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.

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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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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip and Brûléed Lemon Mascarpone Dip

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip

Guys! A while back I made some warm, cheesy dips for Wisconsin Cheese Dairy Dips and damn, they are so good. Not to pat myself on the back or anything…but, I mean, cheese-on-cheese-on-cheese-plus-carbs always wins. One of these dips is savory and the other is sweet and both are totally holiday-party-worthy.

First, is the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip. It has my favorite way to eat brussels sprouts–roasted–plus bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese!

Second, we have a Brûléed Lemon Mascarpone Dip. OMG, lemon curd, mascarpone, crunchy sugar topping, AND cookie dippers! DEAD. I highly suggest a spice cookie dipper for this. It’s a sweet, cheesy holiday miracle…as all holiday miracles should be.

Head over to Wisconsin Cheese for more dips and recipes!

Brûléed Lemon Mascarpone Dip

 

Full disclosure: I made these cheesy recipes for Wisconsin Cheese Dairy Dips and was compensated for recipe development and photos. However, as a cheese-lover, all opinions and words are my own. Enjoy!

Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey

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Guys, this is the prettiest cornbread I’ve ever made. I first saw it on Megan’s blog and thought it was such a stunnner back then, and I finally got around to making it. I’m so glad I did!

I decided to adapt this recipe to be baked in a cast iron skillet because the fine people of Finex (forged right here in Portland!) gifted me with one of their gorgeous skillets. I mean, look at that iron-beauty down there! I especially love that the cooking surface of the pan is smooth, instead of rough like most cast iron skillets, and the octagonal sides make for easy pouring. Anyway, it’s perfect for this recipe because we start  by browning butter–always a good idea–and the butter that coats the pan after pouring it out for the batter acts to make the surface even more non-stick. Plus, the pan stays hot, since we all know cast iron holds heat like a dream, creating a little sizzle when the batter hits the pan making for a nice golden-brown crust on this cornbread. Obviously, you can use any trusty cast iron skillet you have for this recipe and it will be just as delicious.

The pumpkin in the cornbread makes it so moist, with extra tenderness from the addition of buttermilk. In addition to the brown butter flavor punch, we have lots of leeks, sliced super thinly, throughout the batter and on top. Along with pecans for a sweet and nutty bite. The leeks on top get crisp and sweet and so perfect. I’m sort of obsessed with them (I’ve been using them as a pizza topping lately, too…so killer!). But, the thing that really makes this cornbread sing is the spicy honey drizzle. It’s a sweetly spiced, sticky counterpart to the earthy-sweet and savory cornbread…and it’s SO simple!! It’s just honey and tabasco. Done.

Anyway, I urge you to make this cornbread sooner than later. Don’t wait a whole dang year like I did. And, I have to say it, it’d be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread. Hint, hint.

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Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey 

Makes 8-12 servings

Adapted from Take A Megabite

Leeks can be super gritty, so I like to clean them by slicing them and swishing around in a large bowl of cold water. Then I scoop them out and pat them dry on a clean tea towel.

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown butter

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 large leek, sliced thinly into rounds and rinsed well

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Spicy Honey:

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet until it gets foamy, once it begins to foam, continue to cook the butter, stirring until the solid bits in the butter turn deep brown and smell fragrant like toffee (if you aren’t using a cast iron skillet, refer to Megan’s recipe for alternate instructions). Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and cooled brown butter. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold until just combined, then fold in half of the leeks. Scrape the batter into the cast iron pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining leeks, as well as the pecans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes before serving with the spicy honey.

To make the spicy honey, stir together both of the ingredients until combine.

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Full disclosure, Finex sent me one of their skillet to use. I was not compensated for this post, I just really like this skillet! As always, all opinions and words are my own.