• July 4th Recipe Roundup

    I ‘ll be honest with you all, I did absolutely nothing this weekend. Not. One. THING. And oh boy it was lovely. I bopped around the house, I re-watched Stranger Things in preparation for this week, and I only wore real clothes for about 2 hours across both days combined. I sat on the porch with a glass of wine and a Martha Stewart magazine and felt RELAXED. And then, for the cherry on top of the laziest weekend, I realized that this is a literal 3 day week followed closely by a 4 day weekend!!! But not just any 4 day weekend, July 4th weekend!! It’s the most important barbecue weekend of the year, are you ready???

    That is a perfect segue into this post, what to make for your barbecue. If you listen to me, I’m not saying that you definitely will be the most popular person at the party, but I’m also not NOT saying that, you know? A good barbecue has gotta have a good snack spread, a cocktail (or mocktail), those classic BBQ foods like burgers + dogs, and my favorite part, DESSERT. Because this is Sweet D, I’m bringing my favorite desserts to recommend, but because I’m also an equal opportunist, I have a few other dishes as well.

    Before we dive in, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. A new cookbook giving you fresh inspiration. (Today’s is this one and I’m already obsessed.)
    TWO. Latte art.
    THREE. Me time.
    FOUR. Climbing atop an observation tower.
    FIVE. Cozy bed jackets.

    Okay let’s barbecue!!

    Tomato Burrata Salad.

    So I know this was also included in my Memorial Day recipe roundup, but it’s making a return appearance for a REASON. It can be prepped in 10 minutes, better yet, it can be done in advance because the tomatoes only taste better sitting in the olive oil dressing. It looks so fancy and photogenic with those beautiful burrata balls broken over the top, and highlights the best fresh flavors of summer.

    Blueberry Slab Pie.

    This is another repeat classic, because nothing says barbecue like pie, and nothing makes it easier to serve pie to a crowd than one that can be cut into squares and feeds 20 people. Plus, if you’re feeling particularly creative, there could definitely be some kind of American Flag sitch in the pie crust, but I’ll leave that up to you.

    Tart Cherry Clafoutis.

    Still one of my favorite desserts to date, a clafoutis is a custardy baked dessert that holds your fruit of choice in beautiful little jammy pockets, and honestly it was enough to make me tear up. In this most special tart cherry season, this dish highlights and compliments their brightness perfectly into one slice and serve dessert.

    Classic Focaccia.

    If you’ve seen the Netflix series Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat., you will recognize this recipe as the one Samin Nosrat makes in Italy, which I fell in love with almost instantaneously. It’s simple and perfect and so satisfying. It can be easily customized with herbs or vegetables, but it makes for excellent finger food. I don’t know about you but if I went to a party and this was on the food table, I would cry tears of joy.

    Cinnamon Plum Apricot Pie.

    This pie was an unusual one, with perfect sweetness from the apricots and plums, and warmth from the cinnamon. I had combined the two fruits since I was short on the season’s apricots, but since it’s early enough in the summer, an all apricot pie would be just beautiful. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part of this dessert, which is the vanilla pouring custard that goes on top in great pools. Basically what I’m saying is you need this pie rn.

    Blueberry Buttermilk Cake.

    Ah, the Blueberry Buttermilk Cake. Not the flashiest of desserts, but one of the underestimated heroes for sure. Those jammy blueberries and that crunchy cinnamon sugar lid are just perfection, and it’s a perfect vehicle for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    Lemon Meringue Pie.

    There are few things in this world that I love more than lemon desserts. Lemon bars, lemony cheesecake, and best of all, lemon meringue pie. For those who weren’t around last May, I made this pie and was so excited to try my new kitchen torch, only to realize that I am a fool and the butane had to be purchased separately. I actually have yet to try again with a torched meringue, but it feels like this week is the time!!! I mean, just LOOK at that layer of lemon curd. Omg.

    Cornmeal Peach Cobbler.

    My god I love this cobbler so much. Bubbly peach filling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, don’t you think? But WAIT, you don’t know true happiness until you combine it with cornmeal biscuits!!! They’re incredibly low maintenance drop biscuits that get golden and crisp, perfect for soaking up the cinnamon-y peach goodness.

    Cheesecake Pudding Pie.

    Looking for a cheesecake without the 8 hour chilling time of an actual cheesecake? Well, look no further. I don’t even know that there’s anything else that I need to say here, do you? CHEESECAKE. PUDDING. PIE. The end.

    Sweet Corn Layer Cake with Blueberry Jam Buttercream.

