Cherry-Almond Buckle

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How was your 4th of July weekend? Mine was pretttty goooood. We rendezvoused with a boatload of family/friends in Reno, then Tahoe, then Reno again. Casper got to meet all of my cousins, and play with a bunch of our friends babies, and hang with his uncles  and cousins and grandparents and aunt. There was sun, sand, a ton of rain, mountains, lake stuff, desert views, hot dogs, chorizo, a super good chai and breakfast calzone from Coffeebar in Reno, and fireworks on the lake. BOOM!

We are home now and I wanna talk about this cake because it has cherries and we like cake around here, right? This is actually a buckle and, from what I understand (thanks Internet), it’s a yellow cake with fruit mixed in or on top and the cake batter buckles around the fruit or the cake buckles in the center from the weight of the fruit. Basically, it’s a fruitcake of the non-scary holiday-time variety. It’s a fruitcake for summer and it’s wonderful. This buckle combines my current crush–cherries–with another favorite–almonds–plus a good dose of browned butter because, why not?

The flavors are reminiscent of this smoothie–but buttery and less healthful because, cake, obvs. The cake is sturdy yet tender, fragrant from the browned butter and almond extract (a totally winning combo, I think), with lots of juicy-just-sunken cherries, and a nice crisp texture on top from almonds and a sprinkling of sugar. The cake itself reminds me of this Rhubarb Crumb number, sans crumbs with a little easier execution and smaller pan size. It’s a casual cake perfect for casual summertime vibes.

 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Cherry-Almond Buckle

Makes 1 8×8 inch square cake.

I made this recipe twice in one week, first cherries with sliced almonds and second with a combination of peaches and blueberries (bloobs!) with chopped almonds. Both buckles were delish, but I definitely preferred the texture of the sliced almonds on top over the chopped. Another note, this cake can be made in a regular mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula–no mixer or beaters necessary!

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups pitted cherries

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the solids in the butter become deep brown and has a nutty fragrance. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on opposite sides and secure (I use binder clips for this task). Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix to browned butter and 3/4 cup sugar to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Mix in the yogurt and extracts.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold this into the butter and sugar mixture until just combined and there are no longer any streaks of flour throughout the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with the pitted cherries, there will be a lot of cherries to batter, press down in spots as needed. Scatter the almonds over the top and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake (amke sure to test in a batter spot and not a cherry spot) comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing. Leftover cake keeps well wrapped in the refrigerator for a few days. Bring to room temperature before serving. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Weather Drinks

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Rose Lemonade Cocktails

Guys, its T-minus 2 days until the official start of summer! Also, it’s our 4th wedding anniversary today, my 30th birthday was this week, and we put in an offer on a house that was accepted last night…oh, yeah AND I’m going to birth a human-baby in less than 6 weeks. YIKES!

So, basically, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate and knock back a few cold whatevers. In my case, cold-non-boozed-whatevers, but you are all free to liquor up if so inclined. Here are some ideas for warm-weather beverages perfect for summer–boozed or not–from the archives.

Blackberry Ginger Smash

Whisky Cherry Chocolate Soda Floats

Irish Coffee Milkshake with Whisky Caramel

Blueberry Maple Ice Cream Soda

Simplest Margarita

Vanilla Almond Ice Coffee

Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

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Scones and biscuits are seriously one of my weaknesses. Fresh from the oven, I find them to be crazy-irresistable. I know that a biscuit is somehow not the same thing as a scone (if you have an explanation, I’d love to know!), and vice versa, but they must be cousins or something because either one hits the carb-spot every time.

These particular scones don’t contain any egg in the dough, but they do contain a good dose of cream along with a bit of butter. The cream makes for an ultra-tender, dream of a scone.  I’ve added a bit of almond extract to the dough, as well as a sprinkling of almonds across the tops for some texture and crunch. The blueberries are there because I like almond and berries together and, because I cannot get enough berries these days. Each bite of these dreamy beauties contains the scent of sweet almond, a little nutty crunch, and a burst of juicy berries. These scones are pretty amazing on their own though, a smear of butter and blueberry jam doesn’t hurt a thing.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 12 scones.

I baked these in muffin cups, scooping the batter instead of patting it into a round and cutting out. I saw scones done this way on Donna Hay and I thought they were pretty dang cute. Frozen blueberries hold up better when mixing this dough, but if you don’t mind some blueberry streaks, go ahead and use fresh.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

for the tops:

1 egg

1 tablespoon cream

sliced almonds and sugar

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and place paper cupcake liners in 12-cup muffin tin.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, pinch in the butter until there are bits of butter throughout and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Toss in the blueberries and coat with the dry mixture. Pour in the cream and almond extract and gently fold to create a dough–the dough will be a bit wet, but not as wet as a muffin batter. Don’t over mix, it’s better to err on the side of under mixed with some dry bits throughout. Divide the dough between the 12 muffins cups using a levered scoop, about 2 scoops per cup

Whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of cream. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg-cream mixture, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until the tops of the scones are just golden. Remove from the oven and (try to) cool at least 10 minutes before serving. [/recipe]