Pear Berry Cake


Hey there– Don’t you love using up leftovers in a way that doesn’t taste like–well– leftovers??  We had some pears and berries languishing in the fridge from the weekend.  Mixed them into a little cake for friends.  I’d say the berries were much improved by a wrapping of sweet tender cake!

PEAR BERRY CAKE
1  1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. amaretto or almond extract*
3/4 cup canola oil
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut to bits
2 cup mixed berries**
1/3 cup sliced almonds

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the vanilla, amaretto and oil.  Stir in the pears into the stiff batter and then gently fold in the berries.

Then scoop the batter into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan (or cake pan). Sprinkle the almonds on top and then bake it in a 350 fahrenheit oven for 25 to 30 minutes more until the cake is cooked through and a sharp knife inserted to the cake comes out clean.

*I use amaretto because I can buy a big bottle for $7 at the market (so much less than almond extract.)
**I used leftover strawberries, blueberries and blackberries from a breakfast we had here a few days ago (see the Books & Breakfast post! )

Orange Strawberry Bread

Hello all– Love a little loaf of quick bread.  It takes about 15 minutes to get it into the oven.  It smells sweet and fruity while it’s cooking.  And it’s great to share with a friend and a mug of tea.  Simple pleasures.

ORANGE STRAWBERRY BREAD
1 orange, peel grated, juiced
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups strawberries, cut to bits

Grate the peel off of the orange.  Then cut it in half and juice it.  Set the peel and juice aside.

In a mixing bowl beat the two eggs and sugar until blended.  Then stir in the sour cream, oil and vanilla.  Next mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.  And finally stir in the strawberries, orange peel and juice.

Spoon the mixture into a standard loaf pan (9″ x 4″) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, until it’s well browned and a sharp knife inserted in the top comes out clean.  Delicious warm with a slather of butter and a mug of tea!

Simple Spring Salad

Hi all– This was the salad on our Easter table–bright and fruity and just right with ham and Aunt Lu’s marvelous potatoes!  It was a good day with grand-girls and their great grandparents around the table.  Hope you have a lovely Easter with people you hold dear.

SIMPLE SRPING SALAD

Salad:
6 cups greens
3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups blackberries
2 cups mandarine oranges, peeled and sliced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar (or your favorite mild vinegar)
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer the greens on a platter.  Then pile on the strawberries, blackberries and oranges.  Sprinkle on the feta.

Pour the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until it’s thoroughly combined.  Drizzle over the salad.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Hello all–  Wonderful time with friends last night– went to dinner at IL Amerikano for dinner, sort of Mexicanish-American food.  I took full advantage of their spiced French fries with cilantro ranch dressing!!  And then we all headed back to our house for this berry cobbler– warmed in the oven with a plop of vanilla ice cream — accompanied by good conversation.  The best kind of Saturday night!


MIXED BERRY COBBLER

Berries:
6 cups mixed berries
(I used blueberries, blackberries & strawberries)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt

Biscuits:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tab. cornmeal
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup buttermilk*
6 tab. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla


In a large mixing bowl stir together the berries, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Nestle the berries into a 9″ square (or deep round) baking dish.  Pop them in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While they are baking, make the cobbler (biscuits) to set on top.  Mix together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla.  Mix it up to make a stiff dough.

Drop the the dough by spoonfuls onto the hot berries and turn up the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the cobbler is golden.  Serve it warm with ice cream.  Perfect!

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, pour a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to 1/3 with milk.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.

Strawberry Topped Angel Food Cake

Hello friends–  The big news around our family is two babies to arrive in November!!  Our two beautiful nieces are expecting just about a week apart– so exciting!!  So last Sunday there was a family shower, all gathered around to bring gifts for the little ones and to offer blessings  and hugs.

And of course there was cake.  This couldn’t be simpler– It involves an angel food cake mix and some thin frosting. plus a few strawberries.  It’s sweet and fruity and pink.  Just about right for celebrating new babies on the way…

STRAWBERRY TOPPED ANGEL FOOD CAKE
Cake:
1 Angel Food Cake Mix*
water

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz. butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
8 strawberries cut to tiny bits

Garnish: fresh strawberries

To make the cake, following the directions on the package.  Cool the cake completely upside down perched on a bottle before taking it from the pan and adding the frosting.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and cut strawberries with an electric mixer for a couple minutes until it blends into a creamy glaze.  Pour over the cooled cake.  Top with fresh berries!

*the only brand of Angel Food cake I can find here is Betty Crocker.  Please don’t buy an angel food cake premade– there’s a huge difference and making one from a mix takes less than 10 minutes (+baking time).

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And here’s the new Moms!  Sam with Grandma Lo and the sweet clown doll Grandma knit for the baby.  And Andrea with her Paul and a new quilted baby blanket.  Such a fun day!
     

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Hello there–  This fruity cake is a bundt cake made by someone who’s kitchen is without a bundt pan.
So it’s a little plain, no nice rounded bumps and ruffles– but just as delicious.  Now and then I think I should buy a bundt pan– but my kitchen cupboards are full, really full.  I think I’ve hit my cake pan limit.
This is a tender, super moist cake, spiked with sweet berries and covered with a sweet glaze.  I think you’d love it while the berries are fresh and sweet right now.

FRESH STRAWBERRY  YOGURT BUNDT CAKE

3 cups strawberries, cut into chunks (about 16 oz.)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tab. milk

Clean and cut the strawberries into little chunks. Pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally beat in the yogurt.  Then stir in the strawberries with a wooden spoon until they are spread all through the stiff batter.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan (or tube pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the cake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake sit in the pan and cool for about an hour before you turn it out onto a plate.

With a fork whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.  If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.  Drizzle over the cake– and it’s beautiful and ready to eat!

Strawberry Cream Cake

Hi there– It’s birthday season in our family.  Three birthdays together at the start of May and three more at the end.  So I’ve got birthday cakes on my mind.  This will probably show up at a birthday party or two!!

The biggest bash is for my father-in-law Stu.  He’s turning 90!  –and is so beloved by everyone who knows him.  You’ve never met a kinder more gracious man.  Family is coming from far and wide to celebrate with our “Grandpa Stu”.

Hope you have some happy family birthdays on your horizon.  And that they include cake, lots of cake.

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

Cake:
1 cup strawberries, cut to small bits
1 strawberry  cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

Topping:
2 cups strawberries, cut to small bits
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 big pretty strawberry for garnish

To make the cake, cut the strawberries fine.  If they are still damp from cleaning, pat them dry.

Make the strawberry cake according to the directions on the box. (mine used 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup water & 3 eggs).  Pour it into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (or a 10″ springform pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it is lightly browned and comes out firm to the touch.  Let the cake cool completely before adding the topping!

To make the topping, cut the strawberries to small bits.  Set them aside.  Whip together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer until it is stiff (the whisk attachment works best for this).

Stir in the strawberries and then pile it all onto the cooled cake.  You can serve it right away, but it’s better to set the cake in the fridge for an hour or more to let the topping completely set.  Enjoy!!