Recipe: Peach Shortcake

Happy first day of summer, friends!

We've already had a few weeks of summer heat and so far I've dug my toes into the sand, bbq'ed a few hot dogs (as well as had my fav summer beer), hung by the pool, and covered myself in sunscreen and/or bug repellant from head to toe. I'm hoping for more of that as the summer weekends fly by. I thought about making a summer bucket list, but might just try to chill and see what the weekends bring.

Do you have big summer plans? Vacations and trips and big ideas? I hope you do! Got a bbq where you can't show up empty handed? I can help with that!

A twist on a strawberry shortcake, we're going a little wild and adding peaches instead of berries PLUS brushing these sweet little cakes with some peach syrup. The perfect way to feed a summer crowd but easy enough to throw together. We're hitting that sweet spot.

Peach Shortcake with Whipped Cream

Yields 8-12 slices

For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For peach cake syrup:
1/2 cup peach puree (made from 1-3 peaches)
2/3 granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-7 peaches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

Make your cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Split the batter evenly between the three 9-inch cake pans and bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Make your cake syrup: While the cake is baking, make your cake syrup. In a food processor, puree 1-3 peaches until you have a 1/2 cup of puree. In a small saucepan combine peach puree, sugar, and water. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolved (about 5 minutes) and remove from heat. 

Once your cakes are cooled, use a pastry brush to brush the syrup onto all over the top of them. Wait a few minutes until the syrup soaks in , then repeat. You can do this as many times as you want (I did 2-3 times), but you will have extra peach syrup.

Make your whipped cream: Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking. Add heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high. Add in your vanilla extra. Continue to whisk until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

Assemble the cake: place one cake on the center of a cake stand or large plate. Using a rubber spatula, spoon a third of the whipped cream into the center of the cake and spread towards the outside. Thinly slice your peaches and place them in an even layer on the whipped cream. For presentation purposes, you want to them to be all the way to the edge of the cake so you can see them once you assemble the rest of the cake. Repeat with the middle and top layer.

Store in the refrigerator or chilled space before serving. Because this is a "naked" cake, you'll want to eat the same day as the exposed cake will dry out faster.

Recipe: Citrus Upside Down Cake

Happy Valentine's Day my loves! I hope you are celebrating a little bit of love today, whether that's with a fancy dinner date, a pizza night at home on the sofa, or just a glass of nice wine and the bathtub. Valentine's Day is a day to treat yourself and the ones around you that you love. So do it up!

In other exciting news, today I'm sharing the recipe for the Citrus Upside Down Cake I made for our Galentine's Day Brunch! It's a stunning cake with a bright citrus flavor and I think you'll be impressed how easy it is! 

Citrus Upside Down Cake

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 blood orange
1 small grapefruit
1 navel orange
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9 inch cake pan** with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.

With the skin still on, slice the grapefruit, orange, and blood orange 1/2 inch thick. Using a paring knife, remove the skin from each citrus slice. You don't have to remove all the pith, but instead cut through the center of the pith and remove half of it. Microwave the 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water together until the sugar dissolves, about a minute. Pour half of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan, arrange citrus fruits in a tight layer, and top with rest of sugar water. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, press orange zest into sugar with a spoon until it's clumpy and fragrant. Add butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients into the mixer and combine. Add greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and orange juice and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour batter over the prepared citrus slices and spread evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Allow to cool completely before turning out onto a serving platter.

**I baked this cake in an 8 inch cake pan because I couldn't find my 9 inch one. If you only have an 8 inch pan, you'll have a little extra batter. Do not fill cake pan above 3/4 full or cake will not bake properly.

All photography in this post created by Kate McCann Photography.

Recipe: Perfect Summer Strawberry Shortcake

Baking in the summer is hard for me. I don't have AC, so deciding to turn the oven on is a struggle. Add to that making frosting, which I actually really dislike doing in the first place, in a hot house and it's just never a magical experience. But we're pushing through today, because this cake is easy-peasy and comes together without much effort or cake decorating ability. And it's perfect to throw together for a summer bbq or just feed a lot of people. 

It's also perfect for eating for breakfast, which is something I always look for in desserts. This cake is totally breakfast acceptable.

What I do with this cake is make it the night before (when it's less hot in the house), let it cool on a rack, wrap it up overnight, and assemble in the morning in time for festivities. Need to make something red, white, and blue for a summer gathering? Throw some blueberries in this and DONE. This cake is a crowd pleaser.

