Tag Archives: spring

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dish

9 Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas That Really Work

Between busy schedules and a family full of picky eaters,  the dinner struggle is real. Finding inspiration for quick, budget-friendly and (at least somewhat) healthy meals can challenge the best of home cooks, never mind those whose plates are already heaped pile-high.

That’s where meal planning becomes a lifesaver—if you can take the time to actually do it. If you don’t have the means to sit down weekly and plot out your favourite fare, we’ve got your back with this simple guide that will help you plan your meals and grocery list, too. These meal ideas and recipes (one for every night of the week, plus two bonus ideas to swap in and out) makes preparing a weekly meal plan  or menu easy while helping you to create dishes that are anything but routine.

How to Start Meal Planning? Try These No-Fail Meal Planning Ideas!

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dishGet the recipe for Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

1. Start with Pasta

Pasta is an affordable universal favourite, so why not make it a weekly thing? Having a designated pasta night is genius because you can essentially pair any kind of pasta with whichever sauce, protein and veggie you feel like, and then you can do something completely different the following week.

Looking for some inspiration other than another plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Try these recipes instead:

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

15-Minute Three-Cheese Spring Pasta with Peas

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

Anna Olson’s Beef Stroganoff

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs 

Pappardelle Duck Ragu

If you’re off gluten or looking for a pasta option that packs extra protein, see our guide to alternative pastas.

2. You Can’t Go Wrong with Protein and Veg 

kimchi chicken patties being cooked in a frying panGet the recipe for 30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

A  barbecued, baked or even pan-fried cut of meat or fish always pairs well with some steamed or baked veggies. Switch up your marinades and cooking methods for even more variety, and then throw in some rice, lentils or potatoes for a complete meal.

Want some new ideas? Check out these simple-to-prepare recipes:

30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin With Veggies

The Best *Vegan* Steak Recipe Ever 

10-Minute Blackened Trout With Green Beans

Dill Salmon Burgers With Dairy-Free Tzatziki

3. Soup and Salads are Your Friends

immune boosting chicken soup in a bowl with bread on the sideGet the recipe for Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

There are so many hearty salads and filling soups out there these days that it’s easy to make either one a meal in itself. If the weather is nice, plan on eating an elevated salad one night of the week with some fancy ingredients to make it interesting. Or, for those weeks when you need something a little more comforting, plan on having a hot soup and some crusty baguette to go with it.

Get started with these recipes:

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup 

Herby Green Goddess Soup with Avocados and Feta 

Grilled Halloumi Salad

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Who doesn’t love a meal that you can throw together and then forget about until it’s ready? That’s the beauty of slow cookers and Instant Pots—they do all of the heavy lifting for you. Figure out which night of the week will be your busiest, and then plan to use either tool to help pull dinner together in a breeze.

Need a new Crockpot or pressure cooker recipe? Check out any of these delicious dishes:

30-Minute Instant Pot Curry 

Instant Pot Turkey Chili 

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Irish Stew 

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Breast

5. Stock up on Easy-to-Assemble Ingredients


Get the recipe for Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

Having a well-stocked pantry is always key when it comes to throwing together last-minute dinners, or figuring out how to use up fresh ingredients that have been sitting in your fridge for a few extra days. Make sure to keep things like canned tuna and lots of stock, tomato sauce and a few protein-filled grains and legumes on hand.

Check out these simple ideas to elevate your basic pantry staples:

Tuna Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, Beans, Kale and Garlic Chips 

One Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals

10-Minute Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower and Chickpea Dish

Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

One Can of Tomatoes, Six Different Meals

Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders

6. Find Your Freezer Meals

Remember those meals you made a few months ago that have been sitting in your freezer just waiting to be eaten ever since? Well, make use of them already, especially if you know you have an evening coming up where preparing dinner is just going to be another thing to worry about. And if you haven’t gotten on the freezer meal train just yet, you may want to think about starting. Whether it’s doubling up on your next pasta sauce or cobbling together a second lasagna or tray of enchiladas, there are plenty of freezer meals that you can make ahead of time to enjoy on those hectic nights when cooking is the last thing you want to be doing.

7. Have an Eat-With-Your-Hands Night

Get the recipe for The Best Homemade Veggie Burger

Whether it’s a burger, pizza or taco, it’s always fun to eat with your hands. That’s probably why these are the same fast-food items we tend to usually order throughout the week. If you want to save money, use better ingredients and still have a meal in a matter of minutes for a well-deserved Eat-With-Your-Hands night!

From pizza and tacos to sloppy joes and charcuterie boards, there are plenty of hands-on dishes to choose from here:

Halloumi Burgers and Colourful Veggie Slaw 

Georgian Cheese Bread 

Sourdough Toasties, 3 Ways

Double Stacked Patties with Secret Sauce

Mexican-Inspired Taco Burgers

How to Make the Perfect Veggie Burger (Plus One Easy Recipe!)

8. Make One Night a Meatless Night

cauliflower-pot-pieGet the recipe for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

We’ve heard of Meatless Mondays, but really any night of the week is a good excuse to go meatless—especially when you incorporate foods like whole grains, quinoa and barley that fill the tummy and soul. Stir yourself up a creamy risotto, build a yummy Buddha bowl with all the things, or stuff an eggplant or squash with some whole grains and nuts. Keep it simple and hearty, and before long, you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t incorporate a meatless dish into your meal planning. Check out these easy vegan recipes  to get you started:

Silky, Tender Chinese Steamed Eggplant 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce 

Classic Middle Eastern Eggplant Casserole With a Vegan Twist 

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

Hearty 20-Minute Vegan Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup 

9. Plan a Designated Leftover Night

A leftover pasta frittata topped with tomatoes and basil
Get the recipe for Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

Last but not least, it’s always a great idea to make one night an evening of no planning. That’s right, we’re talking leftovers. Once a week, throw whatever leftovers you have in the fridge on the table for everyone to enjoy, or reimagine them into a creative, brand new dish that requires very little effort.

