Piña Colada Cream Puffs

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If you’re wondering what exactly a piña colada cream puff is, I will explain. It’s a coconut flavored pastry shell filled with light pineapple cream filling and topped with melted chocolate and toasted coconut. Yes, this does exist, and yes, it is majorly delicious.

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For a while I had been trying to develop a cream puff cake recipe. After several trials I was finding it hard to control the shape of the choux pastry (what the puff part is made out of) when it baked. Also, because its so light and airy, often air bubbles would create holes in the “cake” and the filling would ooze out. These were all very trying problems in the world of betsylife. I realized I had to step back, and re-think my idea, but changing to a standard cake batter base just wasn’t what I had in mind.

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As I was pondering my next move, I saw the jar of pineapple curd in my freezer that I had made back in May. A light bulb went off and I decided to completely change directions. Why not just make cream puffs and fill them with this curd? Duh. I wish I had been doing this all along. The puffs turned out fabulously on the very first try, and I felt victorious. The cream puff cake is now on the back burner for a while. If you have suggestions on how to make it work, I’d love to hear ‘em!

Cream puffs, particularly the choux pastry, are AMAZINGLY easy to make. Do not be intimidated! Even beginners would be capable of making these, and they are majorly impressive to bring to a party, so give it a shot.

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Piña Colada Cream Puffs

Ingredients

    For the filling
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple curd
  • For the pastry
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • For the topping
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • 8 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Instructions

  1. Whisk together cool whip and pineapple curd until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  3. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Stir in coconut extract. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
  5. Cool completely
  6. Fill a pastry bag with pineapple filling.
  7. Using the tip of a knife, cut a small x in the side of each of the pastry puffs. Fill each puff by inserting the tip of the pastry bag into the small hole and fill until you can feel the pastry begin to bulge.
  8. Prepare the ganache by combining chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes and stir. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is fully melted and can be whisked and incorporated into the cream.
  9. Pour ganache over the top of the filled puffs and top with toasted coconut
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Ricotta Apricot Cake

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I’m excited to share with you this ricotta apricot cake I baked up over the weekend. I recently picked up some beautiful apricots from my new favorite store, Specialty Produce, and had been hmming and hawing over what to do with them for a few days now.  Earlier in the week I made a batch of fresh ricotta cheese (so easy to make you won’t even believe it) which I thought would make a nice friend for these apricots, so ricotta apricot cake it was!

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June is apricot season and we’ll be featuring great apricot recipes all month long over at my other site, Seasonal Potluck! If you don’t know about Seasonal Potluck you should. Its a wild party open to all bloggers who love to share recipes. We focus on a different seasonal ingredient each month, and anyone who’s made a dish using that ingredient can link up their recipe. Head over there now to see what people have been making with apricots 

To check out how to make this delicious-for-breakfast-dessert-or-anytime ricotta apricot cake, head over to the features section for the full recipe

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In other news, my weekend of doing nothing was truly magical, and was just what I needed to recharge and refocus. The Hubs and I slept A LOT, watched movies, read and did a little light yard work and baking. I’m feeling ready to tackle my week! What kind of trouble did everyone else get into this weekend? I hope you’re all thoroughly enjoying your summer so far. Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re up to!

Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

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Now that I’m all stocked up on fresh fruit curds and what not, I thought I’d use my fresh strawberry glaze to bake something delicious. Two weeks ago I had a failed strawberry bundt attempt that I’ve been determined to make right. Baking with strawberries can be unpredictable since they release so much water. Replacing my fresh strawberry glaze for the chopped up strawberries that ruined my last cake was the key to my success with this strawberry swirl pound cake.

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Another thing I learned from this recipe was that I have no idea how to use a Canon camera! My wonderful friend, and recipient of this pound cake, Marissa, leant me her camera while mine was being repaired. I spent quite a bit of time online trying to figure out where my familiar settings were located. I did the best I could but I’m still very happy to have my old Nikon back.

Thank you Marissa for your generosity! I know this is my blog and I can post or not post at my leisure, but the thought of 2 weeks with no new content made me pretty darn anxious. Seriously, you saved me from going nuts!

