• Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

    I will warn you all right now, I’m on something of a blueberry kick right now, so be prepared for several blueberry recipes to come. It seems like the time, right? To be fair, there’s really never a time that’s not for blueberries, but now that Memorial Day has passed and summer has ~unofficially~ started, I find myself craving blueberry desserts all the time. Not to worry, I’ll soon bring out the rhubarb recipes I swear it, but until then, this glorious cake will do just as well.

    It all started when I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I was looking for something simple for a weeknight birthday cake, without sacrificing taste. Imagine my displeasure when I went to buy raspberries at the store and discovered that they were $6 per tiny package!! I may act like I’m made of money when I step into Sephora but alas I am not. I decided that blueberries would just have to suffice, added some cinnamon to the batter and the topping, and voila, a beautiful cake was created! The cinnamon is a lovely compliment to blueberries, the buttermilk makes this cake impossibly moist, and the cinnamon sugar sprinkle on top lends a satisfying crunch to round the whole thing out. We stuck in some candles and called it birthday cake for my wonderful mom, and it was a hit! Second only to how good it was the next morning, slightly warmed and with a cup of coffee. If I started my day like that every day, maybe I’d consider becoming a morning person. CONSIDER it, but don’t hold me to that.

    Some quick notes about Sweet D, you may start to notice some little updates here and there, the largest being my fancy new recipe blocks (see below), over the next few posts. In an effort to bring forth the best blog that I can, I’m learning some new bits and pieces, along with the help of my computer science trained (recently graduated!) brother, to make my site easier to navigate and really get myself out there. In the coming weeks I’m hoping to reorganize my Recipes page as well, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted. It felt like the right time to take Sweet D to the next level, because I love having my little corner to bake and write, and I’m hoping other people do too. I’m not always a huge fan of change, but this feels like a good one!

    Before we get started of course, here are 5 things to be happy about:
    ONE. Checking up on a friend “just because”.
    TWO. Reflections on wet pavement.
    THREE. Measuring and setting out all your ingredients before you start cooking.
    FOUR. Sitting on the porch just to enjoy the weather.
    FIVE. Finding a new song that you listen to over and over.

    Let’s bake!!

    Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

    A play on an equally beautiful recipe from Smitten Kitchen, this incredibly simple recipe is as good for dessert as it is for breakfast, with bursts of jammy blueberry and a crisp, cinnamon sugar top.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert
    Keyword: blueberries, cake, dessert, fruit, spring baking
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    Buttermilk Cake Ingredients

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ stick unsalted butter softened
    • cup sugar
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp lemon zest
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • 1 cup blueberries

    Cinnamon Sugar Topping

    • Tbsp sugar
    • ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon

    Instructions

    • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder + soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the ⅔ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    • At this point, add in the vanilla and lemon zest, then the egg. Mix until all is well combined.
    • With the mixer on low, add the flour in three installments, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 installments. Mix until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
    • Drop the blueberries on top of the batter in the pan, it doesn't matter how you arrange them, they'll sink into the cake as it bakes. Mix together the cinnamon sugar topping and sprinkle evenly over the entire batter.
    • Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate to serve. Best eaten warm!

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoD

  • Wildflower Coconut Cake

    Hello!! How convenient that my birthday falls on the same day of my Sweet D posts. As a result, I bring you my birthday cake 2019, because yes, I do bake my own birthday cakes! It’s great because I can do whatever flavors or designs I want, and no one can tell me not to! This year I chose a crowd pleaser though, who doesn’t love coconut cake?? This particular recipe comes from Queen Ina Garten herself, because I was looking for the classic flavors of the coconut cake from the bakery by my house: vanilla, almond, coconut, and the sweet tang of luscious cream cheese frosting. And, to pull out all the stops, I tried my hand again at some buttercream flowers, and I get better every time!

