Lemon Poppyseed Mini Bundt Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Lemon Poppyseed Mini Bundt Cake! So, apparently mini bundt cakes have been the rage for some time now with quaint little bakeries and countless molds popping up everywhere. My friend, Nancy, was kind enough to gift me with a cute little ceramic mold. I began looking at recipes and couldn’t believe all the variations out there. Choosing the first one came easily with almonds, lemon, and poppyseed ingredients, especially with a lemony sweet-tart glaze. But wait, you utter. You’ve heard me say my husband simply does not like lemon baked goods. I know, but there’s a method to my madness. You see, lemon poppyseed is one of those combinations that can be eaten as dessert or breakfast. Need I say more? Every little bundt helps.

LEMON POPPYSEED MINI BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 tablespoon poppyseeds

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a mini bundt pan and 6-mold muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well; set aside. Using a mixer on Low speed, cream together the softened butter, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, buttermilk, almond extract, and lemon extract. Mix for about one minute. Slowly add flour mixture, poppyseeds, and sliced almonds just until combined. Divide the batter between the mini bundt pan and muffin tin, filling batter to the top. If desired, sprinkle additional sliced almonds over top before baking. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake 15 minutes longer. The tops will be golden brown. Cake is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and allow cakes to cool another 10 minutes. Drizzle lemon glaze over cakes, if desired.

Dark Chocolate Mug Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Dark Chocolate Mug Cake! The first thing I want to tell you about this recipe is coconut flour can make a cake drier than all-purpose flour. True, it does make it a gluten-free alternative AND an excuse to add a scoop of ice cream, which I did. I would call the texture very dense, but my husband was painfully honest and used the word “dry”. I believe adding an extra egg white might alleviate that problem, but who knows? Perhaps you’ll try it and get back to me. The gist of the story is, when you’re really craving something sweet and don’t want to put a lot of time into it, this is a “piece of cake”. Two minutes in the microwave and you’ve got it. Just add fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, and a wicked scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You can blame me.

DARK CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg, room temperature

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Instructions:

Rub the inside of a microwave-safe coffee mug with butter. Set aside. In a bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and a large egg. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared mug. Microwave on High for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the mug and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add fresh strawberries and sliced almonds, for garnish.

Zabaglione Parfait

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Zabaglione Parfait! That’s Italian. In English it translates to a decadent light custard, bordering on mousse, whipped into a parfait of romance-in-a-glass. Add fruit, toasted coconut, and a smidgen of nutmeg for a dessert that will have everyone exclaiming, “That’s Amoré!”

ZABAGLIONE PARFAIT

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, whipped 3-5 minutes

3 egg yolks, beaten

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1 pinch nutmeg

2 drops almond extract

1/4 cup sweet vermouth, or almond liqueur

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Fresh raspberries

French Vanilla Wafer Rolls

Toasted coconut

Instructions:

In a chilled bowl, beat heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use. In the bottom of a double boiler, bring water to a simmer and reduce heat to low. In the top of the double boiler, place eggs and sugar. Add granulated lemon citrus peel, nutmeg, and almond extract. Pour in sweet vermouth or amaretto liqueur. Whisk the custard mixture to create a light, fluffy consistency. Do not allow the water to boil. Continue whisking for 10 minutes, until the custard triples in volume. It will turn pale and frothy. The custard will be slightly thickened when ready. Set aside for 15 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard, reserving a portion for a garnish. The texture will appear like mousse. Place a dollop of raspberry preserves into the bottom of each parfait glass. Next, divide the custard equally between the parfait glasses. Top with fresh raspberries. Sprinkle on toasted coconut. Finish with a dab of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dish up with a French vanilla wafer roll for nibbling.

Rich Ricotta Cannoli

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Sweet Celebrations: Rich Ricotta Cannoli! For those of you like me, who can’t run down to the Italian bakery, try this recipe on for size. It’s perfect for the holidays and won’t leave you wringing your hands for something gourmet. By splurging on store bought cannoli shells, you can focus on the delectable filling instead. The results are astounding! Applause, applause!

RICH RICOTTA CANNOLI

Ingredients:

15 ounces ricotta cheese, whole milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

12 miniature cannoli shells, ready-to-fill

Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, whisk the ricotta cheese and almond extract until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and nutmeg. Mix well. Refrigerate for one hour. To fill the cannoli shells, pipe the ricotta mixture into both ends of the shell, allowing the cream to fill the center. Garnish with mini chocolate chips. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Prepared cannoli may be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container up to three days.

Zebra Almond Bark

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Zebra Almond Bark! Isn’t it funny how things get their name? Almond Bark doesn’t even contain nuts. Seriously. I guess, technically, there is a popular candy coating people believe is white chocolate, but isn’t. It’s made with vegetable oil and often artificial flavors. It was used originally to be melted into chopped almonds to make Christmas candy that people went crazy over. So, although I borrowed the name “almond bark”, I actually preferred to use white chocolate chips instead. The ingredient list mentioned cocoa butter and natural extracts, which sounded more appealing and taste better, in my opinion. Whatever you choose, we’ll still refer to it as “almond bark”.

ZEBRA ALMOND BARK

Ingredients:

2 cups premiere white chocolate morsels

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat white chocolate morsels on High for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave at 30-second intervals until morsels are melted and consistency is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Spread thin. In another microwave-safe bowl, melt mini chocolate chips the same way, stirring until no lumps remain. To form “zebra” stripes, drop tiny spoonfuls of dark chocolate into the white chocolate. Take a cake tester and create a swirl pattern by dragging the dark chocolate outward into stripes. The more random the design, the prettier it looks. Place baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes to set. Remove pan and break Zebra Almond Bark apart into pieces. Store candy at room temperature.

