making you feel regal and indulgent. I think princesses and princes snack on them. Most of us don’t have a personal pastry chef or the budget to order from French bakeries every day, but we can certainly follow a recipe and make one of the easiest pastry doughs there is. Choux pastry or pate à choux is used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, eclairs, churros and other pastries. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

This recipe features fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will work too. You can also substitute raspberries or peaches. To find the recipe for Peaches & Cream Profiteroles, click here. The strawberry purée can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To make it easy on myself, I like to make the strawberry purée on day one, the pastry cream on day two, then make the profiteroles and strawberry icing and assemble on day three. It’s also helpful to practice the French culinary style of prep, mise en place, which means to have all of your ingredients and equipment in place before you begin. Everything will go much smoother and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Print Recipe
Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles
Bite sized choux pastry puffs filled with fresh strawberries and cream filling and topped with fresh strawberry icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Instructions
Strawberry Purée
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor. Strain puréed strawberries through a sieve.
  2. Transfer strawberry purée to a small saucepan. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until strawberry purée is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberry extract. Set aside to cool completey.
Strawberries and Cream Filling
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
  3. When milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour mixture through a sieve placed over a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
  7. Set aside 2 tablespoons of strawberry purée. Add remaining strawberry purée to cooled pastry cream and stir to combine. Cover strawberry pastry cream and chill in refrigerator.
  8. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with an electric mixer at high speed. Fold whipped cream into cooled strawberry pastry cream. Set aside in refrigerator.
Profiteroles
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper,
  2. Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball.
  4. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until steam dissipates and mixture cools to lukewarm.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl.
  6. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. (I used *Ateco tip 808)
  7. Pipe 1 1/4-inch mounds, about 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Smooth tops with a wet finger.
  8. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down the oven heat to 350ºF and continue baking until golden brown, about 8-10 more minutes. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick a small hole in each profiterole to allow steam to escape. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Use the tip of a paring knife to make a pilot hole in the bottom of each profiterole.
  10. Place strawberries and cream filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. (I used **Wilton tip 12)
  11. Place tip into the pilot holes and fill each profiterole with filling.
Strawberry Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all icing ingredients together until smooth. Spoon over filled profiteroles. Refrigerate profiteroles until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

*To find Ateco tip 808 click here.

**To find Wilton tip 12 click here.

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

These Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts have three individual components, which, when combined together, are absolutely delicious. I experimented with each separate component of this recipe until I perfected them individually. The tart crust is flaky and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling. The filling is just sweet enough for my sweet tooth and the whipped cream has just enough Earl Grey flavor.

This recipe makes enough whipped cream to cover the entire tops of the tarts or you can be like me and try to be artistic and avant-garde with your whipped cream. To make the Earl Grey infused whipped cream, use your favorite Earl Grey tea, whether it’s loose leaf tea or a teabag. We don’t discriminate here. All forms of tea are welcome! I do have a favorite Earl Grey tea. If you want to check it out, click here. The tea will make your whipped cream a dull pale yellow. This issue is purely aesthetic. I added a tiny bit of violet gel food color which brightens the whipped cream. You can add more if you want a lavender shade.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk, with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea sized pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans
  7. Dock the bottoms of tart crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
Blueberry Filling
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup blueberries. Combine the remaining 3 cups blueberries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer over low heat until blueberries are softened and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of blueberries during the last minute of cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
  1. Combine heavy cream and tea in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat just until bubbles form around the edges.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
  4. Pass through a sieve to strain out tea leaves or remove tea bag if using.
  5. Cover surface with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.
  6. Transfer chilled cream to a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until thickened.
  7. Add powdered sugar and food color in separate additions and continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.