Strawberry Vanilla Fridge Jam

This summer has so far been deemed the “summer of lists”. I’ve been making lists like mad and crossing things off with determination. It makes sense. I have two jobs, am taking a summer course, and am marathon training, so this woman needs to get things done!

Two lists that I’ve shared with you on the blog are my 30 things to do before 30 list (which is coming along nicely) and my summer bucket list. I have 5 things on my summer bucket list to do and I’m going to share one of those things with you right meow now!

Item #1 – Picking strawberries and making homemade jam. I love everything about this.

I still need to make homemade dill pickles, go to a drive in movie theatre, and cross two things off of my 30 things to do before 30 list, but there is still time. And I’m determined!

To make this jam, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until coarsely chopped.

Pour into a medium pot and stir in the lemon juice.

Add vanilla bean.

Add sugar and pectin and stir thoroughly. Cook mixture over medium high heat until it comes to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking until the jam is slightly thickened.

Remove from the stove and allow the jam to cool slightly before pouring into glass containers.

This fresh strawberry jam has a slight hint of vanilla throughout and has a beautiful spreadable consistency. It’s my favorite in morning smoothies or on a cinnamon raisin bagel. Enjoy!

Strawberry Vanilla Fridge Jam
Recipe adapted from Cheeky Kitchen
Makes enough for six small jam jars

Ingredients:
3 pints of strawberries, washed and hulled
Juice of 1 lemon
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
4 cups sugar
4 tbsp powdered fruit pectin (I used Certo brand)

Directions:
Place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until coarsely chopped. Pour into a medium pot and stir in the lemon juice, vanilla bean, sugar, and pectin thoroughly. Cook mixture over medium high heat until it comes to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking until the jam is slightly thickened. Remove from the stove and allow the jam to cool slightly before pouring into glass containers.

Note: Will store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping

This summer has truly been a fairy tale. Three of my best friends in the world got engaged, I started a great new (summer) job, and my boy and I have been getting out and hiking at least twice a month.

On Sunday my boy and I went on our best hike yet. As we were sitting down to a romantic packed lunch of pizza buns and cheese curds (serious), he…wait for it…asked me to marry him! CRAAAAAAZY!!

This was a total, complete, unbelievably awesome surprise. After my good friends got engaged, I got all sentimental and girly and excited and now I can be all crazy whacko excited for myself! I’m seriously floating.

I couldn’t be happier, and with that, thought I’d share with you another rhubarb pie. A favorite. A beauty of a recipe. This will be the third on my blog! The streusel topping is unreal. It makes this dish a pie and crumble all in one. I wish I had a piece right now…it isn’t impossible to make that happen.

So, here we go! Chop up your rhubarb.

And slice your strawberries.

Then combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Mix well.

The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.

Roll out pie crust according to recipe and place in a 9-inch pie plate.

Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture into the crust to fill evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges with foil halfway through in order to prevent over-browning.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping
Recipe taken from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:
Filling:
2-¾ cups Sliced Fresh Rhubarb, About 5-6 Medium Stalks
2 cups Sliced Strawberries
⅔ cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Streusel topping:
1 cup Flour
½ cups Brown Sugar
½ cups Butter (1 Stick), Cold And Cut Into Small Pieces
1 Unbaked Single Pie Crust (store Bought Or Your Favorite Recipe)

Directions:
In a medium-large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.

Roll out pie crust according to recipe or package instructions and place in a 9- or 9.5-inch pie plate. Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture into the crust, using a large spoon to fill evenly.

For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges with foil halfway through in order to prevent over-browning.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired.

Berry Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

It’s Canada Day this weekend, and with all this red, white, and blue I’ve been seeing, I thought I would join in the fun!

Yes, the Canadian flag is only red and white, but when I was choosing a fun recipe to post for the long weekend I just HAD to add blueberries. Why can’t Canada represent its flag with some big ol’ blues?! Also (and more importantly) I originally baked this cake for a friends birthday!…no theme colours there. Unless awesomeness is a colour. Hey Tristan!

