Fall-ish Friday: Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Hello, it’s fall y’all!  Well, technically not until September 22, but as soon as pumpkin hits the shelves at Trader Joe’s my happy season has begun.  I did wait until this week, at least, to have a PSL from Starbucks to show some restraint.

Last weekend it was rainy and I baked up a storm — three new recipes in fact and I have to say they were all pretty tasty.  This recipe from Crazy for Crust for Pumpkin Coffee Cake was my favorite.  Here’s the thing, it doesn’t call for any eggs.  Don’t panic, it turns out fine (I was worried, so I wanted to offer you some reassurance).

Ingredients
For the Coffee Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (I swear by Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nonfat milk
For the Streusel
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9×9” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Stir in pumpkin, vegetable oil, vanilla and milk until mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir with a fork to
combine. Spread on top of pumpkin cake layer.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted 2” from the side of the pan comes out clean.
5. Store covered on the counter for up to 2 days or freeze for up to one month

This recipe along with 400 other yummy recipes for breads and muffins can be found on my Pinterest board.  Please feel free to follow!

Have fall-ish Friday!

Bake the Bag with King Arthur Flour

I follow King Arthur flour on social media and I was so excited with their new challenge — “Bake the Bag series delivers new recipes via email each week until you’ve used up every scoop of a 5-pound bag of flour. This first nine-week challenge features White Whole Wheat Flour, a mild-flavored, light-colored 100% whole-grain flour that’s perfect for those who might be hesitant to try whole wheat. ”

After you sign up here you are sent the first week’s recipe to your email inbox.

Along with the first recipe you receive a printable shopping list to stock up on all the ingredients for the full nine week challenge.

Week one — Whole-grain banana bread with a 50/50 mix of white and whole wheat flour.   I rarely bake with whole-wheat flour and I was curious how this would turn out.   At the bottom of each recipe they provide baking tips, including substitutions.  One tip was to rough mash your bananas so your bread has big bites of chunky banana.  I tried this tip and I will definitely follow it from now on.

My favorite part of bread is the soft crack down the middle of the loaf.  And, my house smelled heavenly as it baked!  See the big chunks of banana!

I have to say this was probably my favorite banana bread recipe to ever make.  Really!  The whole-wheat flour yields a nutty-like taste to the bread and since the recipe only uses brown sugar, it’s very molasses-y and not too sweet.  It slices like a dream.  I can see slices spread with soft cream cheese and cut into fingers for brunch or afternoon coffee.

My next recipe arrives in my inbox on August 23.  It’s kind of exciting to see what I will be making.  Want to join me and gain access to the recipes — sign up here today!

Together we will #bakethebag!

Old Fashioned Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I posted a picture of a slice of this cake on my Instagram and Facebook and apparently alot of you like this kind of cake!  Does it bring back memories of Grandma making it for you for your birthday?  Because that’s exactly what it’s referred to when I found the recipe on Pinterest. It’s from the blog Modern Honey and she calls it the “Best Ever Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting!  White cake with white buttercream is my first choice on all occasions, but this cake will gladly be my runner-up!

It’s ultra rich and moist.  I think the longer it sits, the better is gets.  It slices perfectly, too.  It makes enough for three layers, but I chose to only bake two.  I think you could also convert it to a 9×13 cake as well.  There is just something so pretty, though, when you serve a layer cake.

Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Author: Melissa Stadler, Modern Honey

Ingredients
4 Large Eggs
⅔ cup Whole Milk or Buttermilk (I used buttermilk)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2¼ cups Flour
1½ cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 Tablespoons Oil
⅓ cup Vanilla Pudding Mix (instant)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1½ cups Butter, softened
1 cup Cocoa
5 cups Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Cream, Half n Half or Milk

*This recipe can make a two layer cake or a three layer cake (the layers will be thinner). If you would like to make an extra large triple layer cake, 1½ times the recipe and use three 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
3. In a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the butter into the flour mixture, one cube at a time. Continue to beat until it resembles coarse crumbs.
5. Add the ½ of the egg-milk mixture and oil and beat the batter is light and fluffy. Add remaining egg-milk mixture and vanilla pudding and mix just until combined.
6. Take a spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl.
7. Spread into greased pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
8. Bake for 16-22 minutes, depending on the depth of pans. If the cake layers are thin, they will cook for less time than the thicker layers.
9. Let cakes cool. Run a knife around edge of cake pan and flip over. Frost with milk chocolate frosting.
10. To make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
11. In mixing bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, powdered Sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. You may want to add more cream or milk depending on consistency. Once cake has cooled and has been removed from pans, frost each layer with frosting.
12. Top with chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, sprinkles, M & M’s or whatever your heart desires.
13. This is one baked good that gets even better the next day, if covered

I liked this cake so much I made two!  One for co-workers and one to share with neighbors…and maybe sneak another piece or two for me!

