Blueberry Muffin Skillet

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I turned muffins into a skillet cake.

Not that muffins are the most difficult thing to make, but sometimes we want something even easier…right? That’s where this Blueberry Muffin Skillet comes in. It’s all things we love about blueberry muffins–buttery crumb, bright blueberries, plus a little lemon zest for freshness, a teensy bit of health from some flax and wheat germ, plus crunchy topping–minus the portioning. Just brown some butter, mix, pour, sprinkle, and bake. Even though there’s only one less step, it still feels like sweet freedom. And freedom means more weekend lounging, naps, leisurely walks, and magazine reading.

Happy weekending!!

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Print Recipe

Blueberry Muffin Skillet

Adapted from Joy the Baker

If you don’t want to use the flax and wheat germ, reduce the milk to 1/3 cup. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, brown the butter in any saucepan or skillet you have and bake the cake in a greased pie plate or cake tin.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon, divided

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons flax seed meal

2 tablespoons wheat germ

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

Topping:

3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the butter in a 9-10 inch cast iron skillet and heat over medium until the butter browns and becomes fragrant like toffee. Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a dish to cool.

In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk the milk, egg + yolk, and vanilla until combined. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk half of the lemon zest with the flour, flax meal, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk mixture, followed by the browned butter, and fold until just combined–there may be a few spare lumps or streaks of flour, it’s okay. Fold in the blueberries and scrape the mixture into the cast iron skillet you used to brown the butter.

Make the topping by pinching the butter into the flour, remaining lemon zest, and sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Wrap any leftover pieces tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a day or two.

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Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

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So, I know this should probably be a post about pie, which I love, or pumpkin pie…which I HATE. I know…I’m a jerk. I like pumpkin things, but never pumpkin pie.

I’m not sorry.

Anyway, let’s talk cake.

This cake is super simple in both assembly and flavor–the batter takes minutes to make and there’s zero special equipment required. Don’t get it twisted though, because even if this is just a chocolate-on-chocolate situation, it is so, so good in it’s simplicity. The cake is dark and rich, but not so much that it doesn’t benefit from a glazing of glossy ganache. The crumb is fine and very moist, my favorite. And, I know ganache sounds fancy, but it’s so not…two ingredients, mixed together. DONE. I’m pretty sure this is my new go-to cake. It’s so easy, a little rustic, but pretty. It’s a gem.

[recipe]

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Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Makes 1, 8-inch, round cake.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Use your favorite cocoa powder for this cake. I prefer Valrhona because it is rich and dark with intense chocolate flavor.  

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2/3 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray an 8-inch, round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and vinegar, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla into the milk and vinegar mixture and pour into the flour mixture. Mix gently with a spatula until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before glazing with ganache.

Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces chopped, semisweet chocolate (or chips)

Heat the cream until scalded, when little bubbles form around the edges, add the chocolate, remove from the heat, and cover. Let the chocolate and cream rest for about 5 minutes, until the cream has melted the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour warm ganache over the top of the cake. Let the ganache set 10 minutes before serving. [/recipe]

Strawberry Ripple Bombe Alaska

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Baked Alaska always reminds me of forgettable hotel or catered desserts. You know the type I’m thinking of…I’ve only ever had the sort that includes freezer burned ice cream and too-foamy meringue.

I have long loved the idea of a Baked Alaska, and I loved it even more when I learned people in the world often call it Bombe Alaska. So fancy! I just love the way “bombe” feels and sounds. In an effort to make this dessert everything I have dreamed it would be, I wanted there to be a jewel-toned surprise. So, I went with a vanilla custard ice cream with a sweet, jammy, white balsamic + strawberry ripple, on top of a olive oil + pistachio sponge cake. I covered the whole thing in glossy swiss meringue with lots of swirls to ensure a pretty toast.

I made the cake and the ripple using Colavita Olive Oil and Chardonnay Balsamic. The olive oil lends it’s fruity nature to the cake and keeps it more tender while frozen than butter would. Balsamic is a natural pair with strawberries and I like the white variety because it doesn’t muddy the vibrant color of the berries like a traditional balsamic might. Plus it lends a sweet tang that is so irresistible. Seriously, I had a spoonful (or 4) of the ripple straight from the pan.

Since I liked these products so much and because you are all da bombe (had to!), in association with Colavita and Fine Cooking*, we are doing a giveaway of some of Colavita’s Olive Oil and Balsamic as well as a 1-year subscription to Fine Cooking Magazine. Enter below! Leave a comment telling me what your favorite ice cream flavor is.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Just a note, this is a sponsored giveaway. However, I was not paid for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

**This giveaway is only open to US residents with non-PO box addresses. Apologies to international and PO box holding readers! You can enter my favorites giveaway here, however. Cheers! 

[recipe]

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Strawberry Ripple Bombe Alaska

This makes 5, 3 1/2 inch bombe’s. Use the cake scraps and leftover syrup to make a parfait! There may seem to be more sugar than needed for the strawberry ripple, but it encourages jamminess and keeps the ripple from becoming icy when frozen. 

Pistachio Cake (adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams):

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

2 yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cake flour

1/4 cup coarsely ground pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line or grease the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan–do not grease the sides. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, yolks, and salt. Using the whisk attatchement beat the mixture for about 8 minutes until trippled in volume and pale in color. Fold in the flour and pistachios. Fold in the olive oil and vanilla. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Using a 3 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 5 circles from the cake. Place the scrapes in a bag and freeze for parfait making. Place the cake circles on a parchment lined tray in the freezer. Freeze until ready to assemble the bombes.

Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream:

1 lb. strawberries, hulled and stemmed

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon honey

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups milk

3 teaspoons cornstarch

3 egg yolks

2/3 sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chop the strawberries and add to a saucepan with the 1 cup of sugar, honey, and lemon. Cook until the mixture begins to boil, turn down the heat slightly to achieve a low, steady boil and continue to cook, stirring so the bottom of the pan does not burn, until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the white balsamic. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool completely  Can be made a day or two in advance, store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and set the slurry aside.

In a bowl whisk the egg yolks with the 2/3 cup of sugar and vanilla until combined and just beginning to turn pale yellow. Set aside.

In a saucepan heat the cream and remaining milk until just before it comes to a boil. Whisk about 1/2 of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, 1 ladle full at a time, to temper. Add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan of remaining hot cream. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Over medium low heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a gallon, zip top, freezer bag and place in an ice bath to cool completely. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Scrape about 1/3 of the ice cream into an 8×8 baking pan, layer in liberal drizzles of the strawberry ripple, and repeat. Freeze, covered, until solid at least 6 hours. Cut out 5 rounds using the same cutter you used for the cake rounds (3 1/2 inches). Place the ice cream rounds on top of the cake rounds and return to the freezer while you make the meringue.

Swiss Meringue

3 egg white

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar and salt to combine. Continue to whisk until the egg white mixture is warm, not too hot, and the sugar is dissolved. You can test this by dipping a finger into the warm egg white and rubbing it–if there are no longer any sugar granules, it is done. Using a stand (whisk attachment) or hand mixer, whip the egg whites until they become voluminous  bright white, glossy, and hold a medium-stiff peak. Ice the bombes with the swiss meringue. Toast just before serving.

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