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Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/3 cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • pinch Salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh strawberry glaze

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until well combined.
  4. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time
  6. Stir in vanilla
  7. Slowly fold in the flour mixture. Continue folding until well combined
  8. Pour 1/2 batter into a greased loaf pan. Spoon 1/2 the strawberry glaze into several dots on top of the batter. Swirl with a knife.
  9. Top with remaining batter. Dot remaining strawberry glaze over the top and swirl once more.
  10. Bake for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
  11. Cool in pan for 20 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack
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In other news, I’m off to Chicago today! I’m looking forward to seeing my nephew and nieces, and the rest of my friends and family. Oh yeah, and eating beef sandwiches. I’m really looking forward to that part too.

Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce

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Pear cake sounds like a good thing, but when you add caramel sauce, it becomes a great thing! This pear cake was born out of my constant mission to use up all the old stuff in my pantry, which in this case, was polenta. I had a box of polenta in there from last year. I don’t particularly like polenta, so I was trying to figure out how to use it without just eating it normally. That’s when the stars aligned.

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My friends at Melissa’s Produce  sent me a sample of their new organic home delivery boxes. Think CSA but slightly more customized. Mine included a ton of citrus fruit, pears, apples and avocados. Seeing as I’d been traveling quite a bit, all the citrus went directly into my body to combat catching a cold. That left me with apples, pears and avocados. Well, The Hubs and I eat avocados daily so that was no biggie, and the apples made delicious afternoon snacks, but the pears just sat there. I love pears, but for some reason, they’re not something I reach for when I want a snack.

The final piece of the pear cake puzzle was a super cool individual slice cake pan The Hubs bought me for Christmas.  I hadn’t used it yet, but it was calling my name from the cabinet.

polenta+pears+cool cake pan=pear cake

I bet you didn’t know I was so good at math.

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This cake turned out great! The cake pan worked like a charm, and all the slices were perfect and golden brown. I just felt like it was missing a little something. I had actually bought vanilla ice cream that I planned to eat with it, but forgot it was in the freezer, so I took a cue from my friend Jen’s  classic holiday dessert, pear pie with caramel sauce, and whipped up a caramel sauce of my own.

Oh yes. Perfection.

Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

    For the cake
  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh ginger
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 pears, diced
  • For the caramel sauce
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • 4 T. butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

    To prepare the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with cooking spray. Set aside. **or use an individual slice cake pan sprayed with cooking spray
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and eggs stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until moist.
  4. Stir in vanilla, ginger and lemon zest
  5. Fold in diced pears
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
  7. To make the caramel sauce
  8. Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  9. Whisk constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker.
  10. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
  11. Turn off the heat, cool slightly, then refrigerate until thick.
  12. Pour over cake and enjoy
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If you want to learn how you can have boxes of organic fruits and vegetable shipped directly to your house from Melissa’s, check out their site HERE

If you want to get your own super awesome individual slice cake pan, you can buy one HERE

Caramel sauce not for sale.

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Guava Breakfast Cake

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Ok, this guava breakfast cake might look more like a loaf of bread than a cake, but its sweet and crumbly, so I’m choosing to call it a cake. Cakes can come in all shapes you know! It’s my blog so I get to call things whatever I want.

Whoa. Sorry. I’m feeling kind of funky this week. I may need to turn the sass level down a bit.

Anyway, recently a friend said to me, “a woman at work gave me a bunch of guavas from her tree. Do you want them?” Never being one to say no to anything, I readily accepted. That’s when I realized that I had no idea how to even eat a guava. After a bit of googling, I learned that guavas can be eaten whole. Skin, seeds and all. There’s no way I could have eaten all the guavas she gave me before they went bad, so I wanted to use a bunch of them in a recipe. I thought guava sounded like something nice to have for breakfast, and made me think of tropical destinations I could daydream about while waking up with coffee each morning, so I set out to create this breakfast cake.

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It turned out great! Fruity, crumbly, yet moist, and just enough tropical flavor to transport me on a mini vacation in my mind each morning. Too bad the fantasy didn’t last long. Olive learned the very next day how to snatch stuff off the kitchen counter, and helped herself to rest of the cake. Jerk puppy. She’s lucky she’s so cute or there would have been breakfast cake hell to pay!

So now we’re in the phase of trying to teach her not to counter surf, which is one of the joys (ha.) of owning any kind of large dog. So far she’s also gotten a loaf of bread and a stick of butter. We’ve tried booby trapping the counter to no avail, so basically we’ve just been trying to catch her in the act and scold her instantly. Anyone have any tips on how to stop this? In the meantime, I’ll try to get my hands on some more guavas in order to make this again.

