Cranberry Buttermilk Cake

This cake was gorgeous.  It just might be the perfect treat for Christmas morning.  The cranberries are bright bursts of tart juice, the batter is full of sweet orange flavor, and the cake is light and fluffy.  With the cranberries, this isn’t a very sweet cake, so it’s great for brunch or tea.  This is a great winter spin on the Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake I made for Mother’s day in the spring.  If this seems like too much cake for you, you can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8×8″ square pan.

Cranberry Buttermilk CakeCranberry Buttermilk Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Adapted from Alexandra Cooks

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

Cream butter with orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla, beating well after each addition.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.  Leave a couple of Tbsp of flour to toss the cranberries in (this keeps the berries from sinking to the bottom), then fold the cranberries into the batter.

Scoop batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

This cake is a great way to use the fresh fruit of autumn.  This cake is super moist and filled with apple-y flavor.  Dusted with a little powdered sugar, it’s the perfect balance of sweet.  Perfection is this cake with a cup of tea or coffee, or really get into the holiday spirit with a cup of hot cider!

Fresh Apple Bundt CakeFresh Apple Bundt Slice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce (1 proportioned cup is the perfect size)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 small apples (I used pink lady, but granny smith would work too), peeled, cored and diced in 1/2″ cubes (3 cups total)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously spay a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, oil, and sugar until pale yellow.  Add applesauce and beat until well mixed.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla.Fresh Apple Bundt (A Seat at the Table)

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet in three batches, reserving a few Tbsp to toss with the apples, mix until just combined and then fold in the apples.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 48-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Check the bundt halfway through and if browning too quickly, cover with foil.  Allow cake to cool for at least 1 hour before flipping out of bundt pan and on to your platter.  Once cake is cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

This was a fantastic cake.  It was the first thing to sell out at Carroll Cafe on Friday, and I have to say that it is a great recipe.  The orange zest adds a fresh note that pairs wonderfully with the cranberries, the pumpkin keeps the cake moist and tender.  The fresh cranberries are tart and juicy, surrounded by a sweet sugar topping.  I just might have to say that this is the perfect fall cake.

And incase you’re intimidated by making an upside down cake, this was my first attempt at one.  It was surprisingly easy and even though some of the cranberries stuck to the bottom of the pan they were easy to scoop off and put back on the top of the cake and once it was sliced you couldn’t even tell.  So give it whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin CakeCranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-18

Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (about the zest of 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, browned

Cranberry Topping:

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until it becomes golden and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool while preparing the dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake slice (A Seat at the Table)

In a separate bowl, mix sugars, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together.  Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.

Slowly mix in cooled brown butter.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with 4 Tbsp unsalted butter.  Arrange cranberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle sugar on in an even layer.  Pour cake batter over the cranberries.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes, then flip cake out onto a serving platter.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini Cake

So this is one of the desserts I made for Friday night’s Carroll Cafe.  I had made a Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Cake, and as I was slicing it to serve I sampled a piece and was HORRIFIED by how it turned out!  It was gummy and weird and totally not cake-like.  I’m not sure what went wrong, but I had about 2 hours to come up with a different zucchini cake.  So of course, it was trusty Grandma Helland’s recipe that saved the day.  I adapted Grandma’s Apple Cake recipe and it was a crowd pleaser, as always.

This is a tender, moist flavorful cake that’s prefect for fall.  It’s a nice treat but isn’t too sweet, so it’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.  It’s great for a fall treat and is definitely a last minute crowd pleaser.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini CakeCinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (can sub two more apples)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9×13″ pan with nonstick foil or grease with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix ingredients in order given.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  At about 30 minutes you may need to cover with foil to keep top from browning too quickly.    When cake is done sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (a mix of about 1/4 cup sugar with 3/4 tsp cinnamon works well, sprinkle to taste).  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Double Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Sometimes failure in the kitchen happens.  It’s unfortunate when you spend time and ingredients trying to create something wonderful and end up with a mess.  But in today’s case, at least the mess tasted delicious.  This bundt is the perfect blend of sweet (not too sweet) cake with sweet/tart berries studded throughout.  The cake is pillowy soft and super scrumptious, I was almost glad it fell apart since that meant I got to sneak tastes!  Despite the bundt failure, this is definitely a cake I’d try to make again, it’s just too scrumptious to defeat me.  Next time, use actual butter to grease the bundt pan, and sprinkle with flour, apparently a good greasing with cooking spray wasn’t enough.  I hope you try this, and I hope you have better luck than I did.  Good luck!

