Berry Filled Tea Cake

Happy Spring, y’all!

I hope that it has been as warm, beautiful, and blooming where you are as it has been in Atlanta! While I am still not used to this 80˚F weather in April and now even warmer in May, I must say that I kind of love all of the life it has brought! Cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, gardenias, the list of stunning flowers that are right outside of our little apartment goes on and on. Even beyond that, the farmer’s market season is in full swing, everyone seems to be outside running, walking, and biking, the wonderful months of grilling and margaritas have arrived—ahh can you tell I’m so excited?!

With this just incredible time of the year upon us, I wanted to give you a recipe that is just as light, refreshing, bright and simply sweet to enjoy during these warmer days ahead of us!

This cake recipe below is truly perfect for Mother’s Day, summer brunches, showers, BBQ’s—and that’s all because it is not overwhelmingly sweet. I don’t know about you, but when it’s 85˚ outside with about 90% humidity, there’s nothing I want less than a heavy dessert, which is where this idea came about. I’ve replaced any white sugar or brown sugar with honey and maple syrup, giving it a little bit more of a floral and earthy taste to the cake. From there, I used one of my current favorite teas—Ginger Turmeric—and steeped that in a honey simple syrup for a slight twist and a little kick. Lastly, the “barely-there” cream cheese flavor in the buttercream, combined with some lemon extract gives you that pop of citrus that we all crave in the summer, especially with en entire orange worth of zest in the cake! I took this one step farther and chopped up some fresh strawberries for the filling of this cake, because why wouldn’t you want that?!

Et voilà!

This cake is, to me, as lovely and stunning as all of those amazing flowers outside! It adds a nice fresh touch to any party, brunch, heck, even an afternoon snack if you’re me! With a summer that is sure to be filled with lots of dog snuggles, outdoor adventures, weekend getaways and possibly Sunday mornings when you wake your husband up too early for a “beat the sun” run…this berry filled, tea soaked cake, is exactly what you’ll be craving!

cake ingredients

Milk—4 oz, of ½ C

Canola Oil—3 oz, or ½ C

Honey—4 oz, or 1/3 C

Maple Syrup—3 oz, or ¼ C

Eggs—2

Vanilla Extract—1 ½ tsp

Flour—11 oz, or 2 C

Baking Powder—2 tsp

Baking Soda—½ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Orange Zest—1 orange

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Whisk together all of your dry ingredients—the milk, oil, honey, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange zest

Combine the wet and dry, whisking together until just combined.

Prep 2-6” cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray, and then either covering the bottom with a light dusting of flour, or some parchment paper.

Add half of the cake batter to each pan, which should only fill each about halfway.

Put in your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating, then another 10.

When fully baked, the center of the center of the cake should spring back nicely when pressed.

Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack until you are ready to assemble the cake.

 

syrup ingredients

Water—6 oz, or ¾ C

Honey—8 oz, or ¾ C

Tea Bags—4

Salt—small pinch

 

process

In a small saucepot, combine the water and honey; bring to a light boil, just so that the honey dissolves into the water.

Remove from the heat and steep your tea bags anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on how intense you want this honey-tea syrup to be!

*Note: I used a Ginger Turmeric tea for this recipe—it is quite subtle but adds a great warmth and spice to the sweet syrup, but the options are endless!*

Once you remove the tea bags, add the salt.

Allow to cool completely before using it on your cake!

 

buttercream ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—10 oz, or 1 ¼

Cream Cheese—4 oz, or ½ C

Vanilla Extract—1 TBL

Lemon Extract—1 tsp

Milk—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar—27 oz, or 5 ¼ C

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until verrryyyy smooth and creamy—this should take you a good 5-10 minutes depending on the consistency of the butter.

Once smooth, slowly add in the sifted confectioner’s sugar, scraping down after about every cup added.

When all the sugar has been added and the bowl has been scraped down, add in the vanilla and 1 TBL of the milk.

Mix and scrape.

Add in the second TBL of milk.

Turn your mixer on about medium-high so that your buttercream becomes nice and fluffy.

Now it can be used to finish your cake!

 

assembly

When your cake has completely cooled, trim the tops off of both cakes so that they are flat.

Using the syrup that you made earlier, brush a healthy amount on each cake layer, specifically the side that you just trimmed off—this will keep it nice and moist the longer that it sits!

Using either a plate or a cake turntable, evenly spread on your buttercream—I do about ½” for the center.