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Guava Breakfast Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 c. finely chopped guava, seeds removed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition
  5. Mix in extracts
  6. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined
  7. Fold in chopped guava
  8. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely
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Limoncello Bundt Cake

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When life gives you limoncello, make a bundt cake. That’s how the saying goes, right? Well, that’s definitely how it goes here in Betsylife. A while back we watched a friend’s dog while she traveled through Italy. She repaid us by bringing back some limoncello (good friend!) I promptly turned it into the cutest shaped cake in town, and washed the cake down with the rest of the bottle. Yup, that’s how I roll.

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You really can’t go wrong with baking and booze, whether you’re mixing them in the batter, or just mixing them in your stomach. Is that another “saying” in the making? Perhaps…….. Maybe I should just stick with cake baking.

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Limoncello Bundt Cake

Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup limoncello
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the 1/3 cup limoncello until well blended.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with flour mixture.
  7. Beat in lemon zest
  8. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt cake pan.
  9. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched with a finger.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan; invert and cool completely on a rack.
  11. For the Glaze
  12. Whisk confectioners' sugar with 2 tablespoons limoncello until smooth; drizzle over the cake.
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Grapefruit Angel Food Cake

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Angel Food Cake seems like a nice, light alternative to what I’ve just been through. Traveling, cold weather, heavy drinking, even HEAVIER eating, sleepless nights, superbowl gambling…….talk about indulgence overload! Continue reading “Grapefruit Angel Food Cake” »

Gingerbread Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I’m sharing this gingerbread pineapple upside-down cake as a treat for all of you who have successfully made it through the first ten days of their new years eating plan. Congrats! The key to success with any eating plan is allowing yourself to have the things you love. Continue reading “Gingerbread Pineapple Upside-Down Cake” »

Mojito Cake

Mojito Layer Cake

Yes I realize that just yesterday  I was talking about detoxing from the holiday, and getting my healthy eating and fitness back in order, but today we have something to celebrate, and celebrations call for cake! Continue reading “Mojito Cake” »

Grape Breakfast Cake and a Giveaway!

It was a gray and lazy weekend here in San Diego, which was totally fine by me since this was the only weekend of the month I don’t have something going on. It was nice to cozy up on the couch, and spend time getting to know my new puppy. I cooked, I baked, and did lots of relaxing. I’m feeling rested and rejuvenated heading into my birthday week!  Continue reading “Grape Breakfast Cake and a Giveaway!” »

Double Bundt Pumpkin Cake

Here we are exactly two weeks before Halloween. Is your house decorated? Have the costumes been decided on? Do you have the candy? I have the candy and that’s pretty much it. However, I did bake this super festive double bundt pumpkin cake which really helped me get in the Halloween spirit. Continue reading “Double Bundt Pumpkin Cake” »

Foolproof Children’s Birthday Cake Decorating

Over the weekend a very happy little girl turned the big 0-2. It has really been a joy for me seeing Leila go from tiny little conehead in the hospital, to the free spirited, adventurous girl she is today. As I know with my own nieces and nephews, kids only get better with age (well, until maybe teenage years, but we’ll see) I’m excited to see how she grows over this next year, and to watch Jen and Val learn how much better kids get too! Continue reading “Foolproof Children’s Birthday Cake Decorating” »

Pina Colada Bundt Cake

Well looky here at what I made. A glorious conglomeration of everything I love. A bundt, coconut, and pineapple. Sounds like the perfect tropical escape to me. In retrospect, I probably should have tried to add some alcohol as well, but nevertheless, this cake is amazing. Continue reading “Pina Colada Bundt Cake” »

Rolo Cookies

Lately I feel like a passenger on a speeding train. Every day seems to just fly by, and although I know I accomplish a lot, sometimes it feels like an insurmountable list of to-do’s. I try to say, “yes” to as much as I can, not only in business, but personally as well. I find that it makes life a lot more interesting (8 course cocktail pairing dinner, 2 baseball games, hosting a vegan dinner for 10, and a fermenting demonstration this week alone!) but it often doesn’t help with the speeding train feeling. Continue reading “Rolo Cookies” »

Cherry Filled Almond Cake

I am super excited about this cake. Not only was I able to utilize some new and oh-so-cool kitchen toys in the making of it, but the recipe turned out to be quite a challenge, and after 4 attempts, I finally got it right! There’s no greater satisfaction than sticking with something that’s not working until you finally are able to master it. This cake is so good, it was totally worth all the frustration. Continue reading “Cherry Filled Almond Cake” »