strawberry raspberry muffins

Do you remember Mrs. Fields cookies and muffins?  Well – these muffins reminded me of the Mrs. Fields raspberry white chocolate muffins (my absolute favorite).  It was really cake.  But I felt better eating them when they were called a muffin.  These are not as rich, do not have white chocolate, and are strawberry as you can see. 

I put them on the top of my “to bake” list and I’m glad I did!  I didn’t have enough strawberries on hand so I added raspberries and wow.  I love these.  Everything about them – moist, fruity and the icing – well – yum!  I follow dianemorrisey on instagram and EVERYTHING she cooks/bakes/presents calls out to me.  I mean everything.  And the joy she shares through food really is like no other.  

I will just post  her recipe here since it is concise and clear.  You can mix the raspberries and strawberries as I did – or use only strawberries.  Make them for your next treat.  They are worth it.


lemon bliss cake

I realize that this photo is terrible and I’m sorry about that.  The cake looks messy and dry, but it is not!!  And all those crumbs were sooooo good.

I use the words yum and yummy a lot.  Delicious and scrumptious.  I try to look up some thoughtful and eloquent synonyms but I can’t help but keep coming back to my original favorites.  So this cake – yeah it is yummy, delicious and scrumptious.  In addition it is perky and tasty.  How can a cake be perky?  I don’t know but it just is.  This was a hit a few weeks ago at a friends dinner party.  Everyone oood and aaahd at is tart goodness.  After baking, you coat the cake with a lemon syrup that gets absorbed and once soaked through and cool, you glaze.  Anything with syrup and glaze speaks moist and delightful.

Found this as I was looking through the King Arthur Flour catalog for some ingredients.   The cake was featured at the top and said “Our 2017 Recipe of the Year is a lovely golden lemon cake, extra-moist and nicely tangy due to its fresh lemon juice glaze. Baking this cake in a Bundt pan turns it from everyday to special-occasion, perfect for everything from birthday parties to an elegant dinner. Our thanks to Maida Heatter, grande dame of delicious desserts, for the inspiration behind this recipe.”

So I had to make it.

I followed the recipe which you can find here.  Oh, and there is a video too!



banana bread (gluten-free and DELICIOUS)

This banana bread is really very good.  Seriously good.  For real.  Andy was home from school today, studying in his room and started texting me…What are you making! Smells so good!  I informed him that I made the banana bread again, but in muffin form.  Down he came and quickly gobbled up two and oh, BTW, he isn’t even gluten-free (and is a harsh critic).  You will not miss the gluten in this recipe.  Full of banana flavor, a delicious rich tasting crumb – and some extra chocolate chips, well, good good good!  Found myself muttering the good, good good as I tasted and sampled over and over again.

This recipe is from the book Purely Elizabeth and I just LOVE it.  I really do.  Elizabeth promised that you wouldn’t miss your old banana bread, and she is correct.  You do need to get a few special items from your grocery store or from Amazon.  If you are gluten free, I assume you have most of this in the house.  And even if you are not – I urge you to try.

Also – the first time I made this I baked in a loaf pan and it was really delicious – but I felt I needed more control on how cooked the middle was and so tried in muffin tins.  I liked both.  Next time though, I think I would pour most of the batter into the loaf pan, but hold a little back and bake the remaining in a mini loaf tin or make a few muffin shapes on the side.  Cooking time will be affected with all of the different shapes.

Oh, you want to wait for your bananas to be overripe – with dark spots on the skin.

banana bread (from Purely Elizabeth by Elizabeth Stein):

cinnamon sugar (2 T of coconut sugar for every 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup coconut oil (just melt this if in solid form)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts (I didn’t add because my family doesn’t love)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I added a cup!  I did, but do what you want)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use and oil spray or coconut oil to grease the loaf pan.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar to coat the bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut sugar, almond flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl (or in electric mixer) beat together the bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Pour the wet into the dry (or if using your mixer you can put the dry into the wet) and stir until combined.  Add the chocolate and walnuts (if using).  Pour into pans – loaf, muffin, mini…and bake until done.  If you put all the batter into a loaf pan, Elizabeth says 45-50 minutes.  If you make the loaf pan less full as I mentioned above, baking time will be lower.  And muffin tins, much lower.  You want the top to spring back gently when touched.

Yum.  Enjoy –



triple chocolate banana bread

Wowee.  This is delicious.  Rich in flavor and color and texture – you can’t  miss this one. I mean it.  Best chocolate banana bread ever.  As mentioned in the post from Liv for Cake (below) you can certainly skip the chips and ganache for a less chocolatey experience.  And/or add walnuts to cut some of the richness and sweetness.  But we loved as is.  These days when I bake the sweet often sits on our counter and eventually looks sad and dry (after several days of being ignored).  This dessert never had a chance to sit and kids argued over who got the last piece.  Yum.  I plan to make again this week.

