All posts by Tessa Huff

Tessa Huff is a Vancouver-based recipe developer, photographer, and creator of Style Sweet CA (http://www.stylesweetca.com/) —a cake and pastry blog for the home baker. Her first book, “Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1617691887/) ” hits shelves on April 19th.

How to Make The Perfect Banana Bread Every Time (Plus Freezing Tips and a Recipe!)

Bananas gone brown? Make banana bread! This recipe is guaranteed to stay moist and tender from the use of sour cream and gets a crunchy, crackly top from a combination of granulated and turbinado sugar. Customize your bread by folding in chopped nuts, chocolate chips or both. But first! Some tips on how to make the perfect banana bread every time.

How to Make the Perfect Banana Bread

• Use overripe bananas. We are talking dark, heavily spotted ones. Overripe bananas are responsible for both sweetness and overall flavour. If you want to speed up the process, place bananas in a paper bag along with an apple (or another fruit that emits ethylene).

• Need banana bread now? Bake unpeeled bananas on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet at 300°F until their peels turn black.

• Do not over-mix the batter. After the flour has been mixed in, it is OK if the batter is not completely smooth. Folding in the bananas and other add-ins will help keep from over-mixing as well.

Related: These Muffin Recipes Will Turn You Into a Baking Person

• Add some crunch! Without any add-ins, the texture can be a bit monotonous. If you don’t want to add in nuts, make sure to sprinkle the batter with sugar. Once baked, the sugar on top creates a nice, crackly crunch. And if you are adding nuts, it’s a good idea to toast them before folding into the batter with the bananas.

• Sour cream is the preferred dairy; the fat provides plenty of moisture and the acidity keeps the bread nice and tender. Don’t have sour cream? Try using full-fat, plain Greek yogurt or buttermilk.

• Freeze banana bread (full loaf or slices) in a double-layer of plastic wrap before being placed in a large, resealable bag for up to three months. Make sure the banana bread has completely cooled before freezing.

The Perfect Banana Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 60 to 70 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola or grapeseed oil
½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (about 3 to 4 overripe bananas)
Turbinado or raw sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer), mix together the oil, sugars and eggs until smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.

4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture. Stop mixing before the last streaks of flour disappear in the batter. Do not over-mix – it is OK if the batter isn’t completely smooth. Fold in the mashed bananas until combined.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with granulated and turbinado sugar (about a tsp or two of each), if desired.

6. Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs. Do no overbake.

7. Allow the banana bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Need more baking recipes in your life? Try these fudgy, gluten-free sweet potato brownies or perfect lemon meringue cupcakes.

Savour All the Bright Flavours of Spring With These Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars

Celebrate the fresh flavours of spring with this simple, very adaptable recipe. Add your favourite chopped nuts for some crunch and swap in different fresh fruit depending on what is available. And with a dough that doubles as a crust and crumble topping, these pie bars come together in no time. No matter how you slice it, these sweet and slightly tart fruit bars are the perfect everyday treat.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 to 55 minutes
Servings: 9 bars

Ingredients:

Filling
1 ¼ cup rhubarb, diced small
1 ¼ cup strawberries, diced small
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Dough
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the dough’s first three ingredients: butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.

4. Place about 2/3 of the dough in the pan. Press the dough into the pan using your fingertips or the flat bottom of a measuring cup. Set aside.

Related: 45 Fresh and Beautiful Rhubarb Recipes

5. Drain off most of the juice from the fruit mixture. Add in the other Tbsp of brown sugar, as well as the cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Toss to combine. Pour the fruit mixture on top of the crust and spread evenly.

6. Mix the reserved dough with the nuts (if using) and sprinkle over the top of the fruit. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until slightly browned on top and the juices around the edges of pan bubble.

7. Cool the bars completely before slicing.

Craving more sweet treats? Check out The Pioneer Woman’s most popular cake and pie recipes and these perfect lemon meringue cupcakes.

These Perfect Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Are Everything We Need Right Now

Searching for a fun springtime dessert to brighten up your kitchen and baking repertoire? Look no further. This recipe perfectly pairs all of our favourite flavours of lemon meringue pie, alongside fluffy vanilla cupcakes. Filled with tangy lemon curd and topped with pillow-soft toasted meringue clouds, these cupcakes are bursting with flavour and charm. Gently toasting the meringue is not only a cool kitchen trick, but the caramelized sugar and crisp exterior offers another layer of flavour and texture.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 24 minutes
Resting Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4-5 hours
Servings: 12 to 14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd
3 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced

Cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Meringue
3 large egg whites (reserved from making the lemon curd)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Related: These Matcha and White Chocolate Oat Muffins Will Help Makeover Your Breakfast Routine

Directions:

Lemon Curd
1. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth.

2. Cook, while slowly stirring consistently with a heat-safe spatula, over medium heat until the curd thickens (7 to 10 minutes) and coats the back of a spoon.

3. Strain the curd into a heat-safe container with a mesh sieve. Stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until smooth.

4. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the curd. Refrigerate the lemon curd until it completely cools and thickens (at least 3 hours) before using.

Related: Irresistible Peanut Butter Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

Cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. Into an electric mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment (or a bowl with a hand mixer), massage the sugar and lemon zest together between your fingertips until very fragrant. Add the butter and mix on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

5. With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients until combined. Add in the buttermilk and lemon juice and mix until absorbed. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

6. Fill the cupcake liners no more than 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 to 24 minutes in the middle rack or until a toothpick inserted into the centres comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack before assembling.

Meringue
1. Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Briefly whisk them together by hand until just combined.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring an inch or two of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the stand mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the mixture, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.

3. Carefully place the bowl back on the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed until glossy, medium-stiff peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Assembly
1. Use a paring knife or apple corer to remove the centres of the cooled cupcakes. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon curd into the centre of each cupcake.

2. Top the cupcakes with a large dollop of meringue and gently toast with a kitchen torch.

Serve cupcakes immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Love citrus flavours? Check out these 36 luscious lemon desserts for spring or Anna Olson’s top lemon desserts.

