raspberry

raspberry peach summer cake [smitten kitchen]

(Originally posted: September 12, 2014)

Peaches finally, finally, finally went on sale.

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So did raspberries.

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In-season and vibrant enough that I wish I could bottle the colors, these perfect summer fruits were absolutely irresistible. I bought more than I knew I could reasonably eat before they went bad, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t try my hardest anyway.

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Seriously, does anybody else pop raspberries like candy? They’re so sugar-sweet, yet tart, and melt-in-your-mouth delicate. I’ve been known to polish off whole boxes while still standing at the kitchen counter.

(Can you tell I’m a little obsessed? I’ll stop.)

In any case, fruits like this just beg to be baked, and that’s exactly what I did. I was staying at Sheena‘s house for the long weekend, and I knew I couldn’t show up empty-handed, so I made this quintessentially summer cake from Smitten Kitchen.

Raspberries that burst in your mouth, peaches that gush juices down your chin with every bite, and a fluffy cake with a perfect crumb combine in this ideal summer evening treat.

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The colors.

I want to eat the colors.

Can we figure out a way to make that possible?

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I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe with barley, but, inspired by The Baker Upstairs, I swapped the 1/2 cup milk with buttermilk, and topped the whole thing with 1/2 a cup of raspberries and one large peach, thinly sliced.

(Don’t worry; the rest of fruit–whatever didn’t end up in my stomach–found a home in the freezer, for when cooler days beg for a taste of summer sunshine.)

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As you can see, the cake that went into the oven didn’t look quite like the one that came out. That’s because about 30 minutes in, I realized that the batter had swallowed up the majority of the fruit I had so carefully laid on top of the cake. So I pulled the cake out, added another layer of thinly sliced peaches and another sprinkling of sugar, and then popped it back in for the remaining 20 or so minutes.

Also, out of a lack of desire to buy an entire bag of barley flour, I had borrowed some of Sheena’s barley and ground it up in the blender. The result was a mostly powdery flour, with a handful of larger bits that the blades couldn’t quite break down. Those bits sank in the oven, giving the cake a crunchier crust-like layer along the bottom of the pan. I liked the texture, but next time, I’ll definitely opt for a finer flour to have a more even distribution of barley.

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The verdict? 10/10, would bake again in a heartbeat. It’s light and moist, but with an amazingly complex flavor from the barley. With seven of us in Sheena’s house for the weekend, the cake vanished almost instantly after the first slice was cut.

But next time, I’ll be experimenting with different fruits and flour combinations. The Baker Upstairs’ cake is absolutely gorgeous with those peach slices sinking only slightly into the pale, fluffy cake–somehow reminiscent of butterfly wings–and I definitely want to try to recreate that.

Let me know if you try the cake–especially now as the weather is hinting at turning, and the farmer’s market trades its berries and peaches in for crisp apples and pears.

As always, happy baking! 🙂

healthy banana berry crepes [blogilates]

I warned you guys about this health kick.

I’m super psyched about today’s recipe! I love brunch foods because 90% of the time, they can double as desserts. Crepes definitely fall firmly into the brunch/dessert category for me–especially if we’re talking about Nutella-and-fruit-stuffed crepes. Unfortunately, no human body can sustain itself on chocolatey crepes forever, so I turn to a less deadly alternative.

I’ve made these several times already, and they’re just so quick, and easy, and most importantly delicious. Yes, these banana berry crepes courtesy of Blogilates are my current favorite way to switch up breakfast with something fun–and a little bit fancy. 😉

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The ingredients are simple. All you need for the crepes themselves are rolled oats, milk (dairy or non-dairy), one egg, half a ripe banana, and some ground cinnamon.

Yes, I am aware that my cinnamon is not ground despite what the bottle says. My blender works really well at times like this. 😛

Feel free to fill the crepes with whatever you like. The original recipe calls for half a banana and a few strawberries, all sliced up. I decided to grab some Greek yogurt and a few raspberries that I froze earlier last week. (By the way, super handy way to take advantage of the awesome in-season berries: buy in bulk, wash and freeze, enjoy for ages.)