Inside of this whipped cream frosted madness are two layers of vanilla bean cake and a big slab of vanilla bean ice cream + blueberry sauce + strawberry sauce in the middle. MAGIC, I tell you.

I feel like I’ve had this recipe bookmarked forever. It’s an Annie’s Eats recipe (a blogger who I obsess over and make almost everything she posts), and I had been waiting such a long time for an excuse to make it.

This beauty is light, and freaking PERFECT for summer! To start, gather your cake ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides of the pan and shake out the excess.

In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, about ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn the layers out onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill the cake layers until you are ready to assemble the cake.

To make the blueberry sauce, combine the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to release their juices. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat. Cover and chill.

Make your strawberry sauce by simply combining the strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Toss well to combine. Mash the berries slightly with the tines of a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, cover and chill. Let the berries macerate at least one hour and if needed, mash once more to achieve your desired texture.

To assemble the cake, level the cake layers if necessary.

Place one of the chilled cake rounds in the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper around the circumference of the cake to act as a tight collar for the ice cream layer.* Be sure the ice cream is soft enough to spread smoothly and easily before proceeding. Spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer over the bottom cake layer.

Spoon the blueberry and strawberry fillings on top of the ice cream in whatever pattern you prefer (it’s ok if some is left over). Place the remaining cake layer on top of the ice cream and fruit filling. Ensure that the parchment collar is pulled tight around the cake and ice cream to keep the layers evenly in place. Close the sides of the springform around the assembled cake and transfer to the freezer to set.

When you are ready to frost the cake, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed, gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar, until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat!) Blend in the vanilla.

Remove the sides of the springform pan carefully and peel away the parchment collar. Frost the top and side of the cake with an offset or straight spatula.

Place the remaining whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and add additional accents as desired.

Garnish with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Serve!

Berry Vanilla Ice Cream Cake
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
11 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the blueberry sauce:
1 cup blueberries
3 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cold water
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the strawberry sauce:
4 oz. strawberries, hulled, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1½ tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2½ cups vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened (but not TOO softened)

For the whipped cream frosting:
2 cups heavy cream
½ confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries and blueberries, for garnish

Directions:
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides of the pan, shaking out the excess.

In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, about ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Let cool in the pans about 10 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn the layers out onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill the cake layers until you are ready to assemble the cake.

To make the blueberry sauce, combine the blueberries and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to release their juices. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat. Cover and chill.

To make the strawberry sauce, combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Toss well to combine. Mash the berries slightly with the tines of a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, cover and chill. Let the berries macerate at least one hour and if needed, mash once more to achieve your desired texture.

To assemble the cake, level the cake layers if necessary. Place one of the chilled cake rounds in the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper around the circumference of the cake to act as a tight collar for the ice cream layer.* Be sure the ice cream is soft enough to spread smoothly and easily before proceeding. Spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer over the bottom cake layer.

Spoon the blueberry and strawberry fillings on top of the ice cream in whatever pattern you prefer (it’s ok if you have some left over). Place the remaining cake layer on top of the ice cream and fruit filling. Ensure that the parchment collar is pulled tight around the cake and ice cream to keep the layers evenly in place. Close the sides of the springform around the assembled cake and transfer to the freezer to set.

When you are ready to frost the cake, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed, gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar, until stiff peaks form. Don’t overbeat. Blend in the vanilla.

Remove the sides of the springform pan carefully and peel away the parchment collar. Frost the top and side of the cake with an offset or straight spatula. Place the remaining whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and add additional accents as desired. Garnish with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Store the cake covered in the freezer until ready to serve. Set the cake out and let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before slicing. Run a long, thin knife until hot water to warm the blade. Wipe the blade completely dry and slice the cake, wiping the blade clean between slices and rewarming as needed.

*The parchment collar is not a necessity but it’s good for cleaner edges of the ice cream layer.

Happy long weekend everyone!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

When it’s June I’m not only excited about the awesome appearance of summertime weather, but also the arrival of strawberry season. It rocks my socks.