Check out some of our favourite ways to use up leftovers here:

The Best Leftover Turkey Pizza 

Our Favourite Leftover Chicken Recipes

Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

The Crispiest Leftover Potatoes

Leftover Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

5 Delicious Ways to Use Broccoli Stems 

Looking for more meal planning tips? Try these tips for prepping slow cooker meals.

Beauty shot of Molly Yeh's carrot cake with spiced cream cheese icing

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

Your carrot cake game will never be the same once you try Molly Yeh’s sensational recipe. The secret ingredient that sets this dessert apart from the other carrot cake recipes you’ve tried in the past? Cardamom-forward hawaij, a warm spice blend from Yemen that Molly adds to both the cake and the creamy frosting. The simple (read: genius!) rainbow carrot rosettes adorning the cake also lend a touch of whimsy. Don’t be surprised if your friends and family ask for a second slice… it really does, dare we say, take the cake as the recipe to bake this season.

Related: Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form, From Cupcakes to Cookies

Molly Yeh's Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting, as seen on Girl Meets Farm, Season 3.

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves:
6-8

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake
Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pans
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp hawaij (see Cook’s Note)
1 ½ cups neutral oil, such as canola
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 cups shredded carrots
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Spiced Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp hawaij
Pinch of kosher salt
Rainbow carrots, peeled into ribbons with a peeler, to decorate
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked, to decorate

Cook’s Note: Hawaij is a Yemeni warm spice blend that’s heavy on the cardamom and can be used to flavour baked goods, frosting or even sprinkled in coffee! You can make a substitute by mixing 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.

Related: Carrot Cake and Cheesecake Combine Into One Glorious Dessert

Directions:

Carrot Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.

2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and hawaij in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Whisk in the vanilla.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts to Get You Excited for Spring

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and mix until about 90 per cent incorporated. Add the carrots and sesame seeds, and mix to incorporate (by this time, all of the flour mixture should be incorporated as well).

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Related: Easy Dessert Recipes That Take 15 Minutes or Less

Spiced Frosting
1. Add the butter and cream cheese to a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla, hawaij and salt. Mix until combined and smooth.

2. Cover the cakes with frosting and stack. Use the carrot ribbons to roll into rose shapes and place on top of the cake. Decorate with the rosemary, and serve!

Looking for more standout dishes from the celebrated food blogger and Girl Meets Farm star? Start your day the Molly Yeh way with these breakfast recipes!

These One-Bowl Flowerpot Cupcakes Are the Cutest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

These flowerpot cupcakes are a wonderful celebration of the spring season — and they’re unbelievably easy to make! The terracotta pots give character, making them perfect for garden parties. The soft and moist chocolate cupcakes are topped with a luscious milk chocolate ganache and decorated with mint sprigs and edible flowers. Added bonus: with just one bowl, cleanup is easy peasy.

chocolate flowerpot cupcakes in terracotta planters

One-Bowl Chocolate Flowerpot Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 6 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
90 ml all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup brewed black coffee
2 ½ Tbsp oil or melted butter
1 large egg

Ganache
½ cup whipping cream
¾ cup milk chocolate

Assembly
¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs
6 sprigs mint leaves
8-10 edible flowers
6 small terra cotta pots

chocolate flowerpot cupcake ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.

2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients listed for the cupcakes. Using an electric mixer or whisk, combine to form smooth mixture.

Related: Cute Tea Towels to Brighten up Your Kitchen for Spring

3. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, fill the cupcake pan with the batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Once baked, let the cupcakes cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

chocolate cupcakes baked in muffin tin

4. While the cupcakes are cooling, for the ganache: add the whipping cream and milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1-minute intervals, mixing after every minute until combined.

5. Refrigerate the ganache mixture for 30 minutes (or until it is cold and thick). Once cool, take it out of the refrigerator and using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, mix to a thick creamy consistency.

Related: Healthy Baking Recipes for When You’re Bored at Home

6. Using either a spoon or a spatula, spread the ganache onto the cupcakes and sprinkle the chocolate cookie crumbs. Then, add the mint sprigs and edible flowers. Finally, insert the prepared cupcakes into miniature terracotta pots.

chocolate flowerpot cupcakes ready for assembly next to terra cotta planters

crustless quiche in white serving dish

Savour Spring Veggies With This Crustless Quiche Recipe

Quiche for breakfast? You bet! A great way to utilize your spring veggies is to use them in a quiche. I’ve used spinach, onion and zucchini here, but you can easily use whatever spring veggies you have on hand: asparagus, fiddleheads, kale, etc. You’ll love this crustless, low-carb flavourful quiche with smoky hints of paprika, the tartness of Dijon and the creamy texture of sharp Cheddar.

crustless quiche in white serving dish

Crustless Veggie Quiche

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, chopped
⅔ cups frozen spinach, defrosted
1 small onion, sliced
3 strips chicken bacon, chopped
6 large eggs
1 cup half and half
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp paprika
1 tsp Dijon mustard
⅔ cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Chopped parsley, for garnish

crustless quiche ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a round 9-inch baking dish.

2. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Saute the zucchini, spinach, onion and chicken bacon in the skillet for about 2 minutes, until cooked. Remove from heat and transfer the ingredients to the prepared baking dish.

crustless quiche ingredients cooking in pan

3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, paprika and mustard. Add in half of the cheddar cheese and whisk until incorporated. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish on top of the sauteed ingredients. Top with the remaining cheese.