    Before baking this year’s cake, I took a trip to Michaels and got some supplies, including some cake boards, baking strips, a wire cake trimmer, a flower nail, and some fancy gel food coloring. The cake board goes on your cake stand or plate, and allows for easy transfer from one surface to another. The baking strips are something I should’ve gotten a LONG time ago- you soak them for 5 minutes before baking, and then wrap them around the sides of the cake pans. This keeps the sides of the pan cooler, and results in a cake that bakes more evenly and flat. The cake trimmer lets me take the uneven top off in one motion, because I am notoriously bad at cutting my cakes evenly. The flower nail and gel food colors are for the buttercream flowers and wow does the flower nail make a difference! It lets you get every side of the flower in one motion, and results in much more even flowers.

    I’m excited about what my 24th year on this earth holds, hopefully many more cakes and a pie or two (or seven). Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Zippy limes.
    TWO. Bike baskets.
    THREE. The glow you get from being outdoors.
    FOUR. Pitchers on the porch.
    FIVE. Strawberry Rhubarb jam.

    Let’s bake!!

    MAKE: 1 2-layer cake
    PREP TIME: 2-3 hours (depending on flowers and decorating)
    BAKE TIME: 45-55 minutes.

     

    COCONUT CAKE INGREDIENTS

    ¾ lb. (3 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened
    2 cups sugar
    5 eggs, at room temp
    1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
    1½ tsp almond extract
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    1 cup milk
    4 oz. shredded sweetened coconut

    CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

    1 lb. cream cheese, softened
    ½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    ¾ tsp vanilla bean paste
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    Shredded sweetened coconut (for decoration)

    BUTTERCREAM FLOWER INGREDIENTS

    1 stick butter, softened
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3-4 Tbsp whole milk

    CAKE STEPS

    ONE. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease 2 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. If you’re using baking strips on the outside, start soaking them now.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bow one or two times during this process to make sure it’s all being evenly mixed. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, then add them one at a time to the butter mixture. Once all the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla and almond, and mix to combine.

    THREE. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. You’ll be adding the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the butter mixture in 5 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold the shredded coconut into the batter.

    FOUR. Divide the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    CREAM CHEESE FROSTING STEPS

    ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and almond extract on low speed until combined, but do not whipped.

    TWO. Carefully spoon in the powdered sugar a few at a time until it’s all smooth and incorporated. Repeat for a second batch.


    BUTTERCREAM STEPS

    ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency, but make sure it’s not too wet because it will be harder for flowers to hold their shape. Repeat as necessary for more flower colors.

    CAKE ASSEMBLY

    ONE. Place one cake flat side down on your cake stand or plate. Add a cup or so of frosting to the top and spread evenly. Place the other cake on top so that the flat bottom of this cake is the top. Crumb coat this cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, and chill for 20-30 minutes.

    TWO. Coat the cake with a second, thicker layer of cream cheese frosting and smooth out. Gently press the shredded coconut around the sides of the cake evenly. Top the cake with the chilled buttercream flowers and fill in any gaps with extra buttercream. Now cut yourself a generous slice and enjoy!!

    *Pro Tip #1: for buttercream flower tips, see here.

    *Pro Tip #2: when storing leftover cake (assuming there is any!), press two pieces of sliced sandwich bread over the cut sides. This will prevent the cake from drying out and keep it nice and soft.

    YAY! XoxoxoxoxD

  • Almond Bundt Cake with Candied Citrus Peels

    Since when is it April?? Literally where has the time gone? I’m all turned around and suddenly I’ll be 24 in a week? Yikes. But before I worry about that, I’m here to give you this life-changing recipe for an almond bundt cake so moist and so versatile that you may never need to make another cake again. Adapted from this recipe from Zoe Bakes, I tweaked a few little things and switched a blood orange glaze (I think they’re out of season now) with a lemon and orange one instead, similar to a frosting my grandma used to make when I was little. The combination of citrus and almond is heavenly and bright and springy and when I served this cake for dinner, there was not a single piece left over.