This past Sunday the boy and I woke up early and went strawberry picking at one of the local farms. The picking was simply awesome. We picked 4 L of berries in about 20 minutes without having to go down the patch very far at all. So fun!

Also, strawberry picking and making homemade jam is on my summer bucket list! Soooo there’s one thing checked off!!

To make these, simply throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until it’s all combined.

Pour into glass and serve!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
Recipe taken from Simply Scratch

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (I used vanilla greek yogurt)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tablespoon honey
pinch of cinnamon

Directions:
Throw all of the ingredients into the blender and blend until all combined.

Pour into glass and serve!

BUT WAIT! Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card! Contest ends this Saturday.

Strawberry Basil Mojitos and a Summer Bucket List!

Since summer is fast approaching, I thought I would kick it off with some booze. Strawberry and basil muddled together to make a fun drink for an afternoon or evening sip session. HELLO!

I listen to the Joy the Baker Podcast, and this week the ladies have assigned some fun homework. They want listeners to blog about what’s on their summer bucket list! Awesome! To contribute I have come up with five things that I want to do this summer:

1. Go strawberry picking and make jam with hand-picked strawberries. –> Done!
2. Make homemade dill pickles.
3. Go camping on a lake with my boy. –> Done!
4. Go to a drive-in movie theatre.
5. Cross two items off of my 30 things to do before 30 list (maybe learn to french braid my hair)!

I hope I can get these things done! And I can think of ways to make it happen with a drink….

To begin, make your strawberry syrup.

Then use the back of a spoon or a muddler to bruise the basil in the bottom of the glass.

Add the strawberry syrup and ice.

Add rum.

Top off the drink with sparkling water. Give it a taste here. If it’s not sweet enough you can either add more strawberry syrup or simply add some extra sugar to the drink. I did! Garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves and serve immediately.

Enjoy! And happy weekend. What’s on your summer bucket list?

Strawberry-Basil Mojitos
Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley
Makes enough for 2 drinks

Strawberry Syrup:
2 cup sliced strawberries
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp cold water

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the syrup through a strainer to remove the seeds (or not if you like them). Chill until ready to use.

For each Mojito:
2-3 fresh basil leaves
5 tbs strawberry syrup
Ice
1 1/2 oz. light rum
Sparkling water (enough to fill up whatever glass you’re using)
*optional: extra sugar to taste
Strawberry slices and basil leaves for garnish

Use the back of a spoon or a muddler to bruise the basil in the bottom of the glass. Add the strawberry syrup, ice, and rum, and top off the drink with sparkling water. Give it a taste here. If it’s not sweet enough you can either add more strawberry syrup or simply add some extra sugar to the drink. I sure did!

Garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves and serve immediately.

Tuxedo Cake

When I have an excuse to make cake, I go bonkers.

Like, bananas with excitement. This cake has been on my mind for a while. A Pastry Queen creation. A genius idea.

AND, a Valentine’s Day dream! I served this up the other night while entertaining some friends and every step of this cake was like creating a baby. Sweet and tender loving, hunny.

This year for Valentine’s Day, I’m not sure what the boy has planned. I decided to be a spoiled brat this year. I’m a lady, and this lady right here is going to take some serious time to be treated like a Queen. Valentine’s Day is about the lady anyway, right?

Plus it’s an excuse to eat more cake. And I’m ok with that.

To begin, spray 3 8-inch pans with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350. Get your cake’s baked (directions at the end) and cooled, and let’s get rocking! Why do my cakes have funny squares on them? Because they cooled on the racks top side down. They like it that way.

To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form.

Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers. You want them to be flat on the top, so if your cake looks like mine:

Chop that top off!

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly.

Now top with the second cake layer. Repeat.

Cover the cake with remaining frosting and refrigerate for one hour.

You should probably get your chocolate dipped strawberries ready now. Make extra, you won’t regret it.

For the ganache, heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool. Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Top that beauty with your berries and eat that chocolate sucker up!

