Friday, May 24, 2013

"Chaotic" Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake

Somehow, I always thought that when I was finished with college, my life would become an endless droning-on of days that are mostly spent working, working, and working some more. Yet, here I sit, in the few spare hours that I've had all week, wondering where the past 7 1/2 months went.

I'm the type of person that constantly stays busy. If I have more than two consecutive days to myself, I start getting really cranky, and looking for more to do (which usually results in me over-commiting to even more than I could do in the first place, thus making my schedule even more of a chaotic nightmare).

One might think that a hectic schedule isn't worth all of the stress. And yet, I'm so incredibly grateful for my crazy life. I am certain that if it weren't for work, the insane amount of hours spent coaching the colorguard from my High School alma mater, random church praise band rehearsals, hangouts with friends and family, and continuing my Flouretta Sweet cake business, I wouldn't be sane (does that make any sense?).

You see, I've been over-involved my entire life. That's how I function, and that's when I do the best work and become the most outgoing.

So naturally, there had to be coffee cake.
You know, on my one extra day off, sandwiched right before running to visit my grandmother and endless errands; that's when it had to happen.

And it was soooooo good. 
A moment of bliss amongst all of the chaos. 
One of those "put this in my back pocket for my future bakery" recipes. 
That's this one.

So who cares if you've got 80 million things to do today. Make it 80million and ONE, and make some tangy, nutty, in-season, fresh-baked deliciousness.

Find your bliss :))


Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake
Adapted from The Inquiring Chef & Bon Appetit Magazine

Crumb Topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup slivered almonds; lightly toasted 
  • 6 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Coffee Cake Batter:
  • 1½ cups AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  1. To make the crumb topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in toasted almonds. Add butter; using a fork, work butter into dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form, and all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. A 9x9 square baking pan will also work for this recipe.
  3. To make the cake, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  4. Place ¾ cup of the sugar and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Add vanilla and almond extract. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy.
  5. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. 
  6. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Whisk remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter over and smooth top.
  7. Sprinkle raspberries evenly over batter, followed by crumb topping. 
  8. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
  9. Store in airtight container at room temperature, and enjoy until it's gone!


I hope you enjoy this stellar springtime recipe (and don't forget, it's great with any fruit and nut combo you can dream up!).

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Honey & Molasses Cookies

I'm always in search of the best possible version of a recipe. 

If it isn't just how I want it, I tweak it or continue my search until confection perfection is achieved... and in this case, I got it right on the first try. 

Molasses cookies are a beautiful way to feature a flavor that might otherwise seem too strong or overpowering. Personally, I love things that are "neutral" flavored (caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, etc). 
The pungent molasses flavor in these cookies is nicely offset by the sweet overtones of the added honey (I used some local raw honey that I snatched up at a farmer's market in Rhinebeck, NY). Once I ate one, it was hard to keep myself from eating 2... or 6 more. 

I think I will try steeping in some chai tea next time ;)
For now though, life just seemed to call for something simple and satisfying.

Honey & Molasses Cookies

Makes 2 dozen medium-sized cookies


3/4 c   butter, slightly softened
1 c      brown sugar
1 ea    egg
.5 c     molasses
1/8 c   honey
1.5 c   whole wheat flour
1 c      All Purpose flour
2 tsp.  baking soda
1 tsp.  cinnamon
.5 tsp. salt
.5 tsp. nutmeg
.5 tsp. ginger

1/2 c granulated sugar for rolling


1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl occasionally. 
2. Once the butter is creamed, add the egg, molasses, and honey and mix until combined. The mixture might look slightly curdled, but this is ok! Don't worry!
3. With the mixer turned off, add all of your flour at once. Pulse the mixer several times to incorporate the flour into the molasses mixture, and to ensure that your kitchen doesn't become covered in flour!
4. Mix for about 30 seconds, or until the cookie dough comes together.
5. At this point, you may chill the dough for a few hours, or overnight if you wish. However, if you are like me and cannot possibly wait, it's ok to scoop your dough now!
6. To prepare the dough for baking, round a tablespoon-sized scoop of dough into a ball, and then roll in the granulated sugar. Placed on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from the other cookies. There's no need to flatten the dough, they will spread perfectly!
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies appear cracked and set. 
8. Enjoy the molasses goodness <3

Throw these puppies in the oven,
and sit back and relax as your kitchen becomes a spice-scented corner of heaven!


[Where has Blayre been lately???]

It seems that I have done it yet again...

You know, that thing where you get really really wrapped up in your life, and then suddenly two months have passed?

Yeah, that was me. 

I guess I do have something to show for it though. How about a new job? [Check.] That happened. And now all I do ALL DAY is decorate cakes!

Finally loving my job and enjoying the company of my coworkers is certainly something new for me. Plus, I'm learning a ton, and improving my skills every day. This experience is teaching me that I don't need to be working for a major hotel or a famous New York City restaurant to get valuable experience. I just need to surround myself with people who are passionate about the same things as me!

Speaking of cake decorating...

I finally got to enter a cake competition! I spent the week between my old and new jobs working hard on a Jim Shore-inspired cake for Winter Wonderland-themed competition.

I proved to myself that I could transform the vision in my head into a work of art.

Although I really didn't expect anything to come of my entry, I ended up placing in every category and winning best overall!

It was a fulfilling moment for sure :)

So now that life seems to be somewhat back on track, hopefully the blogging will follow...

Here's to my less hectic schedule, and all of the good food to come!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)