Dessert


A cold and dreary Sunday is best spent baking, surrounded by the warmth of cinnamon and sugar and icing. These miniature apple cakes use fresh ginger instead of ground, balanced by the creamy icing.

Ingredients

2 apples, diced
3 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg, beaten
8 oz plain full fat or 2% greek yogurt
1 cup unbleached organic flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 8 mini loaf pans or paper liners on a cookie sheet.

Chop the apple into small pieces and then toss it with the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set it aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the molasses and brown sugar over low heat. While that’s coming together, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Whisk the butter and sugar and molasses until they are smooth. Stir in the minced ginger. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool a little bit. Then stir in the yogurt.

Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients. Fold the apples into the batter.

Fill the loaf pans 3/4 full with batter. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.

Let the cakes cool completely before decorating with icing. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and cream with a form or whisk until you achieve the consistency you want.

How They Turned Out

Very moist and flavorful, with a bit of a kick from the ginger and cinnamon.

Apple Cake

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While most of the country is enjoying the last days of summer, fall has blown into Southeast Alaska with buckets of rain and wind. After a damp afternoon, what you need is something comforting with a bit of spice.

Ingredients

3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
4 large brown eggs
3/4 tbs vanilla
1 29oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 block of cream cheese
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbs orange zest
maple syrup to taste

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 10 mini-loaf pans by rubbing them with coconut oil, or line 12 jumbo muffin tins with double liners.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a standing mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing them each in before adding the next. Mix in the pumpkin in large spoonsful (don’t just dump it in).  It will look mottled but that’s okay.  Add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer down to a low speed and add the dry mixture in small batches.  Combine the ingredients until you have a thick smooth batter.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pans/muffin tins. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean.  Let the loaves/muffins cool completely.

Combine the cream cheese, milk, and orange zest in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches so it doesn’t POOF and make a mess.  Add a little maple syrup for flavor. This is icing, not frosting so it will go on soft and a little drippy, but stays where you put it.

How They Turned Out

The perfect falltime treat, great for breakfast or dessert. They turned out moist with a good crumb. The maple orange icing is a lovely combination with the spicy pumpkin cake.

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When life gives you a big bag of lemons from Costco, you make lemon cake before they all spoil.

Ingredients

6 lemons, zested and juiced
6 eggs
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups unbleached flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
lemon extract
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup Dickinson’s Lemon Curd

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake pans by rubbing with solid coconut oil (like you would with butter) and/or line the muffin tins with paper liners.

This recipe makes four 8 inch layer cakes or 3 dozen cupcakes or a combination of both.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt) together in a large bowl. Combine the eggs, oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a standing mixer. Use a whisk and do this by hand — if you use the mixer it’s very sloshy and messy.

Put the bowl in the mixer, with the paddle attachment.  Add the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the yogurt, mixing at medium-low speed. Once combined, you can turn up the speed to add a little air to the batter so it’s less dense. Just be careful not to overwork the batter.

Fill the cake pans/muffin tins three quarters full.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.  Let the cakes cool completely.

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To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter (both at room temperature) together until smooth.  Add all the lemon zest plus a few drops of the lemon extract. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar in batches, remembering to turn down the speed of the mixer so you don’t have a giant POOF of sugar.  Continue until you have lots of smooth, fluffy frosting.

To assemble the cake, put one layer upside down on a cake plate. Spread the lemon curd over the top.  It helps if you work the lemon curd with a spatula in a bowl before spreading it on the cake.  Put the second layer on top, right side up.  Using a frosting spatula or other thin, flexible knife, frost the cake.  Decorate with something festive (I used Mike and Ikes). Because of the lemon zest, this frosting is not great in a piping bag (the zest gets stuck in the decorator tip).

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How It Turned Out

I was nervous about the olive oil (I mean, it goes with lemons but does it go with cake?). And the yogurt was because I had no sour cream. Even so. . .

This would win the Great British Bake Off!  The cake is the perfect consistency, neither too dense nor too light.  The taste is a lovely burst of lemon without being too sour or too citrusy.  And I love how the zest shows through in the frosting.

 

 

 

 

This year’s holiday dessert features the spectacular Egg Nog Poundcake I discovered last year. It’s easy peasy to make and looks gorgeous.

