In November, I wrote a blog post about making pomegranate jelly. I gave a small jar of that jelly to a neighbor who invited us to their party. The neighbor has a friend with a pomegranate tree that produces a lot of fruit that they weren’t using. Our neighbor knows that we love pomegranates so he bagged up a bunch of them for us!
I had already made enough jelly for the year so I wanted to do something different with this batch of fruit. After quite a bit of thought I decided to make pomegranate syrup. I figured this would be something that could be used for multiple different applications.
Last month I made blueberry jam. It is very tasty and now we are on the lookout for things to use it with. It is good on biscuits and pancakes, but we want dessert to put it on where it will truly allow the flavors to shine.
Here are five blueberry dessert recipes that we have either made or will try to make in the future.
1. Blueberry Cheesecake
I decided to start with our own recipe. This cheesecake was so good. It was smooth and creamy. The layer of blueberry jam added just enough flavor.
Our lemon tree is going crazy right now. The only problem with lemons is most people don’t want to eat them as is, they need to be made into something. With a large pile of lemons in the house, and many more to come soon we had to come up with things to make out of lemon. Lemonade is always a good option, but I wanted to do something different, something I have never tried before.
Since summer is fast approaching and the weather is warming up, I knew I wanted to do something cold. I was thinking ice cream, but that can be heavy and filling. I wanted to do a nice light summery recipe. Finally, I landed on the idea of lemon sorbet.
I had never made sorbet before, but it was incredibly easy. In fact, it is vastly easier than ice cream, and something I want to make again later in different flavors.
There are many lemon sorbet recipes on the internet. I saw many that use lemon zest or peel. I chose to omit that because I didn’t want bits in the sorbet. I wanted it to be nice and smooth. My sorbet ended up being only three ingredients: water, sugar, and lemon juice.
The longest part of this recipe was juicing the lemons. I doubled the recipe to have enough for all the family and needed to get 1.5 cups of lemon juice.
After I juiced the lemons, I made a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar into water.
Then I let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before adding my lemon juice.
I put the lemon mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to get cold and make the freezing process faster. At this point you freeze the sorbet according to your ice cream makers instructions.
I did find that the sorbet didn’t freeze as quickly as ice cream. I think I had it churning in the maker for 40 minutes, the ice cream is usually done in 25-30 minutes. I think it might be because the ice cream I make is custard, and is rather dense. That allows it to conduct the cold much faster. The sorbet wasn’t much thicker than water when I put it in the ice cream maker. The sorbet came out of the maker about the texture of a slushy. I put it into a container and then into the freezer.
I was afraid the sorbet would be hard like a chunk of ice. Thankfully, it scooped very easily.
This lemon sorbet is quite tart. It made my mouth pucker up a little bit, but it is so good. It is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy.
The recipe will still work well halved. I made a sugar free that was half sized. I will be posting about that one later.
It is not completely obvious within my blog posts about baking, but a lot of my posts are requests from my kids. Since they eat most of what I bake, I try to make sure it is something they will like. Unless it’s macarons… I don’t really want them to eat all the macarons.
This bundt cake flavor comes courtesy of my son Matthias. I think he was wanting a flavor similar to a maple frosted donut. I certainly did my best to fulfill his request!
I know that bundt cakes LOVE to stick to pans, so I thought I’d also mention my technique for greasing my Nordicware bundt pans. This particular pan is the 10 cup Heritage pan. I also have a smaller 6 cup Heritage pan, but I haven’t used that one yet.
To grease your bundt cake pan and hopefully end up with a flawless bundt pan flip, here is what you need:
1 Tbsp of very soft butter, but not melted. If your butter is right out of the fridge, you can microwave it for about 15-20 seconds to soften it enough.
1 pastry brush
I apologize for my very ugly pastry brush in this pic. It needs to be retired. In fact, we were at a restaurant supply store a few weeks ago and I bought a new nylon pastry brush and a gorgeous stainless steel worktable! By the way, restaurant supply stores are awesome. I could have stayed there all day! I just didn’t have the new brush at this time so had to use the ugly old one. I have tried a silicone brush but it just couldn’t get into all the details of the pan. So I ended up with this.
Lesson learned: use only a traditional pastry brush or a nylon brush for greasing bundt cake pans.
Usually, I find greasing pans tedious, but somehow greasing my bundt pans is now fun! I guess it is because I feel like I’m painting. Which is basically what you’re doing! You paint the butter into the pan using the pastry brush, making sure to get into all the little nooks and crannies. I think I may try this method with my plain round cake pans.
Then comes the flouring part. I usually just toss a random amount of flour into the pan. Probably close to a tablespoon or two. Shake the pan at an angle over a sink, turning the pan to get the flour all around the pan and onto the butter.
After tapping tapping tapping, your pan will look like this.
I think I might be weird because I don’t like it when my pan looks like this after flouring. So I turn it upside-down over my sink and tap the edge of the pan on the wall of the sink. All the excess flour falls right out into the sink and you end up with a clean finish.
I know this seems like a lot of trouble to go to for greasing and flouring a bundt pan, but this method hasn’t failed me yet.
Now to the actual cake!
I decided on a cinnamon swirl coffee cake with a mascarpone maple frosting. I modified both recipes quite a bit so I will be posting them at the end. The original recipes are from Allrecipes.com and The Local Palate.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
First, we begin as most cakes do, with beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Then, add the eggs. The texture of the batter might worry you a little at this point. (Why does it look curdled?) But it all smooths out at the end.
Then, add the flour and raising agents.
I like the look of this type of cake batter better than the very liquidy type. Maybe I’m just a big fan of pound cake. Spoon half the batter into the bundt pan.
Sprinkle all the cinnamon mixture over this first layer.
Spoon the other half of the batter over the cinnamon mixture and swirl a knife through it. I made the mistake of using a spatula. That didn’t work so well. I should have used a knife.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 40 more minutes.
When a tester comes out clean, your cake is done.
Now to the moment of truth! But not for another 10 minutes. I leave the pan on my stovetop or a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before tipping out the cake. But… you don’t want to wait too long. It seems that bundt cakes come out better if the pan is still warm.
This cake came out a little rough around the edges but I think that is because I didn’t spread the batter into the pan as well as I should have. I think it looks a lot like a cruller though this way!
I had a whole container of mascarpone cheese in the fridge so I went for a full mascarpone frosting instead of mixing it with cream cheese. My kids now have a name for this frosting: maple donut frosting. I piped the frosting onto the cake using the star tip of my Wilton Dessert Decorator. Usually, I can’t use this for decorating because the tips are so huge, but it worked well for this cake.
Note: Apparently, regular Wilton tips can be used with this decorator. I haven’t tried those yet. Will have to see how they work.
As you can see, I didn’t have much of a swirl…. probably because of my attempt to use a spatula instead of a knife to swirl the batter. This cake was very, very yummy though and certainly didn’t last long! I think it was completely gone the next morning after breakfast!
I wasn’t completely happy with the frosting. It’s a little too shiny (or maybe the word is oily-looking?) for me, but my kids loved it. At least they were happy with it!
Here is the recipe!
Maple Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting
Note: Not everyone will have the maple sugar for the cinnamon mixture, so it can be left out. Also, because of the mascarpone frosting, I would not feel comfortable keeping this cake on the counter for more than a day.