*Optional: you may put fresh fruit in the center for even more flavor—I have used strawberries here!*

If you opt to put fruit in the middle, press it down to make sure that it is in place, and you may even want to add more buttercream over the fruit to secure it even more.

Now place the other cake layer, syruped side down, on top of the fruit, buttercreamy center you just created.

Place a good dollop of the buttercream on top and spread a thin, even layer. Do the same with the sides—this doesn’t have to be perfect, and it may have crumbs in it, it is just a base coat!

Place this “crumb-coated” cake in the fridge to firm up for about 20-30 minutes.

Once your outside layer has set just a bit, it’ll be easier to spread on more buttercream, this time there will be no crumbs that get in your beautiful frosting job!

When you have applied the second coating of buttercream and are satisfied with how absolutely beautiful and yummy it looks, decorating it however you wish—I used some dried orange peel that I had kicking around—you may cut into it and enjoy!

At this point, like me, you may have almost forgotten about the surprise of fresh fruit inside—and this, plus the syrup keeps the cake tasting extremely moist!

 

Bon Appétit!

Orange Cornmeal Cakes with PB Chocolate Buttercream

After a much needed break (AKA my job was basically forcing me to take daily afternoon naps…ask Roberto, he’s come home to me asleep more times than I can count), KBB is back in action!

While I knew that this incredible baking job that I started back in November would be hella rewarding, I did not think that would still be struggling this bad with the 2:30am wake-up time! We allllll know that this girl LOVES the morning, I mean, I was waking up to do marathon training runs at 4am last summer, but to actually think at 4am is a totally different ballgame!

Anyways! No one really needs to hear me rambling on and on and on…

I hope that everyone had an eventful few months—even though January-March have never been my favorite of the year, at least they’re just about over and we can focus on the best ¾ of the year!!

Hi Spring! Hi Summer! Hi Fall!

So, as we get into the most lovely, colorful, fully in bloom months, I have learned that here, in Atlanta, Spring isn’t exactly what I’m used to. To me, it’s rain, then SO MANY FLOWERS, cool mornings, mild days…but oh no, it was 85˚ this week…it’s still March. Ahh, at least there’s already beautiful tulips all over! Another plus to this wildly early summertime weather? Farmer’s Markets! They all begin April 1st! What?! YES!

The bakery I work at is all about dem markets, meaning 3 days a week you can see us Lil’ Tarts representin’ our baked goodies around the city! Woo! Bring on busy season from April-December, I’m ready—insert muscle emoji here.

Oh…but this isn’t just a blog where I chit chat for 3 pages, it’s actually about baking. And recipes. And slightly interesting content. So, while I mayyyyy have been MIA (or asleep) for that past few months, at least I came out of hibernation with this bomb recipe—a not-too-sweet cake with a surprise filling and an irresistible frosting!

As (I hope) you all know, my cornbread is amazing. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but, like, it’s so good that I normally eat about half of it, mainly sneaking bites so that I don’t get that girl, are you going to leave me any?!?! look from my darling husband! Now this may be the next best idea I’ve had aside to my cornbread—turning it into CUPCAKES! Whaattttt. Dessert cornbread you say?!

As it warms up, my sweet tooth goes down ever so slightly just because I’m too hot to consume anything that’s not butter lettuce, a green smoothie, popsicles and cold, cold pizza. Okay, sort of exaggerating but you get the idea, right? I came up with this subtly sweet dessert for moments just like described above, and it helps that it’s packed with orange zest to give a refreshing element to it! Hmm, how can we make it even better? Adding a Maine blueberry jam to the center? OKAY! Last, but not least, I had to add something chocolate, because, come on, it’s me…who are we kidding, right?! So all of this goodness is topped with a chocolate peanut butter buttercream…excuse me while I go scarf one down.

So, as I came up with this ingenious idea to turn my cornbread slightly sweeter and force it to become a cake, I’ve also accepted the fact that it’s going to be a bit hotter than I’m used to for a lot longer than I thought possible, but, hey! Give me a box of popsicles, maybe a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and these cupcakes that are bursting with citrus, jam and chocolate, and I think I’m on board!

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

cornmeal cake ingredients

Brown Sugar—4.25 oz, or ½ C

White Granulated Sugar—2 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—4 oz, or ¾ C

Cornmeal—2 oz, or ¼ C + 2 TBL

Salt—1 tsp

Baking Powder—1½ tsp

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Orange Zest—1 TBL, or 1 large orange

Eggs—1

Milk—4 oz, or ½ C

Olive Oil—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a large bowl, combine both sugars, the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, olive oil and orange zest.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.

