Tag Archives: fruit

Blueberry Crumb Cake… Fresh Baked Friday!

22 Jul

I’m a sucker for a crumb cake.  Any kind will do.

One of my first memories of Villanova is actually eating a piece of crumb cake with my mom at Holy Grounds, right before we took a tour.  And let’s just say that wasn’t the last piece of crumb cake I ate at Villanova.  Man, I miss that square piece of deliciousness.

And, yes, that is in fact the name of our on-campus coffee shop.  Get it?  Grounds has two meanings.  Boy, us Catholics sure can be cleaver.

Anyway, Mom and I went blueberry picking a couple of weeks ago and those little berries found their way into a delicious crumb cake.  This one is particularly great since it’s just slightly sweet.  And easy.  Super, super easy.

Perfect for breakfast.  Or a mid-morning snack.  Or dessert.  Your choice.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
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For the Cake…

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries

For the Crumble…

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, softened*

*I also bring my butter to room temperature when baking.  It helps the butter incorporate better.  For the crumble, you definitely don’t want to skip this step, otherwise you will have a hard time cutting it with the other ingredients.

Directions…

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prepare an 8×8 inch pan by either greasing it or lining it with parchment paper.

Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk.  Begin and end with the flour mixture.  Do not overbeat!

Fold in the berries and pour into the prepared pan.

Using a fork, mix together all the ingredients for the crumble.  Sprinkle over the top of the cake.  Don’t be skimpy… this is what makes a crumb cake a crumb cake.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.  

Enjoy!

Source:  {very} slightly adapted from Mommy Coddle

Baked Oatmeal

12 Jul

My mom eats oatmeal every morning.  You know, she’s one of those  people who can eat the same thing day in and day out.  For breakfast, her choice is oatmeal. 

    

Me?  Well, I’m more of a dabbler.  Some mornings I like toast.  Some mornings I want oatmeal.  Some mornings I crave cold cereal.  I know.  I’m simply wild and crazy. 

With school starting, I needed something I could easily take with me.  I came across this recipe and have to say – it’s the best of both world.  Mom gets oatmeal.  I get a breakfast that can easily be changed up from week to week.  

     

Plus, I still live on the edge.  I eat regular cereal on Fridays.

Baked Oatmeal
Makes 6 Servings

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2 cups fruit of your choice, more or less depending on taste*
3 cups Old Fashioned oats
1 ½ heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 cups milk
⅓ cup maple syrup (a bit more if you like your oatmeal sweeter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped (or preferred nut)

*I have used blueberries, strawberries, peaches and blackberries.  All have been excellent.  You can use fresh or frozen.

Directions…

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place the mason jars in a baking dish.  Divide the fruit between the bottoms of the six jars, reserving some fruit for the top.

Mix the oats, cinnamon and baking powder in a small bowl.  Divide between the jars, about ½ a cup per jar.

Mix the milk, maple syrup and vanilla together.  As evenly as possible, pour the mixture over the oats, letting it soak through to the bottom.  Top with the remainder of the fruit.  

Place in the oven and bake until the liquid is absorbed, tops are just browned but the oats are still a bit moist.  If you are eating immediately, this should take about 30 minutes.  If you are making ahead and plan to reheat, slightly under cook the oatmeal by 5 – 8 minutes (I find 22 minutes is usually perfect).

Top with chopped almonds and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Sprouted Kitchen, originally from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson

Strawberry Cake… Fresh Baked Friday!

8 Jul

Can you believe it?  I know.  FRESH BAKED FRIDAY!

Please, trust me when I say I’m trying.  I’ll get this balance thing down one of these days.  Until then… thanks for continuing to read.   And now on to the main event…

During our Charleston trip, we spent an afternoon learning to make low country cuisine at Charleston Cooks!, a great kitchen store that has a demo kitchen attached.  The meal included blackened fish, southern succotash and fresh strawberry cake.  Everything was shockingly simple and incredibly delicious.

Any guesses on which part of the meal excited me the most?  

Now, I love strawberries.  As long as they are fresh strawberries.  Strawberries baked in things?  Not so much (although I did love strawberry frosted donuts as a little girl… but that phase passed).

Needless to say, I was a bit skeptical.  Luckily, this cake was a deliciously happy surprise.

When I made the cake at home, I tweaked the recipe just a bit.  In both cases, the cake is delicate and moist, lightly sweet and kissed with a delicious strawberry taste.  Not too much, not too little.

Emily, the instructor of the class, said this was her favorite cake as a little girl.  After one bite, you’ll know why. 

