Johnny’s Crumb Cake

Johnny's crumb cake

I think the first time I saw or even heard of Johnny Iuzzini was when he was a judge on Top Chef.  To me, there isn’t anything much cooler than a motorcycle riding, modern-day Elvis looking guy with tattoos who also happens to be a pastry chef.  Super cool!  I saw Johnny wrote a new book, Sugar Rush, but unfortunately, I was not able to cross it off my Christmas wish list. Luckily I came across this crumb cake recipe from his book, so I thought I would try a recipe before I bought it.  Since it will probably be a long time before I get to taste one of his actual desserts, making one of Johnny’s recipes is the next best thing. And, crumb cake is a perfect place to start because everyone in my family loves coffee cake. What I love about this recipe is that as a pastry chef, besides the traditional measurements, all the ingredients are given by weight. Baking is about being precise and if you say you aren’t a baker, this is the way to get good results every time as long as you have a good, reliable recipe. No measuring cups are needed, you just keep adding ingredients and zeroing out the scale for each new ingredient. I had my scale for like a year before I used it because for some reason, even as a pharmacist, using it was intimidating probably because it was just different from what I was used to. But now, if there are weight measurements, I use them.  You won’t believe the difference.

A few notes about this recipe. First, the batter barely covers the pan. I checked the pan size like five times, but it is 13×9.  I was worried that I would have a really short cake. Second, the crumb is very wet and heavy and there is a ton of it compared to the cake. Given those two things, I didn’t think there was any way this recipe would work out. But, I knew I measured everything correctly, so I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the cake rose. The cake is really fluffy and light, compared to some crumb cakes that can be a little dense. The crumb gets really crunchy on top, providing a perfect texture contrast to the cake.  Honestly, no joke, this one of the best crumb cakes I ever had.

Johnny Iuzzini’s Crumb Cake
Yield: 13×9 cake
Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
5½ tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter (75g)
½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream, at room temperature (60g)
⅔ cup milk, at room temperature (160g)
1 tablespoon vanilla (15g)
1 tablespoon baking powder (12g)
pinch of kosher salt
Crumb topping
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (280g)
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar (290g)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (6g)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (226g)
Instructions:
Take out and measure the ingredients that need to be at room temperature: sour cream, milk, eggs and butter.
Make sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350ºF.
Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking pan (I used a metal pan) with Pam. Lightly dust with flour and tap out any excess
In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.
Add in the egg and sour cream. Mix until combined.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Sprinkle in the pinch of salt
With the mixer on low, alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, unless you a have a beater blade that does this for you
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Note: this barely covers the bottom of the pan.
Now, for the crumb topping:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until uniform.
Pour in the melted butter. Stir until completely moistened. This will be heavy, wet and lots of it. Make sure to use it all.
Roll the mixture between the tips of your fingers to make small balls of crumb
Scatter the topping evenly over the top of the batter in the pan, right from your hands as you roll it. Completely cover the cake batter. It will be about half cake to half crumb.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch and it springs back lightly when pressed.
Note: If the cake is not done in 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325ºF and continue to bake until done- checking frequently
Remove the cake from the oven. Lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Allow the cake to cool completely and give it a generous dusting of powdered sugar
Source: Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini, as seen on Taste and Tell
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Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Cream cheese coffee cake has been the most popular recipe on Just Baked, by far.  Again, thank you Mother Thyme for a wonderful recipe.  Every time I make this cake, everyone says it is the best coffee cake they ever had and asks for the recipe. It really is delicious with the buttery cake, cheesecake-like filling, streusel and sweet glaze.  As good as it is, I decided to change it up this time by adding lemon and blueberries.  Don’t you just love how lemon brightens the flavor of blueberries?  The changes were simple. I added lemon extract to the cream cheese filling, subbed lemon juice for milk in the glaze  and added lemon zest to the cake.  I pressed about 1/2 pint of blueberries into the cream cheese layer. With a great, basic recipe like this, the flavor possibilities are endless.  I brought the cake to work as a treat for my coworkers and came home with an empty pan.  Empty pan = success.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield: 13 x 9 cake

For the filling:

Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened (light or regular)   I used regular

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/4 tsp lemon extract  optional

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup sour cream (light or regular)

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed

For the glaze:

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 to 1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease/flour or spray a 9 x 13 cake pan. Set aside.