Related: Quick and Easy Low-Carb Recipes From The Pioneer Woman

4. Bake for 35 minutes. Top with parsley and serve.

Like Valerie’s crustless quiche recipe? Try her healthy Sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken or her spicy vegan cassoulet.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Say Hello to Spring With This Healthy No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Lemon Tart

Pucker up for this bright and tangy, no-bake strawberry lemon tart. You don’t have to be vegan to love this dairy-free dessert, but you can still appreciate how healthy it is — a gluten-free and paleo-friendly dessert, with no refined sugar. Plump Medjool dates make the nut-based crust perfectly sweet and chewy, paired with a fruity filling of coconut milk, fresh strawberries, lemon juice and a splash of maple syrup. (It’s thickened with just a bit of agar and tapioca powders, which you can find at most bulk or health food stores).

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Vegan No-Bake Strawberry Lemon Tart

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2-3 hours or overnight
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup raw walnuts
1 ¼ cup raw cashews
1 cup oats
2 ½ cups pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
3 tsp vanilla, divided
¼ tsp sea salt
4 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup maple syrup
4 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour (or 2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder)
4 Tbsp cool water
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tsp agar powder

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart ingredients

Directions:

1. In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine walnuts, cashews, oats, dates, coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla and sea salt. Pulse for about 1 minute or until the dates and nuts are combined and stick together.

2. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of a greased 9-inch tart pan (preferably with removable bottom). Set aside while making the filling.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart crust

3. Add strawberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup and 2 tsp vanilla extract (and arrowroot powder only if you’re using it as a substitute for tapioca) to a blender or food processor and pulse or blend until pureed, about 1 minute, and set aside.

4. Stir the tapioca powder into 4 Tbsp of cool water. Set aside.

Related: Healthy Baking Recipes for When You’re Bored at Home

5. Add coconut milk and agar powder to a small saucepan, stirring while it simmers until thickened, around 1 minute. Once it’s bubbling, gradually add tapioca slurry, stirring continuously until it’s glossy and even thicker, about another minute.

6. Remove from heat and stir in strawberry mixture until combined. (If you have any clumps, don’t worry! Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer).

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart being cooked in pot

7. Pour filling mixture into tart crust, chilling in the fridge for at least  2-3 hours or overnight. (Store for up to one week). Before serving, decorate with pretty berries, lemon slices and flowers.

vegan no-bake strawberry lemon tart on countertop

Like Claire’s vegan strawberry lemon tart? Try her vegan Girl Guide cookies or her vegan Moroccan doughnuts.

Spring pea toast with ACE Bakery loaf of bread

Celebrate Sunnier Days With This Elevated Spring Lemon and Smashed Pea Toast

If you’re ready to dive into spring with a fresh new recipe, you’re going to love this smashed pea spring toast. The combination of seasonal veggies like peas, radishes and fresh herbs is a match made in food heaven. It’s light and refreshing — making it the perfect bite to welcome in the warmer months!

Spring pea toast with ACE Bakery loaf of bread

Spring Lemon and Smashed Pea Toast

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh or frozen peas
2 cups fresh arugula
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ tsp of sea salt and ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
2 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced
2 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 radishes, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp, crumbled feta
2 slices of ACE Bakery® Sliced Sourdough Miche

Directions:

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Once water has reached a boil, add peas and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft with a slight crunch, but still vibrant in colour.

2. While peas are cooking: in a medium mixing bowl, toss arugula with a squeeze of lemon, 1 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Related: The Tastiest Things You Can Put on Toast (That Isn’t Avocado)

3. Drain peas and add to a food processor, along with yogurt, remaining lemon juice, garlic, chives, mint, basil, lemon zest, as well as a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Pulse for 10-15 seconds or until slightly smooth with some texture from the peas. Set aside.

4. Place 2 slices of the ACE Bakery® Sliced Sourdough Miche on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Transfer to the oven to broil on high for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden and toasted. To assemble, spread on ½ cup of the mashed peas, layer on a handful of dressed arugula, as well as some sliced radishes and crumbled feta.

Watch the how-to video here:


What’s in Season? Your Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

Crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes in your favourite salad. A ripe peach fresh from the farmstand. Sweet, earthy leeks in a creamy soup. Is your mouth watering yet? As Canadians, we have a plethora of seasonal produce at our fingertips throughout the year and knowing what and when to buy seasonally empowers home cooks with the best local flavours possible. Whether you are looking to shop local or support Canadian farmers across the country,  make food shopping a breeze all year round with our Canadian seasonal produce guide covering January to December.  Grab your tote bags and get shopping – bounty awaits!

What’s in Season in  Winter

The dead of winter brings the blahs for most of us. Winter fare, however, can be quite inspiring. Think warm soups and stews, gorgeous roasts with luscious mashed or roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and rutabagas. Fry onion rings and add sauteed garlic to everything. Braise cabbage or roll it around meat and rice filling for cabbage roll perfection. Dream even bigger with a moist, cream cheese frosted carrot or parsnip cake (yes, parsnip cake!) or rich, dark and dreamy chocolate beet cake. With dishes like these, winter won’t seem long enough!

potatoes-white-red-in-basket

What’s in Season in December

Pears, Brussels Sprouts, Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Pears

What’s in Season in January

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

Related: The Best Ingredients to Cook With in Canada This Winter (Plus Recipes)

What’s in Season in February

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in March

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in Spring

As the seasons change, so does the fresh produce. Asparagus arrives in April in British Columbia, May in the rest of the country, continuing into July towards the East Coast — along with fiddleheads, radishes, spinach and later peas, beans, cauliflower and broccoli. We begin to see fresh lettuce and radicchio, along with celery and fennel in British Columbia, following in July in the rest of Canada. Fruit also begins with outdoor rhubarb, as well as strawberries and cherries in May, continuing into July. Make the most of these months with light pastas, simple salads, pies, tarts and where weather allows — a little grilling.

asparagus-cooked-sauce

What’s in Season in April

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Fava Beans,  Rhubarb, Peppers (greenhouse), Tomatoes (greenhouse)

What’s in Season in May

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Morel Mushrooms, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Peas, Cherries

