Lemon Bundt Cake

Hello my friends,  I’ve been busy attempting to find a lemon cake to share with you guys. As mentioned last post, attempt #1 was rather a fiasco, resulting in an overflowing, collapsed mess that was somehow over-baked and under-baked at the same time. And to top it off, it failed to cleanly come out of the pan.

Failure

Disaster.

The following week I tried again, using a new recipe. This recipe baked beautifully but was not quite as lemony as I prefer. I like lemon desserts to smack you in the face with lemon rather than leaving you wondering if that was really lemon flavored after all.

And so this weekend, attempt #3 was meant to boost the lemon flavor from the previous week, which was successful, finally.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

I finally present to you a fully lemony bundt cake for your springtime pleasure. If, like me, you’re ignoring the attempts at snow outside and the chilly wind, and looking longingly towards the blue patch of sky, bake this cake. This morning was a rather gray day, with flurries of now, but as I type up this post it’s now sunny and nearing 50 degrees.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Obviously the weather gods approve of lemon.

Fairly dense but not sickeningly sweet, the lemon scent permeates the air even before you have a taste. The color of sunshine guarantees a smile even on a cloudy day, and the burst of flavor leaves no questions about its contents. Although I love a strong lemon flavor, I realize it’s not for everyone. If you prefer it a bit more subtle, leave out the syrup step entirely. If you want the experience to have a bit more ka-pow (definitely a technical term), the syrup will give you that. Add as much or as little of it as you like, but make sure you poke deep holes into the cake to allow the syrup to permeate all the way through, or you’ll be left with a soggy bottom/middle that sticks to your wire rack. Don’t be afraid of the holes, they won’t show once the cake is inverted.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This is an easy cake, and although a teensy bit time-consuming, it’s very beginner friendly. It would make a delightful addition to any table, sure to please any lemon fan. If you do decide to forego the syrup step, I recommend using a thinner glaze than shown here so you can cover the entire cake. The glaze is a necessary complement to the plainer cake and this will ensure you have some with every bite.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Lemon Bundt Cake

Adapted from Baking Bites
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs
2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk

Syrup

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Glaze

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 10+ cup bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream on medium speed until lightly colored and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined between each one.
  5. Stir in lemon zest.
  6. Add one third of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  7. Repeat with lemon juice, one third of flour mixture, buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture (in that order), stirring just until incorporated with each addition.
  8. Scoop into prepared pan, gently smoothing out the top.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  10. During the last 10 minutes of baking, heat 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 sugar to boiling, then remove from the heat.
  11. Immediately after removing from the oven, poke deep holes in the bottom of the cake, and slowly pour the lemon syrup evenly over it, letting it soak into the cake.
  12. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. After the cake is cooled, vigorously stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice, adding more or less of each to desired consistency, and drizzle over the cake.
  14. Let the glaze set 20-30 minutes, then serve on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  • You’ll need 5-6 lemons for the whole recipe
  • A skewer or a meat thermometer is ideal for poking holes

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I was originally planning to share a lemon bundt cake with you guys today, but the recipe was almost a total flop. Still edible, but not a recipe I’d ever use again, and definitely not pretty enough to entice anyone into making it anyway. Instead, please enjoy this cookie recipe, and hopefully in a week or two there actually will be a lemon bundt cake featured here.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

Four years ago my mom emailed me a recipe entitled “Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies”. I labeled it under “recipes” in my Gmail account, and then promptly forgot about it.

Until now.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

When M is in town, I try to bake cookies every week so he can have them in his lunches. I do occasionally miss a week (at which time he makes his own, because it usually means I made a pie instead), but most of the time Sunday is cookie day. Peanut butter chocolate chip are a household staple, as well as oatmeal raisin chocolate chip, or oatmeal Craisin white chocolate chip. (One of these days each of these recipes will make an appearance on here.) One week however, I wasn’t feeling like the regulars and when I asked M for suggestions all he came back with was “something with chocolate chips.”

