Orange Vanilla Cake

Orange Vanilla Cake

This week, I found myself craving orange and vanilla cake. Once I get such a craving, I’m on a mission. I had to try creating my own recipe. I think this particular craving goes back to my childhood love of an ice cream combination, orange sherbet with vanilla ice cream, which came side-by-side in a carton. I don’t know if they still make it, in America, since I live in Australia now. I always loved the zesty, sweet orange sherbet with the creamy vanilla ice cream. The two were so good together. Sometimes, I get such a vivid food memory, and I try to evoke the sensory memory in my own kitchen. This search led me back to a recipe for an orange vanilla cake, which I had tried a couple of years ago, and had wanted to change a bit, to suit my own tastes.

I’m very happy with the way this cake turned out. The orange flavour is deliciously balanced by the vanilla flavour. My big change to the previous recipe was to add a thick orange vanilla glaze topped with a smattering of orange zest. I always love a nice glaze on a cake. It is the easiest frosting in the world, and I never tire of it. The crumb of this cake is so soft and sumptuous, thanks to the brown sugar used. It is just a delightful cake.

Orange Vanilla Cake

I served it with vanilla bean ice cream after dinner last night. This morning, I paired it with orange slices. I think it would be lovely with a dollop of cream, as well. Of course, you can just serve it all by itself.

Orange Vanilla Cake

I hope you will like this recipe as much as I do. My 3 year-old son liked this cake so much, he said “Mommy, you make the best cakes!” That meant the world to me.

Enjoy…

Orange Vanilla Cake

A lovely orange and vanilla cake, topped with a thick glaze and orange zest. Perfect for after dinner or with your morning cuppa.

My recipe was inspired by a recipe for Vanilla and Orange Cake by Delicieux.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 90 g/ 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Zest from 2 medium to large navel oranges
  • 2 large eggs
  • 210 g/ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. bi-carb soda/ baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (use the 2 oranges you zested)
  • A dash or 2 of ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)

Glaze

  • 1 cup icing mixture/ confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. orange zest

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F. Prepare a 22cm non-stick springform pan by spraying with oil and lining the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and orange zest until golden and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs to the batter, one at a time, beating well after each addition, to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spice (if using). Gradually fold the flour mixture into the batter, on a very low speed.
  5. Lightly mix in the Greek yogurt, then the orange juice, until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean except for a couple crumbs. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack, draped with a clean tea towel.
  8. Once the cake is cool, carefully remove from pan. Then do the glaze.
  9. To make the glaze, whisk together the icing mixture, orange juice, and vanilla until a thick yet pourable glaze forms. Pour the glaze all over the top of the cake, working from the centre outwards. Smooth the glaze evenly with an angled spatula. Sprinkle the orange zest on top, while the glaze is still moist. Allow the glaze to set before serving the cake.

Orange Vanilla Cake

All written content and photos are copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.

If you would like to use this recipe on your own site, please re-write it in your own words and link back to my original post.

 

 

Chai Banana Bread

chai banana bread

I have a confession to make… I’m one of those obsessive recipe-collecting types. When I want to bake banana bread, for example, I cannot be content with having just one recipe. I need to collect several recipes, with slight variations, for every possible banana bread craving. Then, I try each recipe, as the mood strikes me. Sometimes, as much as I may adore each recipe for its own merits, I have the nagging thought that blending two favorite recipes into one new recipe would produce the best result. This banana bread recipe was created from just such an occasion. I put together my favorite simple banana bread recipe with a recipe for chai-spiced banana bread, and the results were so delicious. A not-too-fussy but somehow quite special recipe for a classic treat.

This chai-flavored banana bread is very soft and moist, with the enticing aroma and flavor of a chai latte. The spices are quite delicate. I like to be able to taste the banana in the bread, so I didn’t want to push the seasonings too far. I love this banana bread so much. I think it is the ultimate comfort food.

chai banana bread

If you want to bake something sweet for Mom (or yourself), this weekend–or any time, I hope you will give this chai banana bread recipe a try. I had fun making it with the help of my toddler. He loved mashing the bananas. He was so proud of himself, and couldn’t wait to tell Daddy about his accomplishment that night. I’m planning to bake another loaf tomorrow, since I happen to have a few very ripe bananas on the counter, which are begging to be used.

