Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I am such a summer berry fanatic.  Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries - you name it - I love it.  The fresh, sweet berries need very little adornment to make them shine.  Dust a handful of berries with powdered sugar and serving them alongside a slice of pound cake to highlight the bounty of summer berries. 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sugar
24 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces cream cheese

Grease a bundt pan and set aside.  Combine flour and salt.

Whisk together eggs, yolks, milk and vanilla. 

Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese together in mixer until light and fluffy. 

 Add egg mixture.

Add flour in 3 additions.

Scrape batter into prepared pan.  

Bake 90 minutes at 300.  

 Cool 15 minutes in pan.  Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.  

I am leaving it up to your imagination to picture this decadent cake with a heaping helping of fresh summer berries.  It's really hard to beat a simple pound cake topped with fresh summer fruit for a summertime dessert.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I had the chance to take a mini vacation last month for my birthday. I flew home to Ohio for a few days to celebrate my birthday and my mom's birthday with my parents and my brother. It was super relaxing and even though I missed my family, I got some much needed R&R while I was there.

My mom and I had lunch on the porch of the yacht club after yoga.

We spent some time wandering around the garden center looking at all of the fabulous flowers.

We had a terrific birthday dinner at Chez Francois.

 After dinner we took in the spectacular sunset in Vermillion.

We took a long leisurely bike ride into town on Saturday morning.

I also got to attend a surprise 40th anniversary party for my aunt and uncle.


It was a fabulous trip to Ohio but before I left for my mini vacation, I had to make a special treat for my daughter to take to her last FCA of the school year. I figured a chocolate chip cookie cake would be a crowd pleaser at any middle school event.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
1 cup flour             
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda            
¼ teaspoon salt            
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 9” round cake pan.
Beat butter and sugar.
Add egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter into pan.

Bake 30 minutes.

Cool 15 minutes in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cut into 12 slices.

Decorate each slice with a dollop of chocolate frosting.

The chocolate chip cookie cake was a big hit.  I'm pretty sure that you can come up with a good excuse to make a chocolate chip cookie cake for yourself.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Homemade Smoothie Packs

Summer and smoothies go hand in hand.  As a special treat in the summer, the kids and I will stop at Smoothie King on our way home from the park.  It's a treat for all of us.  We've tried making our own smoothies at home but it seems like we are always out of at least one ingredient when we want to make them.  We like the smoothie packs from the grocery store but they are really expensive.  I saw for homemade "smoothie packs" on pinterest and I took the idea and ran with it.

Since my son is the biggest smoothie lover of us all, I decided to try my smoothie packet experiment on him.  I asked him to tell me his favorite kind of smoothie - chocolate, strawberry, banana.  (Who knew?)

I started by freezing some yogurt into drops.  If you need the directions for this, check out my blog post on frozen yogurt drops.


Next, I sliced some bananas and froze them on a waxed paper covered cutting board.

I had to think a little bit about how  was going to introduce chocolate into this smoothie.  My first thought was cocoa powder but that seemed too powdery.  I considered chocolate chips but those seemed too chunky.  Finally, I decided to use chocolate syrup.  I froze some chocolate syrup in individual cups.   It didn't really freeze completely but it was fudge-like. 

I bought a bag of frozen strawberries so there was no prep work there.  Once everything was frozen, it was time to start experimenting with quantities of each to make the perfect smoothie.

My son's perfect chocolate, strawberry, banana combination was:
9 banana slices
5 strawberries
9 yogurt drops
1 container of chocolate syrup

He added some skim milk, blended it up and voila - homemade smoothie.

Once we had the combination of ingredients perfected, I used freezer bags to make up our own "smoothie packs." 

I also made some berry smoothie packs.  I used a bag of frozen raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, some of my leftover frozen strawberries and a few yogurt drops.

We are set for summer now.  We have ready to blend, smoothie packs in the freezer.  Bring on the heat.