Strawberry Almond Mini Cakes

fireworks at Sharbot Lake beach

Strawberry Almond Mini Cakes

Happy Canada Day!  Here’s an easy and delicious little cake that takes advantage of fresh strawberries.

These come together quickly and easily.  They are more dense than a traditional muffin, made with ground almonds, egg whites and a bit of flour. The addition of freshly crushed seasonal stawberries makes this a great recipe. Give them a try while the berries are in – you can keep them simple or fancy them up with some whipped cream and extra berries on the side.  The recipe is from Anna Olsen and we all know what a great (Canadian) baker she is. Continue reading

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Rhubarb Cake with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

rhubarb cake with cinnamon crunch topping

I was wondering what to make with some fresh rhubarb from the farmer’s market…when I saw this recipe, I gave it a whirl. So good!  It’s a buttermilk batter and it’s just so creamy and delightful…with some rhubarby tartness and cinnamon crunch on top. A keeper. Easy too. Continue reading

Triple Layer Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone needs an excellent carrot cake recipe.  There are many carrot cake variations and it seems as though all of them are delicious.  I’m posting this one as the quickest and easiest without sacrificing flavour or texture and it of course has a cream cheese frosting.  This one is made in three 9 inch round pans, but I think you could easily do it in two 10 inchers or even a 9 x 13.  Just adjust your baking time accordingly.  Give this a try next time your having a birthday dinner, everyone loves carrot cake. Continue reading

Easy Jam Tart

Easy Jam Tart

I’ve been meaning to make this tart from David Lebowitz’s blog.  It appeared to be simple (and it is) but with a je ne c’est quoi type of French ‘patisserie’ elegance. Comprendez vous?  I made it with a really nice jar of peach-apricot jam, but you can use any flavour you like. Blueberry, raspberry or strawberry would give it Canadian flair. I think a less sweet or low sugar preserve would work really well – it’s quite sweet with regular jam.  The crust is easier than pie, no rolling required.  Give it a try – serve with coffee…c’est bon. Continue reading

Lemon Ricotta Cake – gluten-free

Lemon-ricotta cake – gluten-free

This is a delicious and simple cake that translates perfectly into a gluten-free recipe.  The original recipe, which is so great, is here: Louisa’s Cake – however,  if you are looking for a moist and delicious gluten-free cake,  give this a try.  It is surprisingly moist and lemony – hard to believe it is gluten-free. Continue reading

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 24 muffins

Here’s an easy and awesome recipe to have on hand. First of all, it makes a delicious, ‘loved by everyone’ muffin.  Secondly it’s easy,  and thirdly, it’s a big recipe and makes 24 regular sized muffins.  My mother came across this recipe a few years ago and everyone who’s tried the muffins and the recipe loves it. Don’t let the fact that  pumpkin is used throw you off, in fact, don’t bother to tell people it’s pumpkin until after their eyes open wide and they say “this is soooo good”.  Great to make when you have a crowd coming, or have to bring treats to a potluck.  *A good beginner recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

from A Taste of Home

makes 24 regular size muffins (recipe can be halved)

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 can pure  pumpkin  (14 oz can or half of the big can (28oz) not pumpkin pie filling)

1.5 cups veg. oil (I used 1 cup of grapeseed oil and 1/2  a cup of extra virgin olive oil)

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

2 cups choc chips

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Prepare muffin tins and place muffin tin on a baking sheet.

In stand mixer or with hand mixer, mix eggs and sugar together until well blended. Add in pumpkin and oil. Mix well.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt (dry ingredients).  Add dry ingredients  to pumpkin mixture. Mix just until well combined.  Fold in chocolate chips until well distributed.  Fill muffin tin (greased or with muffin liners) to top. Bake in 400 oven for 16-20 mins, until top bounces back when touched, or tester comes out clean.

*you will notice that when baking muffins or quickbreads, the mixing of the wet, then dry, then combining them with minimal mixing is usually the procedure used.

Mix wet ingredients together well

Combine dry ingredients, then mix into wet until just combined

Make sure dry ingredients are mixed in well, but don't overmix.

Fold in chcolate chip or chunks gently.

Fill muffin tins just to top.

Everyone LOVES these muffins.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint

It’s cookie season– a.k.a. weigh- gain season – at least for me, as I simply cannot control myself when it comes to home baked cookies.  These are my favourite -a  not too sweet shortbread base with an excellent dense texture – then a pop of dark chocolate. Oh my. Love it. Easy too.

Chocolate Thumbprints

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

makes 3 1/2  dozen

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp.

1 cup icing sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup  (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

2 tsp corn syrup

2 (additional) Tbsp butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter, icing sugar, salt and vanilla on medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides.  Beat in flour. Start at a low speed, gradually increasing to medium as the flour becomes incorporated. Mix only until all flour is mixed in.

Form balls of dough with cookie scoop or your hands (about 2 tsp each). Dough will be a little crumbly so press it together.  Place balls one inch apart on baking sheets.  Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven, and using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indent in each cookie.  Continue baking until light brown on the edges. (about 7 minutes more). Remove from oven, and use the end of the spoon to press your indents once more.

Combine chocolate, 2 tablespoons of butter and corn syrup in a small metal bowl over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water. Mix and remove from heat after chocolate is melted and smooth.Cool slightly, then fill indents with chocolate. (I use a baby spoon).  Set aside to for chocolate to firm up.  Store in airtight container for 3 days at room temperature, or freeze in layers in containers. They freeze really well.

dough will have a crumbly texture, but will come together when pressed with hands

after 10 minutes of baking, make indent, then return to oven

re-indent the cookies after they come back out of oven

melt butter, corn syrup and chocolate in top of double boiler

YUM YUM YUM