Triple Lemon Streusel Cake

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Lemon is a total winter-time gem and its brightness is much appreciated during these dreary months. While I love the spices and rich flavors that speak to us during these cooler months, I really appreciate the bright zing of citrus. And when I make something with lemon I really want the citrus flavor to be punchy with lots of tart to balance the sweet.

This cake from Izy’s book is a lemon dream. I bought this book as a total treat-yo-self stle gift and I am so glad I did…I’ve got so many recipes bookmarked but this one snagged my attention immediately. I mean, I love all things streusel topped–texture for life!–but it also packs a ton of lemon flavor into a humble little cake. It punches up the lemon 3-fold with lemon juice + zest in the batter, a cream cheese and curd layer, and a tart lemon drizzle. It’s pretty much the perfect lemon-y treat–the topping is crunchy, while the middle hides a creamy, lemon layer reminiscent of cheesecake, and the batter has that zest plus little bits of oats that give this tender cake a pleasant texture. It’s the kind of snack cake that disappears piece-by-piece before you know it and leaves you pinching the final crumbs out of the pan. Which makes it a little dangerous, but totally perfect for sharing.

[recipe]

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Triple Lemon Streusel Cake

From Top with Cinnamon 

Serves 12

for the topping:

2 tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons rolled oats

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

for the cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup rolled oats

5 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons lemon curd

for the glaze:

2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl, rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture is achieved. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment leaving an overhang on two sides (I like to secure the sides with metal binder clips).

In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and lemon curd.

Begin making the cake batter by melting the butter. In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk until well mixed. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats (the batter will be a bit lumpy from the oats). Spread 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese and lemon curd mixture over the batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining cake batter over the cream cheese layer and spread it out evenly. Spread the topping mixture over the cake batter and bake the cake in the center of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake once it has cooled.

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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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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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Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

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Let’s ease into fall-baking, okay? I mean, I’ve been ready since September 1st to bring on the pumpkin and spice…but I know not everyone is quite as enthusiastic as I am for the best-season-of-all-the-seasons, AUTUMN! Basically, this is my transition from fall to summer and as soon as that equinox arrives, you better believe I’ll be smashing open a can of pumpkin.

So, let’s ease into it with nutty brown butter, a little spice, wholesome bananas, and a little chocolate for good measure. These muffins are moist and tender, rich with brown butter and banana, and indulgent thanks to the chocolate. Banana is basically an all-season fruit to me, but paired with chocolate and browned butter, it speaks of early fall and the much-anticipated baking season. So, pull on a sweater, grab a cuppa something warm, and get to baking!

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

I used a bar of chocolate provided to me by Kallari, an Ecuadorian farmer-owned, organic chocolate company. Kallari was kind enough to send me a sample to try out and I used it in these muffins. Their chocolate is rich, smooth, and comes with an amazing mission. They grow and own the cacao and make it into chocolate, and pay a living wage while striving to conserve both their culture and land.* Feel free to use whatever chocolate you like. 

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tablespoons milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

5 tablespoons butter, browned

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease well.

Brown your butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids in the butter turn deep golden brown and smell nutty and fragrant. Pour into a small dish, making sure to scrape out all of the browned bits, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, milk, banana, eggs, the cooled brown butter, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold until just combined, don’t over mix! Some small lumps are okay. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Can be stored, covered well in the refrigerator, for 4 days. [/recipe]

*Kallari provided me with chocolate to sample. I was not paid for this post, as usual all opinions are my own.