Blend the oats and cinnamon to form a fine flour, add the wet ingredients, blend once again, and heat up your pan!

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I made four medium-sized crepes, simply because they’re easier to flip than the large ones. But y’all do whatever floats your boat. I let my crepes brown far more than a French chef would find acceptable, but I like that slight crisp with the softer underside.

I definitely could’ve eaten these plain, but they taste better with a little extra moisture. If that means a healthy slathering of Nutella to you, by all means, go for it! I stuck with some honey Greek yogurt and the raspberries since I was going for a healthy breakfast. You can also just drizzle plain honey over them, or opt for whipped cream, blueberries, a layer of melted peanut butter inside, perhaps some butterscotch–anything you can think of.

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I felt like I was being so decadent with breakfast, but the whole process honestly takes under 15 minutes. And with minimal cleanup, too!

Which left me with plenty of time to sit down with this lovely plate and many, many reruns of The Office

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Such a pleasant morning. 🙂

Anyway, that’s all for today, folks! See you next week!

mom’s old world raspberry bars [neighborfood blog]

Throughout my childhood, a good friend’s mom used to make one specific dessert for parties: jam tarts. They were her specialty, and truly, nobody could make a jam tart like her. (Still can’t!) Jam tarts–or just jam bars or raspberry bars, as I eventually realized most people refer to them–are one of the most comforting desserts I’ve come across. In fact, they probably top chocolate chip cookies in my mental list of perfect childhood-reminiscent baked goods.

Oh yeah. I went there.

In a wave of midterm sadness and Relay excitement, the thought of jam bars came popped into my head–and then refused to leave. So I scoured the interwebz and decided that this recipe for raspberry bars from Neighborfood Blog had the perfect proportions and the most convenient ingredients for my purposes.

Plus, the recipe describes them as “happy, homey, springtime comfort food”. Too perfect to pass up!

With limited time and no desire to overspend on ingredients, though, I had some tweaking to do.

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Thanks to my mom (who is frequently horrified by the dining hall food I eat daily), I had a stash of walnuts and almonds on hand, so I used those instead of the pecans.

Don’t do what I did. Don’t try to finely chop almonds by hand. (Unless, of course, you’re good at it, which I clearly am not.) If you want something quick and easy, stick to softer nuts like walnuts and pecans, or pulse the nuts in a food processor a couple times.

I did eventually get the almonds down to a reasonable size, though, thankfully, and tossed them into the bowl of a stand mixer. I halved the recipe–there’s a scary amount of butter in here, guys, 2 sticks even when it’s halved, but so worth it–and replaced half of the white sugar with more brown sugar. Because why not have more wonderful molasses flavor in your life? I also left out the oats and coconut and instead added half a cup of crushed graham crackers.

I coincidentally didn’t have anything but a muffin pan handy, so I decided to make individual jam tarts. The halved dough and a 10-oz jar of raspberry jam made 15 full-sized tarts.

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The raspberry jam slathered over the nutty dough and peeking through the crumbled top made me so happy. ^_^

Into the oven for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees, and out came fifteen bubbling, golden, flaky and crunchy raspberry jam tarts!

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I usually prefer a lower crust-to-jam ratio so that the raspberry flavor really comes out, but I could honestly eat this dough on its own–especially fresh out the oven.

If I were to make them again, though, I would definitely add the oats, and a dash of cinnamon. Taste testing by my friends showed that yes, these tarts were just begging for a hint of cinnamon in the dough.

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These tarts are also definitely best fresh out of the oven. They’ll store in an airtight container, but they won’t have quite the same flavor the next day.

UofC friends: I know you’ve got finals coming up. I know you want some cupcakes. I am somehow magically free for a lot of finals week, which means you should all order cupcakes! I’ll happily deliver them to make your finals week a little bit brighter. 🙂 Get that last order in before the quarter is up!

Hope everyone’s enjoying their Saturday night! Happy June 🙂