Tuxedo cake
Recipe taken from Confections of a Foodie Bride who adapted it from the Pastry Queen
This cake is BIG. It serves anywhere from 12-16 people.

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or fat-free Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla

For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the glaze:
4 oz (100g chocolate bar + 4 squares more) dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate-covered strawberries (optional)

Instructions
Cake:
To make the cake, spray 3 8-inch pans (or two 10-inch pans) with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350.
Combine the butter, water, and canola oil in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat and cook just until butter has melted.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar, flour, and cocoa. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low. Increase to medium and add one egg at a time. Add the buttermilk (or yogurt), followed by the baking soda, salt, and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Let cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely, about one hour.

Frosting:
To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers, if necessary.

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly, and then top with the second cake layer. Repeat and then cover the cake with remaining frosting.

Refrigerate for one hour.

Ganache:
Heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool.

Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Test a small spoonful down one side of the cake – if it stops running before it hits the bottom or just as it hits the bottom, it’s done. If it’s too thick, add a Tbsp or two more golden syrup or heat for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow.

Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serve with chocolate-covered strawberries (optional). Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for a few days.

Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds

This salad makes me feel good all over. I feel womanly. I feel thin. I feel sexy.

I like this salad so much because it has all that I need to fill me up, and taste great at the same time. I love the way that the sweet poppyseed dressing goes with the strawberries, sugared almonds, goats cheese, and cranberries. The lettuce adds a little green and screams “you are healthy, baby – strut it”.

So eat this for lunch with a cocktail in hand and sunscreen on your skin. You’ll feel unstoppable. Oh, and make sure to wear cute sandals too. That’s always a good idea.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk sugar, mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and poppy seeds.

Pour that dressing over the rest of your ingredients and enjoy!

Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds
From the Bite me cookbook
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Poppy Seed Dressing
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp poppy seeds

8 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 recipe of sugared almonds
1 cup sliced strawberries
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup crumbled goats cheese (I used goat cheese balls)

Directions:
Prepare sugared almonds.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk sugar, mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and poppy seeds.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, strawberries, cranberries, and sugared almonds. Toss with dressing and goats cheese and serve.

Note: A BIG thanks to Alicia Leroux for taking all of these photos. You rock my world! AND…I want your camera.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Here in Switzerland, everything is about 3 weeks early. It. Is. Summer. * Squeal*

Along with the early summer comes a variety of early garden favorites like beautiful crispy lettuce and my long lost baking buddy, rhubarb. Rhubarb and me go way back. I liked to pick the mysterious sour stalks of pink and green as a little girl and dip them in sugar with my “Poppa”. When we had picked too much my Nanny would cook it, and make an awesome stewed rhubarb that was great on morning toast or ice cream. I wanted to try something new with rhubarb though, so I went out and got a stalk from the garden, and decided to make a strawberry rhubarb cake of sorts.

I like this cake because it’s sliceable and still has that “crumble” feel that I’m so fond of. I love how each bite has a beautiful combination of cinnamon-sugar and sweet and tangy strawberry-rhubarb. The crumble topping really puts this recipe over the top. It’s gorgeously matched and gives this moist cake a nice light crunch.

To begin, preheat your oven, grease and flour your pan, and grab a medium bowl. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 6 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 1 minute.

Throw in your egg yolks and vanilla. Here I’m just separating the whites from the yolks and putting the whites into a bowl for breakfast tomorrow :)

Beat until combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk until combined, about 1-2 minutes.

Spread cake batter evenly into prepared pan.

Top batter with strawberries and rhubarb. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumb topping: Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and 4 tablespoons butter; knead together using fingertips or a fork until well combined and mixture starts to clump together. Keep in freezer until ready for use. When cake has baked 20 minutes, top evenly with crumb mixture. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Cool for 30 minutes before running a knife around outside edges. Remove cake from pan and cool on a rack.

