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Apple Cider Scones

I’m going to Disneyland today! Confession: I go a lot. Like a lot a lot. Like “I am a Disney addict” lot. But today is a special trip because we are heading off to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! It’s a special event made even more special by the sheer amount of cool people watching opportunities and the exclusive fireworks show. But about that people watching…

Apple Cider Scones

Apple Cider Scones

Normally I am not a huge dress up in costume kind of girl, but I love admiring all the guests’ creative costumes! My favorite are the full family costumes like the family I saw last year with the mom as the Queen of Hearts, the dad as the White Rabbit, the son as the Chesire Cat, and the little daughter was Alice. Cue the “awwww” moment. This year my mom and I are actually dressing up (last year I just made us Halloween hats) and I can’t wait to show off Mom’s amazing sewing skills with my dress 😀

Review: Blueberry Scone at Espresso Profeta

The other day I met up for coffee with a friend from college. She is back here from the Bay Area so I had to ask her if there were any Westwood haunts she has been missing. You know, for nostalgia with a side of nostalgia. As I knew she would, she chose Espresso Profeta. I was starving and needed some sort of food, so why not multitask and taste test another cafe’s scone while I was restoring my blood sugar? Hmmm…which flavor to try? Oh, wait. They only have blueberry. Decision made.

Blueberry Scone at Espresso Profeta

Blueberry Scone at Espresso Profeta

Breakfast Blueberry Cornbread Muffins *gluten free!*

My dad does something really really weird for breakfast. He eats breakfast sandwiches. “How is that weird?” you ask, “A sandwich with egg and bacon on an English muffin is perfectly normal.” Oh, wait, I forgot one crucial detail: He puts fruit jam on the breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Breakfast Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Told you it was weird. It makes absolutely no sense and I’ve never seen anybody else do it. But if we go to a cafe for breakfast and he orders any kind of breakfast sandwich, he asks for a side of jam. If he’s bought frozen breakfast sandwiches and reheats one in the morning, he opens the fridge for a scoop of jam. If my mom or I ever happened to make breakfast sandwiches fresh, he’d definitely eat one with a knife sticking out of the jam jar. So it’s no surprise that when I was making my variations on my new cornbread muffin recipe, Dad’s favorite was the one with blueberry jam. But jam on a cornbread muffin is a more normal addition, so if I call these Breakfast Cornbread Muffins maybe he’ll replace the weird breakfast sandwich habit with something less bizarre. Like these. 

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yeah the name of this recipe is a mouthful, which is ironic considering it will take you only two mouthfuls maximum to eat one of these mini cupcakes. I spent a lot of time tonight debating which recipe to share with you, and really nothing felt right. It felt too early to start posting the Halloween or pumpkin recipes; it felt too late to post more cornbread muffin recipes that are perfect for cookouts. I mean, technically it is Fall, but when the month of September is hotter than the month of July you have a hard time believing that the season has changed. Believe it or not, this creates some serious problems for blog post planning.

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Okay, so…how about something apple? Apples are a favorite fall fruit, but they also evoke the last few moments of summer (because you give apples to teachers when school starts). Apples are the perfect solution to my seasonal baking dilemma. Crisis averted–tastebuds happy.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

When I was a kid, I always loved banana splits. (Hold on Mom, I know I never had banana split, I’m about to clarify.) Or more accurately (see what I did there, Mom?) I loved the idea and the look of banana splits. I’m pretty sure it all had to do with my favorite Curious George book and the massive ice cream sundae that adorable monkey made.

I’ll admit, I still have never had a true banana split. I did finally have banana split flavored ice cream and loved it, so I’m going to assume it’s basically the same thing. It’s the banana split that was the original inspiration for this cake, until I forgot a few of my planned modifications and turned a banana split cake into…Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling. Just goes to show you that sometimes mistakes still result in a delicious cake. (And I’m not giving up on my banana split cake, just you wait.)

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling...ON DISPLAY!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling…ON DISPLAY!

Fun fact about this cake: This was my first cake sold in the US! I baked and sold a few breakfast cakes in my favorite coffee shop in England, but this is the first time I had a cake on display in a coffee shop here in LA. Steampunk Kitchen and Coffee Bar, of the standout afternoon tea fame, became the home of the Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling, but only for a short while as it was all sold by 2 pm. Thanks for the encouragement and support Steampunk!