So helpful.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

I perused my recipes folder and rediscovered the email with this one. Since I had everything on hand, I decided to give it a shot. This was a wise decision as it is easily the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made, and probably one of the best cookie recipes, period. Unlike your average oatmeal cookie, this one calls for the oatmeal to be finely ground in a blender before adding it to the dough, resulting in the wholesome flavor of oatmeal without the usual telltale texture. Super soft even a week later (in case you, too, forget one in your backpack) and a bit less sweet than most chocolate chip cookies, this recipe has definitely become a new staple at our house. I even made it two weeks in a row, which is a pretty rare event around here.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

Using both white and brown sugar gives the soft texture and very slight caramel flavor generally found in peanut butter cookies, while the oatmeal lends a wholesome flavor that almost makes you feel like you’re eating something healthy. (Pro tip: you aren’t.) The original recipe calls for chocolate chips and a chopped up chocolate bar, but I decided to use the bag of Nestle chocolate chunks I had in the cupboard. (I have a slight addiction to buying random bags of baking chips. Shh.) Due to their size, I opted to forgo my usual one tablespoon cookie scoop in favor of the three tablespoon size I generally reserve for cupcakes. This was my second wise decision of the day, as we ended up with three dozen bakery-sized cookies perfectly saturated with chocolate chunks.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

Pour a glass of milk and have a couple. You can thank me later.

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 3 dozen large cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups oatmeal, finely ground

~12 oz package chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and both sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  5. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Push dough to the bottom of the bowl, add ground oatmeal, and stir until just combined.1
  7. Push dough from the beaters, add the chocolate chunks, and stir until chocolate is well distributed.2
  8. Use a 3 Tbsp cookie scoop and place dough balls at least 2″ apart on a cookie sheet.3
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes, let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container; cookies stay soft for at least a week (at which point ours were all eaten.)

Notes

1 If you don’t push the dough off the paddle, it likely won’t mix properly.
2 It may be necessary to mix the last bit of oatmeal into the dough by hand.
3 I couldn’t fit more than 9 cookies on a sheet at one time.

 

Chocolate Pudding Pie and Baileys Whipped Cream

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have to admit it’s not my favorite “holiday”, but it has the redeeming quality of being near my birthday. I turned 25 on Saturday (yes, I’m an Ides of March baby) and celebrated by running my first half marathon of the year. One down, five to go. I got a new PR of 2:17:03, which makes me feel very confident I’ll meet my yearly goal of 2:10, and hopeful that maybe I’ll even meet my stretch goal of 2:00 (or close to it). My best friend also completed her first 10k which is super exciting! Judging by her smile, I’d say I didn’t completely scare her away from running. (Phew.) (Parentheses!)

Running!

I usually celebrate my birthday with a chocolate pie, but after the race and then attending a party with one of M’s Antarctica coworkers I didn’t feel up to making one. Instead, I made one yesterday and added a teensy bit of Irish flair for today’s post.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate pie is a long-standing favorite of mine and probably my most requested birthday dessert, although cherry pie would be a close second. Even from scratch, chocolate pie is an easy dessert to make, and a hard one to screw up, which makes it great for beginners. I can even personally attest that whipped cream is stiff enough for regular birthday candles, although I skipped those this year.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Flaky pie crust, creamy pudding, and fluffy whipped cream are a combination that can’t go wrong, unless you are one of those weird people that doesn’t like sweets. (Seriously, I do not understand this. No judgments, just confusion.) But if you are one of those people, you probably aren’t reading this post anyway.

This pie is fairly rich, but the whipped topping helps keep it from feeling overly dense. Even so, you may want to start with a smaller piece than I have in my pictures, and make a note to go back for seconds. It should keep for a few days in the fridge, but it would be best to have a few friends over to share it. I’m sure they won’t mind helping you out.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re new to homemade pies, pudding, or whipped cream, have no fear! This is a great starter pie and will be sure to give you some confidence in the kitchen. If you’re still apprehensive, feel free to substitute a pre-made pie crust (but please, use the roll out dough) or a cookie crust. Or skip the crust entirely and pour the pudding into individual serving glasses. (Although this rather deviates from the “pie” idea.) You could also use cool whip for the topping: just thaw it in the fridge and add some Baileys. I’ve included recipes for homemade versions of all three steps if you really want to wow your audience (and your taste buds.)

