Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake in the Party Bundt

Monday, December 21, 2015

Vanilla Bundt with Strawberries
Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze and Strawberries

I should just call this post, "THE PARTY BUNDT IS AN INSTANT PARTY." NordicWare brought back the Party Bundt. I didn't even know about this awesome bundt pan until my friend East Coast Mary aka ECM (yes, I'm West Coast Mary) sent me a link. When I said, "OMG. This is the greatest!!!" Then, being the sweetheart she is, she promptly wrote back, "Don't get it!"

Luckily, my birthday is in December and so is Christmas! Thanks so much ECM for my December Birthmas gift of the Party Bundt. I will use it all the time and think of you!

When your friends are totally cool when you say you'll bring dessert but there will be a piece missing from the cake. My new @nordicwareusa Party Bundt is perfect for a party! I'll post the Vanilla Bundt with Strawberries to the blog soon! #ilikebigbundts
Look at those humps! It makes it so easy to cut perfect sized slices!

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries

I received the pan and knew I had to use it for an upcoming dinner party. When I asked my friends for their favorite desserts, they both said Vanilla. Thus, the Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze and Strawberries by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito that appeared in Bon Appetit! I made this Bundt during I Like Big Bundts celebration, and it was time to make it again.

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries
OMG. Look all those humps. Those lovely bundt cake humps! Whenever I bring a Bundt to work, I precut it into many slices (moderation and all that). But you have to cut in-between the humps of a regular bundt pan...but with this Party Bundt, everyone gets a hump (be careful not to say "Gets To..." instead of "Gets A...").

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries
This recipe is called Vanilla Bean Bundt...but I didn't have any Vanilla Beans. Besides, they are so expensive. So I used the next best thing: Vanilla PASTE. It has all the micro vanilla bean seeds and it is much more economical. Look for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 4-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste at your local cooking store or Amazon.

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries
This cake has a nice crumb. It's hardy enough to take strawberries...and a side of ice cream if you wish. It keeps for a few days too...if it lasts that long.

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberries
I Like Big Bundts with Lots of Humps! :)

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze and Strawberries
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon bourbon and 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with the seeds removed)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Glaze
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons (or more) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)

Strawberries Topping
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare the bundt pan (I use    spray)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (5 minutes or so).
4. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating until combined after each edition.
5. Add vanilla paste.
6. Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the buttermilk until just blended.
7. Pour batter into pan and smooth out the top.
8. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes (recipe calls for 55 minutes, but mine only took 45 minutes).
9. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes and then invert on the rack and cool completely before applying glaze.

1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl. If it's too thick, add a little more milk.
2. Drizzle over cooled cake. Let stand for 15 minutes before eating.

Toss strawberries and sugar in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until juices form, tossing occasionally, 20-30 minutes. Serve with the cake and enjoy!

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Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps

Jazz up your cookies with these Nordic Ware Geo Cookie Stamps!

I'm not much of a decorator and don't have a passion to decorate my cookies or cakes. Hence, my love of the ultra easy Bundt cake! Well, Nordic Ware has created a great way to easily decorate cookies with these awesome Geo Cookie Stamps and they sent me a set to try!

Nordic Ware Cookie StampsMaking these cookies is almost too easy. Make the dough, chill, roll out golf ball size balls...and press! These were made with a brown sugar, sugar cookie dough.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
It's important to place these on an ungreased cookie sheet! I'm so accustomed to laying out a piece of parchment (I buy it in cases of 1,000 sheets so I have lots of parchment on hand) that I tried it with parchment. Well, believe me when I say that wasn't the best idea as I had to peel the dough off the cookie stamp. When I tried it without the parchment, it worked like a charm! The cookie stuck to the pan so I could easily peel off the cookie stamp.