Strawberry Cake
Printer Friendly Recipe

Cake Ingredients…
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon orange liqueur (strawberry liqueur is fine too or just omi)
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ cup sliced strawberries

Frosting Ingredients…
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 ounce cream cheese
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons strawberry preserves or jam (more or less to taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions…

Preheat oven to 325F.  Prepare a bundt pan by generously spraying with a non-stick spray or grease with butter and dust with flour.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, vanilla, orange liqueur and eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  

Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the sugar mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the strawberries.  Be sure to not over mix!

Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake until the cake springs back to the touch, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the cake sit for 15 minutes in the pan.  Turn the cake onto a cooling rack.  Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.  Cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine.  Add the vanilla and strawberry preserves and mix until desired consistency.  Spread on cooled cake and enjoy!

Source:  Charleston Cooks!

I Made a Cake

7 Jun

It’s no big deal.

Except that it was pretty.  And really delicious.  

So delicious, Aunt Gerry wanted to lick the plate.  And Mom ate a whole piece.  You know, despite not liking chocolate cake.  And Grandma didn’t share her second half with Granddad.  

Yes, people, it was so good, my family was starting to show their ugly sides.

Except for Cousin Pam.  Probably ‘cause the cake was for her birthday.  So she could eat however much she wanted. 

Dark chocolate cake.  Layers of whipped chocolate ganache.  Covered in a rich Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Drizzled in chocolate ganache.  Because a touch more chocolate was definitely needed.

I cut, I cooled, I smoothed.  I cooled again, I covered, I drizzled.  

The end result?  Worth every step. 

Psst… Interested in seeing the steps?  Take a look at Sweetapolita.  She gives an amazing step-by-step.

Flavor Focus: Banana Chocolate Chip

15 Sep

My mom LOVES bananas.  She eats one just about every day.  In fact, she fed me so many when I was little that I went on a banana hiatus from the age of twelve until seventeen.

I have, however, always eaten banana bread.  I love the moistness, the sweetness and the subtlety of the banana flavor.  And, quite honestly, when chocolate chips are added, there’s no stopping me!  And so you have the inspiration for my new Banana Chocolate Chip cupcake.

For the base, I went with traditional banana bread.  While I tweaked my normal banana bread recipe a bit to reduce the denseness (dense sweet bread = good; dense cupcake = not so good), I made sure to maintain the flavor and moistness.  I then added mini chocolate chips to ensure you got a little in each and every bite.

As for the frosting… well, what goes best with bananas and chocolate?  Peanut butter, of course!  So to top it all off is my peanut butter frosting.

Interestingly enough, my mom – a banana fanatic – does not typically like banana bread (I know, we defy all logic).  I didn’t even think she would taste this cupcake.  But as a supportive mother, she did and… LOVED them.  What more can I say?

Perfect pairing: circus party, Elvis tribute, after school surprise snack, picnic treat

Look What I Found!!!

12 Aug

Hope you didn’t miss Kristina’s Confections too much!

I just got back from a trip to Vermont to see my best friend (Jess) and her family (including my main man!!!).  It was an amazing week away – as it always is – filled with lots of fun Vermont things.

One of the highlights was picking our own berries at a local organic farm.  We made jam and canned the product for a sweet treat all winter long (and I do mean sweet… do you know how much sugar goes in jam?  I’ll spare you the shocking amount!).

Who knows, maybe one of these jams will find their way into a new cupcake…

One of the other highlights was our trip to King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont.  I have been using King Arthur Flour pretty much since the beginning of Kristina’s Confections.  I love the fact I can find it in bulk, I love the company story and, most importantly, I love the way it bakes.

I could have spent hours in The Baker’s Shop & Cafe looking at all the fun products – flours, sugars, whisks, aprons… and cookie cutters galore!

Look for some of these new shapes – turtle, frog, car, jersey, pig – in the coming weeks!

The Beginning – Part 2: ‘Tis the Cookout Season

30 Jul

My mom went to a cookout a few weeks after the birthday celebration and asked if I would make some cupcakes for her to take.  I didn’t just want to replicate the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, so I set out to find something unique for summer.

I found a peach cupcake with brown sugar frosting from Smitten Kitchen and it was settled.

The delicate cake, mixed with chunks of fresh peaches and topped with a just sweet enough buttercream was perfect for a summer cookout.  It was a huge hit, especially with the adults.  I didn’t know it at the time, but, with a few tweaks, my first seasonal flavor was born.

Testing the flavors and tweaking the frosting for this summer treat confirmed my ability to develop sweet flavors…


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