These Banoffee Tartlets = Our New Favourite Spring Baking Project

Inspired by the classic banana and toffee-filled pie, these banoffee tartlets combine all of our favourite flavours into individual desserts. Plunge your spoon past the fluffy whipped cream and through the ripe bananas and chewy toffee before shattering the crisp yet buttery crust on the bottom. Each bite is full of brown sugary goodness and tons of fresh banana. We would never pass up a slice of the classic variation, but these single-serving individual tartlets get us all the more excited for spring baking at home.

Related: These Banana Bread Recipes Will Provide All The Comfort You Need

How to Make Banoffee Tartlets


Bake Time:
25 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Serves: 7 to 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or equivalent all-purpose flour)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp salt
9 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp cold water

Toffee
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch salt

Assembly
4 ripe bananas
Sweetened whipped cream for topping (about 2 cups)

Related: The Most Brilliant Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

Directions:

Crust
1. Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter, a pair of forks, or your fingers to cut it into the flour mixture. The mixture should look sandy and the butter pieces the size of peas.

2. Stir together the egg yolk and water. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be rather shaggy at first, but should stick together when given a tight squeeze.

Related: 50 Best Muffin Recipes That Will Make You Love Baking

3. Gently gather the dough and divide evenly into 7 or 8 portions (depending on the size of your tart pans).

4. Press each portion into sides and bottoms of the tart pans. Use the flat bottom of a small measuring cup to press in the corners and flatten out the bottoms until smooth. Trim the tops of the tart shells by running a paring knife around the top edge of the tart pans. Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, pre-heat then oven to 375°F. Once chilled, line the tart shells with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights (dry beans or uncooked rice will also do). Place the filled tart shells on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the parchment/foil and pie weights. Return the tart shells to the oven and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and the bottoms are dry to the touch. Cool completely before filling.

Related: Delightfully Easy Easter Desserts That You Can Enjoy All Spring

Toffee
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and cream. While whisking continuously, bring to a slow boil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the toffee coats the back of a spoon.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Pour the toffee into a heat-safe container or glass jar, then chill in the refrigerator to cool and thicken slightly (don’t let the toffee completely set or it will be difficult to pour into the tart shells).

Related: Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

Assembly
1. Once the tart shells and toffee have cooled, evenly distribute the toffee into the shells (leaving at least ¼ inch gap from the top). Slice the bananas into ¼ to ½ inch coins and place on top of the toffee filling. Top the banana slices with whipped cream.

2. Serve immediately.

3. Tart shells may be baked and cooled in advance. Leftover may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but they are best consumed on the day of assembly.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

For more inspiration, try our most popular cookie recipes of all time and crave-worthy carrot cake recipes.

These Christmas Cookie Trees Are the Prettier (And Easier!) Version of a Gingerbread House

Stacked anywhere from four to 14 cookies high, these Christmas Gingerbread Trees are festive and fun. Their 3D shape allows them to stand tall on any dessert table, or could be used to decorate individual place settings at your holiday feast. Much quicker and way less complicated that assembling an entire gingerbread house, these cookie trees come together rather easily during this busy time of year. Featuring homemade gingerbread cookies, the festive treats taste just as good as they look, too!

Gingerbread Christmas Cookie Trees

Bake Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 2 dozen, 4 to 5 cookies per tree (depending on size)

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 to 2 Tbsp water

Royal Icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ Tbsp meringue powder
3 Tbsp water, plus more to thin
1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

Gingerbread Cookies
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and all of the spices together. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and brown sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the corn syrup and molasses and mix until combined.

3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two additions. Mix until combined. If the dough seems dry, add in the water and mix until the dough comes together to form a ball.

4. Gather the dough and form into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until it is soft enough to roll out (5 to 10 minutes). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats. Set aside.

6. Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour. Roll out the dough until about ¼-inch thick and cut out with various sizes of star cookies cutters.

7. Baked the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges turn slightly golden. Repeat with the remaining dough.

8. Completely cool the cookies on a wire rack before decorating.

Royal Icing

1. Place the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gently stir to combine. Add the water and mix on medium-low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to mix until stiff peaks form, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the corn syrup and vanilla or lemon (if using) and mix to combine. If the icing is still rather thick and clumps together, add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time), until the icing holds stiff peaks.

Assembly
1. Thin the royal icing with water until the desired consistency is reached (for piping, it should resemble the same consistency as toothpaste). Decorate the tops of the cookies, as desired.

2. While the icing is still wet, build the Christmas Gingerbread Trees by stacking the smaller stars on top of the larger stars. Use a dab of icing in-between cookies to secure as needed. Attach a small star to the tops of each tree.

For more holiday baking inspiration, these watercolour snowflake sugar cookies are here to dazzle, along with our top 100 holiday cookie and square recipes (bring on the sugar rush!).

How to Make Glistening Watercolour Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Are you ready for the holiday season? We sure are, and these watercolour snowflake sugar cookies are bringing the shine and shimmer for a dose of festive magic. Whether served at a cookie exchange or dessert buffet, the elegant treat’s marble-like icing and glistening edges are unique, while still being incredibly delicious. The best part? Just like a snowflake, each cookie design is quite literally one-of-a-kind. To simplify the recipe you can also skip the glitter; the watercolour effect is sufficiently stunning on its own.

Watercolour Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Bake Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 to 6 hours

Ingredients:

1 recipe sugar cookies – cut and baked into snowflakes
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp meringue powder
6 Tbsp water, plus more to thin
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice (optional)
gel food colouring
sanding sugar, sprinkles, or sugar pearls (optional)


Directions:

Icing
1. Place the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gently stir to combine. Add the water and mix on medium-low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to mix until stiff peaks form, 7 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the corn syrup and vanilla or lemon (if using) and mix to combine. If the icing is still rather thick and clumps together, add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time), until the icing holds stiff peaks. Use immediately, or cover by pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the icing.

Decorating
1. Split the icing in half. Place half in a mixing bowl and cover the remaining icing tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside.

2. Thin the icing in the mixing bowl with water, a tablespoon or two at a time. Mix the icing and water together until smooth and the icing becomes a consistency that is slightly thicker than honey. It should be fairly thin, but still thick enough to cling to the cookies. More water may be added as needed if the icing does not settle smoothly on the cookies.

3. Dip a toothpick (or the tip of a knife) into the gel food colouring, then swirl the colour on top of the thinned icing. You may mix multiple colours together, if desired.

