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.
Every peach season, I get excited by the abundance of peaches at my local farmers market and I end up buying way too many. So if you’re like me and you have ripe peaches sitting on your counter, turn them into peach purée. I love adding peach purée to my iced tea or adding it to desserts like this moist, tender cake. This is one of my most popular cake recipes on social media, and for good reason. It does not disappoint! To watch the TikTok video, click here.
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.)
Lavender and honey go so well together. Bees know it, fairies know it, princesses know it. The flavor combination is so delightful in these cookies, that I decided to share them with you. In addition to delicious, compatible flavors, these cookies have a divine texture combination. The shortbread cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Together with the silky, smooth honey buttercream, they’ll make you feel fancy and regal. You’ll hold your head up higher, ring for your tea and declare that you do indeed deserve fine things!
Some people are nervous about baking with lavender because they don’t want their baked goods to taste like soap or perfume. That can be a concern if the lavender flavor is too pronounced. However, if you don’t use enough you won’t be able to taste it at all. There’s a fine balance. If you use the right amount, it will taste pleasant and have sweet undertones. I used two teaspoons of culinary lavender in these cookies, but you can adjust the amount to your tastes. You can start out with one teaspoon, bake a small sample of dough and taste it, to customize the flavor.
Speaking of tasting, my grandmother always said, “taste as you go.” This is also helpful when making the honey buttercream. Typically, when making other flavors of buttercream, you add more powdered sugar if your buttercream is too thin. In this case, adding more powdered sugar can make the buttercream too sweet. Once you have added the amount of honey that tastes good to you, you can add a little cornstarch if you need to stiffen it up a bit.
We’ve all heard our parents telling their childhood stories of walking miles to school and suffering worse hardships than we ever had to. My mom used to tell me stories like that, but she had a sense of humor, so her stories were always fun to listen to. She used to tell me about her friend’s mother, who would make big, delicious oatmeal cookies. My mom would trade her baloney sandwich nearly every day to get one of those cookies from her friend. She reminisced about those cookies so much, that I set out to make her some when I learned to bake. She and my grandmother would taste test batch after batch of my cookies over the years. I have probably baked enough oatmeal cookies to circle the earth. Okay that’s an exaggeration, but seriously I have baked quite a few. Of all the oatmeal cookies I’ve baked, these are one of my favorites!
Most of the time when you see fruit added to an oatmeal cookie, it’s dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries. That’s mostly because if you just dump fruit into your cookie dough, the fruit releases water, leaving soggy spots in your cookies. To solve that issue, for this recipe, I macerate the blackberries before baking. The purple blackberry juice that’s released from the berries is used to make a beautiful lilac icing to drizzle over the cookies.
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.
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!
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.
If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate it. Most cookbook recipes were either too dry, too dense or too spongey. Some books have some velvety, butter based recipes that use the reverse creaming method, but they don’t have the moist, nostalgic texture I was looking for. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.
The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark or black cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake. The chocolate frosting recipe is one I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.
I think this frosting recipe is the one! it has the best of both worlds and is perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine.
To the indecisive German baker who invented marble cake, I thank you! Marble cake, sampler platters and tasting flights are the perfect solution for those times when you just can’t decide. Let’s take one more decision off the table. No longer will we have to decide between chocolate and strawberry cookies. These marble cookies are the best of both worlds. Chocolate and strawberry are opposites in many ways, but complement each other so well. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?
The dark chocolate cocoa powder gives these cookies a deep chocolate flavor. Freeze dried strawberries provide the sweet strawberry flavor and color. I crushed the strawberries with a mini food processor, but you can also use a mortar and pestle, a clean spice grinder or a sturdy plastic bag and a rolling pin. When you crush the 1 1/2 cups of freeze dried strawberries called for in the recipe, you’ll end up with about 1/3 cup of strawberry powder. To find freeze dried strawberries, click here.
This recipe makes about eighteen cookies but you can also make nine large cookies as seen on my recent TikTok video. Follow the instructions for large cookies. To view video, click here.
The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime is another thing the pandemic took from us. I’m not sure when I’ll ever feel safe sitting close to people in a theater for ballets, plays or movies. In the meantime, I can enjoy the music at home and share some Nutcracker inspired treats with you.
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.
Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?
These Apple Spice Cookies were one of my most popular cookies last fall so I decided to bring them back a little early this year. I’m definitely not the type of person to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes in 90º weather in the middle of August, but these are my favorite fall cookies ever so I wanted to give them a proper head start. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie and help you look forward to fall.
The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!
These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!
Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.