Tag Archives: dessert

Raspberry lemonade bundt cake

You know what the best thing about rainy days is? A total excuse to stay inside, vegging on the couch, indulging in terrible Netflix marathons (thank you Bitten). But really, when it’s raining and I found out they turned one of my favorite sci-fi books into a tv series, what more can you expect?! Also, in the world according to me, you need at least one of those days a month. At least. There you go, feel free to quote me the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty about a day spent making BFF with your tv and your couch.

And now here with this post, you all are going to think I am just the laziest. I mean, I made a cake with a cake mix! <gasp> And yes, I do know how easy it is to make a cake from scratch (go on, take a gander at that apple & lime cake I made for you a while back, I’ll wait). But let me paint a picture for you…

A girl with a foodie bent rushes into the grocery store to pick up exactly two items. Just two. And rushes is key. After a long day, she wants nothing more than to get home, get dinner on the table, and get outside. Racing through the store on a mission for corn meal, she lands in the baking aisle. And there, brightly festooned with the word SALE is a lemon cake mix. A brightly yellow cake that screams sunshine and summer and oh, it’s on sale, that means it’s good. And it’s so yellow, you can just imagine the burst of brightness that will dance on your tongue when it hits that first tastebud. Yeah, so that’s what went through my mind, and so promptly without a second thought grabbed the mix. And then like so many impulse buys, returned home, only to look disappointedly at the package, and thought, “huh, what am I going to do with that?”

Well, here’s what you do. You make a cake so delicious and moist and light and sweetly tart that it is like a burst of sunshine and summer in your mouth. So yes, you know what? Sometimes it is ok to make a cake with a mix.


Raspberry lemonade bundt cake from thePenandthePan

Raspberry lemonade bundt cake

Adapted from the Quick Fixes with Cake Mixes cookbook

1 lemon cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
½ cup sugar
1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese
juice of one lemon
1 ½ cups fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour one large or three medium bundt pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, eggs, milk, oil, and sugar on low. Add cream cheese and lemon juice and increase speed to medium, beating 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the berries with flour until well coated. Gently fold berries into mixed batter by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 50-55 minutes for a large bundt pan or 40-45 for smaller.

Cool cakes before removing from pan. Turn cakes out onto platter and dust with powdered sugar. Store uneaten (yeah, right!) cake in refrigerator.


Cranberry banana bread

Someone may have gotten a tad too much sun today. Someone may be paying the price for an afternoon of awesomeness. Someone also promises to remember that even when cloudy, sunscreen is still required when working in the greenhouse.

This three day weekend was everything it promised to be, and makes those long work days so very worth it. Himself had to work on Saturday, so that and Friday were filled with exactly what I wanted them to be – messing around the house and yard. And then today (the first 70 degree day in AGES), we packed up a picnic and headed north to Scenic State Park, for a very scenic drive and picnic. There are few better ways to spend a Sunday, I tell you. Winding back roads, clear skies, a hint of a chill accompanying the breeze. Through the most roundabout way possible, we arrived at Scenic and found ourselves practically the only ones around. In fact, throughout the meal, we had the beach entirely to ourselves and the gorgeous view of the lake was pristine and undisturbed by boat or man.

Course, I’m not really great at this whole relaxation schtick, but days like these certainly make finding time to relax worth it. (Oh don’t worry, I filled the post-picnic time with plenty of greenhouse chores, hence the aforementioned sun blush). Of late though, I’ve found a rad way to relax, while still having something to show for it – nature (birds really) photography. Sitting still, the only sounds the birds singing their hellos to the sun and wind dancing and skipping through the tree branches. And then suddenly, one of those birds darts just close enough to see what the funny lady lounging in *his* backyard is doing.


Oh, hello there, Mr. Birdy. I see you eyeing me, and posing every so coyly as you glance back over your shoulder. So you want to be model, do you? Well, let me just see what I can do. This is definitely becoming my new favorite, second only to a wonderful picnic with my wonderful husband (I know, I know, but he *does* put up with a lot of crazy).

This here banana bread (more like a cake, really) would have been the perfect finisher to our picnic today had I remembered to pack it. Instead, I’ll remember to pack it in our lunches. Don’t let this be the recipe that you forget to make either. Even I, who doesn’t really love banana bread, was ready to devour it. I love the way the cranberries add a little zing, I mean I do love cranberries in everything, but they really dial back the bananas. And the lightness of the bread, so far removed from the dense, moist banana breads I used to make, changes the flavor completely. No mushiness, just deliciousness, you’re going to love it!


Cranberry banana bread

Cranberry banana bread

lightly adapted from perfect baking

1 ½ cups plus 1 teaspoon flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup dried cranberries
2 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons yogurt, plain or honey
½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease one large or three small loaf pans.

Roughly chop cranberries. In a small bowl, mix cranberries with 1 teaspoon flour, and stir to coat. Set cranberries aside.

In another small bowl, mash together bananas and yogurt. Set this aside too.

Sift together the remaining 1 ½ cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set that aside too.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Add in banana and yogurt mixture.

By hand mix in dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Add in flour-coated cranberries. Spoon batter into pans. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes for one large loaf or 35 minutes for three small, or until just golden on top.