Like a 12-count cupcake pan with liners.

Fill each up about 2/3 of the way.

Optional: sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar for a nice crunch/texture before you bake.

Put in your preheated over for 12 minutes, rotate, then another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before frosting them!

 

peanut butter chocolate buttercream ingredients

Peanut Butter—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

Butter (room temperature)—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)—6.25 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Cocoa Powder (sifted)—1.25 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 TBL

Orange Extract—½ tsp

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter until very smooth.

While this is creaming, sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

In another measuring cup, combine the milk and both extracts.

Once your butters are nice and smooth, slowly add half of your sifted ingredients.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in half of your wet ingredients.

Add the final amount of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder, then the remaining milk/extracts.

Scrape down the bowl.

Turn your mixer up to about medium speed and allow to whip for a good 10 seconds, making your buttercream smooth and fluffy.

Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you may use this to frost with!

 

assembly

As this first step you may omit, I highly recommend that you don’t!

First, using a paring knife, cut out small little cones out of the center of each cake.

Fill them with jam—I have used a Maine blueberry jam, but any kind will work! I find that orange + blueberry complement each other oh so well!

Once each center has been filled, use either just an offset spatula or piping on a nice dollop of buttercream using a round tip, to both completely cover the jam as well as add a good 2 TBL of it on top!

This can be as messy or as clean as you’d like—all depending on your technique and preference!

I have used a medium-sized round tip in my pastry bag to cover the jam with the buttercream, and then also to put enough on before spreading out with the offset.

Finish with any type of sprinkle or sugar that you’d like, or just leave plain as is!

 

Bon Appétit!

Whole Wheat Cookies Stuffed with Dulce de Leche

Happy New Year!

How were everyone’s holidays?!

I hope that they full of lots of family, friends, love, excitement—now let’s make 2017 even better than last!

Ohh 2016, you were quite a sassy little thing weren’t you, so moody, yet so wonderful. While there were many ups and downs, full of pounds of butter and sugar and chocolate chips, some loss, lots of growth and gain, quite a few running blisters, a wedding, a move, a new puppy, some really tough moments, followed by many unbelievably beautiful ones…I’d say 2016 is a year that will never be forgotten.

But the obvious question here: are y’all big New Year Resolution people?!

I used to be, always the normal “go to the gym more often,” “eat more whole foods,” “be more positive.” But I’ve slowly strayed away from that and moved more into the self-love: respecting yourself and your body, finding happiness, etc. One huge thing that I learned over the last year was that you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how your react to it, which is how I try and stay most centered.

So there. Voilà. My updated life outlook!

Along with that, baking will always be my most relaxing activity…I mean unless you want to include cuddling on the couch the pup and Roberto an activity…

I want this year to include a lot more wild experiments in the kitchen, whether it’s testing a recipe 500 times, or seeing how huge I can make a cookie and what silly thing I can stuff it with next, or how tall I can stack a cake, who knows—there will be no fear this year!

The first recipe of 2017 is a more simple one, slightly healthy (what’s up, whole wheat flour?!), but also packed full of homemade dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate…so nevermind with the H word.

As you know, I get random cravings, then I need to get into the kitchen and just bake until they are satisfied! Remember the caramel corn? All started with my need to go to an amusement park…sometimes I even surprise myself… Anyways! This recipe was exactly that: I wanted something salty dipped in chocolate, and a pretzel or a chip just wouldn’t do! Then it was something like oh, a cookie? But hmm, I bet it would be great stuffed with caramel, so let’s make dulce de leche! But still, hello, where’s the covered-in-chocolate part?! Right, a cookie, with all sorts of chocolate chips, a gooey inside, dipped in milk chocolate, sprinkled with salt, AND SPRINKLES!

Oh. Whole wheat flour for a slightly different taste, texture and maybe added nutrients?! It is the New Year isn’t it?           

It’s always fun to read my ridiculous thoughts, isn’t it? I did happen to bring a test batch of these cookies (that’s 30 of them…) to a relatively intimate NYE party, and they were all eaten! So, if that’s not proof that these are addicting and delicious, go grab a bottle of Champagne, then you’ll definitely be convinced!