I used half the ganache in the recipe fyi – but saved the rest and will use tomorrow when I make this again.

Here is the recipe...chocolate banana bread.

I followed almost exactly – but used natural Valrhona cocoa powder.  Oh, I also doubled the recipe but baked one cake in a larger loaf pan than in the recipe.   I find I don’t have to bake as long and I have more control with the overall moistness of the cake.  Muffin/cupcake shape would be great as well.  You can follow my lead or follow the recipe.  Also, remember to read my baking tips (esp measuring flour!) before you bake.

andy’s favorite vanilla cake (of the three…)

Ok, so nice response from all you vanilla fans out there.  I too happen to love vanilla – and as I get older I think I enjoy it even more than chocolate.  Strange.  You go from loving certain things as a child, and it all changes so much as we age.  I now like gorgonzola, olives, pistachios and port.  Who knew such changes were to come.  Anyway, back to vanilla.  So Andy liked this cake.  It is very moist.  Very flavorful.  Now that I think about it, it was Greg’s favorite too.  Came home for break for a minute (or so it felt) and agreed with Andy.  I made a simple glaze with IMG_8943confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and a dash of kosher salt and it was perfect.

As suggested before, please weigh your flour.  Try it.  So many write in saying their cakes are dry – this is probably why.  Just check it out here.

I got this recipe from Joy The Baker.  She has a great blog and book now (I think) and her write up is perfect and I made no changes.  She frosted hers with chocolate buttercream – so try that too if you like.

everybody’s birthday cake:

Joy The Baker 


white cake with raspberry filling

Scrumptious white-ish cake, glorious raspberries, delicious icing…happy birthday to me!  This was one of two cakes that I made for myself (and shared!)  Loved it.  My mom, Marco, and Andy agree.  Others wouldn’t try it because well, I made a ridiculous ice cream cake that called to them instead and I guess hard to have both (although I did!)  There is not much more to say about this – save to tell you to make it!  It is a sturdy cake and easy to handle and the filling simple.  The buttercream is a bit more work, but worth it.  Andy, who used to be a chocolate lover declared that he no longer likes chocolate cake.  BTW, I froze half of the cake and it defrosted perfectly.  Enjoy –

Rob tells me it’s not great when I just send you to another webpage…but I’m going to do it today.  The instructions are as easy to follow as my own and I can move on to the other cake I made for my birthday!  I did not use their icing…I found a great icing from Alice Medrich which I will also share soon.  And lower on this page will be the raspberry filling.

Click here for the link — Lelite’s culinary.

raspberry filling:

1 1/2 cups raspberries, fresh or thawed frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, combine the raspberries and sugar.  In a small bowl combine lemon juice and cornstarch.

Pour into raspberries.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly, until thickened.

Let cool before use.


yellow cake

If you have a food processor and a few pantry ingredients, 10 minutes and a cake to bake – make this!  Simple, perfect, light, flavorful and can easily transform into something else (think layer cakes and trifles) Alice Medrich developed this recipe for you.  I failed miserably on a new apple cake recipe (thought the smoke alarm would go off) but had committed to delivering a cake.  I quickly found this recipe for a vanilla cake…a “One-Bowl Vanilla Cake” which sounded super easy and quick.  It was, and it delivered a moist and delicate cake that I will make again and again.  Serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream, top it with frosting, or fill it with a lemon curd or orange cream adding some zest to the batter (reduce vanilla if you do this) to enhance the flavor.  Double this and bake in a 9×12 pan and keep as a simple sheet cake.  Possibilites abound.

one-bowl vanilla cake (from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich):

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (6.125 ounces — if you have a scale, use it!)
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and hot
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Quick note – The oven takes longer to preheat than it takes to  prepare the batter.  So wait a beat and start to make the cake once the oven is almost to the desired temp.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place oven rack in lower third of oven.  Grease and flour the sides of the cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Place the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to blend the ingredients.

Add the cream and butter and pulse quickly – 8 -10 times, until the ingredients are blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and pulse 5-6 times.  Scrape down the sides of the the bowl and pulse another 5-6 times.

Pour into the pan and spread evenly.  Bake 27-35 minutes – until a toothpick comes out just clean.

Let the cake cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.  Then slide a knife around the edges and invert the cake onto the rack.  Peel off the liner.

Turn the cake right side up to let cool completely.

Feel free to freeze up to 3 months.

Enjoy –



warm double chocolate brownie cakes

I’ve been meaning to bake these for 5 years.  Clipped from the February 2009 issue of Food & Wine magazine — Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion.  Made with milk chocolate and cocoa powder, butter and eggs – these are fairly simple and quite delicious.  If the milk chocolate bums you out, you should know that Rob (who doesn’t like milk chocolate) loved these.  Loved.  In fact, he won’t know until now (as he reads this) that they were made with milk chocolate.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take the buttering and flouring of the muffin pans seriously.  I was lazy.  As a result, I had many broken cakes and lots of pieces.  But no worries, I had plenty ofIMG_7123 pretty ones to photograph (and eat) and Rob has since used all the pieces in his chocolate sorbet (that I also made for Valentine’s Day).  He is normally left out of the cake and ice cream thing, so this was extra special for him.  Don’t save these for a holiday though.  They are not to hard to make and look impressive, even crumbled!