4. Dip the entire top of a snowflake cookie into the surface of the icing. Give the cookie a small twist, then lift. Gently shake the cookie to allow some of the excess icing to fall back into the bowl. Turn the cookie right-side-up and place on a piece of parchment paper or wire cooling rack. Gently tap the bottom of the cookie to release any air bubbles and/or to help the icing settle. Allow the icing to completely dry, at least 4 hours.

5. Continue with the remaining cookies, adding more swirls of food colouring as needed. The more you dip and swirl, the more the colours will blend together.

6. To add the sprinkle border, thin reserved icing with water until it is the consistency of toothpaste. Place sanding sugar or sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Fill a piping bag (or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off) with the icing and pipe around the edges of the dried watercolour cookies. Flip and dip the cookie upside down into the bowl of sprinkles. Gently press so that the sprinkles stick to the icing. Allow the cookies to dry right-side-up. Note that it is important for the watercolour icing to be completely dried first, or the sprinkles will stick to the surface of the cookie.

7. Once dried, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or so.

For more show-stopping holiday baking recipes, make these stunning stained glass sugar cookies or try your hand at these double-decker chocolate cherry snickerdoodles!

Stained-Glass-Cookies-on-plate

These Stained Glass Cookies Will Bring the Sparkle to Your Cookie Swap

These stained glass sugar cookies will literally sparkle and shine at your holiday cookies exchange. Made from your favourite sugar cookie dough and a handful of hard candies, these festive treats look just like stained glass! No need to spend hours making icing or decorating cookies – the magic here happens while the cookies are baking. We like punching polka dots out of classic Christmas tree cookies using a piping tip (genius, right?) to create jewel-toned ornaments, but feel free to use whatever cookie cutters and shapes you have on hand and get creative with your cut-outs.

hand-holding-stained-glass-cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 120 minutes
Makes: About 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 recipe sugar cookie dough
1 198 g bag hard candies (like Jolly Ranchers)

Directions:
1. Prepare the cookie dough as directed. Divide the dough in half, shape into disks, and cover in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2. When ready, roll out one half of the cookie dough at a time to about ¼-inch thick on a lightly flour-dusted work surface. Using a decorative cookie cutter, cut out shapes of dough.

3. Transfer the cookies to a parchment lined baking pan, spaced about an inch apart. Use a smaller cutter or the end of a round piping tip to punch out holes. Chill the cookies (on the baking pan) for at least 30 minutes.

filling-stained-glass-cookies-with-candy

4. Stack the cookie dough scraps and cut-outs and re-roll. Repeat with the remaining dough. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.

5. Grind the hard candies into a powder using a food processor, one color at a time. The powder will begin to clump and harden if left out, so use immediately.

6. Using a small spoon, carefully fill the holes of the cookies with different colors of ground candy. Fill the holes completely. Try to prevent the candy from spilling onto the surface of the cookie. Brush away any excess candy.

stained-glass-cookies-on-tray

7. Bake the cookies in the pre-heated oven for 9 to 12 minutes. If at 9 minutes the candy-filled holes seem thin, very carefully spoon in a little bit more candy and continue to bake just until melted.

8. When done, place the baking sheet on a wire rack. Allow cookies to completely cool before carefully removing the cookies with a metal or rubber spatula. The melted candy will be very hot. Please take caution and do not touch until cookies have cooled.

9. Store cooled cookies in an air-tight container.

Stained-Glass-sugar-Cookies-on-plate

Looking for more sweet inspiration? Try our Best Classic  Christmas Cookie Recipes.

Candy-Filled Pumpkin Pail Cake for Halloween

Bursting with colourful candy and pumpkin spice, this charming Jack O’Lantern cake is the ultimate Halloween dessert. A little less spooky and a lot more whimsy, celebrate the haunting holiday with treats instead of the creepy crawlies. Made from two Bundt cakes sandwiched together to create the pumpkin shape, even the inside has a candy surprise! The pumpkin spice cake is the perfect seasonal flavour, but feel free to fill and top the cake with whatever candies you’d like.

Jack-O-Lantern-Cake

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours
Serves: 14 to 18

Bundt Cakes:

Note: To create the pumpkin design, two cakes will be needed. Repeat recipe for each bundt cake.

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring up, whisk together the vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars and oil with an electric mixer. Add in the eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, slowly stream in the milk mixture. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack until it is safe to handle before inverting the cake out of the pan. Allow the cake to completely cool, about 1 hour, before assembly.

JackOLanternCake-candy-filled

Vanilla Spice Frosting

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 to 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
3 to 5 Tbsp milk
Orange food colouring

Directions:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk until combined.
2. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add more sugar and/or milk until desired consistency is reached. Add the orange food colouring until desired shade is achieved.

Assembly
Ingredients:
1 cup assorted chocolate candies
Whole candy bars and lollipops for decoration
2 oz black fondant

Jack O Lantern Cake

Directions:
1. Once the cakes have completely cooled, turn upside down and trim the bottoms so that they are flat. Reserve the cake scraps for later.
JackOLanternCake-cut
2. Stack the cakes on top of each other. Using a serrated knife, begin carving the cakes until they resemble the shape of a pumpkin. Depending on the initial shape from whatever pan you are using, be sure to trim so that the gap between the 2 cakes is fairly seamless. If desired, go back and define the ridges on top by cutting grooves into the cake to resemble that of a pumpkin. Most importantly, save the cake scraps.
Jack O Lantern Cake
3. Once trimmed, separate the 2 cakes. Place the bottom cake on a serving dish or cake board. Press the cake scraps into the hole to create a bottom layer about 1-inch thick. Fill the center with chocolate candies.
JackOLanternCake-frosting
4. Spread on a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake. Place the second cake on top to form the pumpkin. Continue to fill the center with candy. Press the remaining cakes scraps to cover the top of the hole. Crumb coat the entire cake with frosting before giving it a smooth finish.
Jack O Lantern Cake
5. Roll out the black fondant to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Using a parking knife and round cutters (or the large end of a piping tip), cut out eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Stick the cut pieces on the cake to form the Jack O’Lantern. Cover the top with an assortment of candy and enjoy!
Jack O Lantern Cake

Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake is the Fall Dessert to Make This Season

Just when you thought you’d heard of all the pumpkin spice desserts out there, let us introduce you to this Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake. Anything baked in a sheet pan is already party-ready, but top it with silky ganache and fluffy, marshmallow-like frosting and it’s definitely a celebration. Dotted with chocolate chips and punctuated with show-stopping toasted meringue, this recipe is sure to impress this fall.

Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake

Bake Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16

Ingredients:

Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp pumpkin spice
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
6 ounce bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 ounces heavy cream

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
3 large eggs whites
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin spice and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until pale in colour. Mixing on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom of the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the flour mixture. Stream in the melted butter and mix until combined. Add in the remaining flour and mix until just barely incorporated. Add in the pumpkin and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Tip the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool completely before spreading the top with the Chocolate Ganache Frosting. Allow the ganache to set (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) before topping with the Marshmallow Meringue Frosting. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to make swirls and peaks with the meringue. Gently toast the meringue with a culinary torch.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a heat-safe bowl.
2.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer. 

3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 30 to 60 seconds, then whisk until smooth.
4. Allow ganache to thicken before using (at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or 20 minutes in the refrigerator, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes).

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir to gently combine. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixer bowl on top to create a double-boiler.  Stirring intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it is 160°f on a candy thermometer.

2. Once the egg whites are hot, carefully move the bowl back to the stand mixer. Whip on high speed with the whisk attachment until the meringue holds medium-stiff peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
3. Spread the meringue on top of the ganache, being careful not to disturb or mix in the chocolate layer underneath. Lightly toast the meringue with a culinary torch.

We’ve got plenty more pumpkin-spiced desserts to make you drool. Start with these 40 perfect pumpkin treats, before exploring these healthy (and genius) recipe hacks using a can of pumpkin and 20 pumpkin pie recipes (if the classic fall dessert is your thing).

Lemon-Meringue-Cake-feature-image

This Lemon Meringue Cake is Just Like the Pie, Only Better

Step into spring with a sunny citrus dessert! Lemon pie lovers will delight in the light and fluffy lemon cake layers, made even better thanks to the cake’s tangy lemon curd filling.

In case your mouth wasn’t watering already, the entire confection is swirled and smothered with cloud-like meringue frosting. Fresh slices of nearly neon-hued citrus fruit become simple, natural embellishments for this cheerful cake. Each light bite is literally bursting with flavour, making it an extra special treat for a Mother’s Day brunch, an extra special tea or a spring birthday treat.

Lemon-Meringue-Cake-sliced

Lemon Meringue Cake

Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Serves: 12 to 16

Ingredients:
2 Batches of Lemon Curd (reserve egg whites for meringue)

Cake:
1½ cups granulated sugar
Zest of two lemons
2½ cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Meringue:
6 large egg whites (reserved from making Lemon Curd)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Assembly:
Assorted citrus fruit for garnish

whole-Lemon-Meringue-Cake

Directions:
Lemon Curd:
1. Prepare a double-batch of Lemon Curd and allow to thicken for at least 4 hours or overnight. Save the egg whites for the meringue.

Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the sugar and lemon zest. Rub them together with your fingertips until fragrant. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl with the lemon sugar. Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients on low speed until just combined. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until evenly distributed. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and about half of the milk, and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs into the remaining milk mixture and stir to combine. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture in three additions, mixing for about 15 seconds after each addition and stopping the mixer between additions to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
4. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.
Notes: To keep the cake batter from getting too lumpy, add the liquid ingredients slowly and take care to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl often. Do not be tempted to over-mix if a few lumps remain in the batter before baking.

slice-Lemon-Meringue-Cake

Meringue:
1. Put the reserved egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Briefly whisk them together by hand until just combined. In a medium saucepan, bring an inch or two of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the mixture, whisking occasionally, until it registers 160°F on a candy thermometer.
2. Carefully place the bowl back on the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed until glossy, medium-stiff peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Assembly:
1. Place one layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip with a portion of the meringue. Pipe a ring of meringue around the top edge of the cake. Fill the centre of the meringue “dam” with half of the lemon curd. Place the second layer of cake on top and repeat. Place the final layer cake, bottom-side-up, on the top. Fill in any gaps between the layers of cake with the meringue right away to keep the curd from escaping.
2. Frost the cake with the remaining meringue. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to give it a rustic, swirly finish.
3. Cut away the skin/pith of the citrus fruit and slice into rounds (about ¼-inch thick). Place the fruit slices on top the cake and serve. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Looking for more spring sweets inspiration? Try these 50 Stunning Mother’s Day Desserts.

How to Make a Dreamy Mirror Glaze Cake

Ever wonder how to make a mirror glaze cake at home? This show-stopping masterpiece is made doable with some gelatin, chocolate and a range of contrasting colours, so you can cover nearly any cake in this gorgeous coating. The trendy technique may appear tricky to pull off at home, but carefully following these six steps and being mindful of key temperatures will lead you to a shimmering, galaxy-like cake glaze in no time! Just image this pretty pastel version at your Easter feast or springtime tea party.

How to Mirror Glaze Any Cake 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Glaze Setting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (plus 2 hours for chilling baked cake)
Makes: Glaze for 1, 8- to 9-inch cake
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

1 filled and smoothly frosted 8- or 9-inch cake
3 envelopes powdered gelatine
1 cup water, divided
1½ cups granulated sugar
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Gel food colouring in 3 to 4 contrasting colours

Directions:

1. Place the smoothly frosted cake in the freezer until very cold and firm, at least 2 hours. Meanwhile, set up your glazing station by placing a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Set aside.

2. Sprinkle the gelatine into a small bowl and stir in half of the water, ½ cup. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes for gelatin to bloom. Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ½ cup water, sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture is hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatine until it melts.

3. Place the chopped white chocolate in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the milk and gelatine mixture over the top of the chocolate. Gently stir until the chocolate melts. Use an immersion blender to make sure the mixture is completely smooth. Keep the device submerged in the glaze to prevent air bubbles. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan using a fine-mesh sieve to make sure the glaze is smooth and to remove any air bubbles.

