White Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Last week I told you about the birthday party that we threw for our friend. As much as I wanted to celebrate her birthday, I selfishly also wanted to throw the party so I could make a cake. I love making cakes and I just don’t have very many opportunities to do it. When I find an excuse to bake, I take it!

Mandy, the birthday girl, didn’t have any special requests for her cake. Just something sweet. With no requests, the possibilities seemed overwhelming. Of course I thought of several chocolate cake variations, but I do a lot of chocolate desserts, so I decided to take the road less traveled (for Jesse and I anyway). I am really happy that I decided to go with this non-chocolate cake. It was a nice light finish to our burrito bowl dinner and it was so pretty.

I did make a last minute decision to not use Swiss meringue buttercream (SMB) frosting. In the US, I’m not afraid of the eggs in SMB at all. I know the eggs in the US are safe. I am not as confident in the eggs here. I buy eggs from the refrigerated section but I’ve seen the same brand at other stores not refrigerated, so I’m not convinced they are kept that way through out shipping. I also know that in other countries it’s common to not keep eggs in the fridge. For just Jesse and I, I honestly wouldn’t put as much thought into it, but I was having 10 guests. The thought of a bad egg and all my guests getting sick – eek! Not a risk I was willing to take.

Anyway, SMB would be a great choice for this cake. The fluffy vanilla frosting I used also worked really well. I’ll leave a link for both recipes and you can decide for yourself! Also, I went grocery shopping with the birthday girl the night before the party and she picked out her favorite fruits for the top of the cake. Most any variety of fruits would work! The recipe I used called for a glaze over the fruit, but I didn’t want it to be too sweet so I skipped it and it was fine.

 

 

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Oh man, I’m excited about this one!

First, I love re-purposing foods. I knew that cranberry sauce would go over like a lead balloon with my Thanksgiving crowd, but I like it and it’s traditional so I made it. As much as I love it, I can only handle a few spoonfuls with my meal. Needless to say, I had a ton left over! But I didn’t want to throw it away so I needed to come up with a new way to use it. I asked around for ideas and then overnight I had a very vivid dream about turning it into muffins.

Which brings me to the second reason I am so excited about these. I couldn’t find a recipe that matched what I had been dreaming of. So I headed to the kitchen with the goal of making my own. And it was a success! Score!

I should also mention that everyone that turned their nose up at the cranberry sauce at dinner, gobbled up the muffins and said they were awesome.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup flour plus 2 Tbsp, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup cranberry sauce*

*I only used 1/3 cup but once they baked it like they could use a little more, so I recommend a full 1/2 cup. Also, I’m sure you could substitute cranberry sauce from a can, especially if you can find some with whole cranberries in it.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In glass measuring cup stir together the greek yogurt and milk; set aside.

In another medium bowl (or a standing mixer with paddle attachment) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Next, alternate adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and wet ingredients in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure there are not patches of unmixed dry ingredients. Toss the white chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of flour then use the spatula to mix them into the batter. Next, carefully fold in the cranberry sauce, so it creates a marbling effect in the batter.

Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Yields 12 muffins

Sunny Side Up original, with the muffin base adapted from Sunday Nite Dinner as I previously posted it here.

Cranberry Sauce

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now, I thought it might be a good day for a double dose of sweetness. Don’t forget to check out today’s other post, pumpkin pie!

Sometimes instead of picking out the melon from my fruit salad, I’ll give it a try, just to see if I suddenly like it. I don’t (still tastes like watered down perfume to me) but I try because you just never know. Like for example butterscotch, cooked carrots, and small pieces of apple in foods like Stuffed Acorn Squash or Asian Lettuce Wraps. I never liked any of those things, but over the years my tastes have evolved. Which is really great for someone that loves food as much as I do.

That’s sort of what happened with cranberry sauce. Every Thanksgiving I would put a little on my plate, give it a try, and pretty much always decide that there were just more important foods on the plate.

That may still be a little true (the part about there being more important foods on the plate) but I’ve really come around in the cranberry sauce arena. It’s not my favorite food on the table at Thanksgiving, but it’s totally necessary, especially when you have a delicious recipe.

With hosting a Thanksgiving meal on my own for the first time this year, I searched for the perfect recipe. And I think I found it! A little sweet and a little tart. The only changes I made were to cut the recipe in half (and it’s listed that way below). And bonus, I re-purposed the leftovers into a killer muffin.


Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients
1 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
scrapings from half of a vanilla bean (optional, they can be expensive, but if you have one use it!)

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugars and salt in the water and orange juice. Add the cranberries and cook until the cranberries begin to pop (this part is fun! sounds like popcorn!) Cook cranberries, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Once thick, remove from heat and add stir in the orange zest and vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature and store in fridge until ready to serve. For a nice touch, garnish with a little orange zest when serving.

Adapted from Joy the Baker