Pre-baked Single Pie Crust

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Makes one 9″ pie crust

Ingredients

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

4-5 Tbsp ice water

Directions

  1. Measure shortening into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pour water and a few ice cubes into a cup and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt together until well combined.
  5. After shortening is cold, combine with the flour and salt and mix with a pastry blender (or a fork) until blended into pea-sized pieces.
  6. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing gently after each addition. Repeat until all pastry is moistened and it all sticks together.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten pastry into a disc, and then roll out large enough to fit your pie plate.
  8. Transfer dough to pie plate and crimp the edges.
  9. Prick liberally with a fork over the entire bottom and sides of the crust in order to prevent shrinkage.1
  10. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, then set aside while you make the filling.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
Makes one 9″ pie

Ingredients

1 pre-baked pie crust

2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
5 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate

4 large egg yolks2
3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (optional)3 

Directions

  1. Place milk, half and half, and chopped chocolate into a medium sauce pan. Over medium heat, warm the mixture until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together egg yolks and sugar until well mixed.
  3. Add corn starch, vanilla, salt, and cocoa (if desired) and stir until completely combined.
  4. When the chocolate is melted, slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
  5. Return entire mixture to the saucepan, and heat on medium until it thickens and bubbles slowly. (5-10 minutes)
  6. Remove from the heat and stir gently until pudding is smooth, then pour directly into prepared pie crust.
  7. Cover immediately with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the filling to prevent a skin from forming.
  8. Refrigerate at least two hours, or until ready to serve. Then top with whipped cream.

Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Whipped Cream

Borrowed from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur4 

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream until very soft peaks form.
  2. Gently stir in the sugar and Baileys until just incorporated.
  3. Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form.
  4. Spoon onto chilled pie, then use a spatula or spoon to create swirls.5
  5. Top with chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate curls, if desired.
  6. Return to fridge, or serve immediately.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Notes

1 I really don’t think you can over-prick a pie crust.
2 Don’t throw out the egg white, make meringues!
3 I like richer chocolate flavor, but if you’re not into dark chocolate just leave this out. It’ll still be delicious.
4 If you just want regular whipped cream, use 3-4 tsp vanilla instead.
5 You will probably have about a cup or more left over. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and it’ll keep for several days. It’s great to use on hot chocolate or ice cream or to eat with a spoon.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend (and Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Friday marked my 5-year anniversary with M, and as usual I baked a cake for the occasion. Each year I use a brand new recipe I’ve never tried, but luckily so far all of them have been delightful. Two years ago was a chocolate raspberry layer cake, and last year was a black forest chocolate cake I haven’t added to this blog yet. Maybe I’ll do a flashback post one of these days.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This year, I wanted to hark back to the first cake I ever made: a chocolate cake, cream cheese peanut butter frosting, and chocolate ganache decadence that was amazing, albeit incredibly rich. Chocolate and peanut butter are a mutual favorite and this year I decided to reverse it in anticipation of a slightly less decadent confection. Borrowing a peanut butter cake recipe from The Daring Gourmet and pairing it with the same chocolate buttercream frosting from two years ago resulted the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

The cake is moist with a fabulous peanut butter flavor, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate buttercream. I opted for just frosting and no extra filling, but for an extra kick some chopped peanut butter cups would be fabulous between the layers.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut butter chips make a fun polka dot decoration that keeps with the peanut butter theme while being a contrasting color to the frosting. Bonus: they are super easy to decorate with.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Below find The Daring Gourmet’s peanut butter cake recipe with my minimal changes, followed by a reprint of my chocolate buttercream. The original cake called for baking it all in one layer and cutting the cake in half, but since I don’t have a tall enough cake pan for that I opted to divide it before baking. I actually prefer this method because there’s no cutting involved, but both ways should work equally well.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

As for the frosting, I used about a tablespoon of dark cocoa and the rest regular to keep with a more traditional Reese’s pairing, but if you’re a dark chocolate kinda person, go ahead and use all dark cocoa. It will be amazing. For assembly, use your favorite method or head on over to my chocolate layer cake for my own method. Just ignore anything that mentions a filling and use peanut butter chips or another topping for some flair.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

So next time you have a peanut butter fanatic to please, this cake will definitely fit the bill. Just be sure to sneak a piece for yourself.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Borrowed from The Daring Gourmet
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (rounded) creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Line the bottoms of two 8″ (or 9″) cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, especially the sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  6. Starting with the dry mixture, alternately add it with the buttermilk, beat gently with each addition just until combined. Batter will be fairly thick.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out moist but not wet.
  8. Cool cakes in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour).
  9. Wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour or until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder3

½ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup tablespoons milk, half and half, or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
  3. Add vanilla, salt, and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Notes

1 This cake is pretty beginner friendly, just be careful not to over-bake it.
2 It keeps well on the counter for a few days, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap. (Once the frosting has set it shouldn’t stick much.
3 I used part dark and part regular, but any combination of cocoa powders will do; just make sure it all adds up to a half cup.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I am not entirely sure how it could possibly be February already, but the sudden pinkification of everything in stores and on Pinterest means it must be true. Between work, training, and M finally returning home, January flew by at a rather alarming rate. Nonetheless, 2014 has started off pretty well so far and now that I’ve finally established my goals for the year I am pretty excited to start on them. I’m looking forward to a year of new recipes and new experiences.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

One of my biggest goals for the year is to run six half marathons; the first is on my birthday, March 15. The main goal of this first race was to keep me running all winter (so far a success) and give me a head start with training. Since I’m hoping for a sub-2:10 in September, I knew there was no way I’d get there if I started in June (as is my habit.) So far so good, but we’ll see where the year takes us.

On the flip side, I’m still baking up loads of sugary delight because that’s clearly going to help me get there. Ha. But be that as it may, this is the month of pink and red heart-shaped boxes of mostly terrible chocolates. Or in layman’s terms, Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been particularly fond of this holiday (shouldn’t you appreciate each other all the time?) but it happens to be the same day as my anniversary with M. (He is quick to point out this was coincidence and there is no “sappy love story” behind it. Silly kid.) This has drastically improved the “holiday” in my eyes, and each year I bake a cake to celebrate. Look for that post in a couple of weeks.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

In the mean time, here’s a fabulous recipe which would be delightful for any special occasion. Chocolate cookie crust, white chocolate, and a raspberry swirl come together in an amazing and smooth cheesecake sure to impress. Drizzle with chocolate sauce for extra presentation points.  It is very rich so just a small piece will do, but it keeps very well in the freezer if you don’t have eleven best friends to invite over.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Fair warning, I’ve never managed to make this cheesecake without it cracking along the swirls, but it is beautiful and delicious just the same. If you’re looking to step it up a notch this year, and you have a spring-form pan1, this cheesecake is a fabulous option. Although a bit time-consuming, none of the steps are difficult as long as you pay attention. Bonus: it’s at least as delicious as it is pretty.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Adapted from CindyAnn
Makes 1 cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Oreos2)
1/4 cup butter, melted

10 oz frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips3
1/2 cup half and half
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter until completely combined.
  2. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ spring-form pan, pressing down evenly and thoroughly to form the crust. No need to press it up the sides.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water, and heat over medium-high until boiling. Continue boiling until sauce has thickened, about five minutes. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Using a double boiler (or a metal bowl over simmering water), melt chocolate and half and half, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  7. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined.
  8. Stir in vanilla and white chocolate mixture until mixture is very smooth. It will be somewhat runny.
  9. Carefully pour batter over the crust.
  10. Slowly pour raspberry sauce into batter in a spiral shape. Drag a knife or a toothpick through the mixture to create swirls.
  11. Bake 55-60 minutes for a 9″ pan, or 45-50 minutes for a 10″ pan. Filling should be set but still a little jiggly4.
  12. Turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove to counter to cool an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  14. Carefully remove from pan, slice in 12 pieces, and serve to adoring guests5.
  15. If you have leftovers, they keep beautifully in the freezer6.

Notes

1 I love my glass-bottom, handled version M got me.
2 Store-brand chocolate sandwich cookies work just fine for cheesecake crusts. I like to pulse the crumbs in a blender a few times to get them extra fine.
3 I like to use Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for this recipe.
4 Cheesecakes are very easy to overbake. Check it at 5 minutes before the lower end of the range: if it still looks kind of like pudding, keep baking. It should look firm but jiggle as one when you tap the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5 To get clean slices, wipe off the knife between each slice with a hot, damp cloth. It is a giant pain but worth the effort.
6 If you decide to freeze it (which I highly recommend!), cut strips of parchment paper and gently press on both sides of each slice. Place the slices in a freezer safe container, cover the top with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Defrost in the fridge if you have time, or in the microwave if you’re impatient like me. =)