Ah, Valentine’s Day the perfect time to celebrate love! What could be more impressive than a heart shaped cake decorated with fresh raspberries filling and white chocolate frosting! Hearts are my favorite shape, and I carry the motif in my jewelry, clothing, and home accessories. For Valentine’s Day, I bring out all my heart decorated serving pieces to set my table.
I have many go-to cake recipes depending on the size and type of cake I want to make. This recipe, one of my favorites, is a tender, moist cake perfect for birthdays and special occasions, yet simple enough to use for regular cupcakes. In this recipe, I used my favorite, King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, which results in a high rising cake with a moist, tender crumb.
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Cake Flour Blend 1 2/3 cups sugar; superfine sugar is best 1 Tablespoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg* 1 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups fresh raspberries for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9″ x 2″ heart-shaped pans. Trace the bottom of the pan, then cut inside your marking. Next, butter the pan. Place the cut parchment inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment, then flour the pan. Tap off extra flour.
In a stand mixer or a sturdy hand mixer, mix all of the dry ingredients slowly to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the butter’s temperature, how much it’s mixed, and the granulation of the sugar used.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans—Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove from the pan.
Raspberry Filling This delightful filling is simple to make and can be made in advance. In fact, I always make the day ahead to chill in the refrigerator before using it. Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Ingredients: 4 cups raspberries 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons raspberry liquor
In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 3/4 cup of water, and the sugar. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the raspberries have broken down. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain in a fine-mesh sieve. Return the strained mixture to the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the raspberry mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, raspberry liquor, and cool completely.
White Chocolate Frosting 1 cup butter, softened (no subs) 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 6 ounces white chocolate or 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled 3 -5 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half
In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to achieve desired consistency). Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula. To assemble the cake: Spread a small dab of frosting in the center of the cake plate to anchor the cake, and set down one cake layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over the first layer. Carefully spread raspberry filling on top, then cover with the second cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of assembled cake. Decorate with raspberries sprinkled with powder sugar.
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? That rich, creamy taste savored with each bite, a sweet treat that is the perfect finish for any meal! The variety and texture of cheesecakes are endless. Cheesecake can be very dense and heavy or light and fluffy. You can use graham crackers, chocolate cookies, or pastry for the crust and fill it with your favorite recipe. I guess you can tell I love making all types of cheesecakes. Also, flavorings and toppings are endless to create wonderfully tasty cakes for special occasions.
At Christmas, I like to make an Eggnog cheesecake topped with cranberries and cherry preserves for a festive dessert table.
I like this recipe because it is light with a baking method that ensures the cheesecake doesn’t crack. I made either a fruit topping, or if you prefer, you can make a whipped cream topping sprinkled with sparkly candied crystals.
2 ¼ cups (302g) graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (112g) salted butter, melted
3 tbsp (39g) sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (207g) sugar
3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
1 cup (230g) eggnog
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 12-ounce jar cherry preserves
1 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon brandy or rum
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in. Set prepared pan aside.
Reduce oven to 300°F (148°C). In a large mixer bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar,
and flour until well combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggnog and nutmeg and mix on low speed until well combined.Add the eggs one at a time, beating slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Pour the cheesecake filling into crust and spread evenly.
Place springform pan (covered with aluminum foil) inside another larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes.
Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 30 minutes.
Crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and chill until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight
Cook and stir cherry preserves and cranberries in a small saucepan over medium heat until preserves are melted and cranberries start to pop. Stir in 1 tablespoon of brandy or rum. Cool for 30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the pan. Spoon topping over prepared cheesecake.Refrigerate the cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best for 3-4 days.
If you know me or follow my blog, I love to cook, decorate, and entertain! So this might seem a surprise that I am hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. Yes, you heard, right.
Thanksgiving is the one holiday that you will not find a large group gathered around my dining room table. Traditionally I spent Thanksgiving at my parent's home in Pennsylvania, the one holiday that we were all together again. After my grandson was born, we celebrated at the home of my daughter-in-law's parents, beginning a new phase in our life.
This year due to the pandemic and staying safe, Thanksgiving dinner will be a small group of seven. Individuals that are in our pandemic circle. And I am going to make sure that this is a memorable as every other Thanksgiving!
I've decided to plan my meal backward, beginning with dessert! Growing up, my mother baked a traditional pumpkin pie, which is still my favorite. This year I decided that we are going to have a spectacular Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl pie. And I drizzled chocolate over the pie!
Pumpkin pie is easy to make. To make the pie special, I've added an extra step with the chocolate batter and the drizzle. I've included a basic butter crust recipe, or you can purchase refrigerated pie crust too.
