We all have smells or tastes that take us back to a place in time of significance. The smell of honey and oranges takes me back to a very special time and place in my life.
I have lived in many places, traveled to far away countries, explored hideaways, and have had the opportunity to explore my passions and true callings. The places I have traveled and lived all have significance in one way or another, whether it is the people, the place or time in my life.
Apples tend to find their way into many of our desserts, savory dishes and drinks during this time of year. One of my personal favorites is apple cake. In this maple apple cake recipe, the cake is almost the consistency of a crumb or coffee cake. The top is soaked in pure local maple syrup and the apples are tender and sweet. Buttermilk in the cake cuts the sweetness of the maple syrup and adds a tangy flavor to the dessert. This cake is best eaten the day it is baked.
Strawberry and chocolate is often associated with the very simple dessert known as a chocolate covered strawberry. Pure and simple, this combination of flavors is often associated with love and decadence. I have definitely fallen in love with our strawberry chocolate mini layer cakes. Miniature cakes are the perfect way to serve guests a personal serving at any event or dinner party. Perfectly suited for weddings, baby showers or even engagement parties. There is no need for cake cutting or even running out of cake to serve your guests. Typically I will create cakes from scratch but this cake is moist, delicious and super easy to make when you are lacking in time and energy.
Angel food cake; a very light and airy cake often used as a base for macerated fruits and fresh whipped cream. The cake itself is often void of texture, has little crumb and more often than not tastes like you are chewing on a packing peanut. Happily, this angel food cake recipe is the complete opposite. Yes, it has all the basic components of a classic angel food cake but this cake has a definite crumb, a moist texture and the most delicious filling you will ever taste!
Cake, the traditional offering at nearly every birthday, graduation and anniversary celebration. While I have never been known to turn down a piece of cake, I think that you may agree that after a while cake just becomes, well..... boring! Chocolate chip cookies are a classic treat that just about everyone has had at one time or another. Why not bring two classics together into one delicious dessert?! A celebration dessert, worthy of anyone's big day. These cookie cakes can be customized to just about any size you need, one of two large cookie cakes for an intimate family gathering or many tiny individual cookie cakes for a large celebration.
Banana bread is a classic treat often served with brunch or breakfast. Carrot cake, banana bread's “big sister”, is another classic favorite. What do you get when you cross banana bread and carrot cake together? Hummingbird cake! Hummingbird cake has a long but rather unknown history in the South. The first known published recipe was in 1978 in Southern Living Magazine. Mrs. Wiggins, of Greensboro North Carolina submitted the recipe to the magazine after winning numerous awards and ribbons for the cake. The recipe went on to be the most requested recipe in the magazine's history.
Just about everyone that I know can use a little sunshine in their lives right now. This is the time of year when the winter blues start to set in and the pristine white snow has lost its luster and appeal. We are all yearning for a peak of green grass and the first tiny crocuses to sprout from the frozen ground. While we are waiting anxiously for this to happen, why not bring a little warmth and sunshine into your cold winter day with a beautiful blood orange. Blood oranges look similar to any other citrus on the market; bright orange with a tinge of red on the skin. The red blush on the skin of the blood orange reveals only a glimpse of the beautiful bright red interior. Truly a stunning fruit...
Saffron is beautiful, earthy and the most expensive spice in the world. Don't let that scare you away. A little bit of this earthy spice goes a long way! Saffron is traditionally used in savory dishes and is often used in dying fabrics. The bright red spice produces a beautiful red-orange color when steeped in hot water. Although the spice is traditionally used in savory foods, it can easily be adapted to use in sweets. Saffron almond cake is the perfect example of sweet meets savory. The sweetness of the almond paste is balanced by the warm earthiness of the saffron. This cake is incredible -- not too sweet, but sweet enough to subside any craving for desert. Simple to make and extravagant enough to serve to even your most discerning guest.
Lemons are such a versatile fruit! They can easily transition between savory and sweet applications, are perfect for a classic roasted lemon chicken or a sweet lemon pound cake. Our lemon glazed pound cake incorporates both fresh lemon juice and our delicious lemon extract.
My house is full of the aroma of baked goods; raspberry crumb bars, gooey caramel pecan bars and, my personal favorite, cinnamon pecan coffee cake. There is something very special and incredibly delicious about a really good coffee cake. The perfect way to start, or end, any day! This coffee cake is moist and rich, with sweet ribbons of cinnamon, and pecans enhancing the double-fold Madagascar vanilla extract that is used in this recipe.
Spring is almost here. I could not be more excited!
As a child, spring brought mud puddles, thunderstorms and tulips. Tulips are a garden staple here in Michigan. You know that spring is here to stay when tulips begin to pop through the cold winter soil. The tulips haven't shown up yet, and there is still a thin layer of snow in our front yard, but that doesn't mean I can't celebrate spring's impending arrival with a classic spring dessert.
Chocolate cake makes me weak in the knees. It's not just, "That dessert looks good. I think I will throw all inclinations of eating healthy today out the window," but, "I want to sit down and eat a giant slice cold from the fridge at six in the morning with a big glass of cold milk."
Luckily, I was able to do just that this morning! I recently posted a recipe for drunken cherries on the Beanilla blog. As I sat down to plan out my posts for the week, I remembered a previous post for drunken cherries. I grabbed them out of the fridge and pried off the lid. The most amazing aroma greeted me; hints of almond, beautiful vanilla beans from Beanilla, and cherries. I knew that those cherries were crying out to be paired with rich chocolate cake. So, I made one, and guess what? It was amazing! My son begged for a piece, my husband (who doesn't eat dessert) ate an entire slice and me, well... I had two! I know you're thinking, "You're a pastry chef. You probably eat sweets all the time". But that is simply not the case......Continue reading
Grab a cup of coffee (or tea), sit down with a good old fashion newspaper, and enjoy the simple pleasure that is coffee cake. In this very hectic and digitalized world it is nice, on occasion, to put it all aside and reflect on the simple pleasures. Now don't get me wrong, I couldn't live without my iPhone, computer or camera, and nor would I want to, but every once in a while the hectic, fast-paced digital world that is our lives needs a rest -- a time to breathe and think about how quickly time passes, and how we sometimes forget to appreciate the small things that can bring so much pleasure.
I like unique flavor combinations. Any combination of flavors that remind me of being at the beach are even better. I have always dreamed of living near the ocean and was blessed to have had that opportunity recently. I am now near water again, Lake Michigan to be exact. The lake is beautiful, the sand is a pure white color and it is very calm and peaceful out there. But, there is nothing quite like the sounds, smells and tastes of the ocean! The fish tacos, the tropical drinks, the smell of the ocean air and of course coconut suntan lotion.
You know that I am a huge fan of Beanilla's baking extracts and flavors, I love the fresh unprocessed smell and flavor. But I must admit I was a little skeptical of the coconut extract. Most grocery store brands smell like, well.... coconut suntan lotion. I love the smell, but hesitate to put it into my desserts. Beanilla coconut extract does not smell like coconut suntan lotion, quite the opposite actually. I opened the bottle and was greeted by a pleasant waft of pure coconut, the kind you experience when you crack open a fresh coconut.Continue reading