    Unpopular opinion that will soon be popular opinion, skip corn on the cob and instead serve your corn in the CAKE. But not just any cake, one topped with a rich, fruity buttercream and stacked into 2 perfect layers. Take the unconventional approach and impress everyone you know!

  • Sweet Corn Layer Cake with Blueberry Jam Buttercream

    Okay I gotta tell you, I made this cake two weeks ago and I really haven’t stopped thinking about it. I know that to some, a corn layer cake may seem like a weird concept. In fact, my uncle told me it was the only thing I’ve ever made that he wouldn’t eat, BUT. Trust me, you’re gonna want this. Adapted from this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen (once again!), it’s light and fluffy with a hint of sweet corn and a gorgeous texture. To top it all off, the frosting uses a whole cup of blueberry jam because sweet corn and blueberry is a perfect combination.

    This cake was inspired by a day trip my family took last summer to the North Fork of Long Island. It was a Saturday at the end of July, and we set off without any concrete plans and it made for the absolute best day. On a whim, we stopped at a roadside farm that was advertising “Pick Your Own Berries” and homemade ice cream. Honestly, how could anyone turn that down? After our baskets were full of blueberries and blackberries, we sat in the shade with our ice cream in the fanciest of flavors. For me, Basil, blueberry, and sweet corn were the three standouts. Even better though?When you mixed a scoop of the blueberry and a scoop of the sweet corn. The blueberry lends a sweet-tartness while the corn is rich and velvety, and I just need you to try it yourself.

    My dad has made it his summer mission to create a garden in our backyard, and I could not be more excited. It’s a dream of mine to be able to stroll outside with a pair of kitchen shears and snip some herbs for my french omelet like I’m Ina Garten, so you best believe that will be happening. In addition to the herbs, he’s growing peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers to start, so who knows? Maybe our bountiful harvest will find its way into one of these recipes.

    But I digress. Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Going on a coffee run on a misty summer morning before the heat of the day.
    TWO. Porch swings.
    THREE. Family recipes passed down for generations.
    FOUR. Farm stands.
    FIVE. An ice cold pitcher of watermelon juice that you may feel so inclined to add tequila to.

    Let’s bake!

    Sweet Corn Layer Cake with Blueberry Jam Frosting

    While it may seem like an unconventional pairing, this moist and fluffy cake has a rich, velvety sweet corn flavor that's complimented beautifully by the sweet-yet-tart blueberry jam frosting that so generously envelopes it.
    Prep Time 45 mins
    Cook Time 23 mins
    Total Time 1 hr 8 mins
    Course Dessert
    Servings 8 to 12 people

    Ingredients
      

    Sweet Corn Cake Ingredients

    • 2 cups cake flour
    • ½ cup cornmeal
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    • cups white sugar
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • cups whole milk

    Blueberry Jam Frosting

    • 2 lbs powdered sugar (2 boxes)
    • 2 sticks butter, softened
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup blueberry jam
    • 4-5 Tbsp whole milk
    • 1 pint blueberries, for decorating

    Instructions
     

    Sweet Corn Cake Steps

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, then add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom to further prevent sticking (as Ina Garten says, "what's the point of making a cake if you can't get it out of the pan?").
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and vegetable oil for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.
    • With the mixer on low, add the dry and the wet ingredients alternatively, starting and ending with the dry ingredients until all are added. Mix until the batter is smooth. The batter will seem very thin but do not fret, this is correct!
    • Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans. At this point, I used my cake baking strips on the outside to ensure flatter tops for stacking, so if you decide to use those as well, place your cake pans on a sheet pan to bake. Bake the cakes for 20-23 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
    • Cool the cakes for 5 minutes in their pans, then flip onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Blueberry Jam Frosting Steps

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until combined. Add the vanilla and blueberry jam, mixing until the frosting is uniform in color and texture. If the frosting is too firm, add whole milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

    Frosting the Cake Steps

    • If you'd like, feel free to cut the cakes in half for a 4 layer cake, but I chose not to for this particular recipe. Place first layer on a cake board, stand, or plate and add about ¼ cup of the frosting to the top, smoothing with an offset spatula into an even layer. Repeat with remaining layers if you have 4, otherwise place the second cake on top and coat the entire cake in a thin layer (called a crumb coat) to seal. Chill for 15-30 minutes in the fridge so that the frosting is slightly firm to the touch.
    • Remove the cake from the fridge and coat with a second, thicker layer so that the entire cake is covered evenly. You may want to use a bench scraper or spatula to make the sides smooth and even, or use the bake of a spoon to give the frosting a more rustic, swirled design.
    • Top the cake with blueberries, sprigs of mint, sprinkles, whatever you feel like using to decorate, and voila! Enjoy!
    Keyword blueberries, cake, corn, dessert, frosting

    For more blueberry content, look no further than here, here, and here!!