An easy, show-stopping dessert to sweeten up our Thanksgiving dinner even if we are missing sharing with our large family!
Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Pie
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3-ounce Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
All Butter Pie Crust* or 1 (9-inch) Pillsbury Pie crust
2-ounce Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted Cabot butter
Pre-heat over to 425 F. Wish together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth.
Transfer 1 cup of the filling into a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Pour pumpkin filling in the crust. Dollop the chocolate filling on top and swirl with a butter knife.
Bake Pie for 15 minutes. Reduce3 over temperature to 350 F and continue baking for 35 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool.
Make chocolate drizzle. Melt chocolate and butter in a safe microwave bowl at 50 percent for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
Drizzle over pie.
The pie can be refrigerated overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
*All Butter Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup King Arthur's all purposed flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons Cabot unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pause until mixture from lima bean-size pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist but not wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round a scant 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the edge to 3/4 inch; fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively.
I discovered Southern Living magazine on a family road trip through the south to visit my mother-in-law’s family in southern Georgia. During one of our many stops for gas, I wondered to a magazine rack, searching for a new read for the trip, and was drawn to the cover of Southern Living. After a quick skim through the pages, I purchased the magazine and when I returned home to Boston, I ordered a subscription. Thirty years later and I continue to feel enthralled by the pages of this magazine.
If you are a novice or even more experienced cook, the pages are packed with ideas for food, entertaining, decorating and traveling with an irresistible southern vibe. Hospitality is the core of the southern style of entertaining. And I learned on that long-ago trip, the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality. Pineapples can be found throughout my home decor and at Christmas, I decorate over my front door with Williamsburg Christmas fan containing a pineapple surrounded by red apples.
The recipes populating the pages of Southern Living are clear, concise and easy to duplicate. I made this cheesecake recipe with one change, I added pumpkin pie spice and my guests raved about the taste.
Preheat oven to 325°. Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Beat cream cheese and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended and smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin and lemon juice, beating until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust. (Pan will be very full.)
Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with the door closed, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around the outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of the pan. (Do not remove sides of the pan.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Remove the sides and bottom of the pan, and transfer cheesecake to a serving plate. Prepare Praline Topping; immediately pour slowly over the top of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/4 inch of edge. Garnish, if desired.
Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Boil, stirring occasionally, 1 minute; remove from heat. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Use immediately.
A luscious outrageous cake that will wow your guest! I loved creating this cake and had so much fun making the crepes that I hadn’t done in many years. Years ago when crepes were extremely popular I purchased a Sunbeam M’sieur Crepe maker. To my surprise I found the maker in a cabinet in my basement, unfortunately, it no longer worked so I used an omelet pan to make the crepes. This cake should be started two-three days before you want to serve. The cake is time-consuming yet easy to make. And your guest like mine will be so impressed with the cake because it looks and tastes amazing,
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cognac
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 coffee liqueur
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon powder sugar
1. Make the crepe batter: Sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the butter, then the milk and cognac, until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently stir the crêpe batter, then pour ¼ cup of batter into the skillet. Holding the skillet by the handle, tilt and turn the skillet to quickly disperse the batter. Cook the crepe until the underside is golden-brown, about 1½ minutes. Lightly jerk the skillet to loosen the crepe, then flip the crepe over using a spatula, a more vigorous jerking motion or your fingers. Cook on the other side until golden-brown, about 30 seconds, then slide the crepe onto a plate. Top with waxed or parchment paper to prevent crepes from sticking together. Repeat until all of the batter is used (you’ll end up with about 20 crepes total, and will need 18 for the cake). Refrigerate the crepes on a plate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Make the tiramisu filling: Sift the confectioners’ sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese, coffee liquor, and 1/4 cocoa. Combine the mixture at low speed until well combined.
4. Remove the crepes from the refrigerator. Add 1 crepe to the bottom cake plate so it lies flat. Add ¼ cup of the tiramisu filling to the center of the crepe and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the filling over the crêpe. Repeat with the filling and 17 more crêpes. Refrigerate the leftover filling; you’ll use it to finish the cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whippingcream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
Fold whipped cream into remaining tiramisu cream just until combined and no white streaks remain.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Spread the remaining tiramisu cream on top and sides of the cake. Add the cocoa powder to a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle it over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
You all know by now that I love using cranberries in my cooking; sauce, with veggies – so good with Brussels sprouts – and especially desserts. Cranberries also add a festive touch to all your dishes. Especially around the Holidays Cranberries add a festive flavorful touch.
This year once again cranberries will be the star on my holiday dessert table – from easy make-ahead tea bread to a rich cheesecake and a sparking show-stopping white cake.