Related: Our Fave Spring Dishes That Celebrate Seasonal Vegetables

What’s in Season in June

Asparagus, Radishes, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Arugula, Beets, Lettuce, Green Onions, Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Broccoli, Celery, Swiss Chard, Garlic (Fresh), Peas, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, Fennel, Cherries

What’s in Season in Summer

As summer hits, things kick into high gear with seemingly unending produce options. Stone fruits like peaches, plums, apricots and later nectarines burst onto the scene, tending towards an earlier arrival in British Columbia, soon ripening across the country and finally arriving in the Atlantic provinces in September. Berries also arrive this time of year, making it the perfect opportunity for crumbles, preserves and general good eating. Melons are now in full bloom, begging to be soaked in summery sangrias, wrapped in prosciutto and added to salads. And early pears and apples make their way onto the scene in late August, rounding out fruit season. Vegetables like homegrown corn, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and rapini are now in their prime. It’s also the start of leek and eggplant season in August.

fresh-strawberries-in-a-basket

What’s in Season in July

Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Nectarines, Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh), Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Salad Greens, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Peaches, Watermelon, Kale

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Summer Dinner Recipes

What’s in Season in August

Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Gooseberries, Melons, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Strawberries, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard,  Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers,  Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabagas,  Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Grapes,  Peaches, Watermelon, Kale, Pears

What’s in Season in Fall

We end our big season on a high note with pumpkin, leeks, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, crabapples and the continuation from August of muskmelon and grapes. We begin to crave in-season apples and pears — and as cool weather approaches, so does the need for warmer dishes. Back indoors, get set for roasting, holiday feasting and all of the apple desserts.

fall-apples-on-a-cutting-board

What’s in Season in September

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Grapes, Melons, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh), Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips, Peppers, Potatoes (New), Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Nectarines, Watermelon, Kale

What’s in Season in October

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Pears, Quince, Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Turnips, Beets, Eggplants, Kale

Related: Our Most Popular Fall Recipes on Pinterest

What’s in Season in November

Cranberries, Pears, Quince, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Turnips, Apples, Beets

What’s in Season in Canada Year-Round

Don’t forget about options available regardless of the season. Take mushrooms, for instance, which are grown year-round and across the country. In addition, many greenhouse farms are using methods that help cut down on waste and reuse water, soil and energy, producing year-round. Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce are excellent greenhouse-bought options in winter when local outdoor choices have dwindled so you can enjoy a taste of summer, whatever the weather.

mushrooms-crimini

Published May 5, 2018, Updated April 7, 2021

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Molly Yeh’s Pretty Almond Tarts Are the Perfect Spring Dessert

Many of us have turned to at-home baking projects in recent months, finding comfort in the nostalgia that comes with revisiting classic desserts – and, with spring around the corner, we’re craving bright, bold treats that’ll satisfy our sweet tooth. Enter: Molly Yeh.

Almond meal, granulated sugar, fresh raspberries and colourful sprinkles with sliced almonds come together beautifully in this gorgeous, mouth-watering dessert you can enjoy year-round.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is a Birthday Treat to Remember

Molly Yeh’s Almond Tarts

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes (includes chilling and cooling time)
Yields: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (168 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 large eggs, separated
Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

Filling:
1 cup (120 grams) almond meal
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

Glaze:
About 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar, or more as needed
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream, or more as needed, or 2 ounces fresh raspberries
1/4 tsp almond extract
To decorate: sprinkles, sliced almonds

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

Directions

1. For the shells: Pulse together the granulated sugar, flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4-inch-thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3-inch circles and press them into the muffin cups so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. (No worries if the dough tears; just patch it up with additional dough.) Freeze the shells for 15 minutes.

3. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Combine the almond meal, granulated sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined.

5. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4-inch from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the glaze: If making the glaze with heavy cream, combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and almond extract in a bowl until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue.

7. To make the glaze with the raspberries, place the raspberries in a fine-mesh sieve and give them a rinse. Place the sieve over a bowl and use a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon to smash them through the sieve into the bowl until you’re just left with seeds in the sieve. Be sure to scrape the underside of the sieve to get the stuff that’s sticking to it. (You should be left with about 2 tablespoons seedless puree. If it’s a tiny bit more or a tiny bit less, that’s fine.) Add the powdered sugar and almond extract and mix to make a thick glaze. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. It should be the consistency of a thick glue.

8. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, almonds and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge.

Related: These Gorgeous Desserts From Molly Yeh Deserve a Standing Ovation

Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Watch the how-to video here:


These Flaky Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets Are So Fun to Make

It’s rhubarb season! What better way to celebrate this wonderful fruit than with homemade jam to enjoy on just about anything? For this week’s Baking Therapy recipe, I’m making strawberry rhubarb cheesecake pastry pockets. They’re flaky, sweet, a little tart and so fun to make. These are definitely my new favourite spring treat.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 18 to 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Servings: 6 pastry pockets

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp white sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup ice water
3 tsp apple cider vinegar

Jam
2 cups strawberries, chopped
1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup raspberries
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 to 3 Tbsp)
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup icing sugar

Egg Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Glaze
2 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp strained jam (from above)
½ tsp vanilla
Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

Dough
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the chilled, cubed butter and work into the flour by rubbing between your fingers until you have pea-sized bits throughout.

2. In a measuring cup, mix together the ice water and apple cider vinegar. Adding a Tbsp at a time, mix into the flour mixture. The dough should hold when pressed together (it’s okay if the dough looks slightly dry, it will hydrate while it rests).

3. Transfer the dough onto plastic wrap. Using the plastic, press to form the dough together into a square shape. Wrap tightly and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

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

Jam
1. In a large saucepan, add the strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt. Cook on medium-high for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly until the berries break down and the mixture starts to thicken.

2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a dish and put into the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to chill quicker.

Cheesecake
1. Mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar, set aside.

Assembly
1. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 12 by 12 inches and trim off the edges.