  • Funfetti Layer Cake!

    Happy Tuesday friends! Today I’m back to talk about cake and Molly Yeh, but first, let’s talk about berry picking. I know this is quite unrelated to the recipe at hand, but I gotta tell you, I spent Saturday doing some classic summer activities and oh my it was good. We drove out east to Greenport and Orient on the North Fork of Long Island and all I can say is that I am moving there as soon as possible. Driving along the road scattered with family farms and vineyards, we stopped to pick blue and blackberries, had sweet corn ice cream at 10am (SO delicious), and found the Four and Twenty Blackbirds pop-up pie shop where I definitely added to my cookbook collection. It was everything I ever wanted and I can’t wait to live a wrap-around screened-in porch by the beach lifestyle thank you very much.

    But anyway, back to today’s recipe. Who here has heard of Molly Yeh? For those of you who haven’t, she’s a food blogger, cookbook author, and now Food Network chef and honestly, I aspire to be her. Her recipes are thoughtful and beautiful, and often include a healthy dose of sprinkles. Now, anyone who knows me knows that baking cakes distresses me, so I approached this one cautiously. While babysitting last week, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire for a slice of cake, and couldn’t think of anything else until I made some. You know how it goes, right? My sisters came downstairs at 7:30pm expecting dinner to be on the table and only to realize that I hadn’t even STARTED that yet because dessert over everything. To my relief this recipe went just swimmingly. The secret? Clear, imitation vanilla!! I know, I was skeptical too but since I trust Molly I went for it, and the result? A homemade, buttery, moist cake with the nostalgic taste of those funfetti box mixes that were a staple of childhood birthday parties. An added bonus? This cake baked up perfectly flat on top so they stacked beautifully with no trimming required and it turned out to be the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made. I tried to leave this recipe as close to the original as possible, although I did find myself playing around with frosting. However,  you can also find the original recipe here on her blog, My Name Is Yeh, or her cookbook, which you can buy here. Anywho, let’s bake!

     

    Makes: One 9-inch 2-layer cake

    Funfetti Cake Ingredients

    2½ cups flour (all-purpose)
    ¼ cup cornstarch
    1 tsp kosher salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    1½ cups sugar
    4 egg whites
    ¼ cup canola (or other flavorless) oil
    1 tbs clear imitation vanilla
    ½ tsp almond extract
    ¾ cup whole milk
    ½ cup rainbow sprinkles (the cylinder ones, not nonpareils)


    Funfetti Cake Steps

    1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. (This recipe could also be used to make 24 cupcakes).

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder to combine. Set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, or about 3-4 minutes. Carefully add the egg whites one at a time, and mix after each addition to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Add the oil and mix until combined.

    4. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the whole milk and add the extracts to it. Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, starting with the flour mixture and alternating so that the flour is added in 3 batches and the milk mixture in 2 (flour, mix, milk, mix, flour, etc…), until all is added and mix until just combined.

    5. Add the sprinkles and mix with a rubber spatula until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Fill the cake pans so that there is an equal amount of batter in both. Bake for 25-27 minutes on the lower rack of the oven, testing with a toothpick or a cake tester for doneness. Allow to cool  for 15 minutes in the pan before removing and placing on a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.

    Classic American Buttercream

    7 cups powdered sugar
    1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
    1 tsp kosher salt
    2 tsp clear imitation vanilla
    1 tsp almond extract
    6-8 tbs whole milk


    Classic American Buttercream Steps

    1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the powdered sugar and butter- be careful when you turn the mixer on, the powdered sugar tends to fly everywhere!

    2. Add in the salt and the extracts and mix to combine. Add the whole milk a tablespoon at a time with the mixer on medium speed until the desired spreadable consistency has been reached. Makes enough frosting to fill the inside layer, crumb coat, and second coat one 2-layer cake.

    Funfetti Cake Assembly

    1. To assemble the cake, place one cake flat side down on your cake stand. Spread about a ½ cup or so of the frosting on top of this layer, and place the second cake on top, this one upside down so that the bottom of the cake is on top, as this will create a flat top of your cake.

    2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then, use the rest of the frosting to generously frost the entire cake, using an offset spatula to spread, and a bench scraper or long spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the edges.

    3. Now the best part- DECORATING!!! You can do whatever you want here; more frosting to pipe around the edges, marzipan cutouts, or the classic, more sprinkles. This is the approach I took as you can see, as it was approaching 10pm and everyone just wanted to eat!

    Now go forth and enjoy your masterpiece (and probably take a lot of pictures)! Xoxoxoxox