It’s probably too early to call the favorite, but the Orange Salted Honey Cake from Icing on the Cake has quickly become a stand-out recipe. With its frilly, flirty buttercream and intriguing flavor combination, it’s easy to see why. Both the design AND flavors are perfect for spring/summer, so it’s no wonder that this cake has become as early winner.Read More
Creamy custard, fresh bananas, and billowy whipped cream in a flaky crust with a shower of chocolate shavings – what's more comforting than that?!? Just imagine your fork diving deep into the decadent filling and shattering the crisp crust beneath. Delicious!
I pulled out of the parkade with tears in my eyes. After two months, my parents were headed back home to California. Summer 2018 is officially over as we close one the biggest chapters of our lives so far.
My parents come and go between Canada and California often. But this trip was different. They arrived in the beginning of July and left with a new member added to the family. Not only is the summer over, but this officially marks the end of my pregnancy, birth of my daughter, and postpartum bliss before starting our new normal lives. Brett has been back at work for two weeks now, but somehow their departure really made a footprint on my heart. And as I pulled the car out and drove home with two car seats in the back holding my most precious cargo, I was faced with the new season upon us.
I am so grateful for the help and love I've received from my family over the past 6 weeks or so. Every time my mom leaves, I reassure that we will survive without her but that I'd prefer not to - haha. Of course I'd rather have her one mile away instead of 900, but we will be fine. We are fine.
I can't thank my mom, dad, and brother enough for everything they did to help us transition to a family of four. From the daily adventures with Everett when I was too pregnant to move or stand the summer heat to countless trips to the pool and excursions to the fair, thank you for making sure my first born felt as special as always during this huge transition. Thank you for picking him up at 4am before we headed to the hospital when sister was born and caring for him when I was re-addimitted a few days later.
Thank you to my mom for feeding us nearly every night, cleaning the house, and the countless loads of laundry. Thank you to my dad for playing cars and building LEGO structures with Everett at his beck and call. Thank you to my brother Ryan for letting Everett escape the baby cries into his uncle's room to play guitar "real loud" and jump on his bed like a wild man.
Everett still has over a week until school starts and we can get back on some sort of schedule. Until then, I'll be holding down the fort with my two little ones all by myself for the first time (at least until Brett comes home from work). It won't be easy, but I know we will survive. And just in case, there is always pie.
After a hugely emotional (and hormonal) few weeks, I sure could use some comfort food. And I choose my comfort food in the form of dessert. Duh! This Banana Cream Pie is so luscious and decadent. If It doesn't solve all of your problems, then I don't know what will.
It starts with an extremely flaky, all-butter crust. We aren't getting fancy with intricate lattice work or anything, so be sure to leave the butter chunky in the pastry for ultimate layers of crisp crust perfection. Since we aren't cooking the fruit or filling, this recipes call for the pie dough to be blind baked. Be sure to chill the dough after crimping to keep the sides from slumping in the pan.
Next, my favourite vanilla bean pastry cream. So smooth and creamy! You will want to make the pastry cream in advanced so it has a chance to thicken up before spreading it into the cooled crust.
Slices of fresh banana fill the gap between the two creamy layers. The bananas should be ripe yet not still slightly firm. I slice them into 1/2-inch coins to keep them from turning into mush.
Piping the whipped cream is completely optional, but I think the pile of rosettes is not only pretty but gives the top of the pie a lovely texture. I filled a piping bag with my favourite star tip (Wilton 1M), and piped concentric circles of rosettes. Toward the center, I kept piping to form of mountain of cream. Alternatively, dollop on the billowy whipped cream with a spoon or swirl it on with a spatula.
Shaving the chocolate straight over the pie is the most convenient. I love how random the shards fall over the pie. Plus, if you tried to scoop them up and scatter the shavings with your hard, they might melt and get all sorts of messy. Simply scape a vegetable peeler against the side of a block of chocolate over the top of the prepared pie before serving.
The Best Banana Cream Pie
All-Butter Pie Crust
½ cup cold water
¼ cup ice
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter, diced
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Place the ice in the water and set aside.
2. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or by hand, rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Keep the chunks of butter large and irregular (about the size of a walnut), then begin to flatten the pieces of butter in sheets between your palms. Be careful not to over-work the butter or let it get too warm.
3. Working with only a couple tablespoons at a time, add in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the water. Stir together using a wooden spoon or even just a clean hand in the bowl. The dough should appear fairly shaggy and not sticky. Once you can squeeze a few pieces together and they hold, the dough is done being mixed. Do not over-mix.
4. Dump the dough onto your work surface and fold a few times until it hold together. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (preferably).
5. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly flour the work surface and begin to roll out the dough, working from the center out – rotating the dough after each roll. Roll the dough until about ¼ inch thick and about 12 to 13 inches in diameter.
7. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fit the dough into the bottom of the tin and up the sides, allowing for about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges of the dough under itself and press onto the rim of the pie pan.