Make the filling:  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon extract (if using) on medium-low speed until creamy.  Set aside for the filling.  (If you have 1 bowl and paddle, you will need to put this mixture in a separate bowl, and wash them to use to make the cake batter)

Make the cake batter:  In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest.  Slowly pour in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream until it is all combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan with a spatula.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on top. Arrange as many blueberries as you like, I did about 1/2 pint, on top of the filling. Top with remaining cake batter and smooth with a spatula.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl in the batter.

Make the topping:  Add the sugar, flour and chilled butter in a small bowl.  Stir using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of cake batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack.

To make the glaze:  In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until it is the right consistency for drizzling.  Drizzle over cake.

Source: Mother Thyme; Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

My good friend Eva, from Eva Bakes, and I thought it would be fun to tackle something off of our baking bucket lists together.  We would both make the same thing, choosing our own recipe, and then post the results.  First up? Boston cream pie.  Funny, I think I have only made about 5 layer cakes in my whole life.  Layer cakes to me are kind of fancy.  I am more of a cookie/brownie kind of girl.  But, I certainly have never turned cake down.  I love a challenge.

So I got up early Saturday morning to tackle this multi-step cake.  Unfortunately, my husband didn’t sleep well the night before and went back to sleep when I got up.  Let me just say, making this cake with baby Alex was not an easy feat.  He only took out the fire extinguisher, almost dumped a newly opened jar of cornstarch all over the floor,  shook salt onto the table, spilled a glass of water, and put a cup of dog food into the dog’s water. Ugh, I think that was it.  Given the circumstances, I think my cake came out pretty darn good.

Honestly, the cake really isn’t hard to make, it just takes a few steps.  To make the cake, you need to separate eggs and beat them in separate bowls, finally folding them together with flour. While the cakes bake, you make the pastry cream on the stove.  You then have some wait time for the cakes to cool and the pastry cream to set in the fridge.  After assembling the cake, you make a quick chocolate frosting to pour over the cake.  So, all easy…it just takes time.  You know the hardest part? Transferring the finished cake from the cooling rack to the serving plate.

The verdict? I thought that cake was delicious. You have a spongy buttery cake, filled with smooth, vanilla scented pastry cream, topped with thick chocolate glaze. How bad could it be? (I love Ina!)

So, one down, so many more to go. Thanks for baking with me, Eva! I can’t wait to see your cake!

Foolproof Sponge Cake

½ cup (2 oz) cake flour

¼ cup (1 1/4oz) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

3 TBSP milk

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ tsp vanilla

3 large egg whites, room temp

¼ tsp cream of tartar

¾ cup (5 1/4oz) sugar – DIVIDED

3 large egg yolks, room temp

2 large eggs, room temp

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350F. Grease and flour two 8in or 9in round cake pans (ATK recommends 9 in) and line with a circle of parchment. Grease the paper.

Whisk together the 2 flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter together on low until the butter is melted.   Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.

In a large bowl, whip 3 egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer, on med-low until foamy, ~ 1 minute.  Increase speed to med-high and whip the egg whites until soft, billowy mounds form, ~ 1 minute.  Gradually whip in 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 30 seconds. Continue to whip until until shiny and form soft peaks, ~ 1 to 3 minutes.  Do NOT overbeat.

In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 yolks and 2 whole eggs with an electric mixer on med-high. Gradually add in the last 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 1 min. Continue to whip the mixture until very light in color and voluminous, ~ 4-6 minutes.

Gently pour the thick, yellow egg yolk mixture on top of the soft peaked egg white mixture.  Sift the flour mixture on top of that.  Now you have a white layer on the bottom, yellow yolk mixture in the middle and flour on top. Very gently, fold everything together with a rubber spatula, just until combined, ~ 12 folds. Pour the warm milk, in a steady stream, against the side of the bowl. Continue to fold until evenly combined and there are no streaks of flour, ~ 8 folds.

Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake until lightly brown and a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, ~ 12-18 minutes. Do NOT rotate cakes while baking.

Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes and flip onto a parchment lined plate. Peel  off the parchment bottom and flip the cakes right side up onto a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

½ cup (3.5 oz) sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup cornstarch

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until pale yellow and thick, ~ 30 seconds.

Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick and glossy, ~ 1.5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly pressed onto the surface, to avoid skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled and set, ~ 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

½ tsp vanilla     

Put all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Microwave, stopping frequently to whisk.  Continue until all melted and smooth, ~ 1-2 minutes. Let the glaze cool, uncovered, until thick but still pourable, ~ 20 minutes.

Assembly:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place a wire rack on top. Place one of the cake layers on the rack. Spread the pastry cream on top of the cake, right to the edges. Place the other layer on top and press lightly to adhere.

Pour the chocolate glaze on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered, until the chocolate sets- at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.  Before serving, transfer to a serving plate/cake stand and let warm up to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes.

Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

The last few years we have gone to my father in law’s for Halloween because we live in a townhouse and no one really trick or treats here.  We use Karl’s house to get everyone dressed (this year as a ninja, Princess Tiana and a gnome), trick or treat as long as the cold Chicago weather permits, and stop back for dinner and dessert.  I was trying to decide what to bring and then it came to me.  My FIL loves coffee cake (given the opportunity, he could eat the whole thing himself) and I had just pinned the perfect recipe a few weeks ago.  I knew that the kids wouldn’t eat it, but they would be too preoccupied with sorting and eating candy to even notice.  So, coffee cake it was.

Halloween was a super busy day.  We went to Sammie’s parade in the morning and then went back again at 1 for Jack’s parade.  Immediately after that,  I planned on making the coffee cake.  But the problem was I neglected to notice  that there were four steps and a 45 minute baking time.  I took the cake out of the oven just 15 minutes before we had to leave.  It was supposed to cool before glazing, but there was no time for that. So I glazed it anyway.  The pan was too hot to hold so I had to carry it by the cooling rack and put it on the floor of the car.  Luckily, it didn’t burn into the rug.

I couldn’t wait for dessert to taste this cake. I love coffee cake too, especially those without cinnamon.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinnamon, but I just prefer my coffee cake without.  I save cinnamon for the rolls 😀  I have to say, this cake was so worth the wait.  The cake is moist and buttery, with a cheesecake like swirl in the middle, some texture from the streusel and sweetness from the powdered sugar glaze.  I mean, really, how could you go wrong with this combination?

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield: 13 x 9 cake

For the filling:

Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened (light or regular)   I used regular

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream (light or regular)

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed

For the glaze:

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease/flour or spray a 9 x 13 cake pan. Set aside.

Make the filling:  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla on medium-low speed until creamy.  Set aside for the filling.  (If you have 1 bowl and paddle, you will need to put this mixture in a separate bowl, and wash them to use to make the cake batter)

Make the cake batter:  In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla extract.  Slowly pour in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream until it is all combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan with a spatula.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on top. Top with remaining cake batter and smooth with a spatula.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl in the batter.

Make the topping:  Add the sugar, flour and chilled butter in a small bowl.  Stir using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of cake batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack.

To make the glaze:  In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until creamy.  Drizzle over cake.

Source: Mother Thyme

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

As usual, I got a little overzealous buying bananas.  I mean, the baby likes bananas and all, but come on.  I don’t think I really needed twenty.  Although, this time it isn’t entirely my fault.  My parents gave me some when they visited last week.  Alex ate a bunch, but I still had 8 brown bananas to contend with now.  In the past,  I made some super delicious banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  But, they start with a box mix.  So this time I wanted to try to make a cake from scratch.  However, I don’t always have such great luck with homemade cake.  They can often be really dense and dry.  But, I figured with the bananas and sour cream, it should be okay.  So I pressed on… I was determined to succeed after a major cinnamon roll coffee cake fail this morning. 😦

The cake batter was easy to put together and it baked up perfectly.  Oh, this was looking promising!  After letting the cake cool, I mixed up the frosting.  Just 4 ingredients, but holy cow, this frosting is crazy delicious!  I almost said forget the cake, let’s just eat this frosting.  But, against my better judgment :D, I went ahead and frosted the cake.  Yeah, then it would have been a good idea to refrigerate it for a bit to cut perfect slices.  Did I? Of course not.  I just had to taste this cake.  The cake is so soft and tender and just bursting with banana flavor.  The frosting is thick and creamy, with a pleasant tang from the cream cheese and just the right amount of vanilla.  Wow!  I don’t know what else to say.  Hands down this is the best banana cake I have ever had.  I still have 6 brown bananas left.  Heck, I just might make another one….

