Archive for Baking and Sweet Endings – Page 3

Blueberry Cake Topped With Almonds

The local blueberries are in! Have I been busy or what, making all sorts of wonderful things with them. This is an easy cake to put together, is really, really good and could be served for dessert, with afternoon coffee or tea, or as a guilty pleasure, for breakfast. Enjoy! You can use frozen blueberries but the fresh ones are so plump and juicy! A bonus is that this cake freezes very well.

DSC_3265 nx2Makes a 9” Cake

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup homogenized milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp. grated lemon rind (a microplane is a great tool for this)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 – 11 oz. unsweetened blueberries, divided

Topping: 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Either grease, or spray with baking spray a 9” cake pan (square or round).

Place flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder & salt in a large mixing bowl & whisk together; add the eggs, milk, melted & slightly cooled butter, lemon rind & juice. Blend at low speed until all ingredients are moistened, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, fold in 1 cup of the blueberries; spread evenly in the greased cake pan, leveling with an offset spatula or spoon. Scatter the remaining berries on top; then sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. sugar; then scatter the almonds all over the top. Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, checking after 45 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

If you have not used a microplane, it’s a fabulous grater available at cooking shops. We take ours with us when we go on vacation! I have one for citrus & one for Parmesan. Great tool!

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Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

The blueberries, here in B.C., are gorgeous!   It’s great to make these muffins when the berries are in season, but we can get good, local, frozen ones from the Gelderman’s farm to make these muffins with other times of the year. I often double the recipe just to have a bunch on hand in the freezer.

Makes 9 – 10 Medium Size Muffins

_DSC1697 resize square1 cup oatmeal, not quick cooking
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unbleached flour (or ½ cup each unbleached & whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup blueberries


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Combine oatmeal & buttermilk in a small bowl; let stand. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda & brown sugar in a large bowl; stir well to blend. Add the egg & melted butter to the oatmeal mixture, stir to combine. Add oatmeal mixture, all at once, to flour mixture; stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries. Either grease  muffin cups well or line with muffin liners & place the batter into the cups. Tip: an ice cream scoop really helps when putting the batter into the cups. Place in the oven & bake 20 – 25 minutes, until a skewer, or toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

If you would like to get blueberries from Gelderman’s, click My Source List.

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Buttermilk Corn Bread

Another one of our favourite quick breads. It’s so good with soups, chili  or a main course salad. I love  baking with buttermilk as it provides such a nice flavour and crumb to the finished product.

DSC_6533 nx2Makes One 8 x 8” Pan

2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
½ cup unbleached flour
½ cup wholewheat flour
2/3 cup cornmeal (preferable stone-ground)
2 Tbsp. wheat germ
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
¼ cup butter, melted & cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Butter & flour or spray with non-stick cooking spray, a 8 x 8 x 2” glass baking dish. Sift the flours together & measure out 1 cup. Sift the flour again with the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda & salt; stir in the wheat germ. With a whisk, beat the eggs in a large bowl; add the sugar & mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions of each, combining well after each addition. Stir in the melted butter & pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven & bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out dry.

Cool slightly, cut into 16 pieces & serve warm.

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Orange Chiffon Cake

I baked this cake for my parents a few years ago, dropping if off along with a bunch of other baking. The very next day my dad phoned to tell me that it was “almost all gone and it was so good he could not stop eating it!” Oh…and could I bake them another one really soon? This cake will forever remind me of them!

Makes One 10” Tube Pan

DSC_7231 nx21 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Grated rind of 1 orange, a microplane does a great job
½ cup vegetable oil
6 eggs, room temperature, separated
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup cold water
½ tsp. cream of tartar

Orange Glaze:

1 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
½ – 1 tsp. grated orange rind
Approximately 4 – 5 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt & orange rind in a bowl. Make a well in the centre; add, in order, oil, egg yolks, orange juice & water. Using a mixer, beat until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, with the cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Pour batter over egg whites, folding in gently with a spatula until just blended.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10” tube pan. Place the cake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 350 F for 10 minutes. Invert the pan on a rack and allow to cool completely.