Double Berry Buttermilk Bundt CakeDouble Berry Buttermilk Bundt (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 3/4 (355 grams) cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (put in a hot water bath if you forget to take them out early)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups mixed berries (I used fresh blueberries and blackberries)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt.

Double Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake (A Seat at the Table)In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Beat in vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the flour, beating until just combined, then add 1/2 the buttermilk, repeat ending with the last 1/3 of flour.  Toss the berries with the remaining 2 Tbsp flour, then gently fold them into the batter.  The batter will be very thick.

Generously butter your bundt pan and sprinkle with flour.  Scoop batter into prepared pan in an even layer.  Bake for about 55-60 minutes, turning halfway through and covering with foil if the top begins to get too dark, cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Sister came down early to celebrate Mother’s Day, so we had our Mother’s Day brunch a day early.  When we were growing up Sister and I would make breakfast in bed for Mom.  So breakfast foods are our traditional celebration.  This year Mom requested this herbed ricotta tart, and something fruity for dessert (because it’s brunch you totally get a brunch dessert, right?)  So after a bit of Pinterest browsing we settled on this recipe.  It’s a great recipe!  This is the perfect amount of sweet and tart, with a great crumb and a slightly sweet crust.  The blueberries, burst with purple deliciousness and balance wonderfully with the lemon zest that gives this cake a fresh, vibrant taste.

Thanks, Mom for all that you do.  You’re absolutely amazing.  And you have excellent taste in cake 🙂

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast CakeBlueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake slice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus a Tbsp for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1/4 reserved for tossing with blueberries)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Cream butter with lemon zest until light, add sugar and continuing beating until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Toss blueberries with 1/4 cup flour (this keeps the berries from sinking).  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be careful to only mix until just combined after each addition.  Fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

I didn’t used to be a cake person.  When Sister and I were little we always chose ice cream cakes for our birthdays, and not the new modern kind that have cold cake at the bottom, just straight up ice cream in the shape of a cake with a ganache on top.  So when asked to make a yellow cake for a friend’s party, I was a little stumped.  But thinking of what I know about her and her sister and their enjoyment of chocolate-covered strawberries.  I decided to create this chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  And I have to say, it was pretty awesome.  This will totally make you into a cake person.  It’s light and delicate, perfect for spring.  It’s almost like strawberry shortcake, but better…since it has a rich chocolate ganache.  It is a bit of a process, so if you’re not feeling quite so ambitious, feel free to use a box cake mix.  But I would definitely recommend making your own whipped cream, it’s easy and really delicious.

But first let’s recap all the food for the party!  I went with a casual comfort-food theme, with a few heavier dishes since this was going to be dinner for most of the party-goers.  Here’s what I served:  beef sliders, turkey meatballs, mini corn dog muffins, mac and cheese, amazing bruschettacaramelized onion dip, smooth and creamy hummus, fruit salad, several cheeses, simple chocolate fudge, mint and chocolate bark, and chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  Can you believe there was too much food?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer CakeChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 30-40, makes a 9×13″ layer cake

Yellow Cake

Adapted from allrecipes

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 16 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 9×13″ pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and spray again.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternate adding in the flour and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Be careful to only mix it until just combined after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Let cool in pans completely.  (I read after making this cake that refrigerating the cakes make them easier to slice in half, so feel free to try that and report back).

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the coffee and vanilla.  Let sit until the mixture comes to room temperature and is a good spreadable consistency (about 3 hours).

Strawberry Layer

  • 5-6 cups chopped stawberries
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight, or at least for several hours.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more to taste)

In a large bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.  After about a minute, once it’s fluffy, slowly whisk in the sugar, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.  Taste and adjust sugar as needed.

Assembly:

Place one of the cakes on your serving platter, then slice the cakes through the middle, using a long bread knife.  I found it helpful to slide a thin flexible cutting board between the layers to move them about.  Spread chopped strawberries along the bottom layer, then spread a layer of whipped cream.  Top with top half of the cake, then repeat.  For the final layer of cake, just cover with a thick layer of the chocolate ganache (do not put strawberries or whipped cream on the top), allow ganache to ooze over the sides.  Garnish with whole strawberries.

Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries

March 31st was a special day.  Not only was it Easter, but it was also my cousin’s 9th birthday!  (If you’re really paying attention, you may be thinking, ‘didn’t your cousin turn 9 last month?’, and you’d be right.  Lucky me, I have two cousins just a month apart in age on either side of the family!)  So for Easter dessert/Kailey’s birthday cake, I made Angel Food Cake.  We served this with a simple homemade whipped cream and some freshly sliced strawberries.  It was a wonderful, light, and delicious combination.  I highly recommend it, angel food cake is the perfect accompaniment to any berry, especially with a little whipped cream!

Angel food cake is rather sweet and airy, so I didn’t make the whipped cream too sweet.  Taste as you go to reach your desired sweetness.

Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and BerriesAngel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Sweetsugarbean

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup egg whites (about 10-12 eggs), room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl, sift together the cake flour and 1/2 cup sugar three times.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you have a handheld electric mixer), add room temperature egg whites and beat on medium speed until frothy.  Add vanilla and beat a little longer, until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat to medium stiffness, then slowly add in the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gradually fold in the flour mixture in several batches.  Scoop batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan (a tube pan that has little metal pieces that stick up past the rim, so that when you invert it, the pan rests on the metal pieces, not flat on the rim of the pan).  Run a sharp knife through the batter in the pan a few times to remove air bubbles.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Invert the pan, and allow to cool completely before removing.

While the cake cools, prepare your berries and make the whipped cream.Kailey's 9th Birthday

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar

Wash and slice your strawberries, and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract together until soft peaks begin to form.  Slowly add in the sugar and beat until well mixed and at desired consistency (don’t beat too much or the texture gets a little weird).

Frost cooled angel food cake, and serve with berries.  Enjoy!

Grapefruit Bundt Cake

This was my contribution to our Easter Sunday potluck breakfast at church.  I saved this recipe from Cooking Light over a year ago, and have been eagerly awaiting a chance to make it.  It was definitely worth the wait!  I absolutely loved this!

I’m a huge fan of grapefruit, so I was excited to see it in a baked good which is unusual.  However, if you’re not a fan of grapefruit, I still think you’d like this cake.  It has just the right amount of citrus flavor, but the sweetness of the cake balances it perfectly.  My only complaint was that it was a bit crumbly, it definitely didn’t taste dry, but it didn’t hold together as much as I would have liked.  Next time I’ll try using the full 8oz of cream cheese to see if that will help keep it together.  Definitely don’t wait a year to make this, take advantage of the last of the grapefruit this season and make this!  It’s perfect for a casual get together, or a light dessert (or breakfast).  

Grapefruit Bundt CakeGrapefruit Bundt Cake

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Cooking Light January/February 2012 issue

  • 9 oz (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 grapefruit zested (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk (I used fat free with a dash of half & half)

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease a bundt pan generously with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat together sugar, butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in oil, grapefruit zest and vanilla.

Alternate beating in flour mixture and milk, ending with flour.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.  Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn cake out and allow to cool completely.

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

My adorable cousin turned 3 yesterday, and to celebrate, I made her this decadently chocolatey cake.  As my uncle said, “This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!”  And indeed it is.  The cake is super moist and tender, the frosting is rich and creamy and thick and decadent.  Truly awesome.  This is not a cake for the faint of heart.  If you are not a chocolate lover, this might be way over the top for you.  Or if you have the chocolate-sweet tooth of this 3 year old, you’ll want to eat the frosting with a spoon.Natalie's Decadent Chocolate Cake

This cake is also a patience practice test.  It’s best if it sits for a day or two to develop its flavor.  Great for making ahead for a birthday party, not so great since you have to wait with this beauty tempting you.  Fortunately I had some extra frosting to tide me over until cake time.

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Makes 1 9-inch layer cake

Adapted from The Kitchn

Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee (I used decaf)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the coffee and vanilla.  Let sit until the mixture comes to room temperature and is a good spreadable consistency (about 2 hours).  Meanwhile, make the cake.

Cake:Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 1 3/4  cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup hot double-strength brewed coffee
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (if you forget to set them out, set eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for about 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Generously grease 2 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again.  Set pans aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a large measuring cup, whisk the chocolate into the hot coffee until smooth.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sour cream and vanilla.  Slowly whisk the chocolate-coffee mixture into the egg mixture.  Lastly, fold in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, mixing until just combined and no lumps remain.

Divide batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 30 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack until completely cool and then remove parchment paper.

Spread a thick layer of frosting over the cake and then top with the second layer, and cover top and sides with more frosting.  Allow cake to sit at room temperature  covered by a cake dome or large glass bowl for at least two hours or overnight before serving.