Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Honey Orange Mini Loaf Cakes

These mini loaf cakes are bursting with a combination of tangy citrus, brown butter, sweet honey and ginger! Drizzled with an orange glaze and dusted with powdered sugar, these Honey Orange mini Loaf cakes make a great breakfast treat or just an afternoon snack with tea. These are delicious served warmed with butter.

I love the flavor of brown butter! Seriously, imagine making butter taste better without adding anything to it. Browning butter is simple! Grab a stick of butter and a small saucepan. 

Slowly cook the butter over low heat until it foams, and the milky whiteness turns brown and sinks to the bottom of the pan. Two things are happening. First, the water in the butter is cooking out, concentrating the butter’s flavor. Second, the butter’s milk solids caramelize, flavoring the butter with their nutty richness and extending the life of the butter. Melting the butter will take about 5 minutes to brown, be careful it will go from perfect to burnt in a few short minutes.

Brown butter can be used anywhere you’d use butter, a batch of cookies l, sauce for pasta , or a sauce over your vegetables. 

Here are a few of my recipes where I used brown butter:

Rolo Snickerdoodles

Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Pancetta and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting optional

Orange Glaze

  • 1 ¾  cups confectioners sugar
  • ¼  cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease four 6 inch mini loaf pans. 

In a medium bowl, hand whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and orange zest.

Brown your butter by placing in a small skillet on medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Continue to stir and heat until butter is foamy and brownish in color.

Pour brown butter into a bowl of stand mixer.

Add honey, orange juice, milk, sugar, and slightly beaten eggs.

Mix on medium with paddle attachment until smooth.

Slowly spoon in flour mixture on medium speed until a cake batter is formed. 

Divide batter amongst the pans.

Place pans on a cookie sheet and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (cover loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil halfway through baking.)

Place pans on the cooling rack to completely cool before removing.

Make the glaze

In a large microwave safe measuring cup, combine the sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Add in the butter then whisk together again until smooth. If it is not pourable, you can microwave it for 30 seconds or so. 

Pour over each loaf and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Cakes & Pies

Lemon Mascarpone Tart

This tart is made with lemon and mascarpone for a deliciously creamy, citrus-y sweet treat which is the perfect end to any dinner.  It has shallow sides, a crumbly, sweet, cookie-like crust, and creamy lemon filling! 

This tart requires 2 simple steps.

Make the tart crust. This recipe is great for any tart you’re making. It’s crumbly and sweet with a firm cookie-like texture. 

Simply drop the vanilla wafers in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Next pour the melted butter in and pule until the crumbs are moist. 

Press the crumbs into a greased pie pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Or To make things easy, you can use a store-bought tart shell, and then you’ll only need to make the lemon filling. 

Make lemon filling. In a clean food processor, blend ricotta, ,mascarpone cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Pour into the hot tart crust; using a spatula smooth out. Bake until filling is set and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, sprinkle top of tart with crumbled vanilla wafers. 

Ingredients

  • 72 vanilla wafers (from a 12-ounce box)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½  teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Crumbled Vanilla Wafers for topping (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse vanilla wafers until finely ground (to yield 2 cups). Add butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened.

Transfer crumb mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven.

In a clean food processor, blend ricotta, mascarpone cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Pour into a hot crust in the pan; bake until filling is set and browned in spots, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, sprinkle top of tart with crumbled vanilla wafers , if desired.

Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Orange Chocolate Chai Roll

I’ve always wanted to make a swiss roll cake. Every time I watch a baking show on Food Network or my favorite show the Great British Baking Show, I’m memorized how they roll the cake and fill it with deliciousness. So when my friend Adam told me he made one, we started talking about different flavors to put together for a Christmas one. He inspired me to create my own. 

I used cocoa powder, brewed chai tea, and orange zest for the cake batter. For the filing, I used cream cheese, pumpkin spice seasoning, more zest and orange juice. 

When I sliced into the orange to add the juice, I realized I accidentally bought blood oranges at the market. I was so excited, I actually did a little dance. When my Papa and I were in Sicily, we would eat a blood orange every morning with breakfast. It was like he was sending me a little sign from heaven! 

INGREDIENTS

CAKE:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chai tea
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons juice from orange
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar to aid in rolling

FILING 

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Heavy whipping cream

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line (10×15”) pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Beat eggs at high speed for 3 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. 

Beat in sugar, tea, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa, salt, baking powder, and flour. 

Blend the dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spread in the prepared pan. Batter will be in a very thin layer and you will need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to spread it to all the corners of the pan. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done because if you lightly poke the top with your fingertip it will slightly bounce back.