This is delightful. I had a huge slice!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Recipe taken from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup sliced strawberries
2/3 cup finely chopped rhubarb

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 1 (9-inch) round cake pan or an 8 x 8 inch square pan (I used this).
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 6 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in yolks and vanilla until combined.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk until combined, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Spread cake batter evenly into prepared pan. Top batter with strawberries and rhubarb. Bake for 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the crumb topping: Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and 4 tablespoons butter; knead together using fingertips or a fork until well combined and mixture starts to clump together. Keep in freezer until ready for use.
7. When cake has baked 20 minutes, top evenly with crumb mixture. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool for 30 minutes before running a knife around outside edges. Remove cake from pan and cool on a rack.

*Photos taken mostly by Alicia Leroux (thanks Alicia)!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Mornings are my favorite. The birds are chirping, the rays of sun peak through the clouds, and the rush hour traffic sounds like it’s in my kitchen. Wait. What? Yes, I live in the city, and it is LOUD. Thank goodness I’m moving in a few months. You see, living in the city is good for convenience and convenience only. I don’t have a car so it’s nice to be able to walk anywhere and everywhere I want to go but I miss the stillness of my Nanny’s waterfront. I miss being able to walk in front of my house and be completely positive that I wont see anyone. Maybe someone in a canoe, but that’s about it.

To cheer myself up, and shake the city blues, I decided to make my favorite muffin: Strawberry banana.

Strawberries are hands down my favorite fruit. I must say that I like every fruit, but nothing will ever take the place of my beloved strawberry. It’s plump, it’s juicy, it’s delicious. And mixed with banana? Yes please!

Oh boy, I got so caught up in describing the deliciousness of these beauties that I forgot to mention they’re healthy! This recipe makes 12 perfect muffins that are 3.5 weight watchers points each. Heck, eat two!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick of butter, (6 tablespoons) melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large ripe bananas
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced (I don’t think frozen strawberries would work in this recipe)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake/muffin pan with liners. In a medium bowl, measure out and mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until well combined. Add melted butter. Mix well. Add vanilla. Squish bananas into the mixture. A nice squish should break the bananas up well enough to be incorporated into the batter.
3. Add strawberries to the dry mixture. Toss until strawberries are well coated with flour mixture. Add dry strawberry mixture to the wet mixture. Use a VERY light hand to mix at this point. The more mixing you do the tougher the muffin so try not to over mix.


4. Divide batter equally in liners. Bake until golden brown, about 22-30 minutes.

5. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then enjoy.

Individual-sized Strawberry Shortcake

Easter weekend was a blast for me. I baked, I ate, I walked in the sun…I even went four-wheeling! This is why I love going home. Living in the city can be so tiring sometimes and going home for the holidays with family is always a good pick-me-up. I did eat too much chocolate though..oh boy. But alas, this blog post is not about chocolate. It’s about my favorite fruit: strawberries, and their partner in crime: whipped cream.

I knew that making a strawberry shortcake would be the perfect dessert for after Easter dinner. It’s not too heavy, and so perfect for spring. Here’s how I made it..

Ingredients:
Strawberries:
2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed

Whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or your own desired sweetness)

Shortcake biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter (cut into small chunks)
3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Berries and whipped cream:
1. Combine the sliced strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl.  Toss gently and set aside.


2. Meanwhile, with a handheld mixer, beat the whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the biscuits.

Biscuits:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is the size of small peas.  Add the cream and incorporate using a wooden spoon until the dough is thoroughly moistened, but not over-worked.


3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, nonstick surface and roll into a 1/2-inch-thick disk with a floured rolling pin.


4. Cut the dough into three-inch rounds using a cookie cutter or drinking cup, gently rolling and re-rolling the dough as necessary. (You should have six to eight biscuits, depending on the size of the cutter and the thickness of the dough.)
5. Transfer the rounds to a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Assembly of the shortcakes:
1. Cut each cooled biscuit in half horizontally.
2. Place the bottom half on a plate and spoon the strawberries and whipped cream over it.


3. Place the top half of the biscuit on top of the berries and whipped cream. Add more berries and cream. Serve immediately.