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 13 x 9 pan of bars, about 16 pieces

For the bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp banana extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas  Totally smooth or a little chunky..your preference

For the frosting:
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar    I didn’t sift and it was fine
1 tsp vanilla extract          I used 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To make the bars:  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch metal baking pan.  Place 2 pieces of parchment perpendicular to each other, with overhang, and spray/butter again. (This makes it easy to remove the bars from the pan for nice cutting.) In a large bowl: whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the sour cream, vanilla, and banana extract by hand with a spatula.  Fold in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Fold in the mashed banana.  Scrape the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Tap lightly on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.  Mine took more like 28 minutes.  Transfer the whole pan to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar.  Mix on low until combined.  Add the vanilla and mix again. Spread carefully on the cooled banana bars.  I found it easier to frost with the bars removed from the pan (by the parchment handles).

Source: Allrecipes  via Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Happy birthday to me! Ugh, another year closer to 40. 😀  That’s okay, because it was a good one. My husband got up early with the baby so I could sleep in a bit.  When I woke up, Justin made me my favorite ATK buttermilk pancakes and bacon.  The kids colored me birthday cards, with Sammie’s all covered in pretty Disney princess stickers.  My husband had to coach a volleyball game tonight, so we are going to celebrate tomorrow with dinner and a movie. My sisters in law are awesome and are taking the kids for the night, so we can sleep in Saturday.   So, today I spent the day with the kids and I had to get some grading done before date night.

I didn’t have a lot of time to make a layer cake or cupcakes.  So, I decided to make a cake that makes its own sauce, this hot fudge pudding cake.  It’s kind of crazy in that you make the batter, put a thick (and I mean thick) cover of cocoa powder mixed with sugar over it, and then pour boiling water over that.  But, it’s an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, so I don’t question, I just do it.  So, you put your cake covered in boiling water in the oven and bake it.  It magically transforms, as all that liquid goes to the bottom and a cratered, cake forms on top.  When you scoop out the chocolate cake, there is a thick layer of hot fudge sauce underneath.  Make sure you get all that goo, as that is the best part.  Then, of course, you must add a scoop of ice cream to the warm cake.  Mmm..ice cream and cake, with my kids, at 3 in the afternoon, completely spoiling our dinner.  Now, that’s a happy birthday!

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Yield: 8×8 cake

1 cup sugar, divided

1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, divided

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup boiling water

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray an 8×8 metal or glass pan with cooking spray.  Whisk 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of cocoa in a small bowl.

Whisk flour, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, remaining 1/4 cup of cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk milk, melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture, just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be stiff.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Sprinkle the reserved cocoa mixture over the top.  Gently pour the boiling water over the cocoa.  Don’t stir.

Bake until the top of the cake looks cracked, sauce is bubbling, and a toothpick inserted into a cakey area comes out with moist crumbs attached, ~ 25 minutes.  Do not overcook, or the cake will be dry and lose its fudge sauce.  So, err on the side of under.  Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes. To serve, scoop warm cake into individual bowls and top with ice cream or whipped cream.

Store leftovers, covered in plastic, in the fridge.  Reheat individual servings in the microwave.

Source:  Cook’s Country February/March 2007

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake

I was looking on Pinterest (where else?) for a recipe to use up some blueberries and I came across this blueberry cream cheese coffee cake.  I really love anything with crumb topping and then you one up a coffee cake with cream cheese?  Now we’re talking.  The cake batter is easy enough to put together.  Then you fold in the blueberries and chunks of cream cheese to complete the batter.  The crumb topping is made by just mashing together sugar, flour and cold butter.  I have tried the two fork method and I even have a pastry blender, but I find that nothing works better than mushing it with your hands.   The cake is so pretty after it is baked with all the bright purple blueberries poking out from beneath the golden crumb topping.  When you taste it, the cake itself is moist and buttery.   Then you bite into a blueberry and it’s sweet and juicy.  Then you hit a pocket of cream cheese and it’s well, as you can imagine, creamy.  I love all the different texture and taste contrasts in this cake.  Another thing I love about coffeecake?  It is one of the few times where it is completely acceptable to eat cake and call it breakfast.  Although, that’s not to say that I haven’t eaten chocolate chip cookies in the morning and called it breakfast.  But that was only me, hiding in the kitchen, stuffing them in my mouth before my kids woke up and wanted cookies for breakfast too. 😀

