Category Archives: Easter

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Buttercream Icing

Nothing says “Hello, Spring!” like strawberries.  A bakery here in my town makes fresh strawberry cakes, using strawberries in the batter and the icing, it is to die for.  I decided to try to do something like that, only using buttercream icing.  Sort of strawberries and cream, if you will.

This cake was so easy to make, I didn’t end up using fresh strawberries, I used frozen as the recipe called for.  But it made a truly delicious, moist cake and I already knew I’d love the buttercream icing, I’ve made it many times before.  I hope you enjoy this as much as our friends did!

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Buttercream Icing

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Buttercream Icing
Cake recipe from Paula Deen, see post on icing here.

Cake
Ingredients:
1 box white cake mix
1 (3-oz) pkg strawberry flavored instant gelatin
1 lb. package frozen strawberries, thawed and puree’d
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9-inch cake pans.

Mix the gelatin powder and the cake mix together.  Using a mixer, add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour equal amounts into each pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Set aside on cooling racks.  When fully cooled, ice with desired icing.  Here is my buttercream icing:

Buttercream Icing Recipe seen on Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Williams-Sonoma Yields

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp milk (I used 2 percent)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
1 tsp meringue powder

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and with the paddle attachment (scraper if you have it), beat on low until the ingredients are just mixed.  Turn the speed up and whip the icing until it’s light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  If you don’t have the paddle scraper, then you will need to stop once to scrape the sides and bottom.

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Buttercream Icing

 

 

BLT Bites

Last month my brother-in-law and his fiancée got married.  I’m sure Michelle got lots of advice on wedding related things, but I told her my most important piece of advice is to make sure she gets a plate of food set aside for her to bring home!  I didn’t get to eat anything at my wedding reception, though I hear the food was fabulous!

Well this time I wasn’t the bride, just a bridesmaid.  So I got to eat!  There were many yummy things but there was one thing that stood out.  It was so unassuming, these little tomatoes on a platter.  I didn’t get one because I wasn’t sure what they were stuffed with and my plate was already full!  My mom got a few though and she told me to try one.  Heavenly! They taste exactly like little bite-sized BLTs, full of creamy bacon flavor.  I went back for more for myself and they were all gone :(  A few days later I went off in search of a recipe to make them and found it on Taste of Home’s website.   It was a huge hit at a jewelry party I had, I can’t wait to make them (and eat them!) again!

BLT Bites

BLT Bites
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients:
1 package grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

  • Carefully cut off the tops of the tomatoes and very carefully scoop out the insides.  Give a little thought beforehand to how you’re going to scoop them out – I used the round part on a jalapeno corer.  You don’t want to tear the outside of the tomato and you don’t want to scoop all the way through.
  • Place all the tomatoes on a plate and put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped and mixed.  If the filling is too “firm” then add a little more mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Scoop into a ziploc bag fitted with an icing piping attachment (or just make a small hole in the tip of the bag) and gently squeeze the filling into the tomatoes.
  • Cover the tray and place in the refrigerator a few hours to firm up.
  • Serve cold.

Scooped-out tomatoes

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

The local moms club I’m in is always doing fun activities.  I hosted one at my house last week that was really different.  We had a pajama party potluck brunch.  Of course nobody spent the night, everyone just came in their pjs (I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on!) that morning.

We joked around that we should call it the pinterest party, since more than half of the dishes were “found” on pinterest, including mine.  Sugar crusted vanilla French toast seemed like it would be just right, and even better that it could be prepared the night before with only minimal work the next morning.  The ingredients consisted mostly of things you would have on hand, so it’s really inexpensive to make.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

Everyone seemed to really love it.  I made a double batch but it wasn’t necessary, I ended up with a good bit left over.  But the leftovers are great, that was no problem! :)  The crust is really, well…crusty when it’s leftover but it softens in the microwave, have no fear.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast (Single Batch)
Recipe from:  Phenomenon

Ingredients:
1 loaf french bread, about 1lb. (plain, of course)

Custard:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt

Sugar Coating:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Slice the bread into 1 inch slices.  Spray a casserole (just big enough to fit the bread) with nonstick spray and arrange the slices in the dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the custard ingredients.  Pour evenly over the bread in the dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter just till melted.  Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and whisk well to combine.  Microwave again in thirty-second bursts, whisking after each time until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbly and hot.  Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour evenly over the top of the bread and bake about 40-45 minutes, until golden.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

Fresh Mini Strawberry Pies

Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  My family always had a lot of fun and cooked delicious food.  Unfortunately I couldn’t be with my family this year but we did have a nice day with some of our best friends who also couldn’t be with their families.  It was probably the most non-traditional Easter ever – we had margaritas, cheese dip and muffuletta dip, grilled burgers, hot dogs and some of my husband’s homemade boudin.  There was no shortage of desserts either, with cupcakes, cookie cake, German chocolate cake and mini strawberry pies. 