2. With a knife or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into 12 rectangles, about 3 inches by 4 inches. Transfer the dough to parchment paper.

3. Whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush the borders of 6 rectangles with egg wash.

4. In the centre of each of those rectangles, dollop about 1 to 2 Tbsp of jam and 1 Tbsp of cheesecake filling. Make sure to save 1 Tbsp of jam for the glaze.

5. Roll out the remaining 6 rectangles, to they’re slightly larger than the bottom pieces. Place them on top and press down along the edges with your fingers. Take a fork and crimp the edges all the way around to seal.

6. Freeze for at least 30 minutes and preheat oven to 400°F.

7. Brush the tops with egg wash and with a fork, poke the tops of the pockets to create a few vents. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until lightly brown.

8. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze
1. Whisk together the cream cheese, milk, icing sugar, strained jam and vanilla until smooth and viscous. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk.

2. Spoon on top of cooled pastry pockets. Add sprinkles if you desire. Enjoy!


Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her easy recipe for soft rolls, along with her gooey overnight cinnamon buns and fudgy gluten-free sweet potato brownies.

Watch out for Sabrina’s baking videos on the Food Network Canada Instagram account.

This Tangy Baked Lemon Tart is The Tastiest Way to Ring in Spring

I say, when life gives you lemons, use ’em! I’ve always loved lemons and gravitate to all lemon-flavoured treats, from lemon meringue pie to lemon bars. My love for lemons continues with this semi-sweet tart that is nothing short of delicious. With its bright yellow filling, it’s also a statement piece, making it the perfect dessert to serve at an Easter meal or any other special occasion. You can eat it on its own, but it also pairs nicely with fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Related: Our Very Best Lemon Desserts to Make This Spring

Baked Lemon Tart Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1½ cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (75 ml) icing sugar
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) whipping (35%) cream

Filling
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
¾ cup (175 ml) whipping (35%) cream
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons

Directions: 

1. To make the crust, add the flour, icing sugar, butter and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles sand.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Add to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the dough just comes together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and shape it into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Related: 5 Gorgeous Pastel Cakes to Make Your Spring Table Shine

4. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick. Place it in a 10-inch (25 cm) tart tin with a removable bottom, pressing it into the bottom and fluted edges. Using a paring knife, remove any dough that sticks out of the tin. Place the tin on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

6. Crumple up a piece of parchment paper to eliminate any sharp edges that would dig into the dough and line the tart with it. Put either baking weights or dried beans on the parchment paper and blind bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights or beans and return the crust to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes, until golden. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C).

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Best Spring Recipes For Every Meal

7. To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a spout.

8. Place the tart tin back in the oven on the middle rack. Slide the rack out halfway and slowly pour the filling into the tart shell. Gently slide the rack back in. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the centre is almost set (it should still move a bit when you gently shake the pan). It will continue to set once you remove it from the oven. Let cool completely, then cover the tart with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Related: Delightful Easter Desserts That Make Spring Even Sweeter

Excerpted from Gather at Home by Monika Hibbs. Copyright © 2020 by Monika Hibbs. Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

For more creations from Monika Hibbs,  you’ll love these DIY beeswax-covered food wraps (they’re so simple to make!).

30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

It’s always exciting when the farmers’ market stands start to show signs of spring and summer. Often, though, this produce doesn’t stick around for very long, so you need to take advantage when it’s available. One way of making spring last a little longer is to make pesto from some of the best seasonal offerings – in this case, green garlic (also known as young garlic that boasts a milder, more delicate flavour) but you can easily substitute for garlic scapes or ramps – then freeze to relish the flavours even when they’ve disappeared from the market.

The best thing about this recipe? Even though it features a few different components, if you multitask, it’s ready in about 30 minutes – leaving you more time to enjoy those lovely longer daylight hours we’re all so grateful for this time of year.

Spring Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pasta
250g dried bucatini pasta

Roasted Tomatoes
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto
6-8 green garlic shoots
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (approx.)
⅓ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ – ¾ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Assembly
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay the tomatoes in a single layer on the tray.
3. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
5. While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
6. Make the pesto: Clean and trim the green garlic, and roughly chop.
7. Place the green garlic in a food processor with the Parmesan and the pumpkin seeds.
8. Start processing the mixture, slowly pouring in the oil until you reach your preferred consistency. Season to taste with salt.
9. Add approximately ½ cup of pesto to the pasta, using tongs to toss so the pasta is completely coated. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
10. Divide the pasta between four bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

Notes:
● This makes approximately 1 cup of pesto, which is more than you’ll need for this recipe.
● If you won’t use the pesto immediately, place it in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface. You can also freeze the pesto for up to 2 months (in ice cube trays for convenient portioning!)

Looking for more easy and ultra-satisfying pasta recipes for spring? This 15-minute three-cheese pasta with peas is a seasonal must-make. We’ve also rounded up 25 spring dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

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.

5 Gorgeous Pastel Cakes That Will Make Your Spring Table Shine

It’s been a long, drawn-out winter. The upside? Spring’s arrival is all the more deserving of celebration! We’re paying tribute to perfect temperatures, fresh blooms and heaps of sunshine with five show-stopping pastel cakes from professional baker and food blogger Tessa Huff’s latest cookbook, Icing on the Cake. From her rainbow no-bake cheesecake to a blueberry galaxy cake, these eye-catching desserts promise to brighten spirits (and plates) everywhere.

1. Lavender Blackberry Cake

This stunning buttercream cake is the epitome of spring: not only does it feature a brilliant flower crown, the batter is subtly infused with lavender milk and simple syrup, which is complemented by thin layers of blackberry jam and tangy cream cheese frosting. While the flower wreath is completely optional, Tessa provides helpful step-by-step instructions in her book on how to pipe them to perfection. Get the cake recipe here!