To make this banana bread even more deliciously chai-flavored and even more cake-like (who are we kidding? banana bread is cake, right?), you can add a simple glaze on top, made by whisking a half cup or so of powdered sugar/ icing mixture, 1 1/2 – 2tsp milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus a dash of cinnamon and/ or cardamom, blending completely into a thick yet pourable glaze. I had meant to add the glaze to this loaf, but my 3 year-old just could not wait to try it. Toddlers are not known for being patient. So, I’m sorry that this one didn’t get the glaze. I will definitely be adding it to tomorrow’s batch.

chai banana bread

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy…

Chai Banana Bread

  • Servings: Yields one loaf
  • Print

This chai-flavoured banana bread is very moist and soft, with the enticing aroma and flavour of a chai latte. The spices are deliciously delicate. It's the ultimate comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled (about 1 1/2 cups, when mashed)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup or 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp baking soda/ bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/ 180 C. Butter or spray-oil a standard 4×8″ loaf pan. Line pan with baking paper cut long enough to overhang on the long sides of the pan, to allow for easy removal of the bread, once cooled. Spray-oil baking paper.
  2. Mix the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the bananas.
  4. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. Whisk the flour into the banana mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Be gentle and try not to over-mix, or the bread’s texture will be too stiff.
  6. Gently whisk the spice blend into the batter.
  7. Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top of batter with a spatula or large spoon. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, at 350F/ 180C, until a tester from the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and place on a rack. Cool bread completely before removing from pan, using baking paper to lift it out. Slice and serve.

 

Recipe adapted from this recipe from Simply Recipes and this recipe from The Gingersnap Girl.

All written content and photos are Copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.

If you would like to use this recipe on your own website, please re-word it in your own words or link back to my original post.

 

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Crumb Bars

For a recent lunch we hosted, which was meant to be a picnic, but ended up being an outdoor lunch under our pergola, I decided to bake a batch of blueberry crumb bars. I had found this recipe, several months ago, on smitten kitchen and had made them for a party. I fell in love with them immediately, and couldn’t wait to make them again. The buttery crust, fruity berry filling, and delightful crumb topping of these bars makes them totally irresistible. This batch turned out to be unexpectedly wonderful, with the addition of chocolate chips and cinnamon.

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Much like the unexpectedly rainy weather the morning of our planned picnic, my baking plans were slightly altered. I found that I didn’t have quite enough blueberries for the filling, so I improvised and threw in a few handfuls of mini dark chocolate chips, to make up for it. I also had decided not to use the lemon called for in the recipe, as I had found them to be a bit too tart for my liking. Instead, I added a couple dashes of cinnamon to the dough. Well, this batch of blueberry crumb bars turned into something special. They were delicious! Everyone at lunch had at least two. They were a big hit. I just had to share the recipe with you.

Feel free to try a different berry, if you like, such as raspberries or strawberries, in place of the blueberries–or in addition to them. I used dark chocolate chips, because that is what I happened to have on hand, but milk chocolate chips would be fine, too. Cinnamon was wonderful in this batch, but if that’s not your thing, just leave it out. These bars hold up beautifully for picnics and such, because the crust is very sturdy, yet buttery and delicious.

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They are quite easy to make. The only thing which is a little time-consuming is making the dough come together. I used a fork, because a pastry cutter is still on my kitchen wish list. You just have to keep working it until the butter and flour mixture have a consistent texture. The dough can have a few bigger bits of butter and turn out well, so don’t worry too much about it. Be gentle with the blueberries, stirring them very lightly and sprinkling them by hand onto the crust.

I hope you will like these crumb bars as much as we did. Enjoy!

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Crumb Bars

  • Servings: 36 small or 20 larger rectangles
  • Print

These delicious bars are perfect for having with coffee, at picnics, parties, or any occasion at all. They are completely irresistible. Feel free to try another berry, like raspberries or strawberries for these bars. Store them in the refrigerator, once cooled. Chilling the bars helps to keep them moist and makes them easier to cut. Recipe adapted from smitten kitchen.

Ingredients

Dough:

1 cup white sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks/ 8 oz./ 225 g)

1 large egg

1/ 4 tsp. salt

1-2 dashes of cinnamon

Filling:

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/ 2 cup white sugar

4 tsp. cornstarch/ cornflour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/ 190C. Grease a 9×13 inch Pyrex pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Using a fork or pastry cutter, blend in the butter and egg, until texture is fairly consistent. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the 1/ 2 cup sugar and cornstarch/ cornflour. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the chocolate chips. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until topping is lightly golden brown. (This took an extra 15 minutes in my gas oven.)
  6. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Consume within 5 days.

