• Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

    So it’s been a while!! Almost 3 months exactly…yikes. I have to say, cooking for fun just isn’t as easy or possible when you only go to the grocery store once a week, and I have found myself feeling really unmotivated to experiment. But! Now that summer is here, and open-air farmstands are open, I’m starting to feel better and miss the feeling of baking something “just because”. Embarrassingly enough, I baked and shot this cake back in MAY, thinking that I would feel like writing about it way sooner than this, but hey, better late than never! Taken from this New York Times Cooking recipe by Yossy Arefi, this cake is the perfect summery dessert, moist and light, but with SO much fresh strawberry flavor.

    A few notes on this- when reading the recipe on NYT, a 16 cup bundt pan is mentioned as the recommended size. I have never seen a 16 cup bundt pan, nor do I own one. I don’t even know what size mine is, but I suggest using what you have, and simply fill the pan 3/4 of the way full. That way you don’t have to worry about the pan overflowing in the oven, and you still have a beautiful looking cake, with some leftover batter (put it in muffin tins maybe??). Also, this recipe very specifically says whole milk yogurt, not Greek yogurt. Because I am a dummy, I read this too quick and specifically got greek yogurt instead. Fear not! If that is all you can find, measure out 1 cup of greek yogurt and fill the rest of the 1/4 cup with whole milk. This will thin it out enough and add a nice tang. Finally, this goes without saying, but try to find the freshest strawberries possible, and do NOT under ANY circumstances, use anything but fresh lemon juice. But I’m sure you already knew that.

    Okay! Before we get started, you know what time it is! Since I have left my “Things To Be Happy About” book in my apartment, I’ll make these ones up from scratch today, here goes!
    ONE. Taking all your downtime at home and turning it into something productive.
    TWO. Finally seeing a friend after months apart.
    THREE. Settling into a work from home routine.
    FOUR. Writing down five things you’re grateful for each day.
    FIVE. Wearing your mask outside, because you care about the safety of the people around you 🙂

    Let’s bake!

    Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake Ingredients
    (adapted from NYT Cooking)

    1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (plus more for greasing the pan)
    3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting the pan)
    1½ tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    1¼ tsp kosher salt
    1¾ cups granulated white sugar
    1 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
    3 eggs
    1¼ cups whole milk yogurt (or 1 cup greek yogurt + ¼ cup whole milk)
    ¼ cup lemon juice
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2¾ cups (~1 pound) fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into pieces


    Fresh Strawberry Glaze Ingredients

    ¼ cup fresh strawberries
    2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice


    Steps

    Move one rack to the center of the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F. Generously butter and flour your bundt pan, making sure every crevice is covered.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder + soda, and salt. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer (or separate bowl with electric mixer), combine together the butter and sugar until uniform. Add the lemon zest, and beat this mixture until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.

    Turn the mixer down to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla, then mix on medium speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled at this point, I promise it fixes itself once the flour is added!

    At this point, carefully add in all the flour mixture at once, and mix on low speed until almost fully combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, stir around the sides and bottom to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.

    Take a ½ cup of the batter from the bowl and drop it, a tablespoon at a time, around the bottom of the prepared pan, until almost fully covered, smoothing out as you go. This will make sure that the strawberries don’t all sink to the bottom and stick.

    Add the chopped strawberries to the rest of the batter and mix until even. The batter will be quite thick! Spoon evenly into the pan and smooth out the top. Remember, if you’re using a bundt pan smaller that the 16-cup, only fill the pan about ¾ of the way full to prevent overflowing. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

    Bake the cake until the top is golden and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. It should be about 70 minutes, but I would start checking around 1 hour. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.

    To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the strawberries until smooth. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to start. The glaze should be quite thick, but still pourable. If it seems too thin, add some confectioner’s sugar, if it’s too thick, add the extra teaspoon (or more) of lemon juice.

    Place the cake (still on the cooling rack) onto a rimmed baking sheet and pour the glaze evenly over the whole thing, catching all the excess drips on the baking sheet. Let it set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

    xoxoxoxD

    Looking for more summery fruit desserts? Look here, here, and here!