A rich cheesecake topped with candied cranberries taste delicious and looks beautiful on a dessert table. My youngest son Chad loves cheesecake; we’ve even been to Juniors in Times square to sample their array of delectable cakes. At Christmas, I make especially for him a cheesecake enjoyed by all. This cheesecake is what is called a New York-style – rich, five packages of cream cheese, five eggs plus two egg yolks and cream – making for a dense creaming cake. In the spring I make this cheesecake with crushed pineapple.
Isn’t this a beautiful cake – looking like new-fallen snow on Christmas morning. The white cake is light and moist, one of my favorite recipes that I use over and over, just changing the filling and frosting.
Tea bread is great to make ahead and freeze for up to a month. I always around the holidays have a few in my freezer for when friends drop in or if I want to bring as a hostess gift. I wrap the tea bread in cello wrap which you can purchase at a craft store and tie with a festive bow.
In New England, we have freshly picked cranberries from fall to December. Cranberries freeze well so I buy extra to freeze and use during the winter months in my cooking.
My mother passed this recipe to me many years ago. It is the richest cheesecake that you can make. I save it for special occasions when I want to share a show stopping dessert that tops off a dinner or a party. I have included a recipe for a pineapple glaze, or you can thickly spread sour cream on top. Or if you want to make this for Christmas as I did this year I put candied cranberries on top. Ether way this cheesecake is the star of the show!
1 cup sifted flour, King Arthur Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter, softened
5 pkg.(8-oz) cream cheese softened, Philadelphia cream cheese
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 1/2 grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cans(8 1/4-oz) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup, undrained
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water
Preheat over to 400F. Grease the inside of 9-inch springform pan(3 inches high). Remove side. Make crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, lemon, peel, vanilla. Make well in center; with fork, blend in yolk and butter. Mix with fingertips until smooth. Form half of dough into a ball and place on bottom of springform pan. Place wax paper on top; roll pastry to edge of pan. Remove paper. Bake 6 to ;8 minutes or until golden. Cool. Meanwhile divide rest of dough into three parts. Between waxed paper roll each part 2 1/4 inch wide and 9 inch long. Assemble springform pan with the crust on the bottom. Line sides fo the pan with pastry strips, over lapping ends. Remove waxed paper. Preheat oven 450F.
Filling: In large mixer bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, peels and vanilla at high speed. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time: beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with spatula. Beat in cream. Pour into pan. Bake 10 minutes. Lower oven to 250F. Bake 1 hour longer. Remove pan to rack to cool, 2 hours. Make glaze.
Glaze: In small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in remaining ingredients. Over medium heat, bring to boiling, stirring; boil 1 minute, or until thickened and translucent. Cool.
Spread surface of cheese cake with glaze; refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Sugared Cranberries: Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Add cranberries and stir to coat. Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight, stirred a couple times to coat with syrup.
Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. You’ll need to roll them a few times to get a couple layers of sugar on them.
Set cranberries aside to dry for a hour or so.
To serve: Loosen pastry fro side of pan with spatula. Remove sides of springform pan. Top with either Pineapple glaze or sugared cranberries. Serves 16
Summertime parties should be as fun for the hostess as the guests. That is why I love this chocolate pound cake packing a lot of punch for not much work. Bake the cake, drizzle the ganache, decorate with chocolate-dipped strawberries and you have a cake that will dazzle your guests!
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, I use Ghirardelli Chocolate
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16 ounce) packages light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) containers sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream
9 strawberries, washed with stems
Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.
Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for the desired cake.
Spoon batter evenly into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350° for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.
Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake.
Dip small spoonfuls of warm ganache over the cake.
Decorate with chocolate-dipped strawberries
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels, I use Ghirardelli Chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons butter
1. Microwave chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a 2-quart glass bowl at medium 2 1/2 to
3 minutes or until melted. Whisk until smooth then whisk in butter. Let stand 30 minutes. Beat at medium speed with electric mixture for 3 to 4 minutes. Dip strawberries in chocolate Ganache. Place on wax paper and chill.
Soft Shell Crab season is short but sweet. The first time I ordered soft shell crabs I was hooked on this seasonal delight so I started making my own crabs which are so easy. You can change up the seasonings for a different flavor. In this recipe I used the traditional Old Bay seasoning but I’ve used Chinese Five spices or Herbs de Provence. Have fun with cooking by putting your own signature on your creations!. When you buy the crabs just ask the store to clean them for you.
4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Few chive blades, chopped
Combine four and Old Bay. Season crabs with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and saute the crabs until soft, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the crabs and set aside. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the capers and white wine. Cook until wine has reduced to about 1/2. Swirl in the butter and the chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer crabs to a plate, spoon sauce over the crabs and garnish with chopped chives.