Enjoy –

warm double chocolate brownie cakes (from Food & Wine, 2009 by Emily Luchetti):

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons cake flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs (room temp if possible)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

vanilla ice cream…yum!  (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 8 cups in a standard size muffin pan.  So really butter and flour generously so they don’t stick!  Like mine.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add one-fifth (1 ounce) of the chopped chocolate, and mix until melted.  Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar with the whisk attachment (or with handheld beaters) at medium speed for about 5 minutes.  The mixture should be pale and thick.

Beat in the vanilla extract.  Remove from mixer and gently fold in chocolate/butter mixture leaving it striped with chocolate and not yet fully combined.

Fold in the flour and the remaining chopped chocolate and mix until just combined.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared muffin pans.  Bake for about 22 minutes but check often and before as usual.  You want to see the cakes rise, and a little springy to the touch.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.  Then gently turn them out onto a wire rack and let them cool 15 minutes longer.

Serve the cakes warm with ice cream (or chocolate sorbet!)  You can also reheat them later if you want to make them in advance.



pumpkin cupcakes

It was an impromptu gathering and I happen to have some chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer but as usual wanted a non-chocolate option.  It was 5:30 and friends were coming at 6:30 – so it had to be fast and easy.  Ina Garten to the rescue.  These were so easy, so yummy, and perfect for a chilly November night.  When asked for a little bite Chrissi said “No Karen you cannot have even one bite!  These are unbelievably good!”  They then argued which was better – the one with maple icing and heath bar crunchies or just plain with chocolate chips.  I happen to like them both – but the iced ones were so pretty and the heath bar added pizazz and fun.  Of course if you are concerned with nut allergies, skip it.  These would also be great with the addition of fresh cranberries.  Yowza – the sour pop of them combined with the sweet icing and crisp crunchies – well, my mouth is watering right now!

pumpkin spice cupcakes (from Ina Garten’s Foolproof Recipes):

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 extra large eggs (room temp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
chocolate chips if desired


1/2 cup coarsely chopped heath bars
6 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
pinch kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or brush top of a muffin pan (this will prevent tops from sticking) and then line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and the vegetable oil.

Add the dry to the wet and mix until just combined.

Add chocolate chips if you like at this point.  And then you can skip the icing.

Scoop the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 min – until a toothpick comes out just clean.

Cool completely.  Then spread with the icing (below) and top with the chopped heath bars.  Enjoy!

maple frosting

With the paddle attachment of your mixer (or hand held beaters) – cream the chream cheese, butter, syrup, vanilla and salt on medium speed until very smooth.  Turn the mixer to low – and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

pumpkin-banana bread (healthier)

This is good – a great seasonal bread and another alternative when you have some browning bananas hanging out on your counter.  When I read this recipe I thought I finally found something Greg would happily eat in the morning before school.  I made several different loaves – some with semisweet chocolate, some with milk, and some with white and pecans.  I thought white would be right up Greg’s alley and well, it was – except that he said, “the bread is too sweet and you know I don’t like nuts and oh, that ginger is strong.”  Rob, Sylvie, Andy and I also thought too sweet – esp the ones with milk and white chocolate but we really liked everything else.  And we all mangaged to eat it.  So back to the recipe I went – again, primarily to feed my lean son and added only half of the brown sugar and none of the white sugar and I skipped some of the spices that seemed to offend his ridiculously delicate senses.  I took out the pecans and well, he liked it!   A lot.  But just “not for breakfast!”  Oye.  Oh well… I liked it too – it is a great snacking cake and I would def add nuts if your family likes them.  I like the sweetness of milk and white (high quality!!) chips – but I do have that serious sweet tooth.  Rob of course like the semi sweet and would have preferred bittersweet. Play around with it – I’m thinking cranberries or dried cherries too.

Enjoy –

pumpkin-banana bread (original recipe from Sara-Jane bedwell  and here is the link.

2 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup all purpose, one cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt plus a pinch (kosher if you have)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (feel free to add some ginger and a little bit of nutmeg)
chocolate chips to your taste
pecans too if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray or butter an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans, or mini/reg muffin tins).
Mix together the mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, and eggs in a large bowl.  Or beat with an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (beat up the bananas first).
Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture and beat until just moist. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until done (toothpick comes out just clean)
My mini muffins took 18 minutes and my mini loaves took 33.  If using just one loaf pan I imagine you should check after 45 m – but will likely take close to an hour.  Just keep checking.
Hope you like!