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All you need is one Egg Nog Poundcake (sans cranberries), 3 cups of cherry pie filling, and homemade whipped cream. You can add a little egg nog or nutmeg to your whipped cream, if you want.  Cut up the pound cake into cubes.  Alternate the layers of cake, cherries, and whipped cream in pretty glasses (for individual servings) or a trifle dish (for a buffet centerpiece). You can make it ahead and leave it, covered with saran wrap, in the refrigerator until you are ready for dessert. Just leave the last dollop of whipped cream for right before you serve them. FANCY!!

These are the perfect autumn sweet, great alone or with coffee or a little vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup organic pumpkin pie filling or 1 cup pumpkin puree plus 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light or medium brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup (or more) dark chocolate chunks

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars together in the standing mixer.  While that goes, combine the flour, oats, and baking soda.  If you’re using plain pumpkin puree, mix the pumpkin pie spice into the dry ingredients.

When the butter and sugars are all mixed together, add the egg and vanilla.  Once those are combined, add the dry ingredients and pumpkin, alternating between the two.  When that’s all combined, remove the bowl of cookie batter from the mixer.  Fold the chocolate chunks in with a spatula.  Do not try and do this with the mixer — it will bend your beater.

Drop spoons of the cookie batter onto the prepared cookie sheets (you can make small, medium, or large cookies).  Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack or counter top to cool.

How They Turned Out

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These are soft, cakey and super yummy — especially for breakfast.

I had more cherry cheesecake batter than I needed when I made the Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, so I decided to make individual cheesecakes in a muffin tin.  Turns out, Trader Joe’s Cookie Thins are the perfect size for a “crust” because they fit right in the bottom of the tin.  I popped two Trader Joe’s meyer lemon cookie thins in each muffin cup and then filled the cups with cheesecake batter.

I must have overfilled the cups, because they puffed up nice and lovely (if cracked) over the tops of the cups. (Baked 35 minutes at 325 degrees.)  I pulled them out of the oven to cool, and when I checked back later they’d fallen.

 

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When I removed them from the pan, I had these fun little bowls. Filled with berries and whipped cream, they are a festive dessert.

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Of course, now that I want to recreate these for a party, I probably won’t be able to.  But I’ll still try.

When the world seems too sad or scary to bear, I always find comfort in the kitchen. Focusing on creating something nourishing to my family’s body nourishes my soul, even when life is at its gloomiest. This dessert is an attempt to combine all that’s good in the world — brownies, cheesecake, and cherries — in one lovely treat.

Ingredients

2 cups of frozen pitted cherries, thawed
2/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of water
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tbs lemon juice (I used two frozen lemon juice cubes made when I made the lemon poundcake)
1 Ghirardelli brownie mix (you’ll make this according to the directions, so you’ll need an egg and vegetable oil)
3 packages of cream cheese
8 ounces Noosa Tart Cherry yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
3 eggs

How I Made It

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the cherries with 2/3 cup of sugar and 2/3 cup of water.  Cover and microwave for however long it takes to come to a boil.  You might stir it halfway through to make sure the sugar dissolves.

In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  When the cherries are bubbly,  carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Stir in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice.  Set the cherries aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a springform pan with a little oil or butter.

Make the brownie batter according to the directions on the box. Spread the batter in the springform pan and bake for 35 minutes. The edges will be completely set but the middle will be just set.

While the brownie bottom bakes, make the cheesecake batter.  In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to combine.  Add the yogurt and vanilla.  Allow the batter to mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. I like to turn up the speed for a minute or so to whip the batter, for a lighter consistency when it’s done.

Gently spoon cherries over the brownie batter. Use a slotted spoon so it’s not too soupy. Top with the cheesecake batter.  It will be thick, so add it in dollops and spread it gently to fill the pan (don’t just dump it in).

Bake for 55 minutes or until the middle is set (not hard, but not wet either).  Turn off the oven and let the cake rest in the oven for 20 minutes or so.  Remove the cake and let it come to room temp, then chill it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Serve it with a spoon of cherry sauce or a little whipped cream.

How It Turned Out

This may be the first crack-free cheesecake I’ve ever made.

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The layers are lovely, and super rich. A small piece is certainly enough.  Until later, that is.

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