8. Crimp the edges of the pie dough to further secure the dough to the pan (see image above). Chill the pie dough for 30 minutes while the oven pre-heats.
9. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Once ready, line the pie dough with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weighs, uncooked rice, or dry beans.
10. Bake the pie for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn brown. Carefully take the pie out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Return the crust to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and flakey and the bottom feels dry to the touch. Completely cool the crust before filling.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 vanilla bean, seed scraped out
1 3/4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the butter in a heat-safe container. Set aside.
2. Place the vanilla bean seeds, pod, and milk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until it begins to simmer.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Stir in the flour and cornstarch until smooth.
4. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture by whisking in a little bit at a time in order to gradually bring up the temperature of the eggs. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
5. Return the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium-high.
6. While stirring constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil - the cream will be thick and will "pop" slowly. Continue to whisk/cook for about 1 minute after it begins boil.
7. Strain the mixture with a mesh sieve and into the container with the butter. Stir to combine.
8. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until cool and thick.
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
splash vanilla extract
By hand of with an electric mixer, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and whip until soft peaks. Add the vanilla and whip until medium/firm peaks. By hand, this will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not over-mix.
2 to 3 ripe bananas
dark chocolate for shaving
1. Fill the baked and cooled pie crust with the prepared pastry cream. Smooth out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
2. Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch thick coins. Place them in tight concentric circles on top of the pastry cream.
3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream. Pipe tight spirals on to top of the bananas to create rosettes. Continue to pipe piles of cream, or as desired.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the long edge of a block of chocolate directly over the top of the finished pie to create chocolate shavings.
If possible, refrigerate the pie for about an hour before serving so that the creamy filling has a chance to set up (it will slice much easier this way). Pie is best eaten the same day as it is made (before the bananas turn brown). Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 to 3 days.
Pastry cream may be made up to 3 days in advanced and stored in the refrigerator. Gently stir to loosen before spreading in the pie crust.
Pie crust may be baked in advanced. Wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature overnight.
Simple sponge cake, crispy pillows of meringue, crunchy almonds, silky pastry cream, and juicy seasonal berries - this rustic dessert is a symphony of textures and subtle flavors. Be sure to bake this Berry Blitz Torte before summer is officially over!
Summer is nearly over. Say it ain't so!!! For as much as I love fall, I can't believe another summer has breezed by. I don't even want to think about the all the rain and dark days ahead....
While it is still warm out (which it actually is here in Vancouver), I'll be holding on to summer as long as I possibly can. This includes baking all the berry desserts before they are gone for the season!! I just stocked up on all the sale organic strawberries and local raspberries. Have you? Are you tired of berry desserts yet and already digging out your pumpkin spice and scarves? I hope not...
I you are going to make one final berry dessert before we officially say farewell to summer, let it please be this Berry Blitz Torte! Trust me, it's a winner. Want to know how I know this? It's from the amazingly talented chefs over at King Arthur Flour!
Let’s start a blog called “Will it Layer Cake?” where we take different dessert concepts and try to turn them into layer cakes. Who’s with me? You know, like can you make a layer cake from Milk and Cookies? You betcha! Or Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake? Oh, hell yes! But I ask you this, can you turn creme brûlée into a layer cake? Perhaps, just not today…
I know there are plenty of creme brûlée inspired cakes and cupcakes on the web. These creations usually have some-sort of brown sugar frosting or sport sugar shard-like accessories. But I am talking about that signature “crunch” from a spoon shattering the burnt sugar topping and diving straight into a pool of custard goodness. Is there a way to incorporate that quintessential trait of a good creme brûlée in a layer cake?
I’m not going to lie to you. As it stands, this cake is pretty impractical. While I did achieve the brunt sugar topping I was going for, the crispy top makes in nearly impossible to slice. At this stage of development (how ridiculous does that sound? lol), I haven't quite figured out a way to keep the crunchy top while maintaining the integrity of the slice (sounding even more ridiculous now, haha). You see, the other main component of creme brûlée is creamy baked vanilla custard, so it was clear that the filling of this Pumpkin Creme Brûlée Cake should be pastry cream. Pastry cream is a pretty unstable filling, especially paired with this soft, tender pumpkin cake. So no, today creme brûlée did no “layer cake”
However, I did give it a good try and I wanted to share the results anyways. I piped pastry cream on the top layer of the cake before blanketing it in sugar. I used a pretty heavy hand when adding the sugar for fear that the flame of my culinary torch would melt the cream underneath. This might be the biggest design flaw of this creme brûlée cake. The sugar did in fact brûlée, caramelize, and harden. Success!! Kind of. The crunchy sugar layer was too think. By the time I went to slice it, I had to shatter the top layer of beautifully burnt sugar.
The saving grace of this cake is the buttercream. It. Is. SOOOOOO. Good!!! In a way, I could have skipped the whole crispy sugar part and still gotten away with the “creme brûlée” title, because the buttercream is flavoured with a caramelized white chocolate. I used Dulcey 35% chocolate - Valhrona’s blonde white chocolate. I am not a white chocolate fan at all, but this stuff is seriously the best chocolate I have ever tasted!
