When my brother graduated from college in upstate New York my husband and I drove down to help him pack up and move out. My brother – a fellow foodie – took me to one of his favorite cafes and there I got a cornbread muffin unlike any I had before. Now I went to school in the South (y’know if you y’all consider Virginia to be the South) and I have had many a cornbread, the tender lightly sweetened kind that you would have with something savory like a pot of chilli. But this sweet little thing, now this was a revelation.
I have made many many many cornmeal based baked goods since, one in particular, i.e Dorie Greenspan’s corniest corn muffins were my personal favorite until a fellow blogger pointed me towards this Serious Eats recipe. I made it once and then I knew, this, this was it.
So without further ado, here you go, a sweet moist skillet cornbread that is made even more delicious with a slathering of honey butter with a small dash of sea salt. Bliss.
I know, I know, it’s Spring. Citrus was so last season. I shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of such blasphemous behavior, but you know what guys, this cake is easy and delicious all year round. There is something about beautiful sunny days that makes me want to eat things that feel bright and sunny and this cake does.
So maybe you make it now and then again in the winter? You know, just to balance things out 😉
I am not sure whose recipe this is, but all of the women in my family have it in their go to recipe book, the one that is a ‘best of’ of sorts. Also there? My super easy Lemon Velvet. I know, I know, I gots citrus on my mind.
Back to this cake then, I used to make it with a hand mixer and then it occurred to me that since it is made with oil not butter creaming is a little unnecessary so I just let my whisk and arm do a little bit of work and call it a day. The orange zest is my addition, but it goes a long way towards enhancing the orange flavor so please don’t skip it. I do skip making the glaze sometimes and instead warm and pour over some lovely sticky orange marmalade to good effect.
It’s miserable out here. On days like this I want to stay inside and eat my body weight in pizza. And this beautiful cinnamon roll cake. Sigh. I miss this cake already.
What’s nice about this cake is that it’s really easy to assemble. My little one woke up right after I cut the dough into strips to roll up and I had to coil them up with one hand while holding her in the other. It seemed tricky at the time (translation: it felt like the beginning of a hot mess). However, the cream cheese frosting (which I kept thick on purpose) covered it up nicely 😉
Also, as you can imagine, it smelled absolutely heavenly.
The recipe for the cake is from the fabulous Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a slight change in that I subbed out the glaze she uses for a more cinnabon like cream cheese glaze. I did have a little left over, but I find no one really complains about extra frosting on the side 😉
A few days back a dear friend and avid blog reader asked me to make these hazelnut sticks for her. I happily obliged and then a little too happily ate more than my fair share. Oops.
Anyway, eating those delicious crunchy hazelnutty treats made me realize how much I love the unadulterated flavor of hazelnuts and I wanted to capture that flavor in something quicker: muffins. Now I really like muffins, even the bottoms which is usually what I wind up with since my husband and daughter are unabashed muffin top fiends.
I did some thinking and came up with this recipe, fully prepared for this to be round one of many, but lady luck was on my side and these muffins are sheer perfection. The soft flavor of the hazelnuts is beautifully complimented by that of the maple syrup. I know it seems like a lot of syrup, but as it bakes the flavor mellows. Also, as tempting as they are fresh from the oven you must let them cool completely before trying one. They are well worth the wait.
I love blondies – I mean who doesn’t right? They’re basically chocolate chip cookie batter with all sorts of fun add ins. Here’s the thing though sometimes they just make my teeth hurt from their over the topness. I think it’s old age, but I now like my sweets a little less sweet and after trying to find a recipe that sounded right and failing this is what I came up with.
These are rich with the caramelly undertones of browned bitter, just sweet enough and chewy from the combination of sugars, nuanced thanks to the ground coffee interspersed throughout and have white chocolate chunks mixed in to to provide a perfect counterpoint to the more ‘adult’ flavours of this sophisticated take on a blondie.
The ground coffee sounds odd, but finely ground coffee for a drip coffee maker works like a charm. You can dial it down a little if it makes you nervous, but my coffee loving self wouldn’t want to add more. Just be sure to watch the clock carefully on this one – it bakes pretty quickly.
Coffee and I we go way back, the kind of way back that makes it clear that I was my parents’ third child and not their first 😉 Baking and I also go way back. A successful combination of the two brings me infinite joy. And several extra pounds, but let’s focus on the positives here.
My sister in law recently made this cake and brought it over for me to try (so good) and insisted I make it as well and am I glad I did. She found the recipe here, but it was originally posted here. I tweaked it slightly to enhance the coffee flavor, but otherwise it is as posted. The result is a cake that is moist and full bodied and just perfect with the creamy sweetness of the buttercream.
Unlike most cake recipes this makes a smaller amount of cake and frosting which is nice because let’s face it: If it made the twice the amount I would still finish it equally fast.
I think it says a lot about this cake that my two year old now feels very comfortable telling people that she made it. The first time she actually said “mama helped me” and then next thing you know she apparently made it “all by myself”. Fact is that we have made it THAT many times that she feels like she knows what she is doing and it is so delicious that who wouldn’t want to take all the credit! Seriously though, I may have gotten her to mix, add ingredients, wash the strawberries, place the strawberries and sprinkle the sugar on top. I am sure I did something…
The original recipe is from Martha Stewart, but I actually came across it on Smitten Kitchen a while ago. It should go without saying that this tastes best when strawberries are in season, but it is still surprisingly good when they aren’t quite there. I have tried making it with less sugar and found that it really impacted the texture of the cake. It was still good, just not great.
Try this cake. It is so perfectly summer and so easy that even a 2 year old can make it (almost).