Blueberry lemon cream pie

Ooof. We are in the midst of some serious muck here guys. I mean I am up to my ears in mud, some courtesy of Mother Nature and some of my very own creation. After a gorgeous thaw over Easter weekend, we were treated to some hardcore (but gorgeous) snow.


Crazy snow

Said snow melted right quick, helped along by a lot of sunshine and a little rain. And that left us with the biggest mud puddle you ever did have the pleasure of mucking through. It made the yard chores on our list that much more difficult, but a heck of a lot of sloppy fun.

Himself and I managed to make our own little mud pies too. I’ve had my seeds and my garden plan laid out for ages, but with one thing and another only got around to planting now. Sigh. I’m at least three weeks behind where I wanted to be, but at least there was some fun and a lot of cooking crammed into those weeks. But, just look at these. Each of those wee little blocks holds a seed that I’m going to turn into a delicious recipe. No presh, though, right?!


I guarantee there’s no mud in this delicious, fluffy pie I want to share with you. I whipped (literally) this pie up for G’ma’s birthday and it was a huge hit! I can’t wait to test it out with other fruits too! A little orange raspberry just may be in Himself’s future. In fact, I’m not sure who loved this pie more, Himself or G’ma. It makes me pretty sure you’re going to adore it too!


Blueberry lemon cream pie

Blueberry lemon cream pie

Adapted from luckyleaf.com

1 graham cracker crust
1-8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1-21 oz. can blueberry pie filling
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Lemon zest curls

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, lemon juice, and sugar until smooth. Mix in pie filling by hand, being careful not to break the berries. Gently fold in whipped topping.

Spoon blueberry mixture into pie crust. Top with lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Ginger orange quick bread

You guys, I am convinced that I have the coolest job in all the lands. Yesterday, I was traveling around taking pictures and story notes of kids having a live televised interview with an astronaut. You know, no big (hah!). I mean how cool that these kids were learning about space from people who’ve actually been there, all without leaving the awesomeness of the north woods! Really, I adore my job. And now, I’ll be supplementing it doing the same thing for the city. Life is pretty good these days.

Almost as good as this bread I made you. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was going on and on (and on and on) about how much I adored citrus? Well that turned pretty quickly. I’m still loving citrus flavors, but that most recent bag of oranges I was so excited about? Oh yeah, they’ve just been languishing away in my fridge.

Now normally my quick breads are made with a good amount of milk, but it’s been grey, grey, grey up here, and apparently that’s affected my mood. Feeling good and lazy, I was sure that my energy was better spent pouring over quick bread recipes on the interwebs than getting off my butt and going to the store. Enter this awesome recipe from Simply Recipes. A few tweaks to the flavors I wanted to highlight and yum, a quick bread is born. And just who am I trying to fool here? This isn’t so much a bread as it is a cake you don’t feel guilty about eating for breakkie.

Ginger orange quick bread


Ginger orange quick bread

Lightly adapted from Simply Recipe’s Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup raisins, coarsely chopped (optional)
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
½ tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped or grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients, including sugar. Add raisins and stir to coat.

In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Batter will be slightly stiff, but do not over mix.

Spoon batter into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanly.

Magic custard cake from White on Rice Couple

I’ve been feeling rather uninspired by meals these days. Perhaps it’s the cold setting in, or my desire to do crafts rather than cook, but lately, it’s been unphotogenic comfort food at Red Meadow Farm. Tasty as all get out, but not really recipes that inspire, you know?

Now when it comes to desserts, it’s a whole other story. You may have noticed that plethora of dessert posts on here lately, with more to come. There’s a couple of reasons for this. I can putter around in the kitchen, make a mess and a tasty dessert, sample a few delicious bites, and then send that off to someone else to enjoy. Also, I’ve got a lot of eggs. A. Lot. And desserts are about the easiest way to use those up.

Not that I’m complaining about chickens, oh, no siree. It’s great. And having this many eggs on hand has definitely made me more adventurous in the kitchen. Last week, Himself and I were both off on Wednesday and, of course, Thursday for Thanksgiving. Since I was saving all the real cooking for Thursday, I decided to mess around in the kitchen. I mean, why not make crème brûlée just for funsies? So I did. And I was immensely proud of myself. This was the final step in reaching custard confidence. It was easy and it was so, so good. So, when I saw this magic custard cake from White on Rice Couple, it was on! I mean it has magic in the title, how can you not make it?!

Don’t let the custard portion intimidate you, like it did me for way too long. This is surprisingly easy and a lot of fun. These few little ingredients really do turn into something magic. I had a lonely orange and some ginger left over from Thanksgiving, and so decided to infuse the milk before adding it to the batter. Infusing couldn’t be easier. Just add 1 ½ Tablespoons orange zest and ½ Tablespoon grated ginger to the milk. Heat until simmering and allow to cool to lukewarm. Strain before adding to the batter.

Also, a note about the egg whites. I added four drops of vinegar as suggested. This helped keep the egg whites stable. That said, when you fold them into the batter, you want to make sure that no big lumps remain. The batter should have wee lumps in it, as if slightly curdled. It’s not a pretty batter, but oooh boy is it tasty. And magic. The batter separates while baking and leaves you with custard sandwiched between two layers of cake. Shazam!

