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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bread and Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Last year I hinted at a future incarnation of my Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake Bread and I am nothing if not a keeper of promises. Though, this is probably not a promise you all remembered from one little post in November 2014, but just in case one of you did remember and has spent the last 12 months anxiously awaiting that new, equally delicious version of that loaf cake I have now kept my promise!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

That previous pumpkin bread recipe was so perfect that it would’ve been borderline sacrilegious to alter it too much. With a thick, rich pumpkin flavor countered by creamy, tangy cheesecake layer, this bread was an instant favorite for the fall holiday season. And what is the one additional flavor that makes everything better? Yep. Chocolate!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

What do you mean you’ve already had your fill of pumpkin?! It’s only been a month and a half of the annual pumpkin spice takeover! We are only halfway done! Trust me, in a few weeks when all the pumpkin yumminess is gone and replaced with gingerbread and eggnog everything, you’ll be glad you took as full advantage of pumpkin season as possible. (Unless you are like me and never get tired of pumpkin/pumpkin spice everything; if that is you I’m going to let you know that pumpkin baked goodies freeze very very well 😉 .)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

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 😀

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.

Cornbread Muffins *Gluten Free!*

There are some common, easy to spot clues that tell you it’s September, that fall is finally here! Kids are going back to school, leaves are just about to start their turning to oranges and reds, pumpkin spice takes over the world…

GF Cornbread Muffins

GF Cornbread Muffins

Yeah, that doesn’t happen in Southern California. The kids have been back in school since mid-August. All of our foliage is a wonderfully uniform shade of brown (thank you severe drought). Pumpkin spice–okay that has already started to take over. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get four seasons (I like to joke that LA has two seasons: Hot and Less Hot), but at the same time it means that we can still have cookouts through til October 😉

Cookies n’ Cream Mini Cupcakes

Hello, my name is Jenna and I am an over-complicater. (Did you all just answer “Hello Jenna”?) I refuse to use prepackaged baking mixes. I am aghast if my mom suggests I buy candied pecans instead of making my own. I have pulled myself back from the brink of wanting to grind my own flour and grow my own sugar cane! No, but seriously, I thought about it for 15 seconds.

Cookies n' Cream Mini Cupcakes

Cookies n’ Cream Mini Cupcakes

The funny thing is, when many of my friends come to me asking for advice on making cakes, if they have never baked before or are just novices at it, I wholeheartedly suggest they use a cake mix. Whoops. Guess I hold myself to an impossibly high standard in baking as well as in…….hey, I heard you say “everything”. But yes, everything.

Ham and Swiss Tea Sandwich

We definitely have enough recipes here to fill a second and third tier of an afternoon tea, but I do recognize that there is a…um…severe lack of first tier fillers? The dot dot dots and question mark are my writing way of giving you all a sheepish, almost embarrassed look. Whhhaaaaattttt? Yes, I’m sorry, but I love baking so much and am way more likely to recipe work mid-morning (when it’s too early for lunch and therefore tea sandwiches) or mid-afternoon (when I’ve already eaten lunch and therefore want dessert over tea sandwiches). So I blame the clock for the lack of savory tier recipes. You aren’t buying that excuse are you? Sigh. I tried.

Guess I just need to give you a tea sandwich recipe I’ve had in my back pocket for a little while now.

Ham and Swiss Tea Sandwich

Ham and Swiss Tea Sandwich

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!

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