Monday, January 23, 2012

7UP Cake

This is a new recipe I was very excited to make! I love any dessert with lemon flavor. The original recipe didn't have the lemon zest and the lemon glaze, but I think it is so delicious with them! Also, I decreased the sugar to 2 1/2 cups and it was definitely sweet enough. And to be on  the safe side, I did add a tsp of baking powder. The end result was an extremely moist, absolutely delicious lemon cake!

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
  •  2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage (e.g. 7UP, Sprite, Sierra Mist, etc)


  1. Cream together butter and sugar for 20 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add lemon extract, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  2. In separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. 
  3. Alternate adding flour mixture and soft drink to the egg/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Do not overbeat!
  4. Pour into a well-greased and floured 12 cup bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 60 to 75 minutes. 
  5. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before taking out of the pan. 

    (Instead of baking my cake in a bundt pan, I made 24 cupcakes and 1 regular size bread loaf pan out of this recipe- I always change things around :))

    You can also make a glaze to drizzle over the cake:

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tbsps milk or for more lemony flavor,
    2 tbsps lemon juice or 7UP

    Cake recipe adapted from:

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Quick, Easy and Moist Whole Wheat Muffins

    I have my husband to thank for for this great recipe. He brought me a copy of one of the local papers and "suggested" this recipe which was printed in their food section. so, I quickly obliged and produced these wonderfully moist and flavorful muffins last night. :) I didn't quite know what to expect from them, because a lot of times, whole wheat flour has resulted in bitter-tasting baked goods for me, but these were a wonderful surprise!

    So here is the recipe for these quick, easy, reliably moist whole wheat muffins. They are a homey accompaniment to soups and salads, and since these only need to bake for 15 minutes, you can start them and be eating in under half an hour. (Leftovers are lovely for breakfast, too!)


    2 cups white whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    1 1/4 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup honey
    1 egg
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a muffin pan with liners, or by lightly greasing each well with olive oil or baking spray.

    In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

    Whisk the sour cream, honey, egg, olive oil, and vanilla extract together in a separate small bowl. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in this liquid mixture. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently but firmly fold the ingredients together, folding from the bottom up to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stop as soon as the mixture comes together; do not overmix. Depending on the fat content of the sour cream the mixture will range in thickness from a gooey muffin batter to the consistency of a very wet cookie dough.

    Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until barely golden on top, and the top springs back a bit when touched with a finger.

    The key to keeping these moist is to underbake them ever so slightly. They shouldn't be gooey inside, but don't be afraid to take them out of the oven when they are slightly underdone.

    • The cinnamon here is just develop a rounder, fuller flavor. these are not cinnamon or spice muffins. but if you would like a more assertive cinnamon flavor, increase the amount of cinnamon to 1 full teaspoon.

    Recipe adapted from: Burlington county times, Jan 11, 2012 issue, Food section

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Mini carrot cupcakes

    Hot off the "press", or the "oven" in my case: a new- and might i add fabulous- recipe for carrot cake!

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2-1/4 tsps baking soda
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 tsps cinnamon
    3 large eggs
    2 cups grated carrots
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups white sugar
    8 oz crushed pineapple with the juice
    1-1/2 cups shredded coconut

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line mini muffins pans with paper liners.

    2. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together.

    3. Beat oil, sugar and eggs WELL

    4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture

    5. Fold in pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts (if using)

    6. Bake at 350 F for about 14-15 minutes

    This recipe makes approximately 75-80 mini cupcakes, or 24-30 regular cupcakes (bake 18-20 minutes), or a two-layer 9-inch round cake (bake 25-30 minutes), or a 9x13-inch sheet cake (bake 50- 60 minutes).

    Thanks to my husband's co-worker, Don Cottrell, for the terrific recipe! What a hit it was today when I took the minis to my garden club meeting!

    I frosted my cupcakes with a delicious cream cheese frosting:


    1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    2 tsps vanilla extract

    In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar and beat to incorporate. Add vanilla and blend. Frost to your heart's desire! :)

    This frosting can be made with a lot less sugar but for my purposes, I need it stiffer in order to pipe it, so the 4 cups make just the right consistency- and I haven't had anybody complain about it being too sweet. :)

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Awesome Scones

    I found this new recipe for scones a few of days ago and have made it four (!!) times already! :)))) Every time, they have been a hit with everyone who tried them. The recipe is also great because you can really use it as a base and change up the flavors any way you want to fit your own taste- these can easily be made into:

    currant scones,
    butterscotch chips,
    coconut and chocolate chips,
    craisins and white chips, 
    hazelnuts and toffee chunks, 
    walnuts and chopped dried apricots, 
    coarsely chopped candied ginger and cinnamon, 
    pecans and caramels cut into fourths,
    cheddar and herbs,
    cheddar and green onions or chives, 
    ham and cheese, etc, etc....... 

    Use your imagination and create scones to die for! The variations are limitless and I love this recipe for its versatility. It is a wonderful base recipe for scones and I highly recommend it.

    (I do have to say that I use pampered chef's stoneware for baking and the results are superb. I baked one batch of these scones on non-stick cookie sheets and they burned on the bottoms even though the temperature, the recipe, and the oven were all exactly the same- the only thing different was the cookie sheet. So, yes, I highly recommend stoneware for baking too :))

    But without further ado, here is the star of tonight's show: 

    Cranberry-Lemon Scones (my favorite variation)


    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), frozen
    1/2 cup cranberries
    zest of one lemon
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 large egg
    Preheat oven to 400 F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Mix dry ingredients and frozen butter (cut in pieces) in food processor. Process it a few seconds until well blended. Add wet ingredients and pulse it until well blended. Add lemon zest and cranberries (or any other fruits or chips you like). Just pulse it a couple of times to mix. Take the batter out. Divide it in two balls. Pat each one flat on a lightly floured surface forming a 6-7-inch circle about  1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. Place scones on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. 

    Alternately, if you do not have a food processor,  follow the directions below:
    1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater. Use your fingers (or a pastry blender) to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal). Then stir in cranberries and lemon zest.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
    3. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.) 
    4. Divide dough in two balls, pat each one flat on a lightly floured surface forming a 6-7-inch circle about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. Place scones on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. 
    Recipe adapted from:

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Banana Crumb Muffins

    Every once in a while I end up with a bunch of very ripe bananas that I have to use up pronto. Today was one of those days... I felt like making something new, so I did some research online and found a very yummy tasting recipe for banana crumb muffins. I doubled the recipe and I am really happy I did! The result was fantastic! 


    For the muffin batter:
    * 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    * 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    * 3 bananas, mashed
    * 1/2 cup white sugar
    * 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    * 1 egg, lightly beaten
    * 1/3 cup canola oil
    * 1 tsp vanilla extract
    * 1/3 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

    For the topping:
    * 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    * 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1 tablespoon butter


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugars, egg, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Add walnuts, if using. spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
    3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

      Makes 12 muffins.

      Holy smokes! These are amazing! Give them a try! You won't be disappointed! You could really make these into cupcakes, they are so moist and fluffy- just add some cream cheese frosting instead of the crumb topping and voila- heavenly banana cupcakes! I just might try that next time- because I am definitely making them again.

      Recipe adapted from:

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