Strawberry Country Cake

So. I hear it’s been hot on the east coast. How have I heard? oh, well mostly because about 73% of my facebook newsfeed has been dominated by my east coast friends telling me how hot it is. I get it, yall. You want Satan to take his weather back. And here’s what I have to say about it:  Is this really that unusual for DC? I feel like we always get temperatures over 100 and they tell little old ladies to stay inside and drink lots of water and stay out of the heat if you can. Did the rest of you just block that out of your memory? It’s DC. That’s what you’re getting.

My other thought is: hey. It’s DC. That’s what you’re getting! Your own fault for living on the east coast in a city where it will be satanically and humid to boot. Which is why you should all probably plan a mass exodus to California. Exhibit A:

Yep. Currently in Walnut Creek it is 63. High of 83 today. Sunny. Wonderful. People here of course find a way to complain. But the fact of the matter is I do completely and entirely sympathize with you, East Coast. I lived that my whole life… worse even! Try mowing the lawn in Georgia once a week when it’s hot and humid and miserable. I get it. Which is why the weather forecast here amazes me. And I think is reason enough alone to get everyone off the East Coast and come to the Best Coast. I mean, West Coast…

I pulled this cake together amidst preparing a meal for a dinner party and it turned out great! The original recipe calls for enough batter to make two cakes. That’s unnecessary which is why I’m going to do my best to half it so you just make one cake… Unless of course you want to make two… then go here.

I don’t know what it was exactly that I loved so much about this cake. I feel like it’s one of the first cake recipes I’ve used in a while that felt like the cakes Mom and I used to make.  You know, where you had to use eggs at room temperature. And you need to sift the dry ingredients. Good old fashioned cake. Tastes like childhood.

For one cake:

6 tbs butter (3/4 stick) at room temp.

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs sugar

2 large eggs at room temp.

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs sour cream at room temp.

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp orange zest

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tbs cornstarch

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a cake pan (8” or 9”).

Cream together butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time. Then add sour cream, zests, and vanilla and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and mix until just combined and smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until firm.

Slice the cake in half horizontally with a long knife. Use a spatula to spread half of the whipped cream on top of one of the 1/2 cakes. Top with half of the strawberries. Then place the other 1/2 cake on top and spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. Top the cake with the rest of the strawberries and then the blueberries. Enjoy immediately!



Chocolate Glazed Sprinkle Doughnut Cupcakes

Hiya, hi! Hope you’re having a good Monday. I am still soaring on a weekend high and have yet to feel the Monday duldrums which is why I should write this post now as I’m sure by the end of today my tune may change… Best. Weekend. Ever! Spent lots of time with friends and family. Seleta is in the area, friends! Got to visit her in her new casa and meet Miss Vida Jewel. I neglected to take any photos this weekend which I am now regretting. But Vida is the cutest! And Miss Cleo the Clam! She’s a little hambone with lots to tell you about and lots of books to have you read. AND THE GIRL CAN SPELL. She’s not even 3 and she can sound words out and spell them. She is the smartest person I know.

After a night on the “town” (if you can qualify the nightlife of Walnut Creek as such) on Saturday, Brett, his friend Cory and I took an impromptu trip to Point Reyes on Sunday! Here’s why I love California. It’s 1 in the afternoon on a Sunday and you can decide to hop in the car and within an hour be in GORGEOUS Northern Cali–Land of delicious oysters and cheese! Again, no pictures. That was dumb. But we stopped in the town of Point Reyes Station and walked around a bit. Had some delicious lunch on the patio and then went to the beach. Cory made driftwood beach art and Brett hunted for seashells while I laid in the sand just taking it all in. Northern Cali beaches are not sunbathing beaches. They’re adorned with cliffs and fog and a brisk breeze. There are signs warning you that waves are too big for swimming (including something called “sneaker waves” which I really appreciated that title of) and there are SHARKS. But we were the only people on the beach! Where else does that happen?

Update: Brett managed to sneak a few phone pics:

There are so many sweet towns in Northern Cali I can’t wait to explore. But wait. Let’s talk doughnut cupcakes. I decided to make these as the dessert I brought to Seleta’s because Cleo loves cupcakes and doughnuts so this seemed like a perfect solution! I think next time I’d use a little less nutmeg but everyone seemed to enjoy them. The chocolate glaze and sprinkles really sell them. Heck, that combo could sell anything.