4. Divide the mixture into 3 to 4 bowls. Add a few drops of different gel food colouring to each and gently stir until the desired colours are achieved. There is no need to divided the colours evenly – create a larger base colour with a few smaller portions of accent colours.

5. Add the base colour to a spouted cup or large measuring cup. Pour in the remaining colours and gently stir a little (stirring too much will muddle the colours together). Allow the mirror glaze to cool to 95°F when tested with a candy thermometre – pouring the glaze at the correct temperature is crucial to the cake’s success. If the glaze drops below 95°F, gently reheat in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, and stir until the correct temperature.

6. As the glaze cools, place the chilled cake on the wire rack. Once the glaze hits 95°F, pour it over the top of the prepared cake. Starting in the centre, swirl the glaze around the cake. Make sure the glaze pours over each side of the cake as well. Immediately pop any obvious air bubbles with a toothpick. Allow the glaze to set for about 20 minutes before serving (the chilled cake with help the glaze set quickly). Cut the cake with a sharp knife and clean it between slices, and then serve.

Notes:

  • To prevent air bubbles, do not whisk or stir the glaze too vigorously.
  • Make sure to properly chill the cake ahead of time.
  • Frost the cake as smoothly as possible with buttercream or ganache.
  • Pour the glaze at a precise 95°F.

For more artfully prepared slices, bake up one of Our 40 Most Spectacular Layer Cakes.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

A Stunning, Make-Ahead Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Eggnog Glaze

When it comes time to celebrate, we know that you’ll love this show-stopping Christmas dessert. As we head into a season full of guests, gatherings and last-minute dinner parties, you’ll definitely need an easy, back-pocket dessert recipe that can be dressed up in an instant – and this gingerbread cake does the trick! An eggnog glaze compliments the festive season while not overpowering the gingerbread spices in the cake. And for a final flourish, add a trim of rosemary, glittery cranberries and fresh flowers, or just let the simple beauty of this intricate Bundt cake shine on its own. Not only does this gingerbread spice cake perfume the entire kitchen, it stays extremely moist for several days, so it’s perfect for baking in advance.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Eggnog Glaze

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 10 to 14

Ingredients:
Gingerbread Bundt Cake
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground dried ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fancy molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk

Eggnog Glaze
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp store-bought eggnog
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or bourbon
pinch, ground nutmeg

Assembly
Sugared cranberries, optional
Fresh rosemary sprigs, optional
Fresh flowers, optional

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Directions:
Gingerbread Bundt Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan with butter and coat with a thin layer of flour. Set aside.
2. For the dry ingredients, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl and hand mixer), add the butter and mix on medium speed for a couple of minutes until smooth. Add the sugar and fresh ginger. Mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes.
4. With the mixer on low, add in the oil, then the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, molasses and honey and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. With the mixer on low, add half of the reserved dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Next, stream in the buttermilk and mix until combined. Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of flour are combined, or until smooth.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the bottom of the pan on the countertop a couple times to release any air pockets. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the batter begins to rise too high, place a baking sheet in the bottom of the pan to catch any drips.
7. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently slide a flexible rubber spatula around the rim of the cake, but resist sliding it too far down or it may damage the sides of the cake. Place a large cutting board or cooling rack on top of the cake. Using oven mitts, hold the cake pan and cutting board together. Carefully invert everything and remove the pan. Cool completely. Do not allow the cake to completely cool in the pan or it may get stuck. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Eggnog Glaze
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and butter with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gradually stir in the icing sugar and mix until incorporated.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

2. Add the eggnog, vanilla and nutmeg, and then stir until smooth. The glaze should be rather thick but still able to drip slowly off of a spoon; add more eggnog, as needed, until it does.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Assembly
1. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Decorate with sugared cranberries, rosemary, fresh flowers or as desired. Slice and serve.

Keep the holiday baking momentum going strong with these incredible cookie recipes from Anna Olson.

Pom-Pom-Wreath-Cake-cut

The Prettiest Pom-Pom Wreath Cake to Dress up Your Christmas Table

A flirty, festive cake for the holidays that’s sure to be the star of the dessert table! Starting with a spiced gingerbread cake with creamy eggnog frosting, this show-stopper comes together easily and just in time for your holiday celebration. A splash of colour and a few piping tips turn simple icing into a festive wreath around the top of the cake. Feel free use the colours of your choice to match your party décor!

Pom-Pom-Wreath-Cake-wholejpg

Gingerbread Pom-Pom Wreath Cake Recipe

Bake Time: 22 to 26 minutes
Total Time: 90 to 120 minutes
Serves: 12 to 16

Ingredients:
Gingerbread Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp all-spice
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp finely grated ginger
4 large eggs
3 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
¾ cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk

Eggnog Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp eggnog
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

Vanilla Decorating Icing:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Gel food colouring

Pom-Pom-Wreath-Cake-slice

Directions:
Gingerbread Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and all-spice. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand), beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and ginger and continue to mix for 2 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add in the oil and molasses and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
4. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Stream in the buttermilk and mix until it is absorbed into the mixture. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Mix on medium for no longer than 30-seconds or until smooth.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Pom-Pom-Wreath-icing

Eggnog Frosting:
1. Using an electric mixer (stand or hand), beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add in 5 cups of the sugar and the remaining ingredients. Once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture is too soft to spread, add in the additional amount of sugar until the desired consistency.

Vanilla Decorating Icing:
1. Using an electric mixer (stand or hand), beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add in 3 cups of the sugar and the remaining ingredients. Once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture is too soft to pipe, add in the additional amount of sugar until the desired consistency.

Pom-Pom-Wreath-piping

To Assemble:
1. Place one layer of cake on a cake board or serving plate. Dollop on about 1 cup of the eggnog frosting and spread until smooth. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat. Crumb coat the cake in a thin layer of eggnog frosting and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Once chilled, continue to smoothly frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
2. To decorate the cake, divided the vanilla decorating icing into three bowls. Tint the frosting with gel food colouring. For depth, pipe a ring of icing around the top edge of the cake using a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Fill three piping bags fitted with star tips (various or those of the same size) with the tinted icing. Pipe “pom-poms” around the top of the cake to create a wreath. Starting with the large piping tip, angle the pom-poms on top and on the sides of the ring of icing. Fill in the gaps and layer on colour and texture with the remaining icing. To pipe, apply pressure to the piping bag until a small bulb of icing forms, stop the pressure, and then pull the bag away from the cake. Add tiny sugar pearl sprinkles, if desired.

