I’m finally cooking more in my kitchen now that I have brand new cabinets installed. When we purchased our house only half of the kitchen had cabinets, while the other side was made for an “eat in kitchen”. I put two kitchen carts and an old cabinet in the space where they had the table. Food would get lost in the back of the “cabinet/pantry” while dog hair and dust hid in the depths of the kitchen carts. Thankfully, this setup is no longer there, and we have brand new shiny cabinets. We ordered cabinets to match the others we already had, and I am so happy I have my kitchen back. I’m also extremely fortunate to have a handy husband and father who installed these cabinets. I’ll post pictures soon of my new kitchen inspiration.
Back to cooking.
I made this cake for my parents anniversary when I cooked the Daube a la Provençale. Somehow, this extremely easy and tasty dessert was temporarily lost in my photos. As I went to post another recipe tonight I came across these photos. I couldn’t pass up not posting it. I don’t bake too often, but this was incredibly simple. Anyone can bake this, no matter their skill level. Thanks to Melissa d’Arabian from the Food Network for this easy, wallet friendly, recipe.
Orange Olive Oil Cake
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Juice and zest of 1 orange (about 3 tablespoons juice, 1 tablespoon zest)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Mix together the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended and light. Drizzle in the olive oil and vanilla and mix until light and smooth. Add the orange juice and zest and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another medium bowl. Add the flour mixture half at a time to the wet ingredients and mix on low just to incorporate. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool 15 minutes, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
Observations/Analysis: Cheap, Easy, Delicious. You might be concerned with the olive oil in a cake, but it only adds to the sweetness and moisture. I’ve had cake made with olive oil at restaurants and this comes very close. Plus, I love the subtle flavor of orange throughout the cake.
…Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake that is. This was my first attempt at a cheesecake, and I’ll have to say it was very tasty. This was a fabulous ending to our Christmas feast, and serves 16 people (unless some want seconds!). I was thrilled when the recipe said this dish could be made 5 days ahead of time. It was music to my ears during the busy holiday season. If I’m ever in need of an easy make ahead dessert, I’m turning to cheesecake!
This is me frantically taking a picture of the finished product while serving guests
Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake
- 1.5 cups walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 – 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
I never get the craving for specific types of ice cream. I love ALL types of ice cream equally. I can eat ice cream any time of year…any temperature. Crazy, I know. Recently, I saw a recipe for a butter pecan ice cream with caramelized bananas on top. Originally, I was going to only make the bananas for another dessert. However, the more I looked at the ice cream recipe, the more I wanted to make it (and eat it).
The recipe can be found HERE on The Food Network website. This also includes the recipe for the candied pecans and caramel bananas.
Observations: I didn’t make the ice cream in a bag like the recipe suggests. You can do it that way, but if you have an ice cream maker it is much easier. After you mix the ingredients with the candied pecans, put in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Then, put the mixture in the ice cream maker until it forms a thicker ice cream. You might need to freeze to let it set a little more. Also, I burnt the first batch of candied pecans and had to start over. Make sure you keep an eye on them…they can burn very fast.
Analysis: I would definitely make this again, but with minor changes. The bananas did not get as brown as I thought, but still tasted good. I might cook the sugar and butter longer before adding the bananas. Also, the ice cream seemed super sweet to me. Next time, I plan on adding a little less sweetened condensed milk.
My Grandma Flo ALWAYS baked when I was growing up. She is now 84 and still tries to bake when she can. With severe arthritis in her shoulders, baking can be difficult. Periodically, I will put her recipes on here to pay homage to her. Her zucchini bread is extremely easy, but full of flavor and super moist. Her secret is adding crushed pineapple. My addition to the dish…chocolate chips! The nice thing about quick breads is that you can add/omit what you like/don’t like. I happen to love chocolate, so in go the chocolate chips! Also, a huge thank you to Grandma Murphy for the GIANT zucchinis she gave me that inspired me to bake this. Continue reading