2. Rainbow No-Bake Cheesecake

Rainbow No-Bake Cheesecake

The fact that this pastel-happy cake doesn’t require an oven is already a win. Even better is the cheesecake’s light, mousse-like texture and warm-weather flavours (think strawberry, mango and lime). Prepare it for Easter dessert, or simply make it on the weekend to welcome spring in style. Get the cake recipe here!

3. Blueberry Galaxy Cake

This isn’t your average galaxy cake. Instead of being coated in a shimmering mirror glaze (see here for instructions on this technique), this version features a delicate watercolour frosting that resembles a starry galaxy just the same. The cake is lemon poppy seed, iced with vanilla and blueberry buttercream. We love how Tessa adorned the berries with gold and silver luster dust before arranging on the cake. After all, creating a delicious and dazzling dessert is all in the details. Get the cake recipe here!

4. Blackberry Elderflower Vertical Cake

This vertically layered dessert turns traditional cake filling on its head (and looks mighty fine while doing so). The technique is also easier to achieve than you might think. The sugary secret? Cutting the cake lengthwise to create four long strips, then rolling one strip to create a spiral before wrapping the remaining strips around it. The vanilla sponge cake is also infused with an elderflower syrup, which perfectly complements the blackberry buttercream. Be sure to slice this dessert before serving to show off your baking acumen. Get the cake recipe here!

5. Orange Salted Honey Cake

While each of these spring-inspired cakes are almost too pretty to eat, the good news is they taste just as scrumptious as they look. This decadent butter cake combines citrus with salted honey for an unexpected, zesty flavour pairing that hits all the right notes. The ruffle petal piping technique is certainly worth a try, too! Bake this show-stopper for an upcoming baby shower, Mother’s Day brunch or as a DIY wedding cake. Your guests will be happy you did. Get the cake recipe here! 

Recipes excerpted from Icing on the Cake by Tessa Huff, reprinted by permission of Abrams Books. Photographs by Tessa Huff.

Fiddlehead-tart-slided

Savour Spring With This Fresh Fiddlehead Tart

The first signs of bring a sigh of relief into the kitchen. No more cold cellar scrounging or heavy stews filled with root vegetables. The thawing earth brings the first bounty of fresh, wild food: maple syrup, wild leeks and fiddleheads. The fiddlehead is the small curled frond of a young fern with a delicious earthy flavour, similar to a green bean. Despite their relatively short growing and harvesting season, the possibilities with these green tendrils are nearly endless. They are delicious when simply steamed, or pan-fried in butter. In this recipe, we bake them into a delicious cheesy tart, perfect for your spring brunch.

Fiddlehead-tart-slice

Gruyere Fiddlehead Tart Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Pastry
1 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp or more cold water

Filling
2 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup fiddleheads, washed and trimmed
3 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

full-Fiddlehead-tart-on-plate

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. In a food processor mix flours, salt and sugar. Add in butter and pulse until butter is evenly dispersed into pea-size pieces. Add vinegar and pulse. Run the food processor as you add water a teaspoon at a time, through the spout on the top until dough comes together into a smooth ball.
3. On a floured surface, roll dough in a circle until about 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.
4. Place rolled out dough into the tart pan and gently press into and up sides. Discard excess dough. Poke the surface of the dough with a fork. Place a piece of parchment over dough and place baking weights on top. Bake until edges of crust begin to turn golden, about 12 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and remove baking weights and parchment. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
6. Heat butter on a non-stick pan over medium. Sweat shallots until translucent and fragrant.
7. In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Using a steamer basket, steam fiddleheads for 10 minutes until bright green and tender.
8. In a large bowl beat eggs with milk. Add in cheeses, fiddleheads, shallots, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into tart shell.
9. Bake until mixture is set and turning golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Anna Olson’s Cheerful Lemon Meringue Easter Desserts

Easter marks the time of year when the sun begins to shine a little brighter and warmer, and when garden flowers slowly begin to emerge from the ground. Not only are welcome changes happening outside, but also inside kitchens, with home bakers turning to fresh, vibrant flavours, like zingy lemon, for desserts that offer a treat for both the palate and eyes. Resident pastry pro, Anna Olson showcases a few brilliant ways to bring those good outdoor vibes into the kitchen with her lemon meringue desserts.

Get creative with lemon meringue, and think beyond pie this Easter with Anna Olson’s desserts that delight.

 

Anna Olson uses a bright lemon curd to fill cupcakes, profiteroles and eclairs before giving them the burnished meringue flourish.  Here’s where you can easily find the recipes that Anna references in the above video:
To bake up a lemon-scented cupcake, try Anna’s recipe here.

Get Anna’s lemon curd recipe here.

To make eclairs and profiteroles, use Anna’s recipe here.

Lemon Curd Makes Easter Desserts Shine

Anna Olson’s lemon curd recipe can be used beyond the recipes she features in the video. For instance, for a lemon-lovers Easter dessert, double the citrus by infusing a pound cake with lemon zest, then top each slice with a spoonful of lemon curd and tumble of sliced strawberries. Or, use lemon curd to fill a springtime layer cake or stir into yogurt for an Easter brunch side dish. There are countless ways to get more lemon curd into your springtime sweets.

The Best Meringue for Lemon Desserts

For that must-have snowy white topping, Anna makes a Swiss meringue, which begins by whisking egg whites and sugar together over a water bath until warm. This differs slightly from the raw egg white French meringues many recipes call for. When the sugar is dissolved and the whites are foamy, the mixture is added to a stand mixer where it’s beaten until glossy, thick and cool.

You Can “Lemon Meringue” Any Dessert

Armed with a tangy lemon curd and fluffy meringue, you’re ready to add lemon meringue intrigue to your favourite treats.  Anna adds a bright lemon curd filling and cloudlike meringue topping to cupcakes, profiteroles (cream puffs) and éclairs. Anna’s recipe for Lemon Coconut Cupcakes is a naturally fitting cake base to use for the cupcakes.