  • Strawberry (and Rhubarb) Shortcakes

    OKAY so I know it’s been ages and I’m terribly sorry. Time once again got away from me and I found myself making some of the same things over again without the motivation to write about them, but we are BACK. I hope everyone’s extended weekends were relaxing and full of guacamole, because mine sure was! I don’t know about you guys, but I love a weekend where I don’t have a single plan lined up. Maybe that’s the grandma in me, but I love waking up on a Saturday and having a leisurely breakfast and taking a stroll around some gardens without worrying about what’s coming next, you know? With the weather being pretty disappointing all weekend, I actually found myself being able to sleep late, spend some time with my sisters, and do some low-maintenance cooking, I truly wish all weekends were like this.

    srb10.jpg
    Now anyone who knows me knows that I have been obsessing over rhubarb for weeks now, but I’ve been drawing a blank on what to use it for (I’ll gladly take suggestions below, btw). I made a pie, which came out pretty good, but then after that I felt lost as to what should come next. Enter this recipe. I’ve always associated Memorial Day with strawberry shortcake, so when the time came to make dessert for our barbecue it was the first thing that popped into my head. But, since I can never leave anything alone I HAD to change it up, so I reduced down some of my rhubarb and strawberries into a thick, sweet and slightly tart compote and I will probably never make plain strawberry shortcake again.


    I used my most trusted biscuit recipe for these shortcakes from the cookbook of the incredible Joanna Gaines because they are truly the flakiest biscuits I’ve ever made, so technically I guess these are more Strawberry Rhubarb Biscuits, but let’s all be real, biscuits and shortcakes are almost identical. Anyway, now that I’ve said biscuits five times in two sentences, let’s just get to it.


    Flaky As Heck Biscuit Ingredients
    (adapted recipe from 
    Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines)

    4 cups self-rising flour
    2 tbs baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tbs white sugar
    3 sticks salted butter, grated (I’m telling you, grating the butter is the KEY)
    2 eggs, beaten
    1½ cups Buttermilk
    *1 egg + 1 tbs buttermilk + turbinado sugar for topping the biscuits

    Flaky As Heck Biscuit Steps

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Add in the grated butter and mix with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is about the size of peas and is evenly incorporated throughout the flour mixture.

    2. Add the beaten eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until the egg is entirely mixed in.

    3. Next, add the buttermilk and carefully mix the entire dough together with your hands until a single large ball can be formed; it should be relatively sticky. If the dough seems too dry, add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to overnight.

    4. At this point, preheat your oven to 400ºF. To roll out, generously flour your rolling surface (I use a silicone mat), and roll your dough into a wide rectangle about ½ inch thick. Using a large cookie cutter, cut 20-24 biscuits and lay them side-by-side on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, it’s okay if they’re touching!

    5. Before baking, brush with the beaten egg and buttermilk, and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and slightly crisp. Allow to cool full before cutting in half and filling.


    Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

    Roughly 2 cups (about 6 large stalks) Rhubarb, chopped
    ¾ cups white sugar
    1 tsp lemon zest
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    1 tsp cinnamon (if desired, this is optional)
    2 lbs. (about 2 cups) strawberries, chopped if large, halved if small

    Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Steps

    1. In a large saucepan, add the chopped rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and break down into a sauce, about 5-7 minutes.

    2. Once the rhubarb is almost cooked, add in half the chopped strawberries (use the rest to garnish the shortcakes with) and cook for 5 more minutes, until the strawberries become slightly soft. Set aside to cool until serving.


    Whipped Cream Ingredients

    2 cups heavy cream
    2 tbs white sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Whipped Cream Steps

    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until thick but still scoop-able, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed.

    Serving Suggestion

    1. To serve, cut each biscuit in half and top with the compote, fresh strawberries, and a heaping spoonful of whipped cream. Repeat 2 or 7 times. YUM.


    xoxoxoxoxoxD

     

     

     

  • Fresh Fruit Tart

    So ever since we’ve had a minimum of one nice day a week, I have convinced myself that the warm weather is here to stay, and with that comes an overpowering desire to bake with summer fruits, you know? I’ve been waiting for the rhubarb to arrive at the farm since practically last spring, but thanks to the stubborn cold weather, it won’t be for sale for around another month. A MONTH. I am devastated, as you can imagine, so to try and fill the void left in its wake, I made this tried-and-true fruit tart last weekend and I am happy to say that there was not a crumb left after dessert.