PomPom-Wreath

Looking for more inspiration? Try our Show-Stopping Holiday Desserts.

chocolate-cherry

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Cookies are Twice the Fun

Why make one flavour of cookie when you make two?! Crafting two different cookie doughs might seem excessive, but when it comes to holiday cookies, the more the merrier! Here we paired a cinnamon-spiced chocolate snickerdoodle together with an almond cherry chip cookie for a festive flavour palette that is sure to impress. A drizzle of melted chocolate and holiday sprinkles make them cookie-exchange ready.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-sprinkles

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes: 24 to 28 cookies
Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1 cup + 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Chip Dough:
½ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
splash almond extract
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup dried cherries

Assembly:
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Melted dark chocolate
Sprinkles

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-chocolate-drizzle

Directions: 
Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1. Place the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the second dough.

Cherry Chip Dough:
1. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and mix until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries until combined.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-plate

Assembly:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the ¼ cup granulated sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Swirl to combine.
3. Scoop out 1 tablespoon-size balls of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixer and roll around until coated.
4. Place the coated dough ball on a lined baking sheet. Press the back of a tablespoon into the center of the dough ball to create a small indentation (like when creating thumb-print cookies).
5. Scoop out ½ teaspoon-size balls of the cherry chip dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the well of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough. Gently press both doughs down together until they are flush with each other.
6. Continue with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set. Cool the cookies on a wire rack before decorating.
8. To decorate, fill a piping bag, parchment cone, or zip-top bag with the melted chocolate. Snip the end to create a small opening, and drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles before the chocolate dries.

Looking for more treats? Try Anna Olson’s Best Cookie Recipes.

Show-Stopping Christmas Cupcake Wreath

Want to turn heads at your next holiday party or create a flashy dessert table? Turn ordinary cupcakes into a show-stopping centrepiece by simply arranging them to form a wreath!

CupcakeWreath01

Adorn mini cupcakes with sugar paste holly leaves before gathering them to create a giant edible wreath. A few sprinkles and sugar pearls give this easy dessert a bit of extra flair. Guests may resist snagging a cupcake for fear they may mess up the design, but this hesitation will only last a second — they’re too delicious not to enjoy!

If you don’t have a holly leaf cutter, you may cut the fondant by hand, make icing leaves using a piping bag and leaf tip, or tint the buttercream green and decorate as desired.  Arrange the cupcakes on your serving area before you frost and decorate to help create a more cohesive design. Pipe the buttercream so they almost touch, and arrange the leaves so they overlap and join the cupcakes together. Enjoy!

Active Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook: 12 to 15 minutes
Total: 5 hours, 45 minutes (including setting/cooling time)
Serves: 45 mini cupcakes

Vanilla Spice Cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk

Holly Leaves:
3 to 4 oz green fondant
Holly leaf cutter
Paring knife
Foil or a brown paper bag

Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Assembly:
Piping bag and piping tip
Assorted sprinkles (optional)
Festive bow (optional)
Round red candies or fondant balls

CupcakeWreath02

Directions:

Cupcakes:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin tin with cupcake papers and set aside.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low, gradually add in half of the dry ingredients. Slowly stream in the milk and mix until combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Mix on medium for no more than about 30 seconds or until completely combined.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the liners using a spoon, filling 2/3 of the way full.
6. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated over for 12 to 15 minutes. When done, they should be slightly golden on top and toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
7. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack before frosting.

CupcakeWreath06

Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg whites and sugar. Whisk briefly by hand until combined.
2. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. Stirring intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it reaches 150°F to 160°F on a candy thermometre.
3. Once hot, carefully return the mixer bowl to the stand mixer. Fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg white mixture on high until stiff peaks, about 8 minutes. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature.
4. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and butter, a couple Tbsp at a time. Once all of the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until smooth.
5. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep mixing until it is smooth (this could take up to about 5 minutes). If it appears soupy, place the mixer bowl in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, then mix until smooth.

CupcakeWreath04

Holly Leaves:
1. Crumple then flatten a piece of foil or a brown paper bag (cut to lay flat) and set aside.
2. Working with only a portion of the fondant at a time, roll it out to 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Use the holly leaf cutter to cut out the leaves. Using the back of a paring knife, score the leaves down the centre and diagonally on each side to create leaf impressions. Pinch the bottom of each leaf then let dry on the foil or paper bag for at least 4 hours or overnight. Repeat with the remaining fondant. You will need about 60 to 80 leaves to complete the design. The crumbled foil/paper bag will give the leaves a natural shape as they dry.

CupcakeWreath07

Assembly:
1. Arrange the cooled cupcakes into the shape of a wreath on a large serving dish or platter. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the buttercream. Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes and sprinkle with sugar pearls, jimmies, or dragées, if desired.
2. Arrange the dried holly leaves on top of the cupcakes to form a wreath. Top with the red candies or fondant balls and bow to complete the design.

CupcakeWreath03
3. It’s easier to pipe the cupcakes and arrange the holly leaves after the cupcakes have already been placed in the wreath shape. If transporting, pipe and decorate each cupcake individually, then arrange into the wreath shape before serving.

Looking for more festive treats? Try Ina Garten’s Festive Holiday Desserts.

Minty Nanaimo Bars

Holly Jolly Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve taken the traditional Canadian treat and dressed it up with an extra festive twist. We’ve kept the Nanaimo bar‘s classic, with a chewy base and creamy custard filling, but added a splash of peppermint to the chocolate glaze. Who doesn’t love mint and chocolate together? A quick sprinkling of crushed peppermint candies fancies up this simple yet nostalgic treat — perfect for any holiday dessert buffet!

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Cook Time:  30 minutes
Total Time:  80 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
Base:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly whisked
Pinch salt

Filling:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 to 4 Tbsp milk

Topping:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 to 1 tsp  peppermint extract, or to taste
Crushed peppermint candies

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter and egg. Mix until evenly combined.
3. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan. Press/smooth into an even layer using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
4. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the top feels slightly firm. Allow to completely cool on a wire rack before adding the next layer.

