Lemon Bliss Bundt Cake

My first time baking a bundt cake and I’m wondering why I never have before!

Named 2017 Recipe of the Year by King Arthur Flour, this Lemon Bliss Bundt Cake is fantastic! The cake is dense, but not too dense, sweet and tangy. I made this cake for Valentine’s Day and I’ll definitely be making it again soon.

I may I have used a bit more icing than the recipe calls for, but in my opinion, you can never have too much sugar & lemon icing!

Next up, King Arthur’s Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake.

State Bird Provisions

If you live in the Bay Area, or are visiting and haven’t yet been to State Bird Provisions, GO!

I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant, which serves New American Dim Sum. You can order food off of the menu, such as the ricotta pancake and burrata cheese, but in typical Dim Sum fashion, food is also served a la carte.

It’s very difficult to say “no,” to anything that is served, so by the end of  your meal you may be incredibly full, but my advice is not to skip dessert! Their desserts range from Red Currant White Peach Granita, to Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blackberries, to ‘World Peace’ Peanut Muscovado Milk. You can also order half servings of dessert if you want to give a few a try!

A line is forming at State Bird right now and you won’t want to miss it!

Spicy Hermit Bars

Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, is a real gem. I’ve been working my way though her cookbook for the past few months and these Spicy Hermit Bars are my favorite so far. They are perfect for the holidays and the recipe is simple, a bit time consuming, but definitely worth it!

I had to buy a few ingredients for this recipe that I didn’t already have in my pantry, such as crystallized ginger and molasses, but these were easy to find. My favorite part was the glaze, which is confectioners sugar and a few teaspoons of dark rum. Of course, I couldn’t let the rum go to waste, so I made Hot Buttered Rum cocktails with the leftover rum (score!).

Billy’s Cupcakes

Not unlike pizza, or bagels, the best cupcake in New York City is a hotly debated topic. Many people will say that Magnolia Bakery is the best, or Butter Lane, but I stand by Billy’s Bakery. I used to live down the block from Billy’s and to say I visited often would be an understatement 🙂

Billy’s Bakery is unique, colorful and has a retro vibe. They serve up a variety of sweet treats, including, ice box cakes, cookies, lemon bars and peanut butter pie. Also, Billy’s is open until Midnight! How New York is that?!

My favorite cupcakes from Billy’s are their carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, double chocolate cupcake and banana nutella cupcake. I’ve tried a lot of cupcakes over the years and I’ve never been disappointed by Billy’s. Added bonus, unlike some of the other trendy bakeries, Billy’s very rarely has a line.

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead cookbook is my all time favorite. As the name suggests, all of the recipes can be prepared in advance so that you can enjoy being a hostess rather than being stuck in the kitchen. I first made Ina’s Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies a few years back and I haven’t stopped since.

The recipe is pretty straightforward, but the cranberries and fleur de sel set this recipe apart from a typical chocolate chunk cookie. The cookies are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, salty on top, sweet and a little sour.  Basically, the best cookie ever.

 

Breakfast, Meet Dessert

While visiting Tokyo a few months ago, my fiance and I decided to splurge and have dinner at Tapas Molecular Bar. The meal was 16 courses with only 8 seats. The incredible chefs work right and front of you and it is a culinary experience like no other. I was consistently impressed (and full) throughout the meal, but of course, I was particularly excited for dessert!

At the beginning of the meal you receive a tape measure that has the menu written on it. I noticed that Breakfast was listed after Degustation and before Sweets. The menu said, “Eggs, Toast & Sausage,” which seemed a bit strange, but the food was so wonderful and creative, I was just excited to eat more.

When we did receive the “breakfast” course it wasn’t breakfast at all, it was dessert! The “sausage” was actually a raspberry spongecake and the “egg” was actually mango, complete with a sugar shell.

This meal was one of the highlights of our trip and if you find yourself in Tokyo and are looking for a unique culinary experience, look no further than Tapas Molecular Bar!

Kakigori 🍧

Kakigori, or shaved ice, is a Japanese dessert flavored with condensed milk, fruits and sweet bean paste. As a kid I spent my summers at the Jersey Shore and ate my fair share of snow cones, but the Kakigori I enjoyed in Japan was far from a Jersey Shore snow cone (which was a good thing!).

While strolling around Kyoto, my fiance and I walked into Kitone. Kitone sells really beautiful home decorations and tableware, but the shaved ice is what caught my eye. I spotted a child in the back of the store, sitting on a tiny stool and eating a mount of Kakigori. I knew I needed one too.

Each side of the shaved ice was a different flavor, ranging from Kiwi to Strawberry to Lemon. The ice was so thinly shaved it melted as soon as it hit my tongue. Under the shaved iced was a mount of beans that were partially frozen. I wasn’t expecting the beans, but I absolutely loved them!

Kyoto is one of my favorite places on earth because of places like Kitone. You walk in expecting to do a little shopping and instead you leave with a new dessert obsession.

Old Fashion Banana Cake

This past summer I made Ina Garten’s Old Fashion Banana Cake and it was SO damn good! I have every Ina Garten cookbook and to say I’m a little obsessed with her would be an understatement, but who isn’t? I love how her recipes are simple and always so delicious.

Since I made this cake for July 4th, I added red, white and blue stars for a patriotic flare. This cake is one of my all time favorites and as usual, Ina did not disappoint!

Jordan’s Blueberry Muffins

Let me preface by saying that this recipe was passed down from my Nana and that I have no idea who Jordan is. That being said, Jordan makes a mean blueberry muffin! This recipe has survived three generations and it’s truly the perfect muffin. Crispy & sweet on the top, soft and airy on the inside.

I was lucky enough to grow up eating these muffins and IMO plump New Jersey blueberries are the key ingredient. Did you know that Hammonton, NJ is the blueberry capital of the world?! I’m guessing you didn’t…

New Jersey trivia aside, these muffins are simple, fast and a crowd favorite. Thanks for the recipe Jordan, whoever you are!

Jordan’s Blueberry Muffins – 375°

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted softened butter
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar + 2 tsp of sugar for muffin tops
  • 2 room temp eggs
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of blueberries

Cream butter + sugar for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrap down the bowl. Add the eggs (one at a time). Mix until blended.

Sift dry ingredients (I know sifting is annoying, but don’t skip this step!) and add to wet ingredients alternatively with the milk.

Mash 1/2 cup of blueberries by hand and and coat the remaining blueberries in flour (this will prevent the blueberries from sinking). Stir in mashed and whole blueberries by hand.

Grease muffin pan and top ridge, or use liners. Sprinkle tops with sugar and bake for 30 minutes.

Happy baking and I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do!