cake of the mondays: strawberry lemonade cupcakes

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yesterday was gloomy and today isn’t much better.  only little bits of blue sky peeking out from behind some seriously grey clouds.  and, the boys are cranky.  so, what could be better for a house with a Case of the Mondays (that continued into tuesday) than another Cake of the Mondays?

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christopher and i had gotten a giant box of strawberries from costco last week and some weren’t looking so great anymore and i needed to do something with them before i had to toss them out.  so, i cut up about two cups of strawberries, added a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice and smashed them up with my potato masher.  then i mixed up a quick batch of Bisquick® Velvet Crumb Cake.

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this is my favorite easy cake recipe.  i use it as the base for my strawberry shortcake, raisin cupcakes and just about any other simple white cake i need.  it’s a little heavier than a normal cake but not quite like a pound cake.  i also never have made the coconut topping in the original recipe.  i always just make the cake part!  and just in case you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post.  i just really like this recipe and i use Bisquick® pretty often from pancakes to muffins.

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i lined two cupcake tins with papers (i got 21 cupcakes out of this recipe, but you could fill the cups with more batter and get about 16 cupcakes) and preheated the oven to 350°.  i zested one lemon and juiced it.  i used 1/2 cup of lemon juice in place of the water/milk in the recipe because i wanted a nice, zippy lemon flavor.

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then i mixed all the ingredients together.  it is kind of lumpy and a little thick, so don’t worry.  then i took about 1 1/2 cups of the strawberry mash (reserve 1/2 cup for the frosting) and gently folded it into the batter.  this makes the batter way thinner than the recipe usually is, but that’s ok.  also, because of the lemon juice, your cakes won’t rise as much.  i didn’t care about this and sometimes, i like a denser (is that a word?) cake anyway.

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i used our good ol’ ice cream scooper to measure out batter into each cupcake liner.  bake for 15 minutes on two shelves in the middle of the oven and then rotate the tins.  bake for another 15 minutes.  baking times can vary and because this recipe is a little runnier with the strawberries in it, you may need to bake a bit longer.  i needed to let mine bake for an extra 10 minutes.

once the cupcakes are done baking (when a toothpick comes out clean,) cool on a cooling rack, completely.  i had a hard time figuring out what to frost these with, but finally decided on a simple strawberry whipped cream frosting.  whip up 1 cup heavy cream, 4 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  when the cream is stiff and whipped, gently fold in the remainder of your strawberry mash and the lemon zest.  use an offset spatula or piping bag to frost the cupcakes.  store in the fridge until ready to eat.

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i love the big chunks of strawberry and lemon zest in the frosting!  the boys gave them two very enthusiastic thumbs up and they were a nice treat for an icky day.

such a great way to turn around a monday!

cheers,

e

a cake of the mondays: lemon ricotta cake

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yesterday was warm.  one of those days where we tried not to turn on the air conditioner, but we gave in and did it anyway.  it probably could have been avoided if i hadn’t decided to bake a cake of the mondays.  but when i ran across this recipe from the blog simply scratch, i could not resist.

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this recipe calls for meyer lemons, but i didn’t want to run to the store and i had a ton of regular lemons.  plus, i wanted a cake with more tartness than the meyers impart because christopher had made some vanilla ice cream the other day and i thought the zippiness of the lemons would go really well with the ice cream.  that was the only substitution i made.  this is a really straightforward recipe and was easy enough for one of the boys to help me make.  and of course, he needed a taste!

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give this recipe a shot.  i love the use of the ricotta in this cake.  it is soooo moist!  the glaze gives it a sweet kiss, without being frosting-y sweet; it is dense like a pound cake, but light and lemony, so it’s a perfect summer evening snack.  or summer breakfast…or lunch.  trust me, this cake won’t last very long because it’s so tasty!

cheers,

e

cake of the mondays: st. patrick’s edition…

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i know it’s thursday and i am behind on my posting.  but, i did make a “cake of the mondays.”  i just didn’t get to post it until now.  we had another round of ickiness on tuesday after preschool and the boys having the flu for the first time took most of my attention away.

they are better now and i’ve had a chance to get my pics together from making our cake.  i chose to make nigella lawson’s guinness cake which is a favorite in our house and it works out especially well for st. patrick’s day.  i usually make it as-is, but i changed it up a bit, this time.  i love guinness, but i wanted a beer that had a little more punch.  so, i chose the elysian split shot espresso milk stout.  and, man, am i glad i did!  it was perfect!  the cake turned out so moist and you could really taste the creamy, coffee notes from the beer!  plus, the pint left over after using the cup for the cake was all mine and it was truly divine!

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cake 1

i also change the frosting a bit.  i like the cream cheese frosting she does as it is, but for st. paddy’s day, i like to add some baileys irish cream to the mix.

cake 2

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i think it turned out smashing. have you ever made this cake?  what did you think?  do you have a favorite “holiday” cake or recipe?

cheers,

e

a cake of the mondays: pineapple upside down cake…

this is a cake i grew up with.  almost every saturday, my grandma ruth would make a pineapple upside down cake and take it over to my dad’s motorcycle shop next door for the guys to eat.  it is one of my very favorites and i got to make it with jack jack this week.

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pineapple upside down cake

for the cake –

1 egg

1/2 c sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 c bisquick mix

1/2 c milk

1 tsp vanilla

for the topping –

pineapple rings (fresh or tinned–i use tinned)

2 tbsp pineapple juice (use juice from tinned pineapple)

maraschino cherries

pecans, halved

2 tbsp butter

3/4 c brown sugar, packed

preheat oven to 350.

mix together all cake ingredients in a large bowl.  this is where my little helper was very handy.  he is a good mixer.