Heavenly Coconut Desserts

Today would have been my daddy’s 95th birthday.  One of his favorite things in life was coconut!  Coconut everything — pie, cake, those ghastly coconut rolls from truck stops, snowball cupcakes, you name it.  If it had coconut on it, Daddy ate it.  The problem for him was that no one else in the family liked it, so Daddy rarely got to enjoy it.  As you can see in this photo, he has that look, “yep, it’s never coconut.”

I have to say, I have never made a coconut pie or cake.  So, I took to the best source Southern Living magazine to see what I could find…recipes that I would be willing to eat.

Coconut Lemon Poundcake
Coconut Cream Tarts with Macadamia Nut Crusts

And, this is a recipe I have made and they are delicious.  Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies.

The cookie recipe came to The New York Times in 2000 during the Bush-Gore presidential campaign when Family Circle magazine ran cookie recipes from each of the candidates’ wives and asked readers to vote. Laura Bush’s cowboy cookies, a classic chocolate chip cookie that’s been beefed up with oats, pecans, coconut and cinnamon, beat Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps by a mile.

Our family visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library back in December and Sister Bee picked up copies of Mrs. Bush’s recipe cards in the gift store.  Here is a copy of the Cowboy Cookie recipe.  I made them right away and they are very delicious, despite the addition of coconut!

I think Daddy would approve of all these recipes.  They are all on my Pinterest page.  Do you have a coconut recipe I should try?  I’d love to hear from you.

Banana Walnut Crumb Cake

The recipe for this delicious cake is brought to you by Pizzazzerie, a beautiful blog I follow.  This recipe arrived in my inbox one day and I pinned it to my cake board on Pinterest knowing it would be something I would want to try.  We had a bunch of ripe bananas left over at work, and I had a ladies event at church coming up — the perfect combination to set this cake into motion!

If you are looking for a Mother’s Day gift for someone who loves to entertain, Courtney Whimore’s book Pizzazzerie Entertain in Style is the perfect coffee table book.

The Banana Walnut Crumb cake has all the right elements going for it — it’s easy to make, it bakes beautifully, it slices perfectly and it’s a great way to use up ripe bananas.  I am not a walnut fan, but I did make sure to include them just in a smaller amount and I substituted buttermilk for the milk.

You can either access the recipe here or below.

Ingredients For the Crumble:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/2 cup)

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crumble topping, melt butter and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add flour, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Mix in chopped walnuts, use a rubber
spatula or back of fork to crumble the topping together. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until blended. Add mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Add
eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the milk.  Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle half of crumb topping. Then pour the
remaining batter on top. Finish with the remaining crumble topping. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (my cake was done at about 45 minutes so be sure to check it)

TIP: Cover cake with aluminum if top begins browning too much. Allow to cool before glazing.

To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with vanilla extract and milk. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze or more milk for a runnier glaze. Drizzle on top of cake.

It’s perfect for dessert, a snack or morning brunch.  It’s a keeper and I hope you will buzz over to Pizzazzerie for more ideas.

Super Easy Sweet — Grown Up S’Mores

Miss Bee and I made these at Sister’s house a few summers ago and we still enjoy making them.  So easy and is reminiscent of the traditional s’more, but with a twist — of course!

All you need is a fresh baguette loaf, soft butter, a family size package of chocolate bars, your choice, course vanilla sea salt and fresh raspberries.

Slice the bread into 2 inch slices and slather on soft butter on both sides.  Place slices on a parchment lined baking pan.  Turn up oven to 450 degrees or light your gas grilled if you want grill marks.  Place bread in the oven for about 3-5 minutes until lightly brown and crispy.  Watch carefully, because the bread can burn quickly.

Remove from the oven and place a slice of chocolate on top of the slice of bread.  Sprinkle with a pinch Jacobsen vanilla sea salt and return to oven to help warm the chocolate — maybe 1-2 minutes.  Remove from the oven, place on serving platter and press a raspberry into the warm, melty chocolate.

Have fun trying different chocolate varieties — dark, milk or bittersweet, caramel or raspberry, orange infused chocolate.  Really, any chocolate of your pleasure works.  It’s the perfect touch of sweet after dinner to enjoy with bubbly or a dessert wine.  Give it a try!