 

ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

White Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Eggs—3

Vanilla—2 tsp

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—2 tsp

Whole Wheat Flour—17.5 oz, or 3 C

AP Flour—10.25 oz, or 2 C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Dulce de Leche—recipe here

Milk Chocolate Chips (melted)—2 cups

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients.

Add in your chocolate chips.

Mix until all is combined.

Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least an hour or two, until it has firmed up a bit.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your dulce de leche sauce—found here! This will take between 2-3 hours, so it’s a great time to get it done!

 

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

By this time, your dough should have firmed up, and your dulce de leche should be finished and cooled.

Make dough balls that are about 1 oz, which is around a tablespoon—this can be eyeballed!

Flatten them out and make them into little “bowls” so that the filling will have a nice place to sit.

Put about a ½ tsp of dulce de leche in the middle.

Take another ball that is the same size, flatten and make another bowl out of it, this will be the top to your filled bottom cookie bowls.

Cover the filling with this second flattened piece, press the edges so that it seals in the dulce de leche, and then gently roll it in your hands so it makes a completely closed cookie dough ball.

This is one!

Do this with the remainder of your cookie dough and filling.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

It will be hard to tell when they are finished baking due to the color of the whole wheat flour, but they should be completely set on the edges and just slightly underbaked in the centers.

Allow to cool completely before dipping them in chocolate!

 

To make the chocolate for dipping, make a double boiler and melt about 2 cups of chocolate chips.

When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat (make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to remove any of the warm water!), and dip each cooled cookie about halfway with chocolate.

Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and some sprinkles for extra color, crunch and excitement!

Whether or not you allow to chocolate to cool and set entirely…

 

Bon Appétit!

Brown Sugar Sprinkle Cookies

Today’s Date: December 21st.

What I thought the date was: November (basically).

There’s some kind of sorcery going on here because the fact that Christmas is in 4 days completely blows my mind. I swear last week was Thanksgiving, 2 days ago was Roberto’s birthday, tomorrow can’t be Thursday…

I can keep going!

Between lots and lots of work, some afternoon naps, and my marathon training—just to keep in shape while I eat so many croissants at work—I have lost track of time completely. It’s wonderful that my work schedule is so crazy compared to almost anyone else’s (4am start time, random weekdays off, etc.) because it keeps me relatively busy and I absolutely love Trader Joe’s runs at 10am on a Monday, no one is there! Then there’s the flip side, I’m rather tired about 90% of the time I’m not at work, so this whole baking outside of work thing gets tough.

The month of December for KBB has consisted of about 10 failed attempts at a cake that I insisted I make work—the recipe seemed flawless! But alas, I decided that a new cookie recipe was needed, one that almost screams “Katie,” and of course it turned out to be magically delicious (cookies are definitely my strong suit!).

So below you have another game changing, swap-out-the-gingerbread-men-for, sprinkle loaded cookie.

All brown sugar? Check!

Oats for “health?” Check!

Sprinkles galore? Check!

Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate? Check check check!

You’re probably thinking Girl, those oats aren’t doing a damn thing! WELL, listen up, this cookie is so soft, like your teeth just sink right in, it’s an incredible thing, so I wanted to add oats because not only do I love the taste of a toasty oat, but a fun texture piece is brought, too.

And then there’s sprinkles, and chocolate…and if you decided to dip the cookies in chocolate and throw on more sprinkles, it’s just a glittery, wonderful winterland of a cookie you have created!

I did all of the above, and I must say it was the best decision this month. As posted on my Instagram, we had a little work outing where we went to Beautiful Briny Sea and make sprinkle blends! My boss, of course, was doing it for the shop for our peppercorn meringues, but the rest of us spent the hour or two making bags and bags of colorful, crazy little blends to bring home!

My Holiday Sprinkle Mix is featured on these cookies—and yes, this activity was even more fun than you can imagine! I’m thinking this is what I want my adult job to be…

ANYWHO! Back on track…got sprinkle distracted…

After a crazy month of work, being a new(ish) dog mom, still adjusting to life in Atlanta and then, surprise!, it’s Christmas, this recipe is exactly what we all need in our lives.

It’s quite simple, yet will bring ease to anyone’s day, especially if you’re as unprepared for this upcoming weekend as I am!

IMG_7325.JPG

ingredients

Butter, room temperature—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—16 oz, or 2 ¼ C

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

Eggs—3

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—1 tsp

Flour—26.25 oz, or 5 ¼ C

Oats—3.75 oz, or ¾ C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Sprinkles of choice—3-4 TBL

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

Once all combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add in the oats.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your creamed mixture.