    Some notes about this cake- the recipe calls for cake flour, which is much finer than all-purpose, and as a result creates a cake with a smaller, denser crumb. For some reason I had a box of cake flour in my house that had baking powder and salt already mixed in, do not use this! You want to be able to control the amounts that you add in, so stick with the straight up stuff. Also, it’s important to use almond paste that’s relatively new/ fresh, because if it’s too old and dry, it won’t incorporate into the batter and you’ll end up with chunks of almond paste throughout. Finally, the base cake recipe is pretty customizable, you can add a touch of citrus zest to the cake itself, serve it with or without glaze, change up the fruits, it’s all up to you! But I myself am dramatic as hell so I decided to teach myself how to make candied citrus peels to go on top, and 10/10 would recommend you try that at least once yourself, it’s deceivingly easy and SO good. Everyone’s getting chocolate covered orange peels as gifts this year.

    Before we get started however, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Receiving food as presents.
    TWO. Phone calls that accidentally last over an hour.
    THREE. The first day of the year that you can go outside without a coat and realize it’s comfortably warm. (Thanks Taylor!)
    FOUR. Naps on a rainy Sunday.
    FIVE. Spring cleaning.

    Let’s bake!

    SERVES: 8-9 people
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 45-50 minutes
    DECORATING TIME: Unlimited!!!

    ALMOND CAKE INGREDIENTS

    ¾ cup cake flour
    ½ tsp baking powder
    1/8 tsp kosher salt
    7 oz. almond paste, diced into squares
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    5 eggs, room temperature

    CITRUS GLAZE INGREDIENTS

    3½ cups powdered sugar
    Zest of two lemons
    Zest of one orange
    4 Tbsp. lemon juice
    4 Tbsp. orange juice

    CANDIED CITRUS INGREDIENTS

    Peels from 1 lemon + ½ orange
    2½ cups sugar
    1 cup water (plus more for boiling)

    ALMOND CAKE STEPS

    ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan, tapping out the excess flour. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cubed almond paste until it breaks into tiny pieces. Add the sugar a little bit at a time until combined and grainy. Add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, until half is in, scraping the bowl with a spatula every now and then. Beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth. When the mixture is uniform, add in the rest of the butter, and beat until fluffy and light.

    THREE. Add the vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. At this point, take the bowl out of the stand mixer and fold in half of the flour with a spatula. Repeat with the rest until just combined, don’t overmix!

    FOUR. Fill the prepared pan with batter, smooth out the top, and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


    CITRUS GLAZE STEPS

    ONE. In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and citrus zests, then add the lemon and orange juices, a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. You may not use all of it if you want a thicker glaze, and that’s fine! Transfer the glaze to a measuring cup for easier pouring.

    CANDIED CITRUS PEEL STEPS

    ONE. Using a vegetable peeler, cut wide strips of peel from a lemon and an orange, avoiding the bitter white pith as much as possible. If you want smaller pieces, cut the peels into smaller strips, but you can also leave it as is.

    TWO. In a small saucepan, add the peels and enough water to generously cover them and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, strain the water out, add fresh water, and bring to a boil again, then drain again. Repeat this one more time. This process will take some of the bitterness out of the peels!

    THREE. In the same saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of the sugar and a cup of water, then bring to a boil. Add the peels and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the peels are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes, then drain.

    FOUR. In a small bowl, toss the peels with the remaining ½ cup sugar until they’re thoroughly coated, then remove one at a time, shaking off the excess. Allow the candied peels to dry before arranging or packaging.


    CAKE ASSEMBLY STEPS

    ONE. Set a cooking rack in a rimmed baking dish, then place the cake on the cooling rack. Pour the glaze over the cake*, coating as little or as much as you’d like. Let the excess glaze fully drip off into the sheet pan below, then transfer the cake to a stand or plate. Arrange the candied citrus peels on top, and serve!!

    *Tip: save the glaze that drips off onto the sheet tray, and use it to drizzle over the cake when serving!!

    XoxoxoxoxD