The Legend of Frieda’s Strawberry Cake

This week I had the chance to host my church lady friends for lunch.  I made a few favorites, in particular a recipe for strawberry cake that our whole family has enjoyed for generations.  There are five birthdays in the month of February and almost always this cake is requested.  My brother Jim and Mother loved it, too, when their April and August birthdays came ’round.  And it’s my nephew’s go-to dessert as well.  I got to thinking that I didn’t know the origin of the recipe and I messaged Sister Bee to get the story.  Here is her memory…

A recipe made with a lot of love

“It was Kent’s mother Frieda’s recipe.  She made it for us when we were in junior high.  She liked me alot (probably better than Kent) and she would always tell Kent before he left for school that she was baking a strawberry cake that day and invite Paula to come home with him after school for cake and a glass of milk.  Kent adored his mother so he happily obliged.  He’d always find me between classes and just wink and say, ‘Strawberry cake after school today?’  We did that alot over the course of junior high.  In high school we went steady (she inserted a winking emoji here).  I would go with him to his sister’s house for dinner and help her feed her little boy in his high chair.

Because Frieda was so precious to me, I kept in touch over the years after I married and had children.  After Carrie was born, Frieda would still want me to come and visit so she could see Carrie.  Suffering from MS made it difficult for Frieda to bake the strawberry cake, but she still did.  I was the one this time to slice the cake and boil the water for the tea.  We would sit and drink tea and eat cake while Carrie played on the floor in Frieda’s cozy living room.  I asked her to share the recipe for the cake to bake for Carrie’s second birthday.  That started the tradition of making the strawberry cake.Frieda passed away when Elizabeth was born so she never got to see her, but the cake lives on in our family. Carrie started baking it for her daughter, Violet.  Violet, now a teenager bakes it for Elizabeth’s daughter, Amelia.  Christina bakes it for Bryan’s birthday, and the beat goes on.”

Here’s Frieda’s recipe for her amazing strawberry cake.  It really is a winner and I hope when you make it, you will say a little “Thank you, Frieda!”

Mix together one box of white cake mix

One small package of strawberry jello

3 TBL of flour

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

3/4 of a small bag or box of thawed, frozen strawberries (if they are whole mash them with a fork).

Mix together and pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 350.

Frosting:

One box of powdered sugar

Remaining strawberries (mashed with the fork)

1 tsp of vanilla

3/4 cup of softened butter

Mix until all the butter and strawberries are creamy.  You may add more powdered sugar if you want a stiffer icing.

Iced completely cooled cake.

Blueberry Muffin Cookies

We’ve been making alot of cookies lately.  Sugar cookies to be exact for Miss Bee’s fundraiser at church.  So, when I came across this recipe for Blueberry Muffin Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction I thought they would be a nice treat for bookclub.  They are a soft lemon cookie, full of juicy blueberries and taste very much like the top of a blueberry muffin.  And the added touch of lemon zest icing make for a surprisingly nice cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 and 1/2 6-ounce packages)*

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) half-and-half (or heavy cream or milk)

Directions:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and milk. Beat everything just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Dough will be very creamy, sticky, and thick. With a spoon or rubber spatula, carefully fold blueberries into cookie dough. Handle with care because some may break a little. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes and up to 2-3 days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Scoop cookie dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons each, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle each with a little coarse sugar. Gives the cookies an extra crunch. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until a cookie springs back when lightly poked with your finger. (That’s how I test them!)
  5. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  6. Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and half-and-half together until smooth. Add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more lemon juice/half-and-half to thin, if desired. Spoon over cookies. If applied lightly, the glaze will set within a couple hours.
  7. Glazed cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Be sure to check out all my other cookie recipes on Pinterest.

The Best Lemon Bars

I make the best lemon bars in the south and I have to thank my Sister Bee for that because it’s her recipe.  They should really be called “dilemma” bars because the dilemma is whether you can stop eating just one.

One of my pet peeves with lemon bars is if they have a gummy filling with a spongy top.  They are supposed to have a lemon curd filling, with a crispy top and a buttery shortbread base.  Well, the following recipe nets all of those requirements!

Heat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×9 inch square pan.

In bowl cut with a pastry mixer or two knives blend 3/4 cup of cold butter, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups of flour.  It will take a bit of effort because at first it will be like pea sized dough and then just as you think it won’t come together, it will into a dough that you will then press evenly with your fingers in the bottom of your square pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

While the shortbread is baking, mix in a bowl with a whisk 3 eggs, then add 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 3 TBL of flour, and 3 TBL of fresh lemon juice.

When the dough has come out of the oven, whisk egg mixture one more time, then pour evenly over the dough.

Put back into the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  You want it to slightly brown around the edges, but just slightly.

Let it set on a cooling rack until cool.  My favorite way to eat these is when they are slightly warm.  Oh, heavens.

These are perfect for anytime, but especially for a wedding or baby shower.  I double dare you to just eat one!