Add in your chips and sprinkles.

Either transfer your dough to another bowl or use the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Scoop out tablespoon sized cookies, or I do 1.5 oz, and place on a baking sheet lined with either parchment, a Silpat, or spray with nonstick spray.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the outside edges are just slightly browned and the centers are still very light—makes for a nice soft cookie!

Allow to cool and enjoy!

*Note: If you want to dip them in chocolate—over a double boiler, melt about 1 cup of white chocolate until smooth, dip half in the chocolate and cover in sprinkles before the chocolate firms up!*

 

Bon Appétit!

Apple Bacon Bread Pudding

Happy Holiday Season, my friends!

We have made it past Thanksgiving, so I can officially be as annoying as possible with my over-the-top Christmas spirit! Yay! Woo! Candy Canes! Gingerbread!

As I write up this blog post, I may or may not be snuggled up on the couch with Mr. Raleigh, wearing a shirt covered in gingerbread men, listening to some Christmas tunes while drinking coffee with a candy cane swirling around in my big mug…

If you don’t recall from last holiday season, this time of year just speaks to me—it’s truly the time when everyone’s love just comes out, no questions asked, and that makes me even more warm and fuzzy than usual! And if you’re at my house for Christmas, it’s going to be gingerbread house making, Bad Santa watching, spiked eggnog and Cognac drinking, and I-spy Christmas ornament playing. Things get pretty wild up there.

ANYWAYS! Let me stop rambling about the upcoming excitement in Maine, but instead about this even bigger thrill of the recipe below! Bacon. Apples. Spices. Bread. Crumb Topping.

I think I should have had you at bacon, but had to add in the crumb topping incase you’re nuts and your mouth doesn’t water at the thought of bacon.

Alright, so I have a small confession…the idea of bread pudding hasn’t always appealed to me. I see it on a brunch menu, a dessert menu, I’m kind of like well…pancakes, waffles, chocolate cake…they’re all higher up to me. But then after the past few weeks at work of making savory bread pudding almost everyday, I decided to put aside all of my past feelings and give it another shot. See, at work, we use day old savory pastries—croissants, gougeres, ham puffs—and that’s when I realized it can’t be that bad if there’s flaky, buttery pastry in it.

What bread is in my sweet variation? Cinnamon bread and challah, thank you very much. Luckily, homemade OR store bought is just fine, and day old is even better. And then I just added almost every favorite ingredient of mine: bacon for some savory-salty action, apples for a tart crunch, cinnamon and nutmeg—I mean, it’s Christmas, brown sugar for that wonderful sweetness, and a buttery, big crumb topping for even more little flavor bursts.

After making my own bread pudding and seeing how fun it is to experiment with flavor combinations, there’s absolutely no reason why this incredible custard shouldn’t move up in your ranking, too! One of the best parts? You can make this and let it sit overnight in the fridge, and then bake it fresh in the morning—hello simple brunch!

Oh, and I heard Christmas is on a Sunday this year, the day of brunching…so here is one less thing you need to plan!

crumb ingredients

Brown Sugar—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Flour—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Cinnamon—¼ tsp

Nutmeg—pinch

Butter, cold+cubed—1.5 oz, or 3 TBL

 

process

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients.

Either using a fork, a pastry cutter, or, my favorite, your hands (!!), work the butter into the dry ingredients.

You want to have large and small crumbs of the topping, this will give you little buttery, spicy pockets once the bread pudding is baked!

When you are ready to bake your bread pudding, sprinkle this all over the top before putting into the oven.

 

ingredients

Bacon, cooked—8-10 pieces

Apple, diced—1

Bread—10 oz, or 4 C (packed!)

Milk—8 oz, or 1 C

Eggs—4

Vanilla—1 tsp

Brown Sugar—2.5 oz, or 1/3 C

Salt—¾ tsp

Cinnamon—2 tsp

 

process

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, diced apple, and bread.

*For bread, using day old is great, really soaks up the liquid. You may also use whatever type you’d like—but a sweet challah or cinnamon raison are the perfect flavor combinations!*

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Pour your liquid mixture over the bread and mix well.

Once thoroughly mixed, pour all into a baking dish—I used a pie dish, makes it look pretty!

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerator to soak for at least 2 hours to overnight!

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Sprinkle the crumb topping (recipe below) over the bread pudding.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until you can see that the custard has set and there are no more runny eggs.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!