Easter is one of my favorite holidays. While I’m not religious, to me Easter, like Christmas, is about family and food. (These are probably the two things that are most important to me, and go the most hand in hand.) I feel fortunate that recently I’ve been trusted with not only suggesting holiday menus but contributing to them too. This Easter I made my lemon raspberry cupcakes and this lovely goat cheese cake. This cake is a little more like a sponge cake than a classic cheesecake. It’s not too sweet, but it’s very creamy and goes so well with fresh berries. I also found it very easy to make.
Watch the cake in the oven very carefully. I left mine in for a minute too long and it got a little too dark for me. So I flipped it upside down and filled the natural well in the top (it sunk in a little) with a sweet berry compote. And even with the little mess up, it was still delicious and a big hit. My whole family and my boyfriend loved it. And really, that’s what holidays are all about.
Get the recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.
Obviously, this post is a little late. Oops!
Valentine’s Day night I got very sick for a few weeks so forgive me. (I was really excited for it too, do you remember?) I did want to post this sweet little raspberry cupcake recipe though so, enjoy…
This cupcake is so light and fresh. The recipe uses fresh raspberries, which add a wonderful sweetness and fun color. I topped these with my cream cheese frosting…with the two together the cupcake tasted like raspberry cheesecake. Perfect! Topped with some fun sprinkles and candies, these were a great non-chocolate V-Day dessert. But they’ll work anytime in early spring too, (or whenever you can find fresh berries) if you want to try them out now.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 containers (6 ounces each) raspberries, 1 container pureed, 1 container coarsely chopped
- Gel-paste food coloring, in Tulip Red
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups. (Mine actually made more than this…)
- Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in a slow, steady stream, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat until smooth.
- Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in pureed and chopped raspberries and a small drop of food coloring.
- Divide batter among baking cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes, and let cool completely.
My Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 eight-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth
- Add the vanilla extract
- Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated
- Stick your finger into the bowl and lick away
- Just kidding… maybe… spread on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!
And the whole (maybe a little over the top) Valentine’s Day table…
Chris and I took a tip out to the Shenandoah Valley yesterday to have a relaxing Saturday and visit a vineyard. I’ll post his amazing photos from our trip soon, but first a little about how we started our day. It was a long trip, at least 2 hours from DC, so we needed some snacks and a good breakfast. I baked some crumbly berry muffins, picked up some coffee and OJ and we were on our way.
A couple of things about these muffins. I made them extra large and extra crumbly (not so easy to eat while driving, but still delish). The berries were really juicy and they have just enough sweetness on top. Finally, I’m in love with my pumpkin pie spices blend. I ran out of cinnamon about a week ago, and have been using this in place of it. It just adds so much to my baked goods and makes them all taste a little more fall-ish. I bought mine at Trader Joes and it’s a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.
Crumbly Berry Muffins
For the 8 muffins:
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup berries (I used frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
For the crumb topping:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 stick butter cut into cubes
- 1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a large bowl mix all ingredients for muffins, gently folding in the berries last.
- Fill muffin tins with batter.
- In a medium bowl, mix together crumb ingredients. Sprinkle on top of muffins, covering the batter completely.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
I hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July weekend!
I had an excellent time with friends and family… farmer’s market, shopping, great meals in DC, the Nats game and fireworks on the mall.
For the party I went to, I made this easy no-bake cheesecake with fresh berries. I seriously recommend making this for a summer party. It’s cool, refreshing and so sweet. You can’t see it in these photos, but the best part is definitely the middle layer of mixed berry compote. Oh, the graham cracker crust is pretty fantastic too. Ok, it’s all great.
Happy 4th and happy summer!
No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Pie
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2-1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup mixed blueberries and raspberries (or really any fruit) + extra for decorating
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1-1/2 sticks butter
- 2 8-oz packages cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 8 oz Cool Whip
- In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, 3/4 cup sugar, water and berries over medium heat. Stir until it thickens. Set aside to cool.
- Make graham cracker crumbs and combine with butter. Press into pie pan to form crust.
- In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, 1-1/2 cups sugar and vanilla. Fold in cool whip.
- Spread half the cream cheese mixture in the pie pan.
- Layer the cooled berry mixture on top.
- Top off with the rest of the cream cheese mixture.
- Decorate with fresh berries.
- Store in the refrigerator to keep cold.
I had made a galette earlier this summer and my brother asked me to make another one while we were on vacation on Nantucket. This is one of the most simple and delicious desserts. It also looks so impressive – like right out of Parisean bakery. We picked out fresh fruit from Bartlett’s Farm – the sweet but natural flavors are perfect for a summer dessert.
- Frozen pie crust, thawed
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 2 peaches, sliced or 1 cup of raspberries
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbs butter
- Preheat oven to 400° Place wax paper on a baking sheet and roll out pie crust on top.
- In a bowl, combine: blueberries, peaches flour and sugar.
- Place fruit mixture in the middle of the pie crust.
- Begin folding the edge of crust in, around the fruit — this will naturally create the beautiful folds of the galette. Cut up butter into small pieces and place on top of fruit.
- Sprinkle the outer crust with some sugar.
- Bake for 25 min or until crust is golden brown. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.