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All written content and photos are Copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.

If you would like to use this recipe on your own website, please re-word it in your own words or link back to my original post.

My 2017 Easter Menu

One week to go until Easter Sunday! Have you got your menu planned? If you’re still searching for ideas or recipes, I hope you’ll find some inspiration from my Easter menu for this 2017.

We will be having Glen’s family over to our house for Easter lunch, again this year. I’m making most of the food. I think our guests will be bringing a couple of salad/ veg dishes, and appetizers, as well.

Here is what I will be making…

roasted cinnamon maple pear chips

Roasted Cinnamon Maple Pear Chips, served with cheeses

spinach artichoke mini quiches in wonton cups

Spinach and Artichoke Mini Quiches in Crispy Wonton Cups

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Plum, Grape, and Goat Cheese Salad

slow roasted boneless leg of lamb with garlic rosemary lemon via seriouseats.com

Boneless Lamb Roast with Rosemary, Garlic, and Onion

I’m using the slow cooker, not using the recipe in the link. I layer thick slices of brown onion on the bottom and add beef stock/ broth, to add flavour and moisture.

scalloped potatoes 2

Scalloped Potatoes

maple dijon roasted carrots

Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots

Elderflower Bundt Cake with sugared berries and flowers on top via Peony Lim

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze

I’ll be adding pink flowers and sprigs of lavender from my garden, as well as little candy-coated chocolate eggs on top of the cake. Image of cake above via Peony Lim.

Happy Easter to all celebrating! Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday.

Plum, Grape, and Goat Cheese Salad

Are you looking for a gorgeous salad that can be ready in just ten minutes? Of course you are. That’s a dinner dream come true! Not to mention, it’s a perfect holiday side dish. With Easter coming up next week, I thought I’d give you a really quick, easy, and absolutely delicious salad recipe. You are going to love it!

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My favourite salad recipes are ones that are easily adaptable, so I can customize them to work with what I’ve got on hand and what’s in season. This is one of my go-to salad recipes, because it can be changed in little ways to create almost endless variations and still taste amazing. I made this salad, today, with plums, green grapes, goat cheese, and some cashews for added saltiness and crunch. I’ve made it before with blueberries, green grapes, Danish feta, and leftover roast shredded chicken, and it was so lovely. Also, even though I totally love the vinaigrette recipe, this salad is just as good with a very simple balsamic vinaigrette. Feel free to customize this salad recipe to your heart’s content.

You can make this salad about an hour ahead of time and keep it cold in the refrigerator. It will be fine. Any longer than that, and the lettuce will get a little soft at the edges. This salad is so quick and easy to make, you really can just throw it together right before dinner. The only prep is cutting the plums and making the vinaigrette. If you use blueberries instead and buy a dressing (or omit it entirely), then you have no prep at all. So easy!

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Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Plum, Grape, and Goat Cheese Salad

A quick, easy, and completely delicious salad recipe, which can easily be customized to suit what's in season.

Ingredients

Salad:

Cos lettuce (or other mildly-flavoured lettuce)

Baby spinach

Green grapes, a generous handful

2-4 ripe plums, cut into bite-sized pieces

Goat cheese, to taste

A couple handfuls of salted cashews

Vinaigrette:

1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

1/2 Tbsp. cold water

 

Directions

Salad:

Arrange whole lettuce leaves on platter or large plate. Scatter a handful of baby spinach on lettuce. Arrange plum pieces and grapes among the leaves. Crumble and toss the goat cheese on salad. Toss cashews on top.

Vinaigrette:

Put all ingredients in a small lidded jar and close tightly (I use an old jam jar). Shake vigorously until blended.

Devour salad immediately. (Really, you can make this salad about an hour ahead of time, and put it in the refrigerator. It will be fine. Any longer than that, and the lettuce will begin to soften too much.)

Notes: This salad can become a wonderful meal simply by adding chicken on top. I like to serve it with cold leftover shredded roast chicken (I’ll admit, I buy it at the shops) or strips of baked breaded/ crumbed chicken.

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This is my own original recipe. All written content and photos are Copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.