Sweets

Blueberry Cheesecake

Sunday afternoon I decided to try my hand at cheesecake.  I think I’ve made one or two before.  I distinctly remember an incredibly rich Red Velvet Cheesecake I made many years ago.  In typical Mary fashion, I mixed and matched a couple recipes to make my own masterpiece. I used Call Me PMC’s Ultimate Cheesecake recipe as a base with Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Blueberry Sauce to make the swirl and topping.  Truly a showstopper!

Whole Cake OverheadOverhead Side CheesecakeWhole Cheesecake Side

For serving, I topped with more Blueberry Sauce, freshly-made whipped cream (whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1 tbsp. of sugar) and mint!

Overhead One Piece

Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? Now on to the bad news.  The center didn’t set! The top and sides were just fine, but when I cut into the cheesecake, the center was still too creamy.  *Tear*  I cooked the cheesecake for about 10-15 minutes longer than the base recipe called for.  The center still looked a bit jiggly, but both recipes noted this was typical.  I left the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked for at least another hour also.

Given my total disregard for my own well-being stemming from my inability to resist sweets, I still ate some! And I loved it!  Thus, I advise baking this much longer than the base recipe states because this cheesecake is definitely a winner with some tweaking! Of course, every oven is different, so practice makes perfect as far as knowing how the cheesecake should look once done.  Below are some very sad photos showing the undercooked center.  View at your own risk! *Sad emoji*

Inside CheesecakeFront One Piece

Learning through failure is valuable, indeed.  I’m looking forward to more cheesecake adventures to come!

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Sweets

Peach Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Searching for summer recipes (okay I was looking for Autumn recipes because we’re less than 100 days out people (!) but then decided I needed to focus on season appropriate recipes), I discovered this wonderful Peach Scone recipe from A Latte Food.  I used unbleached flour, because the additive in bleached flour freaks me out.  I also used frozen peaches, because I am lazy.

All Scones

I wanted to make a glaze with vanilla beans, so I found this Vanilla Bean Glaze recipe  (the Vanilla Bean Scone portion looks great too) from Cooking Classy.  It was easy!  In fact, the whole scone making process was much easier than I expected, and I was a first-timer!  Next time I make scones I will bake them a few minutes longer, but this may be just personal preference.  I dropped some of the scones off at my mom’s office this morning to brighten their Monday.  They loved them!

Two Plates SconesOne Scone

I can’t wait for more weekend baking!

Sweets

Pink Champagne Cake

Several months ago I listened to the Ann Byrn interview episode on one of my favorite podcasts, Stuff You Missed In History Class.  Ann Byrn, also known as The Cake Mix Doctor, was a delight on the show, discussing her new book American Cake.  The book traces the evolution of cake in the United States from Colonial infancy to present day.  Since the book combines two of my favorite things, cake and history (seriously, how did I not think to write this book myself?), I picked up a copy asap.  I also purchased a copy for my mom, so we could plan and make cakes together.  Did I mention the book is full of tons of recipes for cakes?  Because yes it is, and they all look fabulous.


My mom and I both looked through our respective copies and reported back our top picks.  We decided to make the Pink Champagne Cake first.  I think maybe we just wanted some pink champagne with a side of cake.  We had a grand time baking the cake while sipping the leftover champagne!  The cake turned out light and fluffy with an excellent flavor!  My mom noted this is the cake on the cover of the book.  Hmm…I think my cake decorating skills need some work, because my cake, though pretty, didn’t come close to the cover’s cake.  The rose petals were a really beautiful touch.

Side Pink Champagne Cake

Full Pink Champage Cake

Slice Pink Champage Cake

I highly recommend picking up American Cake!  I’ve also linked this recipe and some other similar Pink Champagne Cake recipes below.  Happy baking!

  1. Ann Byrn’s Pink Champagne Cake as posted on Instyle
  2. Liv For Cake:  I really love how she decorated the cake.  So festive!
  3. My Cake School
Sweets

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

I was aching for a cupcake but craved something out of the ordinary.  No Chocolate, Vanilla or even Red Velvet would do.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I recalled an Earl Grey Cupcake I’d run across awhile back.  Interesting, very interesting.  After a quick search, I discovered Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream.  Perfect!

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 5Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 4Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 6

The recipe notes the cupcakes are “lightly-flavored.”  I think in order to satisfy my personal preference, I’d use more tea bags and steep the tea bags in the milk for a good while longer.  I’m a big tea (and coffee) drinker, so I’d enjoy a stronger taste.  I couldn’t find the Earl Grey flavor at all, but I think that might be as a result of my modification to the frosting (noted below) overpowering the cupcake.

I would also substitute a cake flour for all-purpose flour.  I find cake flour just makes for a lighter, more moist cake.  After all, that’s why cake flour exists.  My mom thought the cake was a bit dry, but I’m not sure if this was caused by overbaking (operator error) or the flour type.  I didn’t notice any dryness initially, but I did notice the heaviness of the cake, which I think would be easily overcome by using cake flour.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 7

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 2Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 3

Frosting!  My mom, a huge fan of all lemon desserts, loved the Lemon Buttercream.  I tweaked it a bit by adding lemon juice and lemon zest to the icing itself and garnishing with additional lemon zest.  This created a strong but pleasant lemon flavor.  I think I’d skip the lemon extract and use lemon juice and zest to taste.  The garnishment of lemon zest made for a very pretty cupcake.

Happy Baking!

Sweets

Sweets: Homemade Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, a coworker told me about a fantastic, easy ice cream recipe.  Well, being as ambitious as I am, I couldn’t just make that recipe.  I wanted to make a classic ice cream recipe with eggs and all.  After a short search, I discovered The Master Ice Cream Recipe.  It takes a little time (but not too much time!), and it’s spoiled me for store-bought ice cream.

For the first batch, I made a Green Tea Ice Cream.  I think I searched around for other Green Tea Ice Cream recipes, so I accidentally bought matcha powder instead of green tea leaves.  I also neglected to add the matcha powder until when the custard was cooling (it should be added to the cool milk and cream mixture before heating).  I guestimated the amount of matcha to add (a couple tablespoons), and hoped for the best.  Lucky for me, with both of the mistakes, the ice cream still turned out wonderful!

Green Tea Ice Cream

Sold on the base recipe, I decided to make my Mom a batch of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  Be forewarned, vanilla beans are expensive (come to think of it, matcha powder is insanely expensive), but there really is no substitute.  No longer a rookie, I added the vanilla beans to the cool mixture before before heating.  This allowed the flavors to really open up.  Mom and the rest of my family LOVED the ice cream.  My brother even sent me a photo of the ice cream topped with chocolate syrup.  Unfortunately, I only had a bite and didn’t save myself any.  I regret this big time!  What was I thinking?

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Happy Tuesday!