Serve the cake as suggested, with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Or get real wild and top it with some berries. A wonderful little birdie brought me a delicious hostess gift of cranberry chutney, which was an amazing topping to the cake.


Magic custard cake

Magic custard cake from White on Rice Couple

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted Butter
2 cups (480ml) Milk
4 Eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups (150g) Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Tablespoon (15ml) Water
1 cup (115g) Flour
1 teaspoon (5ml) Vanilla Extract
extra confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter or grease a 8″x8″ baking dish.
2. Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside.
3. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks [adding 4 drops of vinegar to the egg whites will help them remain stable]. Set aside.
4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Mix in the melted butter and the tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes or until evenly incorporated.
5. Mix in the flour until evenly incorporated. Slowly beat in the milk and vanilla extract until everything is well mixed.
6. Fold in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are folded in.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow cake to completely cool before cutting and then dust with confectioner’s sugar *see Note 1.

Note 1: For faster cooling you can place the cake in the fridge. Even after fully cooled, it will still be slightly jiggly.


Fruity white chocolate drops

Last weekend was a pair of those glorious days where everything just falls right into place. After accomplishing all the things on Saturday, we were left with more than enough free time. I’ve already mentioned that baking is a kind of relaxing activity for me and since Sunday I had nothing that needed to get done that meant I had all the time in the world for baking, baking, baking and a thankful audience in Himself and his co-workers.

Ooodles of hot tea, a floury mess covering all my kitchen surfaces, and cookies fresh from the oven strewn across the kitchen table. Sounds like a perfect Sunday to me. The only problem is keeping Himself from too much quality control. 🙂

Now it’s been a good, long while since I baked cookies, but there was a time when it seemed that was all I did. So it was really nice to dive back in, page through my cookie cookbooks, and adapt away. Now we all know that cooking is an art, and baking a science, but these cookies can be easily adaptable to your on-hand add-ins. The fruit in these cookies was just a dried fruit mix of apples, apricots, and plums that I snipped up with my kitchen shears, but cranberries or raisins would be equally tasty. If you do go the raisin route, I would recommend using vanilla extract and milk chocolate chips. Either way, these soft, chewy cookies are sure to be a hit.


Fruity white chocolate drops

Fruity white chocolate drops

Adapted from The Biggest Book of Cookies

1 ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons flour, divided
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup dried fruit, chopped or snipped with kitchen shears
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients, reserving 2 teaspoons flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg. Add half of the flour mixture and sour cream, mixing well. Add remaining flour and sour cream, mixing well.

Toss fruit with remaining 2 teaspoons flour. Add fruit and white chocolate chips to batter, stirring until combined.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Apple pear cardamom crumble

There’s no doubt, fall is on it’s way. We woke up to the first frost on Monday. It’s hard to mourn the end of summer when fall is just so beautiful, though. The brush surrounding the creek bed was all tipped in white, mist was rolling in, and the aspens shivered in their coats of gold. What’s not to like about that?

Fall is my very favorite time of year. The days are still warm enough to get outside, and the nights cool  enough to cuddle with a loved one under a blanket. Or just curl up in a big lounge chair outside, with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and a fantastic book. See, fall  is pretty awesome.

By this weekend, we should have the chimney cleaned and will be able to finally enjoy the fireplace too. Yeah, I know, for many people, fall is just the harbinger of winter. I get that, I dug out and washed all the sweaters in the house yesterday, but there’s always a trade right? Plus cuddly sweaters, can’t be beat. And I finally get to turn my oven back on for some serious baking. So, bring on the fall!

The flavors of fall can’t be beat either. Apples and winter squash made their debut at the farmers market last week. That first crisp, fresh off the tree, apple of the fall is the best tasting thing around. Until I figured out this apple pear cardamom crumble, that is. Even as I write this, I find myself craving another taste of it. Yup, gotta do it, you can wait a sec for me, right?

Ooooh, that is good. Unlike most apple crisps, this one holds it’s crisp to day two. Not that there’s going to much left on day two, not much at all.

I used State Fair apples, which were very small and very tart. Be sure to choose a tart apple, as the topping is very sweet. When chopping the apples and pears, remember the smaller they’re cut, the softer they’ll get. Mine were about a ½ inch dice, and so ended up nice and soft. If you want a crisper crumble, just increase the size. And lastly, if cardamom is not your thing (as if!), you can substitute cinnamon, but use about half the amount.

Apple Pear Cardamom CrumbleApple pear cardamom crumble

3 cups chopped pears (about 3 large pears)
3 cups cups chopped tart apples (about 9 small apples)
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp cardamom
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1-1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (about 1 sleeve)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples and pears together, and place in a non-stick 8×8 pan. Drizzle apples and pears with melted butter, sugar, and cardamom. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix butter, flour, brown sugar, and cardamom until crumbly. Add crushed grahams. Sprinkle mixture over apple and pear mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until graham topping begins to brown Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream, or enjoy all on its own!

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