For the choux paste, the same base is used for both the round profiteroles and elegantly long éclairs, allowing you to have two seemingly different, French patisserie-level desserts in one. For a failsafe choux paste recipe, try Anna’s Profiteroles and Éclairs, replacing the pastry cream filling with lemon curd, and the chocolate topping with meringue, as shown in the video.

How to Fill Éclairs, Profiteroles and Cupcakes

When filling the choux paste desserts, you’ll feel the lemon curd resist slightly, which is how you know when to stop piping. If you don’t have a pastry bag, try a zip-top bag with a corner snipped out.

The profiteroles and éclairs are naturally airy so you can fill them with the lemon curd right away, but you’ll have to take out a centre portion of the cupcakes before filling (save those scraps for cake pops). That small hole in each cupcake that holds the lemon curd filling is fully concealed when the meringue topper is in place for a very delicious surprise.

The Final Flourish 

With that zippy lemon filling hiding in the treats, it’s time to top with the meringue. If you don’t have a pastry bag for the topping, consider going rustic with the back of a spoon, creating a bit of textural interest on top.

Anna notes you can leave the meringues to set as is, but for that true lemon meringue pie appearance, she gently caramelizes the meringue using a kitchen torch. Along with looking great stylistically, torching adds a rich toasted marshmallow flavour to anchor the juicy lemon filling.

Once you have the hang of it, you’ll be lemon meringue-ing everything.

From chocolate cake to madeleines, explore more springtime sweet inspiration with these Delightful Easter Desserts.

Anna Olson’s Dainty Easter Egg Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This easy and unique dessert is an exciting take on chocolate covered strawberries and dazzles on your spring sweets table.  Anna shows us how to give the time-honoured treat an Easter spin for a play on chocolate eggs that’s fresher, juicier, and prettier, too. It’s the chocolate and strawberry combo we all know and love, presented in a brand new way. There’s not a tastier way to enjoy fruit this Easter.

 

Make Your White Chocolate Eggshell

Whole strawberries with their stems cut off are dipped in melted white chocolate, taking on the appearance of an eggshell and acting as a blank canvas for your Easter egg designs. If you like brown eggs, this would be a great place to melt down some unwrapped chocolate eggs to coat the strawberries in place of, or in addition to, the white chocolate. For ease of dipping, choose firmer strawberries, not overly ripe ones that may bleed or cause the chocolate to split.

Decorating Eggs with Royal Icing

Anna uses royal icing to decorate the white chocolate dipped strawberries. This is simply a mixture of water, icing sugar and meringue powder, and you can get Anna’s royal icing recipe here. The royal icing is neutral base can be tinted in any colour you wish; in this case, it’s delicate springtime pastels. To pipe, Anna uses a parchment cone, which is easy to make – she demonstrates the technique in this quick video.

Add Some Sparkle

The royal icing also acts like glue when soft for a shower of decorator’s sugar (more colour!). This adds texture and vibrancy to really make the chocolate dipped strawberry eggs pop. Head to your local bulk food store and see the Easter-inspired sparkles and sprinkles they have available.

Do-Over Your Design

Anna notes that if you’re not happy with your design, just wipe it off before the royal icing sets. You don’t even need to re-dip the strawberries. As long as the white chocolate is firm, you can remove any unsightly icing squiggles in a pinch.

Have an Egg Decorating Party

For an interactive Easter activity, dip a few pints of strawberries far enough ahead of time so that the white chocolate can set, about 4 hours at room temperature or about 30 minutes if you put them in the refrigerator. Then, lay out sprinkles, tinted royal icing and any other edible decorations at the table for kids to embellish their own eggs.

Double the Chocolate

Easter wouldn’t be the same without mountains of chocolate. So, if you’d like even more chocolate on your white chocolate dipped strawberry eggs, decorate with a contrasting dark chocolate or coloured white chocolate instead of royal icing. This imaginative recipe is versatile and adaptable to your favourite sweet drizzles.

Keep the chocolate and berries theme going this Easter with Anna Olson’s Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Torte, decorating the top with these chocolate dipped strawberry eggs for a real showstopper.

The Best Ham Recipes and Tips for Your Easter Table

With Easter coming up, we’re talking to Food Network Canada Chef School’s Michael Smith, Mark McEwan  and Roger Mooking to help us master the baked holiday ham, a favourite roast this time of year. Your top ham questions for Easter and beyond are answered right here, by the pros. Along with what ham is best, how to cook ham and great tips for keeping your ham moist during roasting, the chefs deliver great ham glaze recipes for the trademark sticky-sweet crackling crust guests can’t get enough of. Intensely savoury, a little sweet and always crowd-pleasing, your Easter ham will be better than ever this year, thanks to the pros.

Best Ham to Buy

For the chefs, it’s all about the best quality, bone-in ham you can find – Easter ham is a once-a-year luxury, but can stretch beyond a single meal. Go big, and be rewarded with incredibly versatile leftovers – ham sandwiches, ham macaroni and cheese, ham omelettes, ham biscuits and more, next-day ham is a recipe-improving boon (we have a handful of leftover ham recipe ideas at the bottom of this article).

Michael Smith offers his advice on the traditional Easter ham, including what to look for when you’re purchasing it, saying, “I only cook one ham a year and that’s right around Easter. The best ham is bone-in, from a trusted source. You want something natural, naturally smoked. Not too many words that you can’t pronounce on the label.”

“To me, the best is buying a smoked, bone-in ham,” says Roger. “If you can go to a really good butcher, they can guarantee that they’re giving you [a good quality] Berkshire Ham or a Red Wattle Ham.” Red Wattle and Berkshire are heritage breeds of pork known for having the best quality meat.

How to Cook a Ham and Best Ham Glaze Recipes

Unlike other holiday meats, the beauty of a smoked ham is that it’s already cooked through. Cooks just have to heat, glaze and slice.

