Lemon Cake with Sour Cream Frosting

So yesterday was my birthday. A big birthday with a big number. How can I be 40 years old already? So in the spirit of still feeling spritely, fresh and bright (yes … yes … I know age is just a number) I made myself a lemon cake for the birthday candles to adorn. Holla to all you other moms that … ahem … *get to* make your own birthday treats.

This was the first time I tried this recipe from 5BoysBaker and it is definitely Cotton-Kong household approved. I used a basic sour cream for the frosting recipe but 5BoysBaker suggest a sour cream lemon frosting here.

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CAKE INGREDIENTS


Cake:

  • 1½ cups sifted flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs , separated
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Lemon Syrup:

  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

  1. anPreheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 8×8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. I like the line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit so that the baked cake is easier to remove. Set aside the prepared pan. (NOTE: I like petite cakes so I used two 6″diameter glass Pyrex dishes.)
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light d fluffy. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, mix until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter, alternating with buttermilk.
  7. Fold in the egg whites.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in a greased 8×8 inch pan. (NOTE: Since I use the 6″ baking dishes, I divide the batter evenly between the two dishes and usually reserve a little batter to make a few cupcakes, too.)
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until top is golden and cake springs back when touched in center.
  10. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Poke holes in cake with a fork or a skewer, making sure not to go all the way through the cake.
  11. For Syrup: Combine all syrup ingredients until sugar dissolves, s
    poon over cake while still warm. Let cool and remove from pan.

SOUR CREAM FROSTING:

  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1/3 cups sour cream
  • Milk, if needed to get desired consistency

(NOTE: I usually add more or less sour cream and milk depending on the consistency I want.)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Frost cake when completely cooled.

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Cocoa Buttons


One day as a thank you for delivering homemade cookies to her house, a sweet lady from my church gave me a recipe book. But it’s not just any recipe book, it’s “The Ultimate Cookie Book” published 19 years ago. I’m pretty sure the faded cover of the book proves a few years lying idle but it certainly hasn’t sat idle at my house. Why? Because Adelaide and Oliver discovered it. Once a week  I let them study the book for the cookie they want to bake together. We call it our “Weekly Cookie.” (I know … so creative.)

This week’s cookie is Cocoa Buttons. Considering my kids’ reading level hasn’t reached that of a cookbook, pictures are everything. I must admit they are cute (and tasty) cookies. I made a few adjustments  (as usual) which are noted below.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp Hersey’s chocolate syrup (The original recipe calls for instant coffee crystals dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water but I wanted to make it kid friendly but still have some richness.)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Cream butter with brown sugar. Add egg  and beat well.

Add chocolate syrup and mix well.

Add cocoa powder and then gradually add flour until well mixed.

Divide and shape the dough into a two logs about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (We did one batch after it was in the fridge for about about an hour due to kids’ impatience. They were all out of shape but still tasted good. We were more patient and did the second roll the next day.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Use a plastic drinking straw to punch four holes in each to round cookie to make it look like a button.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies become slightly firm. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!

Denise’s Amazing Apple Dip

We were chatting in her kitchen (the usual spot) when my Aunt Denise started to make one of her newest creations … an apple dip. At first I was skeptical because the only apple dip I had ever had before was the super-sweet-sticky versions found in grocery stores (not my favorite). Well … I almost wish I hadn’t tried Denise’ apple dip because it is aahmaazing and I make it often (like tonight which is what prompted this post).

This recipe is extremely versatile and you can personalize it to your taste. You can adjust the peanut butter and sugar to match your taste and include whatever add-ins you want. My aunt likes to add caramel balls and mini M&Ms instead of the mini chocolate chips. My favorite version is below.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup peanut butter (more or less depending on your taste)
1/3 cup white sugar (you can reduce this depending on your taste)
1/3 cup brown sugar
Mini chocolate chips (however much you want)
Heath chips (however much you want)

Whip the cream cheese with an electric beater. Add peanut butter and whip it until light. Add the sugar until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and heath chips. Serve with sliced apples.

Gingerbread Cookies

One important element of Christmas, for me, is gingerbread cookies. My mother used to make them and hang them on the Christmas tree for my father to munch on the days leading up to the big day. He especially liked them when they got a little stale and crunchy. The aroma of gingerbread cookies always brings back warm memories and big smiles.

I am not a huge fan of molasses flavor so I’ve experimented with lots of recipes and tweaked a few to come up with this easy recipe. I hope you enjoy making them and decorating them like I (and Adelaide) do. I usually double this recipe so I can give some away.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp molasses*
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (you can substitute golden syrup)*

*When I double the recipe I only add 1 tbsp molasses, 2 tsbp maple syrup and 4 tbsp corn syrup. You can adjust the molasses to syrup ratio according to your taste. 

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix butter, sugar, and egg together.
  • Add molasses and syrups to butter mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon together.
  • Add part of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Keep adding the flour mixture in parts until it is all incorporated into the butter mixture. The cookie dough should be stiff and a bit dry.
  • Shape the dough in a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can refrigerate it up to two days.
  •  Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface. If you like softer cookies, roll out the dough but keep it a little thick. If you like crisper cookies, roll it out thin.
  • Cut out the cookies with gingerbread man cookie cutter or any shape you like. Place cookie cutouts on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven and your desired doneness).
  • Cool cookies completely before decorating.

 

ICING RECIPE

I live in the Caribbean and do not use A/C in the day so I love frosting and icing recipes that do not melt! This one dries fast (even in humidity) and is very easy to use.

INGREDIENTS 
Water
Powered sugar
Almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Forgive me for not knowing the exact measurements, I usually just put in some powdered sugar into a small bowl, add water until desired consistency and add a drop of almond extract.

Add food coloring if desired.

Use a spatula to put the icing in a icing bag or a plain ol’ zip-up plastic bag. If you use the zip-up plastic bag, snip a small hole in one corner to apply the icing on the cookies.

Ice the cookies and let them dry before packing them in boxes or presenting them for consumption.

 

 

 

Covert Vegetable Cupcakes

Everyone once and a while I feel like I need to boost my kids’ veggie intake and I do not feel shamed by hiding vegetable goodness in treats. So occasionally I’ll make these Covert Vegetable Cupcakes (another recipe gem from the Borg Family Cookbook) and encourage them to eat as many as they want. The bonus is I don’t feel so bad about eating as many as I want, too!

They have yet to figure out there are beets and spinach in the cupcakes (because I don’t let them in the kitchen while I make them). In fact, I have fed these to friends and neighbors and no one has figured it out. I love it!

Ingredients

2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry (I’ve used one tin of canned spinach and it worked just as good)
1 jar(16 oz) beets, drained
1 package Devils Food cake mix
4 Eggs
1/3 cup Oil
1 cup Water
Frosting of your choice (I usually make a basic chocolate buttercream frosting)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease eighteen muffins pan cups.
  2. In food processor or blender puree together spinach and the beets until smooth.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package directions using four eggs instead of three. Stir in puréed spinach and beets.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling near to the top.
  5. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.