Nordic Ware sent me this Big Sheet baking tray too. If your oven is wide, this will make baking much easier as it fits more cookies! Professional made aluminum pans are the way to go when baking cookies, and these baking sheets give you evenly browned cookies.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
The cookie stamps are made with heavy cast aluminum and have wooden handles. Aren't they pretty?! You should lightly grease, oil with a brush, or spray the cookie stamp before starting to press. I gave them a quick spray with baking spray.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
I can see kids having a really good time making these cookies with the family. You could make a batch of peanut butter and sugar cookie doughs and let them go to town. I put a few sprinkles on some of the cookies, and left some plain. The design on the stamps are just so pretty that leaving them plain really showed off the ridges.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
These are the Geo Cookie Stamps set of three. Nordic Ware also sells the All Season Cookie Stamp set and the Holiday Cookie Stamp set. I've seen the Holiday set for sale at Target too. I imagine those make very festive cookies without having to break out to royal icing. Win!

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
You can decorate the cookies with sprinkles, colorful nonpareils, colored sugar, or silver dragees (dragees aren't sold in California...friends from the East Coast ship them to me).

Brown Sugar Cookies with Nordic Ware Cookie Stamps
Thanks Nordic Ware Nordic Ware for sending me these Cookie Stamps! They make decorating cookies super easy. I'm looking forward to making peanut butter cookies - forget the boring fork cross-hatch, these will look so much better!

Recipe: Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) butter at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 cup (372 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Sprinkles, colored sugar, or other decorations

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
5. When you are ready to bake...
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Make golf ball size balls of dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Stamp with the Nordic Ware Cookie Stamp. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
9. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack.

Disclosure: The family-owned Nordic Ware company, located in Minneapolis, provided me with the Cookie Stamps and Baking Sheet. Opinions about the products are my own. And, as you know by my Bundt pan obsession, I mean collection, I'm a super fan of Nordic Ware!
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt - Get ready for National Bundt Day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake


Just a quick post to tell you to grab your favorite Bundt pan! It's National Bundt Day on November 15th. You know me, I Like Big Bundts and I Cannot Lie!

Here's the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake that I adapted from Love & Olive Oil's blog. If you want more ideas of what to bake, check out my I Like Big Bundts page for inspiration.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I was out of milk so I used evaporated milk. Also, I used Pumpkin Pie Spice rather than cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves spices.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil (Original Recipe)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe's)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup evaporated milk (original recipe called for 1/2 cup whole milk but I didn't have any in the house at the time)
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Ganache Topping:
6 ounces (3/4 cup) heavy cream
6 ounces chocolate chips

Directions for Bundt Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray or butter and flour.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
3. In a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well.
5. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Beat well. It may look curdled, don't worry.
6. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of milk.
7. Fold in chocolate chips.
8. Spoon batter into Bundt pan and smooth out. Baked 45-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes and then invert to cool completely.
10. When completely cooled, glaze with ganache.

Directions for Ganache:
1. Heat heavy cream until it barely simmers.
2. Pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.
3. With a whisk, slowly mix together until everything is melted and smooth.
4. Let sit until pourable or spreadable consistency (depending on how you like your glaze) and spread on the cooled Bundt.

Some of my favorite Bundt pans:

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Apple Raspberry Crisp from Bon Appetit

Monday, November 2, 2015

Apple Raspberry Crisp from Bon Appetit

Apple Raspberry Crisp

I made this in April. It's now November. And I'm finally posting it. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.

But now it's perfect for fall!

Apple Raspberry Crisp from Bon Appetit
This is sooooo easy to make. I just love crisps warm from the oven. Sooo delicious. I brought this to a morning meeting at work.

Apple Raspberry Crisp from Bon Appetit
I got a lot of liquid at the bottom of this crisp. There is 1 Tablespoon of flour in the fruit; when I make it again, I think I'll increase the flour just a bit if I'm using frozen raspberries again. Or, I will thaw the raspberries and drain the juice. A couple of reviewers on Epicurious got a lot of liquid too.