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

For the Filling:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add in the remaining ingredients until incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium and mix until smooth and creamy. Add a bit more milk and/or sugar as needed until the filling is a spreadable consistency.
2. Spread on top of cooled base with an offset spatula. Chill in refrigerator until slightly firm, about 20 minutes.

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

For the Topping:
1. Once the custard base has chilled, place chocolate, butter and coconut oil in the top portion of a double-boil. Melt over simmering water and stir until smooth. Add peppermint extract to taste.
2. Spread melted chocolate over chilled custard layer. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies and refrigerate until chocolate sets.
3. Once set, run a thin knife around the edges of the pan and pull out the squares using the parchment paper. Slice into 12 even bars using a large, sharp knife. Enjoy!

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Looking for more tasty recipes? Try these 10 Tasty Nanaimo Bar Recipes.

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Upside-Down-feature

A Stunning Strawberry Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake That’ll Steal the Show

If you’ve managed to stop yourself from eating all of summer’s sweet strawberries fresh off the vine (or from the farmer’s market), then we have a treat for you. Turn these summery jewels into a delicious upside-down cake! Simple and understated, upside-down cakes are great for casual picnics because they travel well and pretty enough for any summer gathering. In this case, we used bright strawberries and vibrant rhubarb for this sweet and slightly tart cake.  The caramelized fruit and tender cake are definite crowd pleasers. Top with pillowy whipped cream for a festive ruby-red and white pairing for Canada Day!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Serves: 8 to 10
Bake time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total time: 1 ½ hours

Ingredients:
For the topping:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ Tbsp heavy cream
2 cups strawberries, trimmed and sliced*
1 cup rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces

*Slice small strawberries in half. For larger berries, cut into 3 to 4 slices, about ¼-inch thick.

For the cake:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

mint for garnish, optional

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Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. And the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the vanilla and heavy cream until smooth. If needed, return to low heat, whisking, until smooth. Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan. Carefully arrange the strawberries, cut-side down, on top of the caramel. Pack the strawberries closely together as they may shrink after baking. Sprinkle in about a third of the rhubarb to fill in any gaps between the berries.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium-low, add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

5. Add half of the flour mixture and mix to combine on low. Stream in the buttermilk until incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the remaining rhubarb.

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6. Tip the batter into the pan, on top of the strawberries. Smooth out the top of the cake and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the finished cake to rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the cake pan. Place a large cake plate on the top of the cake pan, and very carefully (using oven mitts) flip the cake plate and cake pan upside-down. Remove the cake pan and allow the cake to continue to cool.

7. Meanwhile, whip the cream and sugar together with a whisk (by hand or electric) until medium peaks. Add in the vanilla and whisk again until combined.

8. Serve the cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh sprig of mint, if desired.

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Looking for more delicious strawberry treats? Try our 45 Best Strawberry Desserts to Celebrate Summer.

rhubarb-raspberry-cheese-cake

Rhubarb Raspberry Cheesecake Adds a Pop of Spring to Your Easter Table

After months of snow, rain, and grey skies, rhubarb bursts onto the scene with its beautiful colour and tart, refreshing flavour. As soon as we spot those ruby red stalks at the market, we know spring is finally here! A bit sweet, slightly tart and extremely vibrant, rhubarb brightens up all of our favourite desserts and pastries – and this cheesecake is no exception.

Against a canvas of creamy white cheesecake, this jewel-toned rhubarb raspberry coulis pops off the plate. A hint of lemon would pair wonderfully in the cheesecake filling, but we love pure vanilla bean to round out all of the tangy flavours of the rhubarb and raspberry. A classic graham cracker crust and sour cream topping keep the slices clean and elegant for a sweet spring or Easter celebration.

Rhubarb Raspberry Cheesecake

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

Crust
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling
1½ lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sour cream, room temperature

Cheesecake Topping
1¼ cups sour cream
¼ cup granulated sugar

Rhubarb Raspberry Coulis
1½ cups sliced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
½ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Add the crumbs to a mixing bowl along with the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
3. Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crust into an even layer on the bottom of the pan using your fingers tips or the bottom of a flat measuring cup or drinking glass.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack as you prepare the filling.

Cheesecake Filling:
1. Increase the oven to 350ºF. Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil (enough to halfway fill a large roasting pan) and set aside. Place a large roasting pan on the very bottom rack of your oven. Place a second rack just above the roasting pan.
2. Meanwhile, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, or until completely smooth. Stop and scrape down the bowl every couple of minutes.
3. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds or extract into the cream cheese and mix for another 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Mix for another 30 to 60 seconds to smooth out any lumps.
4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time. Allow each egg to fully incorporate into the batter before add in the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
5. Add the sour cream. Mix on medium-low until the batter is creamy and uniform, about 2 minutes.
6. Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Smooth out the top as needed. Tap the bottom of the cake pan on top of the counter a few times to expel any trapped air bubbles. Wrap the sides of the pan in a double layer of aluminium foil.
7. Very carefully pour the recently boiled water into the roasting pan. Place the baking pan on the rack above the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. When done, the sides should be puffed and set while the centre should jiggle when the pan is moved. If it is not ready, check again after an additional 10 minutes of baking. Once done, turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool inside the humid oven for about 45 minutes. Once cool, remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack.

Cheesecake Topping:
1. Turn the oven back on to 350ºF. As the oven heats back up, combine the sour cream and sugar for topping the cheesecake. Carefully spread the topping over the top of the cheesecake with a small offset spatula. Return the topped cheesecake back to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
2. Turn off the oven and again prop open the door with a wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before placing it on a wire rack. Let cool for an additional 30 minutes then place in the refrigerator. Drape a piece of parchment paper over the top of the cheesecake to prevent condensation from forming and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight (best).

Rhubarb Raspberry Coulis:
1. Place the rhubarb and raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook until the fruit begins to break down and juices begin to simmer about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice. Stir the lemon juice mixture into the rhubarb and cook for a few minutes. Remove the mixture from the stove and blend until smooth. Press the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly and Serving:
1. To release the cheesecake from the pan, carefully run a thin knife around the edges of the cake before unlocking the springform pan. Warm a metal spatula under hot water, dry, then run it around the edges of the cheesecake to smooth.
2. Slice cheesecake into wedges, cleaning your knife in between slices, and add to plates. Top with a generous drizzle of coulis and serve.