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield:  an 8 x 8 cake.  I used a 9 inch round cake pan.

For the cake:

1/4 cup (4 Tbs) butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla   (my addition)

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all- purpose flour, DIVIDED

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, washed, dried and picked over for stems    I used fresh

3 oz cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes

For the crumb topping:

4 Tablespoons flour

4 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 375F.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,  cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla (if using).  Combine 1 cup of flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.  Start and end with the flour mixture.

Toss the blueberries with remaining 2 Tbs flour.  With a spatula, fold the blueberries and cream cheese cubes into the batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 8 inch baking pan.  I used a 9in round.  I wish I would have put a parchment circle on the bottom so the cake would have been easier to remove and put on my cake stand.

Prepare the crumb topping:  In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.  Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mine took about 35 minutes.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you use frozen berries, do not thaw before using or they will bleed into the cake.  It will still taste good, but it won’t look as pretty.
  • When making the crumb topping, I find just using my hands to work better than two forks or a pastry blender.

Source: Slightly adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, originally from Taste of Home magazine

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

A few years ago, I came across this snickerdoodle bundt cake recipe.  I knew that my husband would love it because it looked like a cross between his favorite cookie and his favorite cake, pound cake.  But, silly me, I printed out the recipe and filed it into my giant recipe box.  So, of course, it got lost in my abyss of recipes.  Well, I knew my obsession with Pinterest would payoff eventually and it did.  I came across this recipe again and this time, I wasn’t going to take any chances.  I would make it right away!

This cake has the taste and texture of pound cake, but with a hint of brown sugar.  And, who wouldn’t love a ribbon of cinnamon sugar running through the middle?  But, the best part is the coating of cinnamon sugar on the outside.  Not only does this give the cake its snickerdoodle flavor, but it also gives the outside a crispy, cinnamon sugar crust.  Unfortunately, I have had quite a few baking failures past 2 weeks.  So, I was nervous that the problem here would be in the release.  A broken cake can be so frustrating.  But usually for me, it is the bottom that sticks.  So, I just flip it upside down and hide it with whipped cream and strawberries.  It still tastes delicious.  But, to my surprise, this cake released super easily.  It must have been the sugar crust.  Hmmm…maybe I’ll sprinkle a bit of sugar on the pan of my next pound cake?

When I take pictures, I usually take them outside because I have such trouble with light if it isn’t natural.  So, I left a piece of cake on the table for my husband while I took my pictures outside, in the heat, like a crazy person.  (I wonder what my neighbors think?)  All of a sudden, our sliding door swings open and my husband yells, “Oh. My. God!  This has to be the best thing you ever made!”  So, I guess he liked it okay. 😀  Usually, I give out most of what I bake.  But, for this, Justin was not going to share. Nope, he said he’ll eat the whole thing himself by Saturday.  Well, he might have some competition though.  My son, Jack, just had two pieces and was asking if two was all he was allowed to have.   Yes, two is plenty and besides, I think dad is keeping tabs.

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

For the cinnamon sugar topping/swirl
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Mix together until uniformly combined.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325F.