And why pumpkin creme brûlée cake? Because Fall, obviously. This is a variation of the pumpkin pie cake in my book. I swapped out the brown sugar but added in a bit of molasses for depth and color. This cake is soooo soft and tender. You could totally be satisfied eating it all by it self. I definitely didn’t miss any extra frosting by keeping is “naked” either. This is the type of cake that doesn’t have to rely on buckets of frosting, sprinkles, or drippy chocolate to taste good.
But also, because of the Virtual Pumpkin Party!!!! Today, Sara and Aimee are hosting another annual Virtual Pumping Party. I could not be more excited! Basically a chance to party online with some of my blogger friends and share ALL THE PUMPIN THINGS! Sweet, savoury, and everything in between. Be sure to head over to Cake Over Steak and Twigg Studios to find all of the amazing recipes!!
Lastly, if you are wondering about my recipe from last year, it was this Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 14 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar, molasses and vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add in the eggs – one at a time.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
In two batches, gradually mix in the dry ingredients until nearly combined. Mix in the pumpkin until incorporated.
Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Once completely cool, trim the tops as needed.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
Place the vanilla bean seeds and milk in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a low boil over medium heat.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, yolk, and cornstarch just as the milk starts to simmer. Whisk in a small portion of the hot milk into the egg mixture to gradually raise the temperature of the eggs.
Transfer everything back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Stirring constantly, heat the mixture until thickened, taking care not to over-heat and curdle the mixture – about 5 minutes. Slows, big bubbles should “plop” up to the surface when done.
Strain the pastry cream with a mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the butter until combined.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cool and thickened, or overnight.
Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces Dulcey Chocolate, melted and cooled
Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Once hot, carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.
With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, then the vanilla. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium-high an beat until buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add in the melted chocolate and mix until combined.
Fill a piping bag with the caramelized white chocolate buttercream. Set aside.
Place the bottom layer of cake on a serving dish or cake board. Pipe a buttercream boarder around the top edge of the cake. Fill the inside of the buttercream ‘dam’ with pastry cream. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
For the creme brûlée top, pipe a thin layer of pastry cream on top of the cake. Generously cover with fine or granulated sugar. Use a culinary torch to melt and caramelize the sugar topping. As it cools, it should harden. Pop int he fridge until set.
Once chilled, pipe around the top edge of the cake to cover the edges of the brûléed pastry cream.
NOTE - as mentioned earlier the crispy topping is difficult to cut through. If yours ends up too thick and hardlike mine, scrape and pipe the remaining buttercream on the top of the cake. OR skip the pastry cream all together. There should enough buttercream to fill and decorate the cake.
Hello to the (unofficial) start of summer! I hope everyone had a fabulous Memorial Day or Victoria Day (our version up here in Canada that we had last week). Now that my illness is nearly 100% behind me, I am welcoming summer with open arms. I’ve been daydreaming of morning jogs and swim lessons with Everett, afternoons at the park, Brett meeting us after work for picnic dinners at the beach, farmer’s market adventures, and relaxing on the patio. Food-wise (the most important part of every season, if you ask me), I can’t wait for BBQ’s, grilled veggies, ice cream, and ALL OF THE BERRIES!!
To me, these Strawberry Basil Tartlets totally embody summer. When juicy, red-to-the-core strawberries arrive at the markets in abundance and my basil plant is thriving, this is exactly the type of dessert I like to make and share. And while I don’t particularly enjoy too much time spent over the stove or with the oven on, there is something relaxing about watching pastry cream slowly come to a boil and I am beginning to really enjoy the process of making pastry like pate sablee (or tart shells).
The timeless combination of strawberries and whipped cream is synonymous with summer feasting. They are sort of like the ambassadors of backyard get togethers, pot lucks, and block parties. These tarts bring an unexpected twist to the party: fresh basil.! The basil is subtle yet refreshing. Jazz up any fruit-topped dessert with this infused cream!
Head on over to Front + Main for the full recipe.
In even more, exciting news - Food Bloggers of Canada is currently hosting a Blog Hop in honour of “Layered.” How cool is that!?! 7 very talented and creative bloggers across Canada agreed to bake and share some of the cakes from my book. The best part? Each one if giving away a copy of the book! That’s 7 chances to win!!! Be sure to check out all of their gorgeous creations:
Olivia of Liv for Cake – French Opera Cake
Renee of Sweet Revelations — Golden Champagne Celebration Cake
Alanna of One Tough Cookie — Honey Fig Cake
Amanda of The Cinnamon Scrolls — Coconut Mojito Cake
Jenny of The Brunette Baker — Birthday Cake
Fanny of Oh Sweet Day — Chocolate Matcha Cake
Marie of Food Nouveau — Lemony Zucchini Cake
Thank you, ladies! You are all incredible xoxo