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he takes his job very seriously.

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in a cast iron skillet over medium heat melt the topping butter and brown sugar until it begins to bubble. remove from heat.

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working quickly, place a pineapple ring in the center of bubbly sugar mix and place half rings of pineapple around the center ring making sure to leave room between them.  place a maraschino cherry half in the center ring.  place a pecan half in the center of each half ring.

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little cherry thief!

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pour the batter over the hot, bubbly brown sugar topping and pop it into the oven for 30-35 minutes.

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it should be nice and brown when it’s done.

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now the tricky part: flipping it out of the hot-as-the-face-of-the-sun cast iron pan.  i let it cool for about 5 minutes and get out my best pot holders.  i have ones like mits with rubber on one side.  i take a plate the same size as my pan and place it over the cake.  then i grab the whole thing with my potholder hands and holding on as tight as i can, i flip it and set it down on the counter.  then i gently lift the pan off the cake.  ideally it should come right out.

now, do not, i repeat DO NOT let the cake cool for more than 5 minutes before flipping because the topping will solidify in the pan and stick, leaving you with a topping-less cake. 😦  if you find that your topping has stuck, reverse the process you just did to put the cake back in the pan and put the skillet on the burner on low for a few minutes.  this will loosen the topping so you can re-flip the cake out onto your plate.

ta-da!

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fyi, this is how you should arrange the pineapple rings and nuts in the pan before pouring in the batter.

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i always have this cake for breakfast, because i like to trick myself into thinking it is healthy with that fruit on it.  and you can make it with any kind of fruit that is in season.  i’ve done it with peaches, nectarines, plums and pears.  🙂

bottoms up!

e

a cake of the mondays: valentine’s week edition…

 

 

today’s “cake of the mondays” is a valentine’s edition, which means that i used my heart shaped pans again.  really, though, do i need an excuse to use those cute cake pans?

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i thought about making nigella lawson’s guinness cake with bailey’s frosting that i usually do for valentine’s day, but christopher really loves lemon so i found this recipe from martha stewart.  i modified it a bit and i’ll tell you how, but this is the basic recipe i used:

martha stewart lemon cake recipe with whipped frosting.

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this cake is super lemony.  i love it!  it was a big hit with the kids and christopher.  i made the cake according to the directions and brushed with the lemon syrup when it was warm out of the oven.

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look at these amazing candied lemon slices!  i made sure to take the seeds out, which the instructions did not talk about.

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when the cake was totally cool, i spread a thick layer of lemon curd (store bought) on the bottom layer and laid the top layer over it.  then i spread a very thin layer of curd on the top cake.  i gave it a bit to set before frosting the cake.  i glopped the frosting on and still had leftover!  then i laid on the candied lemon slices. ta da!

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something i wanted to do was make a cute little valentine’s day decoration for the cake, so i drew hearts on some craft paper and wrote a word on each heart to spell out a line from our wedding song.  we danced to ben harper’s not fire, not ice so i used the line “nothing can keep me from loving you.”  i colored the hearts with the boys’ crayons and cut them out, glued them to some embroidery floss and tied the whole thing to two skewer sticks.  it turned out better than i thought it would!

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i really need to do better at backgrounds and photographing my projects.  anyway, MAKE THIS CAKE!  it is delicious.

i hope you try this cake and let me know what you thought of it.

cheers!

e

a cake of the mondays: jam cake…

today’s cake is probably my favorite cake.  it is one my grandma ruth taught me to make and i would request it for each birthday when i was growing up.  it’s called jam cake.  basically, it’s a spice cake with raisins and pecans frosted in a simple maple frosting.  it contains a full cup of seedless blackberry jam.  the batter is the most beautiful purple when you are mixing it. yummy.

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i am really bad a documenting the baking with photos and realized after i’d cut it that i hadn’t taken any pics!  jackson helped me make this cake and i think he is going to be a really good chef as he grows.  he really enjoyed the process and said, “mommy, this is the most beautiful cake i’ve ever made!  it is purple and i just love purple.”  melt my heart like it was a pat of butter!

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i just love using my heart-shaped cake pans and this is a fun cake to do in a heart shape.  i feel like it really emphasizes that we baked it with love.

here is the recipe.

grandma ruth’s jam cake

for the cake:

2 c flour

1 c sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves

3 eggs

1/2 c buttermilk

1/4 c butter, melted

1 c seedless blackberry jam (grandma always used homemade, but store-bought is just fine)

1 c raisins

1 c pecans, chopped

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

in a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together except for the raisins and pecans.  in a medium bowl, mix the eggs, jam and melted butter, then add the buttermilk.  combine the wet ingredients into the dry.  fold in raisins and nuts and mix well.  pour into 8″ greased and floured pans (even if they are non-stick, grease and flour them–trust me, there is nothing worse than a cake not turing out of the pan!)  bake for 35-40 minutes in the middle rack of the oven, testing for doneness at 35 minutes.  when done, cool in the pans on a cooling rack until cool enough to touch to turn out onto the cooling racks. let cool fully.

for the frosting:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp milk

2 c powdered sugar (you may use less but don’t use more than 2 c!)

1/2 tsp maple flavoring

when cakes are cool, mix together butter and milk and heat in microwave until butter is melted.  add to a large bowl and begin to add powdered sugar, being sure not to exceed 2 cups.  add in maple flavoring.  mix well.  frost the top of the bottom layer and gently place top layer on it.  frost the rest of the cake.

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this cake is wicked sweet.  i have learned over the years to cut slices smaller than you think you want.  i figure, it’s better to go back for more than to leave it uneaten.

i hope you all enjoy this cake.  please let me know if you make it and what you thought of it.

cheers,

e