Apple Raspberry Crisp from Bon Appetit

Apple Raspberry Crisp 
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Fruit Mixture:
1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5 large), peeled, quartered, cored (recipe calls for them to be thinly sliced, but I diced mine into cubes)
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries (unthawed) (I used Trader Joe's) (next time, I think I might thaw the raspberries and drain some of the liquid)

1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Fruit Mixture: Mix the 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon flour in a large bowl. Add the apple slices and raspberries and toss them in the flour. Put fruit in a greased 8 x 8-inch baking dish (my dish was a bit bigger).
3. Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and flour). Add chilled butter and rub in with fingertips until moist clumps form. Sprinkle topping over filling.
4. Bake until apples are tender and topping is golden brown and set, 1 hour or so. Cool at least 20 minutes before eating. Eat warm or room temperature.
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Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling!
Happy Halloween!

Here's a muffin that fits in with the season! (Unless you are in Los Angeles right now and experiencing huge Santa Ana winds and lots of heat).

Cidney the Girl Dog is going to be a Bumble Bee. Yes, there is even a little video. Yes, I'm obsessed. But let's move onto the muffin.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
This muffin has pumpkin.
This muffin has cream cheese.
This muffin has a streusel topping.

What's not to love?
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
The muffin was moist, but I think I can get away with a smidgen less oil. Next time I'll try that and let you know.

These were really loved at my should treat your co-workers to some!

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
Recipe from (Julia Dowling Rutland, Coastal Living, April 2013)

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (one block)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, cold

1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (original recipe: 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk (I used low-fat milk)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prep muffin tins with paper liners - this recipe makes 24 muffins.
2. Cream cheese filling: Mix together cream cheese, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Streusel topping: Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter until large crumbs form. Place in refrigerator until needed.
4. Muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, oil, and milk. Fold egg/pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until just moist. Don't overmix!
5. Spoon batter muffin pan, 1/2 way to top. Dollop about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture in center of batter (I used a small cookie scoop), and top evenly with remaining batter until muffin is 3/4 full. Sprinkle top with streusel mixture.
6. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.
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Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins 
Pumpkin Muffins

It's Fall.
It actually rained in Los Angeles today!
Of course, we are expecting it to be 95 degrees on Saturday.

But the calendar says "Fall" so I'm diving into pumpkin 24/7.

How have you been? I think this blog is still turned on. I've been really busy lately and had some losses - don't worry, not deaths. My best friend moved 3,000 miles away and my boss of 9 years left for another library system. Very sad times. Oh, and it was 1000000000 degrees in Los Angeles for weeks so I didn't want to turn on the stove to experiment and try new recipes. I was still baking some mornings...but many of the same items I can make in my sleep - scones, brownies, cookies and Texas Sheet Cake.

Pumpkin Muffins
Last week, on October 1st, it was the start of my pumpkin season. Here are some super easy pumpkin muffins via Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine. It's an easy pumpkin muffin with a light dusting of cinnamon/sugar.

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/3 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place 12 cupcake liners (or spray with baking spray) in a muffin tin.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie pie.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Don't overmix!
6. Dish batter into muffin tin.
7. Mix together the topping ingredients: sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over each muffin - you'll probably have leftover, I didn't use it all.
8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Muffins
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Fresh Peach Crisp for Two

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fresh Peach Crisp for Two
Fresh Peach Crisp for Two

It's Sunday so that means I'm at my parent's house for #breakfastwithdad. My mom heads to church and I hang out with my Dad. We have breakfast, Dad walks with his walker, physical therapy exercises and then a whirl in the wheelchair with me pushing and Cidney the Girl Dog strolling with us through the 'hood.

This morning, I made a Peach Crisp for Two. My parent's kitchen lacks many baking supplies (probably because I took all of them when I moved out more than 20 years ago!) If I do bake at my folks, I often measure things out at my house and then assemble and bake at their house. But this morning I was tired and late so I made it at their house with a single measuring cup. So, the measurements aren't perfect!

This has Peach (Fruit) and Oatmeal (Fiber) so it's totallllly a breakfast food! :) I can eat crisps all day long.