Roger keeps his ham moist and tender by covering it in the first half of cooking and mopping the glaze over the ham to finish. This helps to avoid both dry meat and a burnt crust. “As long as it’s covered you’ll have a nice steamy environment, and then towards the end, you [uncover it] and glaze,” he says.

Mark doesn’t typically add a liquid to the roasting pan when preparing his ham but that’s not to say you shouldn’t if you’re worried about keeping it moist.

“You could throw a tiny bit of stock in the bottom of the pan. A little bit of moisture with ham is not a bad thing at all. It helps to temper the cooking process and keep the ham moist. And you do want a moist ham.”

Mark also cautions against glazing the ham too early, as it can become too dark, or even burnt.

For a great ham glaze, the chefs love the interplay of sweetness with acid which complements a salty, smoky pork. The sweet component of a ham glaze can come from maple syrup, honey, fruit preserves, brown sugar, fruit puree or a mix of these. The acidic element can come from apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or citrus.  A warm savoury note is welcome, too; some chefs like to add a bit of mustard or a strong spice like allspice to the mix.

You’re after the consistency of loose preserves or maple syrup for a glaze, something viscous enough that it will stick to the ham as you mop it on and baste.

Mark McEwan favours an “old school, old-fashioned bone-in a ham out of the oven, beautifully glazed.  For his glaze, Mark juices clementines and adds it to maple syrup. “I like clementines because they have a really rich colour and there’s a bit of pulp in it.” He rounds out the glaze with a bit of brown sugar and cider vinegar. And on the McEwan table,  ham is served with a good mustard; it’s “oh my goodness” delicious.

You can get Mark’s recipe for his Easter Ham Glaze with Maple and Clementine Juice here.

For Rogers’ glaze, he pairs his naturally smoked ham with honey, grapefruit juice, allspice, five-spice, a touch of strained tomato puree, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, all stirred together until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup.

You can get Roger’s recipe for his Spiced Grapefruit and Honey-Glazed Ham glaze here.

Lynn Crawford has two delicious glazed ham recipes to serve at your holiday table: Pumpkin, Apple Cider, Maple Syrup and Mustard-Glazed Ham and a Traditional Maple-Glazed Ham with Cloves.

For a glazed ham recipe that gives you flexibility to create your own mix of flavours, try Michael Smith’s Sunday Ham with Apple and Rosemary Mustard Sauce. 

Easter Side Dishes for Ham

The perfect pairing for that beautifully glazed Easter ham is scalloped potatoes.   Try Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Potato Gratin recipe or pick your new favourite recipe from our 24 Seriously Delicious Scalloped Potato Recipes collection.

Our Favourite Recipes for Leftover Ham

Repurpose your holiday Easter ham myriad ways with these leftover ham recipes. It’s worth making extra just for them.

And for more leftover inspiration, here’s our collection of Best Easter Leftovers recipes.  

Anna Olson’s Pretty Birds’ Nest Meringues Sing of Spring

Pastry chef Anna Olson adds her whimsical touch to make a springtime or Easter treat that, as she says, “sings of the season.” Meringue nests hold a creamy vanilla buttercream, sweet coconut “grass” and colourful candy eggs. Kids and adults alike will love this treat, and every baker can put their own spin on it. What’s more, this fanciful birds’ nest dessert is easier than it looks, and Anna shows you how to pull it off flawlessly with the following video – and have fun in the process.

 

To assemble these spring-themed meringue birds’ nests,  you’ll need Anna’s simple white Birds’ Nests meringue recipe here.

You can use your favourite buttercream frosting recipe for the filling or try Anna’s vanilla buttercream frosting recipe here.

Meringue 101

For the nests, Anna turns to a French meringue, a straightforward mix of egg whites and sugar. Unlike Swiss meringue, a French meringue doesn’t have you warm or cook the egg whites and sugar together before using; the whites are kept raw, becoming cooked upon baking in a low oven. Be careful not to over-whip your egg whites, but if you do Anna shares her easy fix in this quick video.

No Pastry Bag? No Problem

If you don’t have a pastry bag, prepare the nests as you would a mini pavlova, using a spoon to create rounds and indentations where your filling will sit. There’s no wrong way to go about creating your masterpiece.

This Trick Keeps the Colour Pure Pink

To retain the pink colour (or your preferred pastel shade) in your meringue, a low and slow bake will help to achieve this. Other desserts, like pavlova, where you want to keep the appearance fair,  can also follow this method, with or without food colouring.

Avoid Browning the Meringue

A low oven also helps to avoid browning for a more polished look, creating a crisp exterior and airy interior to boot. After baking, those delicate egg whites have turned into a sturdy base, ready to be filled.

Have Fun with the Filling

rich vanilla cupcake buttercream is the ultimate compliment to those light-as-air nests. You can play around with the flavour of the buttercream, use a thick vanilla bean custard, or using Anna’s recipe for lemon curd mixed with whipped cream for the filling. And, not only does the filling taste great, it acts as “glue” for the decorative toppings to come.


If you’d like a more straightforward interpretation of this springtime treat, try Anna Olson’s elegantly pared down recipe for her meringue birds’ nests here.

Decorating the Birds’ Nests

Anna keeps with the playful feel of the meringue nests, creating green “grass” from shredded coconut and green food colouring. She uses liquid food colouring, not paste, which coats every strand of coconut more evenly to create a bagful of blades ready to decorate with.

Every Nest Needs Eggs

Egg shaped candies are the final touch. Alternatively, small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs will work as well, just be sure to unwrap them before eating. Or, if it’s already sweet enough for you at this point, consider topping your nests with blueberries (like robin’s eggs), raspberries or red currants.

We can’t think of a more fun, family-friendly way to serve up something sweet, special and just a little different this Easter.

After the chocolate egg hunt, serve up a scrumptious Easter Brunch with the help of these morning-making recipes.

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.