Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Red, White & Blue Fourth of July Cake

Red, White & Blue Fourth of July Cake


You guys, it is full on summer over in my part of the world! We had a really long drawn out winter, short and sweet spring, and I feel like I woke up one day and it was 90 degrees out! I love summer though, so I'm not complaining. As I write this someone is mowing their lawn, and the smell of fresh grass is coming through my open window. Pure summer, right there.

And you know what else is pure summer? This cake! I've always felt like 4th of July really kicks off the summer season. It's officially July, the weather is almost always hot and sunny, and everyone is full into their summer routines. Well believe it or not, the 4th of July is just three short weeks away, and it will be here before we know it. So today I'm sharing my ultimate 4th of July dessert - Red, White and Blue cake!



This delicious cake is beyond perfect for whatever 4th of July event you're planning, and is guaranteed to be the talk of the party. The very best part is cutting into it and seeing those fun colors pop through! Sure to delight kids and adults alike.

One of my favorite things about this cake is that it's so festive before, and after you cut into it. For the sprinkles, I used Sweet and Treats sprinkle mix Stars and Stripes. Very appropriate! For me, a 4 oz bag was enough to decorate the sides of the cakes as well as decorating the top!

 


Cake Ingredients: 

2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt (greek or regular is fine)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Red and blue gel food coloring

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:

2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
6-8 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed to thin out the frosting

Cake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and buttermilk and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

For A Red, White and Blue Cake: Distribute the cake batter evenly into three bowls of the same weight - I used three large cereal bowls. Using a kitchen scale, distribute the cake batter evenly between the three bowls. Empty one bowl into a prepared cake pan (this will be your white).

For the other two, add red and blue gel food coloring. I recommend this kit! You will want to use gel, because liquid will change the cake consistency. The colors will strengthen slightly as they bake, but make sure that the red and blue look about the color that you want the cake layers to look.

Spoon the red and blue batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the cake pans, and then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack with the "top" of the cake down. This will help flatten the cakes. Once the cakes come to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before frosting.

Buttercream Directions: 

Whip the butter in you stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high, and mix about 2-3 minutes. Add heavy cream if needed.


If you want to see a video of this cake coming together, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@thiscelebratedlife)! I'll be posting it in the next few days, and you won't want to miss it!





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Kirsten Bell
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Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes

Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes


Is there anything that screams summer more than a strawberry shortcake recipe?? If you've never had homemade strawberry shortcakes, stop what you're doing right now and make these. Right now. Barely sweet, with most of the sweetness coming from the strawberries, these shortcakes are a serious game changer, and a perfect dessert recipe idea for anyone who doesn't usually like sweets. But I promise my sweet tooths will love it too!

This is a seriously easy strawberry shortcake recipe, and takes fewer than 15 minutes of hands on time. I also love that it calls for really simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry! Served with vanilla whipped cream and fresh strawberries, you will love this strawberry shortcake dessert.
 

If you're looking for more summer recipe ideas, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post! I've linked a whole 4th of July menu that a few of my fellow food blogger friends have put together, and it is amazing!! And for my strawberry lovers, I've linked a few of my other fan-favorite strawberry recipes that you won't want to miss.
 


Biscuit Ingredients: 

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use sea salt)
1/2 cup cold salted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted
1 cup buttermilk

Strawberry Ingredients: 

1 pint strawberries, stemmed, hulled and sliced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
finely minced mint

Vanilla Whipping Cream Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions: 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt. Cut the 1/2 cup butter into small cubes, and rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. Try to work somewhat quickly, so you don't melt the butter with the heat of your hands. Once the mixture resembles course crumbs, pour in the buttermilk. Mix the buttermilk in with a fork. Mixture will be wet, but you should be able to form it into a ball without it sticking too much to your hands. If it's too sticky, sprinkle a little bit of flour into the sticky spots.

Dust flour onto a clean work surface, such as a large cutting board. Turn the biscuit dough onto the surface, and form into a 1" high square. Dip a 3" biscuit cutter or rim of a water glass into flour, and cut biscuits out of the dough. Place each biscuit onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should get 6-8 biscuits, depending on their size.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small bowl, and brush it onto the top of each biscuit. Sprinkle each with a bit of granulated sugar.