Explore another spectacular spring dessert couple with our best strawberry rhubarb recipes.

Bumble Bee Cake

Bee-utifully Sweet Spring Honey Cake

With whimsical bumblebees swarming around a beehive-shaped cake, this honey and apricot dessert is perfect for a springtime birthday party. The slight tartness of the apricot filling pairs perfectly with the sweet and smooth honey buttercream icing. The simple shape is easy to carve, and just a swirl of buttercream transforms an ordinary layer cake into an edible birthday centerpiece. The best part? The marzipan bumblebees are super fun (and simple!) to make with a few basic cake-decorating tools.

Spring Bumble Bee Birthday Cake

Bumble Bee Birthday Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Makes: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

Honey Butter Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Honey Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-1/2 to 4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup honey, or to taste
2 tsp vanilla extract
Yellow gel food coloring

Assembly
1/2 cup apricot preserves
6 marzipan bees (See instructions below)

Spring bumble bee cake

Directions:

Honey Butter Cake
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour four 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Measure the milk and honey in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
5. Add in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
6. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
7. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
8. With the mixer on low, add in 1/2 of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and honey mixture, scraping out any remaining honey if necessary.
9. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on medium-low until combined.
10. Evenly distribute the batter between the four pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
11. Let cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Honey Buttercream
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the sugar, honey and vanilla.
3. Once everything begins to combine, turn the mixer up the medium-high.
4. Continue mixing until the buttercream is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add in the gel food coloring, a few drops at a time, until desired shade is reached.
6. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap until use.

Bumble bee cake

Assembly
1. Once the cakes are completely cool, trim to tops so that each layer is flat.
2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with some of the buttercream and set aside.
3. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish.
4. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top, outer edge of the cake. Fill in the buttercream dam with about 1/3 cup of apricot preserves.
5. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
6. Pipe a double ring of buttercream on top of the third layer of cake and fill with about 1/4 cup of apricot preserves.
7. Use any remaining buttercream left in the piping bag to fill in the gaps between the layers of cake. Use an off-set spatula to smooth out.
8. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until the buttercream firms up a bit.
9. Once chilled, use a serrate knife to carve the cake into a beehive-shape. Taking only a little bit off a time, carve the cake until the top is shaped like a dome.
10. Once carved, crumb coat the cake with the honey buttercream. Chill to set about 10 to 15 minutes.
11. Frost the entire cake with buttercream.
12, Set the cake on top of a cake turntable. Place the tip of a metal spatula near the bottom of the cake. Gently press into the frosting and spin the cake. As you spin, slowly bring the tip of the spatula up the side of the cake and over the top to create the spiral texture.
13. Finish with the marzipan bees while the frosting is still soft.

Bumble Bees

Marzipan Bees

Materials:
7 oz marzipan
Rolling pin
Paring knife
Piping tip
Thin paint brush
Yellow gel food coloring
Black gel food coloring

Bumble Bees How to

Directions:

1. Tint about 3 ounces of marzipan yellow and 1 to 2 ounces black.
Divide the yellow marzipan into about 6 half-ounce balls (about the size of a large gumball) then roll into a bee shape.
2. Use the end of a thin paintbrush to indent two eyes and the large opening of a small piping tip to create a smile. Set aside.
3. Roll out the black marzipan to about 1/8-inch thick.
4. Use the paring knife to cut thin strips. Wrap the strips of black marzipan around the body of the bees and secure by gently pressing the ends into the belly of the bees.
5. Re-roll the remaining black marzipan. Use the large, round opening of the piping tip to cut out one circle per bee. Adhere the black circle to the back ends of the bees.

Bumble Bees
6. Roll out plain (untinted) marzipan to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. 7. Using the large, round opening of the piping tip, cut out two circles per bee. Pinch the tips and elongate the circles slightly to create wings.
8. Press the tips together on the backs of the bees.
9. Roll two tiny balls of plain marzipan per bee to create the eyes.
10 Gently press them into the indented eye markings.
11. Lightly dip the end of the paintbrush in the black gel food coloring and mark the centers of the eyes. Let dry.

Looking for more great birthday party ideas? Check out our Winter Wonderfuland Birthday Party or our 25 Best Birthday Cakes.

pear kuchen recipe

Pear Kuchen Cake Will Make You Feel Warm and Cozy

As these days grow colder and darker, a slice of this lightly spiced pear cake will warm the spirit. It’s the perfect fall dessert for when you are craving something simple, warming and just sweet enough. Unlike layer cakes or those smothered in frosting, this streusel-topped kuchen is full of flavour without being overly indulgent. Since it’s neither too fussy or sweet, feel free to enjoy either with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. Or serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream for a fancy dessert after your fall feast.

Pear Kuchen

Prep time: 20 to 30 minutes
Bake time: 50 to 60 minutes
Total time: 70 to 90 minutes
Serves: 8 to 12

Ingredients:
Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
2 to 3 Tbsp sliced almonds, divided

Pears:
3 to 4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tsp granulated sugar

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 medium lemon
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
Icing sugar, optional

Pear Kuchen

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.  Line a 9- or 10-inch spring pan with parchment and set aside.
2. Make the streusel topping. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and 1 tablespoon of the almonds together. Rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture starts to clump together.  The streusel should be crumbly – no need to make the pieces uniform.  Chill until ready to use.
3. Toss the sliced pears in the lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
4. For the cake, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.  Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and lemon zest.  With the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl.
5. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add the yogurt and mix until smooth.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.  The batter will be quite thick.
6. Dump the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon.  Leaving all the juices behind, arrange the pear slices on top of the cake batter.  Sprinkle the top with the streusel and remaining almonds.PearKuchen_06

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.  If the topping is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
8. Leave in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes before removing the springform collar.  Finish cooling on a wire rack before slicing.
9. Dust with icing sugar, if desired.

Pear Kuchen Cake

 

Looking for more warm fall treats? Try these Awesome Apple Recipes from Anna Olson.