While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface, lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the towel. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and cocoa powder (about ¼ cup). 

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar and cocoa. Remove parchment paper carefully.

Working at the short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour (or you can wrap it and chill it overnight).

MAKE THE FILING

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon orange zest in a medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. 

Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream, beating well after each addition until smooth and creamy.

Gently unroll cooled cake. Spread filling over cake to 1/2 inch from all edges. 

Starting at the 10-inch side, gently roll up the cake. 

Sprinkle with additional orange zest just before serving. 

Cut into slices. 

Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This Salted Caramel Cheesecake is the best you’ll ever have! It’s smooth, creamy and delicious!

Sweet, salty, buttery caramel should be the main flavor, inside and the top. 

I love cheesecake cake so much, it is such a great versatile for so many different toppings. This salted caramel cheesecake taste delicious with baked apples especially for Thanksgiving.

I made a simple crust with gingersnaps but feel free to use the traditional graham crackers. After the crust has baked, I poured some of the caramel into the bottom of the crust and spread it into an even layer.

When it comes to the cheesecake filling, we’re going to use the caramel sauce again. Combined with the usual cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and eggs, you get a wonderful silky-smooth cheesecake filling.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath and then cool until firm. Once it’s cooled, add more caramel sauce to the top and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm.

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

  • 32 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 1/2 cup of the salted caramel sauce, cooled to room temp (see recipe)

INSTRUCTIONS 

SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

Pour the caramel into a heat proof container and place it in the fridge while you make the cheesecake. (see recipe for Salted Caramel sauce)

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

Preheat your oven to 350F and thoroughly butter or grease your springform pan.

In a bowl, combine the crushed cookies, sugar, and melted butter. Mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened then tightly press it into your springform pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes then leave it out to cool while you make the filling.

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

Reduce the oven temperature to 325F and place a large roast pan on the bottom rack.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the room temperature cream cheese on medium speed JUST until smooth – no more than a minute. 

Take the bowl off the stand and use a rubber spatula to knock out any air that the whisk might have added.

Switch to the paddle attachment and place the bowl back on the stand. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Then mix it into your cream cheese on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl, especially on the bottom.

At this point, you’ll want to start a pot of boiling water on the stove top.

In that same small bowl, lightly beat your room temperature eggs and vanilla and slowly mix it into the batter on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again then mix it for a couple more seconds.

Lastly, mix together the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the caramel in a small bowl then fold it into your batter using a rubber spatula.

Pour ¼ cup of the caramel sauce over the cooler pie crust. 

Pour the batter over the cooled crust and drop the pan against the counter a couple times to let out any air bubbles.

Place the springform pan into the roast pan. 

Once your water is boiling, CAREFULLY pour it into your roast pan. Fill the roast pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. It’s done when the edges have puffed up and the center gives a tight giggle when you shake the pan.

Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Then, pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake before refrigerating. If the caramel is too thick to pour, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thin it out. 

Place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours to set. I recommend serving it slightly chilled so that the caramel stays in tact.

If you want to serve with the apple topping, just pour the apple topping over the top of the cheesecake before serving.

Blogs, Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Ghostly Brownies

I wanted to make something easy and fun for my brother and sister in law’s Halloween party. There are so many cute Halloween treat ideas on Pinterest- it was hard to decide on one. I know we all have seen the “Nailed It” memes so I wanted to choose wisely. Thank you Betty Crocker for this easy and fun recipe!

These ghost brownies are super easy, I promise you will “Nail it”! They start with a boxed brownie mix, top the brownies with a large marshmallow covered in white frosting, and decorated with black gel icing to make a cute face!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box (16 oz) Brownie mix plus ingredients needed on the box
  • 1 cup Rich & Creamy creamy white frosting (from 16-oz container)
  • 16 large marshmallows
  • Black Decorating Gel icing

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven  to 350°F 

Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan, bottom and sides with butter or cooking spray. 

Make and bake brownies as directed on the box. 

Cool completely on the cooling rack, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Carefully remove brownies from the pan.

Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of each brownie.

Place1 large marshmallow on top of the dollop of frosting- this will help the marshmallow stay in place. 

Scoop 1 cup of frosting in a microwavable bowl and heat uncovered on High 20 to 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until frosting can be stirred smooth and liquidy. 

If frosting becomes too firm while decorating, microwave 5 seconds; stir.

Spoon 1 tablespoon frosting over each marshmallow, allowing the frosting to drip over the marshmallow and brownie to coat. 

Let stand until frosting is set, about 30 minutes. 

Use black gel to make eyes and mouths.