Butter Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing

A little bit fussy, Cakes
This made a very merry birthday cake for yours truly.

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Line three 9″ cake pans with parchment.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and brown, stirring frequently.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Cream remaining 1 cup butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

At low speed add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla extract. Blend well after each addition. Stir in 1 1/3 cups pecans.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just done in the center. Do not over-bake.

Icing: Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, until there are brown specks at the bottom of the skillet and the butter smells nutty. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until solid.

Beat the solidified butter on high speed until creamy. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth and light.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Bread, Breakfast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP poppy seeds
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup oil

Glaze:

  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 357°F. Grease or line 16 regular-sized muffin cups or 8 jumbo muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

In a medium bowl whisk together sour cream, milk, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, butter and oil.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and fold with a rubber spatula until no flour streaks remain.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.

Bake 15 minutes for regular muffins and 20-25 for jumbo, until just firm when touched lightly.

Glaze: Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth in a small bowl.

When muffins have cooled, dip tops in glaze. Let excess drip off and set upright to firm up.

Homebakers Collective August Challenge: Favorite Childhood Treat

Cookies, Fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge

Fig Newtons

The Spencer house didn’t stock store-bought treats. At lunchtime I used to trade my mom’s homemade cookies for oatmeal creme pies. One time I asked for Pop-tarts for Christmas. But every so often Fig Newtons would appear and I thought it was a treat royale.


Fruit:

  • 1 cup (1/3 lb.) dried figs (Black Mission or Turkish will do fine)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Cake:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Turbinado sugar and water

Put figs in a 1- or 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour boiling water over figs, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Prepare your work surface with a baking sheet and two pieces of parchment paper that are about 14″ long. Make sure your baking sheet can fit in your freezer. Cut a 1 1/2″-wide tip off the end of a pastry bag or ziplock bag that can fit your fig filling.

Combine butter and brown sugar in a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, honey and vanilla and beat to incorporate, scraping bowl and paddle when needed.

Stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and stir on low to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds, until well incorporated.

Scrape dough onto a sheet of parchment paper about 14″ long. Sandwich with the second piece of parchment and roll out gently so your dough is 10″ wide by 14″ long. You can cut and paste the dough to fill in bare spots if needed. Slide the dough onto a baking sheet and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Pour the figs with their water, honey and graham cracker crumbs into the food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl, and making sure there are no chunks. Scrape into prepared pastry bag or ziplock. Chill in the refrigerator until dough is ready (this can be done ahead of time).

After the dough has chilled, remove from freezer. Trim edges. Cut in half lengthwise so you have two 5″ by 14″ pieces. Separate the pieces- placing each on it’s own piece of parchment.

Pipe a 1 1/2″ thick line of fig filling down the center of each strip of dough. Carefully fold over one side of dough over the filling, then fold again- enveloping the filling in the center, with the seam on the bottom. Repeat with second piece of dough.

Use the parchment paper to lift the uncooked fig bars onto the baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

After chilling, remove from freezer. Wet a pastry brush with water and moisten the tops of the bars. Sprinkle liberally with Turbinado sugar. Trim the ends of each log and slice each into 2″ bars. Place on lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until light brown on the bottom.

Cherry-Raspberry Streusel Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie

This combination of cherries and raspberries is quite nice. And you can’t go wrong with a streusel topping.


Pie:

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 1 lb. sour cherries
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Drain cherries, reserving liquid – you should have about 3/4 cup.

Prepare pastry for single-crust pie. Flute the edge but do not prick the bottom Refrigerate.

Prepare Streusel: Whisk together flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir in oats. Cut in butter. Using your fingers, pinch mixture together until clumps form and there are no dry patches.

Make Filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Whisk in cherry liquid. Cook over medium heat until thick and clear. Stir in drained cherries and raspberries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Sprinkle with streusel.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 350° and bake for 25-30 minutes more, until golden brown and bubbling.

Peach Cobbler

Unfussy

My favorite peach dessert. I like to get the peaches nice and hot before topping with cobbler so the underside of the biscuits isn’t underdone.


Peaches:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. peaches
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cobbler:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 TBSP cold butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dip peaches in boiling water for 5 seconds. Peel and slice into a medium bowl. Add sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to combine. Pour into an 8″ or 9″ baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare cobbler:

Stir together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until the pieces are no larger than small peas. Pour in heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Shape the dough into 9 rough biscuits – flattening each to about 1 1/2 inches.

When peaches have cooked for 25 minutes, remove from oven. Top with cobbler. If desired, brush with heavy cream or lightly beaten egg.

Bake for an additional 35 minutes, until peaches are bubbling and cobbler is golden brown.