Fresh Peach Crisp for Two
I'm sad that summer is coming to an end. Fewer stone fruits in the Farmer's Market... so until the last peach is picked, make fresh peach crisps!

Peach Crisp for Two

Fruit mixture:
2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
Couple dashes of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal (I used old fashioned oatmeal)
1/3 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix together the fruit, sugar, flour and sugar in a small bowl. Place mixture in two ramekins.
3. Using your fingers or a fork, cut the butter into the topping ingredients until it is crumbly and holds together slightly when squeezed.
4. Divide topping on top of fruit mixture.
5. Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your ramekins), until the fruit is bubbling.

My dad and I split one of these for breakfast and I'll leave the other one for my mom and dad's dessert tonight!
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Peach Buttermilk Cake

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Peach Buttermilk Cake

When you have buttermilk...
When you have peaches or stone fruit...
Then make cake!

One morning (I wake up at 4 am if I'm going to bake...and there is very little planning or thought process at that time), I looked in the refrig with my iPad in hand and saw that I had buttermilk and some peaches on the counter. Some searches on what my father's calls the "magic machine," and I came across this buttermilk cake recipe on Bowen Appetit blog!

It's super simple - basic cake mixture topped with cut fruit. Yum! I brought this to a meeting at work and we ate the whole cake before 9 am. (Yes, my work and meeting start early!)

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Make a basic flour, butter, and egg batter, and top with diced fruit. 

Hope you are having a good summer! I think Target put out the Back-to-School stuff on July 5th - what happened to summer vacay?! I must admit I get a bit jealous of all those new school supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks and erasers. I believe I somehow earned a trip for myself to Muji USA for my favorite supplies of paper and pencils!

Sorry for the sad photos - but I'm sure you get it. These photos from my Samsung 6 phone...My DSLR camera is very sad. One of my lenses stopped working...eeck!

Peach Buttermilk Cake

Recipe adapted from Bowen Appetit Blog, June 28, 2011

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Be sure to read the original recipe for "Buttermilk Anything Cake" to see other ideas (different fruits, flavoring, and lots of good tips). Here is what I used and did:

1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced peaches
Sanding sugar or Raw sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare an 8" round cake pan (I use a parchment circle and spray with Bak-Klene baking spray).
2. In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and sugar until fluffy (a few minutes).
3. Add egg and mix to combine.
4. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
5. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
6. With the mixer on low speed, alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Don't can blend the last of the flour with a rubber spatula if you wish.
7. Pour batter into pan. With an offset spatula, spread out the batter in the pan.
8. Top with your diced fruit.
9. Sprinkle with sanding sugar or raw sugar. (Original recipe calls for granulated sugar so you can use that too).
10. Bake for 20-35 minutes - It really depends on the type of fruit and size pan you are using. Start checking at 20 minutes and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
11. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack.
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4th of July Jello and Cookie Treats

Monday, June 29, 2015

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Happy Almost Independence Day! Here are some 4th of July worthy treats:

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Recipe and Instructions: 4th of July Jello

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

Recipe and Instructions: Spreads Cookies

Happy Birthday America!
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Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Whole Milk Ricotta
Melted Butter

All these combine into one incredible cake. It has a rich flavor, but not heavy. It is really, really good.

You should make this. Serious. Really. How do I know? Well, I made this at 4 am this morning, then brought it into work. I share treats with my office mates first, then put it out for the rest of the staff. This morning, the guys got their piece and within 15 minutes my co-worker asks, "How long do I have to leave it out there for the others until I can get a second piece?" We agreed that an hour was good enough (you snooze, you lose) and 62 minutes later, he got the last piece left on the cake stand! 

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
This is a super easy, two bowls, no Kitchenaid cake. You always need to have some no Kitchenaid recipes in your recipe box. And sometimes you buy the large Raspberry container at Costco and have a few raspberries to use up.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
It's super easy. The wet mixture is ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla. This combines with the dry ingredients then a stick of melted butter is folded into the mix. See, I told you it was easy peasy.