There is barely any butter in these which, as a girl from the south, made me skeptical. But it worked out wonderfully.

This recipe only makes 8 cupcakes which for this occassion was a good amount. But we were a little sad not to have any leftover. There’s no frying of these, what makes them doughnut-y is their texture. They’re light and springy. Seleta said it best: think cake doughnuts…

And then of course there’s the glaze and sprinkles that makes  them doughnut-y! YUM. It makes extra glaze which I tried to save for a couple days but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it (besides eat it by the spoonful). Any ideas?

Voila! Glazing them was fun. Sprinkles were a little hard to figure out. I ended up dumping a bunch in a shallow dish and dipping the cupcakes in them.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker:

For the doughnut muffins:

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg (maybe a little less)

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes

1/4 cup milk, scalded

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

For the chocolate glaze:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tbs milk

2 tsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease muffin pan (again, only makes 8 muffins).

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, sugar. Add the cold butter cubes and work in with your hands. Make sure to work it in really well (don’t be afraid of butter warming because of your hands) so that it’s a slightly-finer-than-coarse meal. Set aside.

In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from heat (keep a close eye as this can happen quickly). Whisk together yogurt, egg, and vanilla. Add milk (test the temperature of the milk to make sure it’s not hot enough to cook the egg… but still warm).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated. This is especially important with these cupcakes as you’re really trying to get a springy texture and over-mixing will make them dense.

Spoon the batter into unlined cupcake tins (filling about half way). Bake for 8-10 minutes (I did more like 12) until muffins are lightly golden, springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest while you make the glaze:

To make the glaze:

In a small pan over medium heat, combine milk, butter, light corn syrup, and vanilla until butter is just melted. Remove from heat and add your chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. Then whisk in the powdered sugar until you get a well incorporated glaze.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze and let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes to let the glaze set just a little. Then dip the tops into the sprinkles and ta-da! Chocolate glazed sprinkle cupcakes! Enjoy!

Ode to the crab

Raspberry Coffee Cake



Admittedly, that is a pretty sad picture of the what was a very gooey coffee cake. I’ll admit it, I forgot to take a picture of it completed until there was only one piece left and I insisted Brett eat it off of this plate to make it fancier.

Whoa. Sorry. I got a little ahead of myself there. You’ve probably been wondering where the heck I have been! (That is, if you’re even still there!) This past 2 months has been much crazier than I would typically prefer. A brief run down: We moved the weekend of May 1st. I think you know this already. But moving is much more than just the weekend you move. It’s all the unpacking and figuring out that goes on after that takes just as much energy! The following weekend was Mother’s Day! I hosted a brunch (which is why I made this coffee cake)… not the most succesful hosting of my life, but the mom-of-honor was happy and that’s all that really mattered. The weekend after that? 16 hours in a class about how to conquer the LSAT. I don’t recommend this to anyone. It is terrible for your sanity. I think it literally took me 2 weeks to fully regain 100% brain function. Then a friend came in town. Then Brett’s family came in town. Then the LSAT happened (IT’S OVER THANK GOODNESS). And then I had my first real weekend in months. And now we’re here!

Which means no more excuses! I’ve been catching up on my blog reading which has inspired me to come back to you. And of course the fact that I love you!

Berries mingling.

Look at those raspberries, mingling with sugar and cornstarch.

I could have eaten this whole thing raw. Oh. And let it be known. I’ve decided I don’t trust a person who doesn’t like raw dough. Mmmm it’s good to be back.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup  flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8 in square dish.

Prepare your filling: Toss the raspberries with sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Set aside.

Make crumbs: Whisk together sugar, spices, and salt into melted butter until smooth. (Fully dissolve the sugar!) Add flour with a spatula. It will look and feel like solid dough. Leave it pressed together at the bottom of your bowl.

Make cake: Stir together sour cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Now using a mixer, add butter and a spoonful of the sour cream mixture a mix until flour is moistened. Increase your mixer speed and beat for about 30 seconds, then add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches.

Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the raspberries over the batter. Dollop the rest of the batter on top of the berries (see above picture).

Now use your fingers to break up the crumbs into about 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle over cake (I had leftover crumbs…) Bake 45-55 minutes. Cool completely before serving (this is an important step. I made mine the night before and decided to pop it back in the oven to warm it up. I think I let it sit in there a little too long which resulted in goooooey coffee cake that needed a fork to eat. Although still delicious!)