Put the baking sheet with biscuits into the refrigerator, and let chill for about 30-45 minutes. Near the end of the chill period, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Transfer the baking sheet directly from the fridge into your preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.

For the Strawberries: An hour before serving, combine all of the strawberry ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.

For the Vanilla Whipping Cream: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream with a hand mixer until thick. Add the vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the cream holds soft peaks.

To Assemble: Cut each cooled biscuit in half. Top each half with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries. Enjoy!




Your 4th of July Menu:

More Strawberry Recipes:






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Kirsten Bell
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Lemon Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Lemon Cake with Chocolate Ganache


Just in time for the long weekend - lemon cake with chocolate ganache! If you're a fan of lemon desserts, this is a perfect dessert idea for you! With bright lemon flavor in the cake, homemade lemon curd and fresh lemon buttercream, what's not to love?? Then we top it with rich chocolate ganache because why not!

I feel like spring and summer just scream all things citrus. I'm always looking for delicious lemon dessert ideas. I love that this cake is super moist, super lemony and not overly sweet. For this cake recipe I chose to do a semi-naked frosting, so the frosting is super light.

Looking for some more lemon recipes? I've listed all my favorites at the bottom of the post!


When I'm baking cakes, I make it super easy on myself by splitting the task into two parts. One day I bake the cakes, and then the next day I frost them. I just store the baked and cooled cakes by wrapping them very well in plastic wrap, and keeping them in the fridge so they're cold to frost.

This cake just looks like a bright, sunny summer day, don't you think? I love how happy it is! A perfect cake for BBQs, picnics and summer birthdays.


Cake Ingredients: 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Juice and zest of 3 lemons

Lemon Curd Ingredients: 

1/2 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 3 lemons
4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter

Lemon Buttercream Ingredients: 

2 cups butter, softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
Zest of two lemons
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients: 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I always use Ghiradelli)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Cake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated, and scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Add the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, mixing until all ingredients come together.

Pour batter into the three prepared cake pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 22-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 5-10 minutes, and then turn them out on a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. I like to turn my cakes upside down to help them flattten. When the cakes are room temp, I freeze them for 30 minutes to make frosting them easier.

Lemon Curd Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Be sure to whisk constantly so the mixture doesn't burn. Cook about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remember that the curd will continue to thicken as it cools! Remove the curd from the heat, and melt in the butter. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Lemon Buttercream Directions: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add 5 cups powdered sugar one cup at a time, starting your mixer on low and increasing to high with each addition. Add the lemon zest, juice and extracts, mixing on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add the additional cup of powdered sugar if necessary. Taste! If you'd like the frosting to taste even more like lemon, add additional zest!

Chocolate Ganache Directions: Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small mixing bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and stir well. Add a few more seconds if the chocolate chips aren't fully melted. Drizzle the chocolate ganache over the sides of the cake with a spoon, or using a squeeze bottle. Then drizzle the chocolate over the rest of the top of the cake and smooth. For this cake I did an inverted drip, which just means that I frosted the cake, did the drizzle, and flipped it over!

Assembly tips:

  • If necessary, cut the top of each cake so that they're flat. This will make frosting easier! I like to do this with cold (refrigerated) cakes and a sharp bread knife. 
  • Cover the top of the first layer of cake with the lemon buttercream. Pipe a border of frosting around the circumference of the cake. Spoon lemon curd into the well you've created. Top with the second layer of cake, and repeat steps. Then top with the third layer of cake, and frost the cake lightly for a semi-naked cake like mine, or completely for a fully frosted cake.
  • If you want to decorate with lemon slices, this is my trick - toothpicks! I push toothpicks through the lemon rind, far enough in that you can't see them. Voila! Obviously remove all the picks before serving.



My daughter Charlotte couldn't resist diving into this cake - literally haha! I made this same cake for her second birthday last weekend, decorated in a Disney Cars theme! You can see it on Instagram here.