When completely cold, remove from the pan by gently running a thin blade metal spatula around the edges of the pan & around the tube lifting the cake very gently as you go around the cake a couple of times until the cake is released. Invert the cake onto a rack.

Make the Glaze:

Combine the sifted icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a medium-thick, pourable icing; stir in the orange rind.

Set the rack with the cake onto a large plate, then pour the glaze over the cake allowing it to run down the sides and middle of the tube. Allow to sit until it sets up a bit before serving.

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Ramp And Buttermilk Biscuits

Ramps (aka wild leeks) are found only in the spring. If you are the lucky person who has learned how to forage and know where to locate them….all I can say is “I’m really jealous”. For the rest of us, they are available at local Farmers’ Markets. A delicious, two-thumbs up savoury biscuit that would be great with ham, cheese or even smoked salmon or just on their own!

Makes Approximately 9 – 12 Biscuits

Make the Biscuits:

¾ cup chilled buttermilk
¾ cup thinly sliced, trimmed ramps (bulbs, stems & green tops)
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glazing the biscuits)
½ tsp. coriander seeds, cracked (place them in a small freezer bag, seal and roll over with a rolling pin)

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Mix buttermilk & ramps in small bowl. Mix flour, baking powder, salt & pepper in processor. Add the chilled butter to processor; using on/off turns, cut in butter until fine meal forms. Transfer flour mixture to a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture; stir until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; very gently knead the dough together, about 6 times; pat out to a 7” round, about ½” thick. Using a 2” diameter biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds & transfer to a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with baking parchment. Gather dough scraps together & cut out additional rounds; transferring to the baking sheet. Brush biscuit tops with some of the egg glaze. Sprinkle with the cracked coriander seeds. Bake biscuits until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

The Rhubarb is coming on strong! Now’s the time to make lots of rhubarb goodies like these delicious muffins. I love muffins so I often make a double batch to stash in the freezer to make a welcome treat for breakfast with coffee or any other time you feel like one! Yesterday I made these muffins and thought I would give some to our neighbours. I placed them on a plate, double wrapped with plastic wrap and placed them outside on the picnic table, well…the phone rang so I ran back into the house and when I got back I discovered one muffin missing. Hmm…I wonder if our neighbours had come down and gotten one? Nope…turns out there was a large crow hanging around and he/she managed to help themselves to a muffin!

Makes Approximately 10 Muffins

2 cups unbleached flour (or 1 ½ cups unbleached & ½ cup wholewheat)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 ¼ cups finely chopped rhubarb, approximately ¼” pieces
1 large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. finely grated orange rind
¾ cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a muffin pan either by spraying with non-stick cooking spray or using muffin pan liners.  I have found the baking parchment muffin liners work really well.)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & nuts. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg; add the oil, orange rind & orange juice; add the flour & quickly fold in until just a bit of flour is still showing, then gently fold in the rhubarb. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough. Place the batter (an ice-cream scoop works very well) into the 10 prepared muffin cups & bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the centre muffin in the pan comes out clean.

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake With Crystallized Ginger Streusel Topping

One of the glories of spring is going into your own garden and picking young rhubarb. Or, failing that, your farmers markets are sure to have beautiful rhubarb just waiting for you! This cake would also be nice with a cup of tea or even for breakfast!

For The Streusel Topping:

DSC_7305 nx2¾ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Combine the topping ingredients & set aside.

For The Cake:

2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 ½ cups rhubarb cut into ¼” dice

Preheat the oven to 350F. Either grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray, a 9” springform pan & set aside.

