Oh, how has April already flown by me? This past month has become an absolute whirlwind, and I have a few blog posts that are much overdue. Spring has finally started to peak its bright and beautiful face around Kansas! Green, lush grass is everywhere. Buds are starting to shoot off of the trees, making our gorgeous campus in Manhattan glow. It’s a struggle not to keep a smile on your face when there’s so much Spring around!
If there ever was a cake to equal the delight of Spring, this Triple Layer Blueberry Lemon Cake would be it. The luscious, bright taste of fresh blueberries that are finally in season are the “icing on the cake” for this recipe, while the lemon shines through nicely. I found the recipe for this cake while perusing Pinterest in hopes of finding the perfect cake to celebrate a few friends’ birthdays. This recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction which also gave a few quick tips on picking the right fruit, how to properly frost the cake, etc. It was so helpful! I decided to make a few adjustments to the recipe, and after hearing rave reviews at the joint birthday party, I decided to share it with all of you!
½ cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup of plain Greek Yogurt
1 and ¼ cups sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
1 and ½ cups of fresh blueberries
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350F. Use shortening or a stick of butter to line 3 round 9×2 inch pans. Set aside.
Using a mixer, beat the ½ cup of butter on high until creamy (approximately 1 minute). Beat in the Greek Yogurt. (Here I used the Greek yogurt as a healthier substitute to cut back on butter).
Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed (approximately 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until everything is combined (approximately 2 minutes). Set aside.
In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold in half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat together on low speed for about 5 seconds to mix all the ingredients.
Add milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. (It is very important to use fresh lemon juice here for a better taste instead of store-bought. On another side note, to make your own buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and fill the measuring cup up to 1 cup with 1% or 2 % higher milk. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes before adding to cake).
Add in the other half of your dry mixture. (This keeps the batter from being way too thick). Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick, which will keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Do not overmix.
Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. Bake the three layers for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 and ½ cups of sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain (approximately 3 full minutes.)
Add sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt while the mixer is running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more cream for a thinner consistency.
To Frost cakes: Flip cake from first pan onto an even surface. If cake is too tall, use a large knife to cut off extra cake for a more flat, thin cake. Cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn’t make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate until use!
I have two great loves of my life—Harry Potter and anything with a little pumpkin. Anyone who is relatively acquainted with me knows that I am absolutely obsessed with all things Harry Potter. I adore Harry Potter movie marathons and have voraciously consumed the books multiple times. As a child, I have a distinct memory of riding my bike down to the Palco Post Office in the rain to pick up the 5th book when it was released just to get my hands on it. While in college, I took the Harry Potter literature class that the Department of English offers. I was on the e-mail list for the Harry Potter Alliance (until the founder wore a shirt titled “Wizards for Obama” and I reconsidered, but that is another story). So, it goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of all things Harry Potter, and I love the opportunity to bring anything from that magical world to life.
Tonight, I decided to combine my love for Harry Potter and my love for pumpkin into one great recipe. Pumpkin Pasties are a tasty treat often mentioned in the Harry Potter books, including an early appearance in Sorcerer’s Stone which bonds Harry and Ron forever after Harry offers some delicious treats to his new friend. In the movie, Harry’s line “We’ll take the lot” is often quoted from this scene. Of the whole lot of sweets (Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans- oh my!), I think that delicious and warm Pumpkin Pasties are a great symbol for friendship and empathy early in the series. And what a joy it is to whip some of these up as I’m preparing to head home for Thanksgiving tomorrow!
1 ½ cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 stick of cold, salted butter, diced
1 package of cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
Place dry ingredients in medium bowl and mix together.
Add the cold, diced butter and mix in with dry ingredients until you have what looks like coarse bread crumbs.
Add in the pieces of cream cheese and mix until the dough is very clumpy.
Turn dough onto surface lightly dusted with flour and knead until the dough is smooth.
Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
¾ cup of pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 small pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp of ground ginger
½ tsp of cinnamon
¼ tsp of salt
⅓ cup of sugar
In saucepan, heat pumpkin with cloves, ginger, and cinnamon on medium-low heat until warmed. Remove from heat.
Mix in egg, salt, and sugar. Set aside while you prepare the dough.
Pumpkin Pasty Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about ⅛-inch thick and cut with cookie cutter (I used a heart-shaped one this time). Place shapes onto a greased cookie sheet.
Spoon approximately a tablespoon amount of pumpkin filling within the shapes.
Create a matching shape to place over the top. Seal the edges by either folding over and pinching with your fingers, or crimping with a fork.
Using a pastry brush, lightly glaze each pasty with beaten egg mixed with a little milk or water. Sprinkle on some brown sugar, if desired.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and enjoy!
A little background on pasty treats—I actually enjoyed some of these while I was in Scotland studying abroad. They are typically served with meat inside of them as a lunch snack, but here they also make an excellent, sweet treat.
I served mine with a little whipped cream on top, and enjoyed settling in with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Now it’s time for the dishes and packing for home. Hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving!
Happy Autumn! Wow- is it already November? Last month floated by like falling leaves in the wind. First of all, thanks to everyone who received my last post about “Girl Power” with such enthusiasm! Women empowerment is such an important topic to me, and I deeply appreciate the kind thoughts and words sent my way after I wrote that last month. I hope in the future to continue sharing my opinion about women in current events, as well.
For this post, I decided to talk about one of my favorite fall activities which is nearing an end- tailgating! This fall, I’ve had the opportunity to cheer on the K-State Wildcats at almost every home game (just missing the Auburn game due to big kid duties). I also really enjoy catching our football boys when the game is on television, as well. A few weekends ago, I sat down with a few of my friends and we whipped up some yummy food together. Today I’ll be sharing one of my favorite, easy recipes—Beer Dip! This is perfect for any tailgate, get together, or if you’re just looking for a salty afternoon snack.
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
1/3 cup of beer of your choice
1 envelope of dry ranch dressing salad mix
2 cups of shredded Velveeta cheese
Soften cream cheese.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, beer, and ranch dressing mix. Beat with a mixer until they are well blended.
Stir cheese into the dip.
Serve with pretzels or pretzel crisps (pictured below).
You can use any kind of beer with this dip, but I really preferred using the Shiner Bock this time. It is a darker beer with a more robust flavor than your standard Bud Light or Coors Light.
The ‘Cats may only have one more home game this fall (Beat KU!), but I can guarantee that I will be making this dip over and over. Hope you all enjoy the rest of fall and are working on some of your favorite recipes!