    It begins with a buttery tart shell with just a hint of sweetness, topped with vanilla pastry cream that is literally so good that I ate the leftovers out of the bowl with a spoon, and an artfully disheveled pile of fresh fruit on top. The best part about this is that you can really use whatever fruits you feel like based on what’s in season- blueberries and blackberries alone would make a gorgeous and dramatic looking tart, pitted cherries or mango or some stewed rhubarb- it’s totally up to you what fruits should be featured. For this one, I settled on what I could find at the store because it’s technically not berry season, so I was going to take what I could get, but I would love to hear your flavor ideas as well!

    I’m posting this on a Saturday because this week just got away from me, but hopefully this will give you an excuse to try your hand at this tart right away. As for me, I will be looking for any excuse to use a blowtorch so I think I’m seeing a meringue pie in my future. Happy Saturday!

    Tart Shell Ingredients
    from 
    The Fearless Baker, by Erin McDowell

    2 cups All Purpose Flour
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    10 tablespoons salted butter, very cold and cut into cubes
    ¼ cup ice water

    Pastry Cream Ingredients
    from 
    The Fearless Baker, by Erin McDowell

    3 cups whole milk
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    ¾ cup granulated sugar (divided into ¼ cup for milk mixture and ½ cup for egg yolk mixture)
    2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract), or ½ vanilla bean (seeds and pod)
    5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

    Plus assorted fruit and berries, to top

    Steps

    1. Using a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is coarse and the butter is in small, pea-sized pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt, and then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or mix with your hands until the butter is incorporated in the same way.

    2. Move the mixer from the food processor to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the ice water into the middle and knead with your hands until the dough comes together and looks smooth. At this point, it should not be overly sticky or too wet. Wrap this dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
    All ready to roll!

    While the dough is chilling, start your pastry cream here.

    3. Combine milk, salt, and ¼ cup of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the vanilla (extract or paste), or add the seeds and the pod of the vanilla bean to the mixture. Heat to a simmer over medium heat- do not let it boil!

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
    Confession: I forgot to capture the pastry cream I was making this time, but this is what the beginnings will look like!

    4. Meanwhile, in a glass bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cornstarch so that they are evenly mixed without lumps. Whisk the egg yolks into this bowl until all is incorporated.

    5. When the milk is simmering, remove the vanilla bean there is one and turn the heat to medium-low. Slowly, and whisking constantly to prevent scrambled eggs, add a little of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper. Then, pour the bowl of egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk and return the pot to the stove, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula until the mixture is thick and just about to bubble, about 5 minutes.

    6. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter until incorporated. Chill in the fridge until cold and set, pressing plastic wrap directly to the surface to prevent a skin forming.

    Back to the tart dough!

    7. Let your dough rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes so that it rolls out easily. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into one large circle, about 2 inches wider than your desired pan on all sides. Make sure to check periodically to make sure that the dough isn’t sticking to your work surface, and re-flour as necessary.

    8. Very carefully roll the finished dough over the rolling pin, and then drape into your tart pan, pressing it into place and allowing the extra dough to hang over the side. If you’re using a metal fluted pan (like I am), you can roll your rolling pin over the top of the pan, and the excess dough will be cut off, leaving you with a perfectly neat tart.

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
    Look at those perfect edges!

    9. To blind bake this crust (bake without a filling in it), cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pan size and place it in the pan on top of the crust. Fill this with dried beans, rice, or pie weights and bake like this for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust starts to turn golden.

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
    Ready for blind baking!

    10. Remove the parchment paper and weights from the shell and return the tart to the oven, baking for another 10 minutes until it’s evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with 1 egg white- the heat of the shell will cook the egg white and seal the tart to prevent a dreaded soggy crust. Let it cool completely before removing from the pan.

    11. When the shell has completely cooled, fill with the chilled pastry cream, and top with your desired choice of berries and other fruits. Now, eat the whole thing in one sitting and never look back.

    xoxoxoxoxoxD