Vodka Cranberry Cake

So one of my coworkers challenged me to make a vodka cranberry dessert. I was like, game on! So I found a recipe for a basic cranberry cake and proceeded to modify it to meet my needs. So here it is, the Stefanico (as I’m going to call it). Instead of fresh cranberries I used dried but I re-hydrated them in a bit of cranberry vodka. Used the left over vodka to flavor the cream cheese frosting. I think it turned out pretty well. Enjoy!

Vodka Cranberry Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup vodka (I used cranberry vodka)

Frosting:

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp. vodka

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Spray a 9″ x 13″ cake pan, or 2 round 9″ cake pans, and line the bottom(s) with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, soak the cranberries in the vodka for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is best.

Shift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add in the sugar and stir to combine.  Beat the eggs until smooth. Add in the milk and melted butter. Fold into the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t over stir!

Strain the cranberries making sure to save the vodka that’s left over. Fold them into the cake batter. Pour into your cake pan(s) and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes our of the center clean. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add in 2 tbsp. of the reserved vodka and beat until smooth. If it’s too loose add in more sugar until it’s the right consistency. Spoon over the top of your cake and smooth out. Then eat!

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Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s show on PBS. I liked it because it’s 1) quick and 2) gluten free. He made his with blood oranges, which I may try sometime in the future, but I had lemons handy and coworkers who love them. So I mixed it up a bit and changed out the syrup that goes along with it. Enjoy!

Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

Cake:

  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar, brown or sugar in the raw if you have it
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325° and line a 8″ springform pan with parchment paper, spraying it with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract.

In a small bowl combine the polenta, lemon zest, almonds, and baking powder. Fold this into the butter/egg mixture. Pour into the springform pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and a toothpick comes our clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a small pan, heat together the honey, water, lemon zest & juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer until it’s reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

Take a skewer and poke a bunch of holes in the cake. Pour the syrup over the top, it will soak in. Allow the cake to completely cook before removing from the pan. Flip it over carefully, as it’s a bit fragile, and remove the paper from the bottom. Slice and enjoy!

Bourbon Pumpkin cake

A few years ago I got a cookbook called Booze Cakes and this recipe is based off one from that book with a few modifications, of course. It’s perfect for the fall. It’s like a pumpkin pie, super moist. I was lucky enough to find a great Bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup at Costco. It enhanced the subtle Bourbon flavor. Enjoy!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

Cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup good maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin butter
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bourbon

Direction:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 2 round cake pans or 1 rectangle 9″x13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. I line mine with parchment paper and spray the paper. It really makes getting the cake(s) out super easy.

In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 mins. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined.

In a medium bowl; sift together the flour, baking powder & soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the milk in alternating additions until well combined. Add in the pumpkin, vanilla, bourbon and Grand Marnier. Pour into your cake pan(s) and cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

For the glaze; bring the maple syrup, butter, pumpkin butter, and salt to a boil. Lower and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add in the bourbon and Grand Marnier and simmer for 1 more minute. Allow to cool.

One the cake(s) have cooled slightly, take a skewer and poke a ton of holes in the top. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to soak in. Finish cooling the cake all the way.

For the frosting, in a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the bourbon and beat until combined and smooth. Frost your cake and eat.

Tres Leches Cake

So this recipe was a request, no more like a demand, from someone I know. I decided, even though they were being a pain, to make it for them anyway. For once I didn’t really modify the recipe other than changing the frosting. The original called for a simple powdered sugar frosting. I figured, this being a Mexican cake, that it deserved a Dulce de Leche frosting instead. Turned out really good, according to those who got to eat it. Be warned, this cake is moist! Enjoy!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:

  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp real vanilla, divided equally
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup Dulce de leche
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper and spay the paper. This makes taking the cake out super easy.

Take the separated eggs and using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they form soft peaks. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the sugar until combined. Turn it back up to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the egg yolks until light yellow and the consistency of mayo (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 tbsp vanilla and mix to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and with a spatula gently fold in to combine. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites too much.

Shift together the flour and salt. Gently fold in the flour a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Again you don’t want to deflate the eggs too much, this is what is going to give your cake lift and make it light.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but not wet. Allow it to cool. Using a platter or cutting board turn the cake out by placing it on top of the pan and flipping it over. Thanks to the parchment it should come right out but you may need a knife to loosen the sides. Remove the parchment and flip it back onto the baking pan. Use a skewer or fork and poke a lot of holes all over the cake. This will help it absorb the milk mixture.

In a bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk with 1 tbsp of vanilla. Pour it all over the cake. It’s best to let it sit overnight to soak up all the milk.

In another bowl, beat together the butter and Dulce de Leche until smooth. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another minute. With the mixer on low add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Frost the cake once all the sugar is added and enjoy!

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I came across this recipe on the internet, like a lot of recipes I make, and thought it sounded good. Like most recipes, I’ve changed it up a bit; added some lemon and fresh raspberries (the original only called for jam). It’s still a work in progress, I’m not totally happy with the crumble topping. But all and all it turned out pretty tasty. I also liked that is wasn’t super sweet. Enjoy!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided 3/4 and 1/4
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter plus 2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 Tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. In a food processor; pulse the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, and butter until it’s crumbly. Sort of like making pie dough. Set aside 1 cup for the crumble topping. Combine the remaining mixture with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, 1 egg and lemon extract. You’ll probably want to switch to a bowl and use a hand beater for this. The batter will be really thick! Spread it evenly into a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking pan. It’ll be a challenge because it’s thick. Don’t worry if it isn’t super even.

In another bowl beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 egg until smooth. I recommend beating the cream cheese and sugar first, then add the egg. Pour this mixture over the batter and smooth out. Dollop the jam into the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle the fresh raspberries across the top as well. I don’t recommend using frozen raspberries and they tend to be too “wet”.

Take the 1 cup of flour mixture that you set aside and combine with 2 Tbsp of room temp butter. Crumble this across the top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.