I used a 9" by 3" round pan (instead of the usual 9" x 2" round). I think this will rise to very top of a 9" x 2" round pan so don't try to make it in an 8" pan.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
The recipe uses FROZEN raspberries or blackberries, but I used FRESH raspberries only. I used one 6 ounce square package of raspberries. Next time, I might add some lemon zest.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit (March 2015), also found on Epicurious

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces (little more than 1 cup raspberries) fresh raspberries (one package)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan. I used a 9"x3" cake pan. It may rise to the top of a 9"x2" pan. 
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
4. Pour egg/ricotta mixture onto dry ingredients and fold together until almost all blended.
5. Fold in the melted butter and then add 75% of the raspberries and fold those into the mix. Don't overmix.
6. Put batter into the pan and smooth with an offset spatula.
7. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top of the cake.
8. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes (mine took 50 minutes, I used fresh raspberries). Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
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What's Mary Been Reading? Heartbreaking Nonfiction & Funny YA

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hi! I have several recipes to post, but first wanted to tell you about some books I read and can't stop talking about. Since it's summer, I thought you might want some reading suggestions (well, some of my books are heartbreaking so maybe they aren't the best beach reads).

I'm not a very good reviewer of books. My colleagues have a gift for recommendations, while I just find myself saying "OMG. You have to read this. It's so good." with no elegance (mind you, I do yell out my recommendation enthusiastically, so there's that.)

Here are a few that I read or listened to recently...

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. (see that I mean?)

No, really, this book is crazy good. Enthralling book about America's opiate to heroin addiction. Weaves stories of big pharm, Mexican immigrants with a retail model of selling heroin via delivery cars (with follow-up quality assurance calls to customers asking "What it good?" "Was the driver rude?"), the origin of pill mills, and the pain families are left with after the overdose death of young people in the prime of their lives. Well researched, narrative journalism. I listened to it on on audiobook via Audible and the reader is very good except one small regional pronunciation slip...he calls the Los Angeles street "Se pul VEE da". Sam Quinones is a former LA Times reporter.

Find it on Amazon or your library

OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. But it also has some utterly heartbreaking scenes. I listened to it on Audiobook (yes, I was going through an audiobook kick, and I got this via OverDrive at my cool public library) and found myself weeping in the kitchen while baking cookies. The author is a former LA Times reporter (see a theme here?) and the book is beautifully written. She was embedded with detectives of the LAPD and describes personalities and scenes with detail. Because it focuses on Los Angeles and places I know, it was actually hard to get through, and I had to break up my is heavy but should be read by everyone.

Find it on Amazon or your library

Very heavy rape at the University of Montana, Missoula. I listened on Audiobook via OverDrive. You shake your head many times reading this and get totally pissed off...not light reading. Although it is well researched and written, it didn't captivate me as much as his Under The Banner of Heaven; perhaps because that subject was so outside my realm it was almost like a fictional story, and this book reminds me of the tragedy of sexual assault and those who don't believe it really happens.

Find it on Amazon or your library

 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Finally, I'll leave on a light note! This is a YA book that is getting outstanding reviews. It is super funny! About a teenager who is gay secretly corresponding with another closeted teen in his school. It's freakin' adorkable. I really fell for all the characters, and stayed up until 2 am finishing it. And it's perfect for LGBTQ Pride Month!

Let me tell you, I love reading books that have letters... Remember Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence with the folded letters? Yeah, I'm all about those. (I also liked I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella with lots of text messages.)

If you have recommendations for more heartbreaking nonfiction (just bought a new box of kleenex) or lighter fare with correspondence, let me know in the comments!

See you next time. I'll have a recipe for a great sour cream coffee cake...

Happy Reading! - mary the food librarian (yah, putting the Librarian in Food Librarian today!)

p.s. I am in the Amazon Affiliate program so if you buy something by following my links to Amazon, I need to tell you that I get a few cents. I won't know who or what people bought, but it helps me buy stuff on Amazon like cookbooks and gifts for my friends! Thanks! :)
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