More Delicious Lemon Recipes:


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Kirsten Bell
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Strawberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Strawberry Lemon Coffee Cake


You guys, I was going to wait until we were a little further into the warm weather season to share this recipe, but I'm planning to make this for Mother's Day, and kept thinking that maybe you would like to as well! So here it is: Strawberry Lemon Coffee Cake! This is quite possibly my favorite recipe on the blog so far, and you know I don't say that lightly! It is such a light and fluffy coffee cake recipe, with fresh fruit, bright lemon, and topped with brown sugar streusel. And then the lemon drizzle. I mean, seriously.


You know I'm also all about easy recipes, and this fits the criteria! Super quick, super easy coffee cake recipe and a perfect brunch recipe for this weekend! This is going to be baked on repeat this summer in our house, and if you try it once, I guarantee you will be hooked.




Cake Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

Topping Ingredients: 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Drizzle Ingredients: 

3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon, zested 

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8" round cake pan or 8x8 baking dish with butter, and set aside. 

Prepare the topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the butter, and gently mash the ingredients together with a fork. Finish quickly with your fingers until the mixture resembles course crumbs. You can also do this by pulsing together ingredients in your food processor.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients - flour through salt. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, buttermilk, sour cream, and egg, mixing until all combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined. Batter will be thick. Gently stir in the strawberries until equally distributed in the batter. Pour into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle prepared topping over the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover the pan lightly with foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

For the drizzle: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until powdered sugar is fully dissolved. If it's too runny, add additional powdered sugar. If too thick, add additional lemon juice. Drizzle over the cake when the cake is cooled to room temperature.







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Kirsten Bell
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Asparagus, Ham & Gruyere Crustless Quiche

Asparagus, Ham & Gruyere Crustless Quiche


I love a good and easy weeknight dinner idea, don't you? We always seem to be scrambling, and between meetings, activities and early kid bedtimes, we just need a quick dinner recipe that everyone will love. This crustless quiche is also a healthy low-carb meal idea, and tastes just as indulgent as a traditional quiche recipe! Win, win, win!

I also love this quiche for brunch. It's easy to make the day ahead (even a few days ahead!), so I can bake a fun dessert or focus on mixing cocktails. Scroll to the bottom - I've listed some of my favorite brunch recipes at the bottom of the post to help round out your meal!


You can really use whatever meat and veggies you like - quiche is so versatile! I'll often just throw leftover veggies in, because why not! When I set out to make this crustless quiche recipe I knew that I wanted to use asparagus. We're just heading into asparagus season, and I looooove asparagus, and am always looking up easy asparagus recipes so I can take full advantage!

You'll notice below that for the first time, I've included "step by step" photos for this recipe! I realized as I was writing it out that it was hard to describe in just words what the process looks like, so I snapped a few pictures along the way! Hopefully that's a helpful reference as you make this at home!


Ingredients: 

1 lb asparagus, washed, ends snapped off and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups gruyere
5 oz ham steak, diced
3 scallions, white and green sections

Directions: 

In a medium pan, cook the asparagus and garlic in the butter over medium heat until the asparagus is fork-tender. Season with a little extra salt and pepper. Once asparagus is done cooking, set aside, and start preheating the oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Transfer the asparagus as well as the ham into a greased 9" tart dish, pie dish, or an 8x8 casserole. By doing this first, we can be sure that all of the meat and veggies are evenly distributed. Top with the shredded gruyere, and then with the chopped scallions.

When I was growing up and helping my mom in the kitchen, she would always ask me "If you got that piece, would you be happy?" as a way to help make sure I evenly distributed ingredients throughout a casserole, cobbler, whatever it was! It's funny, but I think of that literally every time I make a recipe that requires even distribution of ingredients haha! Would I be happy with that piece? No, it needs more asparagus!


Pour the egg mixture evenly over the layered ham, asparagus, cheese and scallions. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the very middle of the quiche is just a little wobbly in the middle if you gently shake it. It should not be wet, but just have a little movement and the top will be golden brown. Allow to cool before serving - I actually prefer my quiche cold, which means I can make this the day before! 



Finish Your Brunch With These Recipes: 
Brunch Inspiration For Your Table:

http://www.thiscelebratedlife.com/search/label/recipes
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Kirsten Bell
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