To make the cinnamon sugar crust: Using a nonstick spray product,  generously spray a 9 inch Bundt pan.  Be careful to spray into all the creases and coat the tube.  Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar.  You want to try and evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.  (Pour some cinnamon sugar into the pan and turn the pan like a steering wheel to get it all around the pan.)  Set aside the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat just the butter on medium x 1 minute. Add the white sugar and mix x 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and blade.  Add the brown sugar.  Mix x 2 minutes until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each x 1 minute.  Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream (I did flour-sour cream-flour-sour cream-flour). Beat well until all incorporated.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture over top the batter. Spread the rest of the batter into the pan and sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the top.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Source:  Dozen Flours

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

If I had to pin down a recipe that I am known for, my signature recipe, it would have be one-step pound cake.  And, before me, it was my mom’s signature recipe.  I just kind of took it over. 😀  Mostly, because my husband’s family is so crazy about it.  I just love the ease of dumping everything into the bowl, mixing and baking a delicious pound cake.  So, why even mess with it as my husband would say?  Well, because I am always on the lookout for something better.  There is only one recipe that I love so much that I can’t see making any other way, and that is the Baked brownie  (please excuse the picture, it was one of my 1st posts :D).  Sure, I’ll make different flavor brownie recipes but as for a plain brownie, the search is over. Perfection I tell you.  Mmmm. Sorry, I digress.  Back to poundcake.

I had a giant stack of Cook’s Country magazines and I decided to go through them and write down what I would like to make in each one.  Man, that is a lot of recipes.  A bit overwhelming, but I decided to dive in right away with this cream cheese pound cake.  Because it is one of my favorite desserts, I have eaten more than my share of pound cake.  But I don’t think I have have ever had one with cream cheese.  While this recipe certainly isn’t one bowl, three bowls actually, it is worth the extra effort.  And really, it isn’t that much extra work, just more dishes.  In the end, you get a buttery, velvet textured pound cake with a tight crumb and a pleasant tang from the cream cheese.  To me, the flavor is very reminiscent of cheesecake.  Pound cake that tastes like cheesecake?  That can only be a good thing.  In fact, it was so good that Sammie had to create a new high to our rating scale.  Instead of a sky high thumbs up, it got all ten fingers sky high.  Now that my friends, is a good pound cake.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Yield: 1 bundt cake

3 Cups (12 oz) cake flour
1 Teaspoon salt
4 large eggs plus 2 large yolks, room temperature
1/4 Cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Cups (21 oz) sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter , softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat your oven to 300F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.  Combine flour and salt in a bowl.  Whisk eggs, yolks, milk and vanilla in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and very slowly add the egg mixture until incorporated (batter may look a bit curdled).  Add flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Give the batter a final stir by hand.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and gently tap it on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 80 to 90 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway in the baking time.  Cool the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes only.  Longer than 15 minutes, and it may be hard to remove from the pan.  Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely, about 2 hours.  The cake can be wrapped with plastic and held at room temperature for 3 days.

I like to serve with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Source:  Cook’s Country April/May 2012

Blueberry Buckle

Holy cow! Pretty soon I will have made so many recipes from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, you won’t even have to buy it! 😀  The book really is that good.  The other day, I bought three pints of blueberries because they were super cheap.  We ate some, froze some, and  I decided that I had to make the Back in the Day Bakery’s blueberry buckle with the rest.  But, I had to get rid of at least half of this cake or else I would be eating the whole dang thing.  There are worse problems I suppose.  But, I convinced my father in law to swing by and pick some up.  It really didn’t take much convincing.  And, he was nice enough to give me some raspberries that he picked from his garden in exchange.  Sounds like a fair trade to me.

This is a really simple cake to put together.  The batter is similar to other coffee cake batters.  But, I love the addition of the sour cream and lemon zest for a bit of tang.  The recipe makes a ton of streusel.  It may seem like too much, but don’t be tempted to not use it all.  Come on, the cinnamon streusel is the best part!  I ate it warm out of the oven for breakfast and it was delicious.  My mother in law enjoyed hers with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Okay, maybe not for the piece I ate for breakfast but on one of the other two pieces I ate that day.  And, now I have none left.  Oh well, I will have to keep this in mind for next time.

Back in the Day Bakery’s Blueberry Buckle

Yield:  one 9 inch round cake

For the crumble:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
8 Tbsp (1 stick ) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the cake:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cardamom  I omitted
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 granulated cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Butter the sides of a 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Make the crumb topping:  Combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in a small bowl and mix until well blended.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the crumbs are the size of peas.  Put the topping in a covered container and set in the freezer to chill while you make the cake batter.

To make the buckle:  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low,  and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch.  Sprinkle the top lightly with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Wrapped in plastic, the buckle will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

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