Make the Cake:

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Using either a stand mixer or hand-held mixer beat the butter & brown sugar together until light; beat in the eggs, vanilla & lemon juice. Mix in the flour alternately with the sour cream in 4 additions, beginning & ending with the flour. Fold in the rhubarb.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared springform pan & top with half of the streusel; top with the remaining batter & top with the remaining streusel. Place in the oven on the middle shelf & bake 60 – 70 minutes, checking for doneness after 50 minutes. The cake will quite likely not be done but I always like to check on things. Continue baking, checking again after 10 minutes.

When baked remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool before removing the sides of the pan.

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Mom’s Rhubarb Custard Pie

Mom made fabulous rhubarb pies.  OK Mom made fabulous pies period! I tweaked her recipe a bit by adding some grated orange peel and I think it really adds something special to her original.

Pie crust for a 9″ 2 crust pie (see bottom of page)

For the Pie Filling:

3 cups rhubarb, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. orange peel, grated
2 eggs, beaten
Creamo or whipping cream for brushing crust before baking
Approx. 1 Tbsp. sugar for sprinkling on crust before baking

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Roll out the bottom crust & gently fit into a 9″ pie plate; add the rhubarb to the pastry lined pie plate.

Combine the sugar, flour, butter & orange with a whisk. Blend in the beaten eggs. Pour mixture over the rhubarb. Place the top crust over top. Trim excess and crimp crust. Cut 4 slits in the top curst. Brush with a bit of cream or milk & sprinkle with approx. 1 Tbsp. of sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, turn oven down to 350 F for approximately 30 minutes, until knife comes out clean. Cool pie to room temperature, cut into slices and enjoy.

For recipes to make pie crust, click here.

I prefer to use glass pie plates because I find they give a crisper bottom crust.

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Rhubarb Parfaits With Gingersnap Crumble

An utterly delicious layering of flavours….love it! Adjust the sugar to your taste and the tartness of the rhubarb.

DSC_2254 nx2Makes 4 Servings

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 2 Tbsp.
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup crushed gingersnaps (try to find all natural ones)
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup mascarpone cheese (Italian if you can)
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract

To crush the gingersnaps, place them in a large zip-lock bag, seal the bag & using a rolling pin, roll over the gingersnaps until they are finely crushed.

In a medium saucepan, cook the rhubarb & 1/3 cup of sugar over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb has softened. Cool to room temperature.

Melt the butter in a shallow pan & stir in the crushed gingersnaps. Cook over low heat for a few minutes, just until the crumbs are well coated in butter & they are fragrant.

In a medium sized bowl, whip the cream until it reaches the soft peak stage; add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar & the vanilla; with the mixer on the lowest speed blend in the mascarpone until just combined.

Using 4 large wine goblets, put a layer of the rhubarb mixture in the bottom of each one; sprinkle with some of the gingersnaps & top with a dollop of the mascarpone cream. Repeat layering the rhubarb, gingersnap crumbs & cream/mascarpone mixture (you will have 3 layers in each glass), ending up with the cream/mascarpone mixture & finished with the remaining gingersnap crumbs.

Place in the fridge for 3 hours or so. Serve the parfaits cold.

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Hot Crossed Biscuits

Great for Easter or any other time you get a craving! I normally make Hot Crossed Buns but when I don’t I make these Hot Crossed Biscuits instead…

2 cups unbleached flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup each hard butter & non-hydrogenated shortening, or all butter
1/3 cup each currants (rinsed & dried) & mixed peel
¾ cup milk (not low fat)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with baking parchment, folded to fit if necessary.

Mix dry ingredients together. Blend in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk &  stir with a fork, until dough clumps together, adding more milk if mixture seems too dry. Remove dough to a lightly floured work surface & either pat out or roll out to ½” thickness. Using a 2 – 2 ½” floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits & place on the baking sheet, leaving approximately 2″ between each biscuit. Cut a cross in the top of each one with a very sharp knife or razor blade. Brush with a bit of milk or cream to give a nice glaze. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

Serve warm with butter if you wish.   Enjoy!

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