Strawberry Shortcake

Yields 8-12 slices

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Split the batter evenly between the two 9-inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Whipped Cream

Yields enough for two-layer cake

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 containers of strawberries 

Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking. Add heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

To assemble the cake, place one cake on the center of a cake stand or large plate. Using a rubber spatula, spoon half the whipped cream into the center of the cake and spread towards the outside. Cutting as many strawberries as you need, slice them vertically and place in an even layer on the whipped cream. For presentation purposes, you want to them to be all the way to the edge of the cake so you can see them once you assemble the rest of the cake. Place the other cake on top, add the rest of the whipped cream, slice more strawberries to cover and then add whole strawberries, pressing them down slightly to get them to stay in place. Because this is a "naked" cake, you'll want to eat the same day as the exposed cake will dry out faster.

To get the more naked cake look, use your finger to press some powdered sugar into the sides of the cake. This helps hide imperfections and look a little more naked.

Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Sometimes you bake things because you need to use up what's in the fridge. Recently I've be struggling real hard with using fruits and vegetables and eating leftovers before they find there way to the back of my fridge to turn and grow mold (adulting is hard, folks!). So when the weekend hit and I had some time to spend in the kitchen, I decided to figure out a simple recipe that would use up some blueberries, lemons, and yogurt instead of running out to the store. 

This recipe looks like a lot of steps, but it's fairly simple to make. Plus, unlike cookies or cupcakes or even a layer cake, this batter all goes into one pan and into the oven, with just a few check-ins needed. No running back and forth to the oven to load in more cookies or refill cupcake pans, which was just what I wanted from this Saturday morning baking session. 

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Yields one loaf
adapted from this Bon Appetit Magazine

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 handfuls of blueberries
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
8 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by lining with parchment paper so the hangs over on the long sides and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, toss blueberries with 2 teaspoons of flour until coated. Side aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add granulated sugar and lemon zest and work the zest into the sugar with your fingers until slight clumps appear and mixture is fragrant. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla and beat until light and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, then 3/4 cup of yogurt. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients followed by 5 tablespoons of lemon juice. Using a spatula, fold in blueberries until they are evenly throughout the batter and scrape into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven. Poke holes into the top of the cake and brush with remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cool for 15 minutes and then lift cake out of pan with parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack. 

Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of water, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until combined and drizzle over cooled cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest (optional) and let glaze set, about 30 minutes, before slicing.

Recipe: Funfetti Sprinkle Cake

My birthday is this weekend and I'm pretty excited. Like, maybe stupidly excited.

I took a few days off from work to make the weekend longer and I have a handful of things planned (including some quality friend time dancing at the go-go bar!) and I'm excited to both relax and bop around the city. 25 was an age of figuring out how to live my life and who I want in my life. A ton of ups and downs. A lot of wondering what the hell is going on and a lot of trying to move onwards and upwards. I moved out of my comfort zone and into a house in the city. I built a new career for myself at my job. I paid off my car. I let myself be vulnerable and got a little hurt. I found people who I love spending my time with. I did what I wanted. I traveled alone and with some great friends. I tried to have a lot of fun. I think I set a high expectation and it maybe wasn't exactly what I expected. But no regrets. Just lessoned learned and moving forward. I'm hoping 26 has slightly more clarity, a lot of changes, and most of all, a lot of laughing. 

So here's a birthday cake I made for myself and covered in sprinkles. Because you deserve all the sprinkles on your birthday.

Yellow Funfetti Cake

Yields 8 slices

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep two 9 inch cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until fluffy and light yellow. Add in each egg until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in half the buttermilk. Add another third of dry ingredients, then the second half of the buttermilk and vanilla, and finally the last bit of dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl and fold in sprinkles with a plastic spatula until sprinkles are evenly distributed in the batter.

Split the batter evenly between the two 9 inch cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Vanilla Buttercream

Yields enough for a two 9-inch cakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectionery sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A LOT of rainbow nonpareils sprinkles (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter for about 5 minutes on medium speed until fluffy and light. Add in 3 cups of confectionery sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Add in milk and vanilla, mix on low, and then add in the last cup of sugar. Raise speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes until frosting is fluffy. If you like a thicker frosting, add small amount of sugar until it reaches the desired texture.

To assemble the cake, place one cake on the platter which you plan to serve the cake. Using a rubber or offset spatula, spread about a 1/2 inch thickness of frosting on the top of the cake. Place a pile of frosting in the center of the cake, and spread outward. Place your second cake on top and repeat that process on the top of the cake. To do the sides, use an offset spatula to work your way around the cake, making sure all the cake is covered. Once the entire cake is covered in frosting, use your offset spatula to smooth out the sides and top.

A tiny tip: If you don't want to get frosting all over your cake stand, take strips of wax paper and slide them underneath the bottom cake so the cake stand is covered. Once you are done frosting, slide the wax paper out and throw it away, leaving a clean base to display the cake.

To cover the cake in sprinkles, simply pour nonpareils over the top of the cake and lightly press them into place with your hands. I found the easiest way to do the sides was filling a spoon with nonpareils and then working them off the spoon and onto the sides of the cake downwards. I will warn you that this takes a pretty good amount of time.