The mini strawberry pies were originally meant to be a fresh strawberry pie that I saw in the most recent Cooks Illustrated.  I worried though that it would go to waste with all of the toddlers.  Bite-size portions seemed the best idea.  It really was easy to make – probably a lot easier than if I had made a regular pie!  I planned to make homemade whipped cream to top them with, but unfortunately the heavy whipping cream seemed off so I just used whipped topping in a can.  No worries!  Judging from the leftovers, it was a success – there were no leftovers!

Fresh Mini Strawberry Pies
Recipe Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, May/June 2011 Issue

Ingredients:

Filling
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried and hulled. 
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1.5 tsp Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (in the pink box)
large pinch of salt

Pie shells:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into slices
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
2 tbsp cold vodka
2 tbsp cold water

Method:
Process 3/4 cup flour, salt and sugar in the food processor until well combined, about two seconds.  Add butter and shortening and process about ten seconds.  Scrape the sides and bottom and redistribute in the processor bowl,  Add 1/2 cup more flour and pulse until evenly mixed.  Empty into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle the water and vodka over it and fold the dough into the liquid until it sticks together.  Flatten into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 and start on the filling:  Pick about a quarter of a pound of strawberries and process them until it’s a smooth puree. You need 3/4 cup of this.  Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, Sure-Jell and salt in a small saucepan.  Stir in the berries, making sure to get in all the corners of the pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often until it comes to a boil.  Boil, stirring for two minutes while it thickens.  Remove from heat and empty into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature.  Chop the remaining strawberries into small pieces and once the strawberry mixture has cooled, fold in the fresh strawberries.

Once the dough has chilled a while, spray a small muffin pan/mini pie pan with nonstick spray.  Break off small bits of dough and form a ball, place in each of the spaces.  Using a wooden mini-pie shaper, press down and form a pie shape in each of the ball of dough.  Use a small fork and gently prick holes in the bottom of the crusts.  Refrigerate again until firm.  Once firm, bake until golden.  Allow to cool completely before filling with strawberry pie filling.  Refrigerate 3 hours before serving topped with whipped cream.

Mini Strawberry Pie

 

Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

This lemon pound cake recipe is the perfect thing for spring.  It’s light tasting and fresh, but not too overpowering with it’s lemon flavor.  My Aunt Peggy has made it for as long as I can remember and it’s always a hit.  I decided to make some to bring to our friends’ house for dinner the other night and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It is even pretty delicious for breakfast ;)

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
Recipe from:  My Aunt Peggy & Duncan Hines

Ingredients:
1 box Dunchan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
1 small lemon pudding
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water

For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
juice of one lemon

Method:
Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Mix together the cake ingredients (cake mix through water) until no lumps remain.  Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray and bake 40 minutes.  Cool 5-8 minutes before spooning the glaze over it (yes, you do it while it’s still hot).

For the icing, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together.  It should be thick, but not so thick that you can’t drizzle it over the cake.

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Blossoms

In case you noticed a little while where I didn’t have many blog entries, I had a few reasons.  One was that I really wasn’t making anything new and blog-worthy.  Another is that I had houseguests!  My parents came to spend a few days and while he was here, my dad did a little cooking.

One thing he made while visiting was Paula Deen’s Lemon Blossoms.  These things are sooo fantastic!  I really can’t say how hard it was because he did it and I wasn’t home, but I snapped a picture and thought I’d share the recipe with you guys becaue it was truly fantastic!

You can find the recipe from Paula Deen here (click link).

Lemon Blossoms

Christen’s Strawberry Cake

After a good crawfish boil, there’s nothing better than a sweet, cold treat!  Ice cream works, but with it being Mother’s Day I wanted something a little nicer.  What I WANTED wasn’t possible since I live 2.5 hours away from the bakery in Baton Rouge that makes the best strawberry cake in the world!  So I figured that it couldn’t be that hard and made my own.

OMG!  I succeeded I think!  Of course it’s been a few years since I’ve had a bite of that bakery’s delicious concoction, but mine was pretty darned good!  It was REALLY easy to make and just so light and tasty!  Like I said, perfect for after a crawfish boil!

Christen’s Strawberry Cake

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 pint strawberries, very thinly sliced
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Method:

Bake cake as directed on the box and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if you have a hand mixer, combine the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.  Beat at a high speed until stiff peaks form.  Fold in strawberry slices.

Ice cake with the strawberry whipped cream as you would regular icing.  Refrigerate a few hours before serving.  Keep cold when not serving, as the whipped cream will turn liquid if left out too long!

Not the best pic in the world, but it sure tasted good!

Strawberry Cake