Autumn Plum Galette

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Autumn Plum Galette! Rustic pies are so forgiving, which is one of the reasons I gravitate to them more. Forget perfection. It just isn’t necessary. A galette is made without a pie plate. Same dough, but no primping and crimping needed. You honestly don’t really need as many fillings either, because there’s no need to pile ‘em high. In fact, you’ll know you’ve overfilled the galette when you see the juices running onto the baking sheet. No fun. And when you taste the galette, the crust may be mushy. So remember, stop yourself and it’ll turn out fine.

AUTUMN PLUM GALETTE

Ingredients:

1 prepared refrigerated pie crust

5 ripe plums, pit removed and sliced

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch ginger

1 pinch cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Ingredients for Almond Filling:

1/2 cup almond flour

5 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Fit parchment paper on a baking sheet. Unroll pie crust onto baking sheet. Place galette dough in the refrigerator to chill. Meanwhile, combine almond flour, sugar, flour, butter, and egg in a food processor. Mix until smooth and spreadable. Remove chilled galette from the refrigerator. Spread the almond filling onto the dough*, but stop short of the edges. Arrange plum slices in an overlapping design on top of the almond filling. Sprinkle plums with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Roll the plain edges of the dough over the fruit. Brush the crust with melted butter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

*I only used half the almond filling and reserved the remaining portion for second galette.

Almond-Vanilla Popovers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Almond-Vanilla Popovers! What if I told you it was possible to eat a serving of bread, but without all the preservatives? It is. And then, what would you say if I told you the outside was golden brown and the inside was hollow? That’s right. Hollow. These light and airy popovers of pancake-like batter puff up into delectable buttery crowns that leave you singing their praises and clapping your hands. It’s like you just witnessed a bit of magic in your very own kitchen.

ALMOND-VANILLA POPOVERS

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

2 cups light cream

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons sugar

2 cups flour

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Move the oven rack one setting below the middle row. Grease a 12-count bouchon pan. In a food processor, combine eggs, light cream, butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, sea salt, sugar, and flour. Blend until no lumps remain and batter is light yellow and frothy, approximately one minute. Fill each bouchon cup 2/3 full. Do not overfill. (Refrigerate leftover batter until ready to make the next batch. At that time, use a whisk to vigorously stir the batter.) Place bouchon pan in the oven; bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do not open the oven door during baking or the popovers will deflate. When golden brown, remove from the oven. After 2 minutes in the pan, remove and transfer popovers to a wire rack. Do not allow them to cool in the pan or they may turn soggy. Serve warm as is or with a dollop of honey, jam, or butter.

Rose Petal Cupcakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Rose Petal Cupcakes! Before I set out on this journey of the palate, I had no idea how to make crystallized rose petals. So when the miniature rose bush in my own yard presented me with perfectly proportioned soft pink petals, I knew I was going to try. It could not have been simpler to create such beautiful edibles.* Next I chose angel food cupcakes, tasting like sweet fluffy clouds, swirled with a crown of grenadine buttercream frosting. You can almost taste the subtle hint of rose water. Is it any wonder the rose is a symbol of passion and heavenly perfection?

ROSE PETAL CUPCAKES

Ingredients for Rose Petals:

24 rose petals, clean and dry

1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

Instructions:

Using a pastry brush, gently paint each petal on both sides with the egg whites. Toss them in sugar, coating both sides. Place on a wire rack allowing them to dry overnight. Store in an airtight container.

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

16 ounce box of angel food cake mix

1 1/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon rose water

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place cupcake papers in each muffin cup. Place rose water and coconut extract in 1/4 measuring cup. Add the difference in water to fill liquid to top. In a large metal bowl, empty contents of cake mix. Add the 1 cup of water plus the 1/4 cup of liquid. Blend on low mixer speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat one minute longer. Pour cupcake batter into muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake according to package directions 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

Ingredients for Grenadine Buttercream Frosting:

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons grenadine

Instructions:

Using a hand mixer on low setting, cream together Neufchâtel cheese and butter. Blend in almond extract. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating halfway to add one tablespoon grenadine. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy. If needed, use one more tablespoon of grenadine to make it spreadable. Beat on medium for one minute. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with crystallized rose petals. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

* Always use rose petals that are free of pesticides or other chemicals.

Blueberry-Almond Coffeecake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Blueberry-Almond Coffeecake! The battle begins. Will you choose to eat this incredible coffee cake first thing in the morning for breakfast or the last thing at night for dessert? The brown sugary crumbled topping seems like candy, but the fluffy moist cake filled with blueberries seems more like a last course to the meal. Whatever is one to do??? My choice? I’ll never tell. Enjoy!

BLUEBERRY-ALMOND COFFEECAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons corn starch

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

CRUNCHY TOPPING

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a 10″ round baking dish. In a bowl, gently toss blueberries and cornstarch to coat. Set aside. Cream together sugar and butter. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. While mixing gradually add milk, yogurt, almond extract, and egg. Blend well. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into baking dish. To make topping, combine brown sugar and flour. Cut butter into topping until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Spread over cake batter. Sprinkle almonds over all. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.