This cake does have a fair number of steps when it comes to assembly, but I promise the baking part is nothing more challenging than my found-tried-and-true vanilla cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream frosting. I’ve put in step-by-step assembly pics for you!

Here it is: a delightful mistake? A twist on a classic flavor combination? Doesn’t matter, just grab a fork and get ready to smile!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

vanilla cake with strawberry banana filling

ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE

  • 5 cups (630 grams) cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3 cups (600 grams) ultrafine baking sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 ¼ cup (540 mL) milk
  • 6 tsp vanilla extract
  • chopped or sliced strawberries
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 bag mini chocolate chips

INGREDIENTS FOR FROSTING (makes one batch)

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep three 8-in round cake pans with shortening spray (nonstick baking spray), parchment paper, and wet cake straps.

Make the cake batter in three batches (trust me). For each batch, whisk 1 2/3 cup (210 grams) cake flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt together in a medium mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, 1 cup ultrafine baking sugar, 1 egg, ¼ cup yogurt, ¾ cup milk, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed, combining until no lumps remain.

Pour 2 ½ cups cake batter into pan. Repeat with remaining 2/3 of the ingredients. You can use the leftover batter to make a few mini cupcakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator to cool fully before frosting.

Make the frosting. Beat the softened butter in the stand mixer for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and beat for an additional minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add additional cream to thin out this batch of frosting (to frost the entire cake you’ll need a second, thicker batch).

Assemble the cake. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator, turn out onto cutting surface. Trim the tops of the cakes so they will stack evenly and straight. Place one cake layer on a board. Spread a thick layer of the thinned batch of frosting over the cake, then top with half the strawberries and 1 sliced banana. Repeat with a second layer of cake, frosting, and fruit. Top with final cake layer.

IMG_5717_Fotor_Fotor_CollageUse the remainder of the thinned frosting to crumb coat the cake and fill in any holes. Place assembled cake back into the refrigerator so the crumb coat will harden while you make a second, thicker batch of frosting.

Apply a thick layer of frosting smoothly over the cake. Press mini chocolate chips onto the sides of the cake. Decorate with remaining frosting and fruit as desired!

Strawberry Sconecakes

This has been a disappointing year in the strawberry department for me. I’ve had the raved about Harry’s Berries….once.  See, this is my second strawberry season out of my parents’ house and I weirdly haven’t seen my parents all that much this past month. Typically during strawberry season, visits to parents=raiding the refrigerator for Harry’s Berries. No visits–no strawberries.

Strawberry Sconecakes

Strawberry Sconecakes

Hopefully you are not having a similarly barren strawberry season because some of the best desserts have my favorite fruit! Nothing can’t be improved with a side of strawberries, or with incorporated strawberries, or built around strawberries, or ohmygod I need strawberries. Sorry. Back on topic.

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

I seem to be in a “Let’s half dip everything in chocolate!” mood lately. Is there some Freudian explanation for that? Some hidden meaning behind wanting my cookies to all take a dunk in melted cocoa? Is it a sign of something? Like when women get pregnant and they know before the tests confirm it because they have these weird cravings for pickles and ice cream (I am definitely not pregnant by the way, for anyone who just freaked out there for a second). What does this dipping in chocolate obsession mean??

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Oh I know! (1) That I have a borderline pathological need to make recipes more delicious by making them more complicated or adding extra steps (2) Everything looks cuter when half of it is covered in chocolate. Phew! Glad we figured that out.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Feeling a little inundated with cookies right about now? Between Christmas parties, office afternoon teas (is it just my dad’s office that does that?), your holiday traditions, and yes I’ll admit to some blame myself, you have been surrounded by cookies for weeks now! Cookies are delicious and traditional for this time of year, but I totally understand needing a moment to step away from the cookie sheets. I won’t judge. In fact, I’ll join you! I’ll join anything to have another batch of these pomegranate dark chocolate scones.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

I mentioned EONS ago that I wanted to try these Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Scones with fresh pomegranate arils instead of the pomegranate flavored fruit jelly covered in dark chocolate. 

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Wow. Four cookie recipes (I’m counting the peppermint bark since remember our gluten-free cookie sneakiness?) in a week. Come to think of it, have I ever posted four recipes that quickly? Must be all the sugar I’m consuming in testing these recipes that has me writing at the speed of the convection oven. Regardless, these cookies have been and will be all delicious so it’s totally worth the Costco sized block of butter you’ll go through making all of them.

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Butter=Deliciousness. Mathematical proof right there.

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