Summertime

cake

Summer is finally here. Which means it’s time to prepare for the White Pine County Fair. First up, the lemon blueberry bundt cake. This is a fantastic recipe we love to make. It’s like a blueberry muffin in cake form. It has a beautiful crispy crust, soft middle, and the perfect blueberry swirl (or so they say. but we’ll get to that later). You will not be disappointed with this cake. This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but absolutely worth it!

We had a couple hangups with the cake this time around.  The inside of the cake was a hot mess.

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See what I mean?

The recipe says to use a butter knife to swirl the filling into the cake, but that didn’t turn out so well. Next time, we are going to try a skewer for better results (and as Nathan is suggesting, maybe more swirling and less mixing, just a thought). You are going for a marbled look.

Once the filling was made and sat for a minute it became extremely gelatinous, in fact it was more than gelatinous. Whatever the stage just past gelatinous is. Was the filling on the heat too long? Was the heat too high? Did we use the wrong pectin? Who knows. Hopefully there are some jam and jelly gurus who would be willing to chime in. We’ll try again at any rate. The cake was, nonetheless, delicious, but not how it was supposed to turn out. In fact we’ve had a few disasters with this cake and no matter how iffy it looks it is absolutely worth eating the whole thing in one sitting.

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This was before the gelatinous mess. Love those colors!

We are trying to find the perfect way to top the cake. We tried a lemon glaze, cinnamon whipped cream, and lemon whipped cream. The lemon glaze, which is just lemon juice and powdered sugar is always good, but seemed a little heavy with this cake. The cinnamon whipped cream was good, but the cake overpowered the cinnamon flavor. The winner was the lemon flavored whipped cream. It was the perfect complement to the texture of the cake and a delicious fresh flavor. We added one drop of yellow food coloring, which was the perfect finishing touch.

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Let us know how this cake turns out for you! And if you discover the secret to marbling the filling.

Marbled Blueberry Bundt Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cake
 
Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest + 3 TBSP juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 yolk (room temperature)
  • 2¼ sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP low or no sugar needed fruit pectin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest + 1 TBSP juice
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heavily spray bundt pan with baking spray with flour. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Gently whisk eggs and egg yolk to combine in third bowl.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in half of the eggs until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs, scraping down the bowl after incorporating. Reduce speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture. Repeat using half of the flour mixture and all of the remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down bowl, add remaining flour mixture , and mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the filling.
  3. For the filling: Whisk sugar, pectin, and salt together in a small saucepan. Process blueberries in blender until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer ¼ c puree and lemon zest to saucepan with sugar mixture and stir to combine. Heat sugar-blueberry mixture over medium heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes. Add remaining puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, about 8 minutes.
  4. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Using back of the spoon, create a ½ inch deep channel in the center of batter. Spoon half of the filling into channel. Using butter knife or small offset spatula, thoroughly swirl filling batter (there should be no large pockets of filling remaining). Repeat swirling step with remaining batter and filling.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and skewer in center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake directly onto the wire rack. Let cool.

 

 

 

 

Muffin Lovin at 425 degrees

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Nathan has been slightly obsessed with finding the perfect blueberry muffin recipe for quite some time now. He has tried countless recipes. I’m not sure he has settled on one particular recipe, but this recipe is in the top three for sure. Between me and you, it’s my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.

We hope you like these as much as we do!

Gather all ingredients.

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For the topping.: Stir together sugar and lemon zest until combined and set aside. This topping was a revelation. It adds the perfect amount of lemon flavor and crunch to these muffins. It’s magical.

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Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing blueberries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Let cool.

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This recipe calls for fresh blueberries. We used frozen instead, which seemed to work just as well.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

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Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together until thick and fully combined. About 45 seconds.

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Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined .

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Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.

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Fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened.

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There will be be a few lumps and spots of dry flour. Do not over mix. About 12 strokes.

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Fill muffin cups 1/2 full with batter.

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Top with a teaspoon or so of the cooked berry mixture.
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Use a toothpick and swirl together.  I was fresh out of toothpicks, so we got creative.
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Divide the remaining batter between muffin cups.  The batter should completely fill the cups and mound slightly.  Divide the remaining cooked berry mixture between muffin cups.  Use a toothpick and gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure-eight motion.  Sprinkle the lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.  
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Bake until the muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through.  Cool the muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool five more minutes before serving. Let’s be honest, they usually don’t last five seconds on the cooling rack! 
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Blueberry Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This is a great blueberry muffin recipe to keep on hand.
Ingredients
  • Topping:
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Muffins:
  • 2 c. fresh blueberries, picked over
  • 1⅛ c. + 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla
Instructions
  1. For the topping: Stir the sugar and lemon zest together in a small bowl until combined; set aside.
  2. For the muffins: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with vegetable oil spray (or line with paper liners and spray). Bring 1 cup of the blueberries and 1 tsp. of the sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until the berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the remaining 1⅛ cups sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture and the remaining 1 cup blueberries into the flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.
  4. Fill muffin cups ½ full with batter and top with a teaspoon or so of the cooked berry mixture. Use a toothpick and swirl together. Divide the remaining batter between muffin cups. The batter should completely fill the cups and mound slightly. Divide the remaining cooked berry mixture between muffin cups. Use a toothpick and gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure-eight motion. Sprinkle the lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.
  5. Bake until the muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through. Cool the muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool 5 more minutes before serving.

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

We are loving America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbooks right now.

Nathan and I were in charge of dinner Sunday night so we opened one of these great books and found this gem. Stuffed chicken is a simple recipe that looks fancy. We’re all about fancy. Enjoy!

Start with your ingredients.

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Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Stir the cream cheese, goat cheese, thyme, garlic, pesto, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together until smooth.

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Trim any fat off chicken.

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Pound the chicken to an even 1/4 inch thickness. We put the chicken in a ziplock bag before pounding. If you don’t own a meat mallet, rolling pins work well.

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Before and after.

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Pat dry with paper towels.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Mound 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling at the wider end of the chicken, form the cheese into a log, and then roll the chicken up. There will be leftover filling.

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Place the chicken rolls, seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. In the future for this recipe we would probably use a slightly bigger pan. As it was our stuffed chicken rolls probably ended up being a bit bigger than the smart folks at America’s Test Kitchen had intended them to be. No biggie really, but any assembled meat roll like this will cook better if it isn’t so massive.

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Mix any remaining filling with the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice.

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Brush this mixture over the tops of the chicken rolls.

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Toss breadcrumbs with butter and sprinkle over chicken. A few notes on the bread crumbs: The recipe calls for you to make your own bread crumbs (a very America’s Test Kitchen-y thing to do), but we were lazy due to dealing with family all weekend so we used (gasp!) store bought bread crumbs. Not a horrible choice, but coarser bread crumbs would have looked better. FYI.

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Bake until breadcrumbs are golden and the very center of the chicken rolls registers 165 degrees on a thermometer, about 30 minutes. I’m not sure this much of the filling was supposed to melt out, but were were having a little trouble regulating the oven temperature.

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Serve with lemon wedges.

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As it turned out these were very rich and delicious. Not to mention they looked very impressive. As I always say, you eat a dish with your eyes first.

A few notes from ATK

-Make sure the chicken rolls do not touch each other in the pan. By using the right size pan, you can avoid burnt breadcrumbs and unevenly cooked chicken.

-Avoid using dried thyme. Dried thyme will add a stale and dusty flavor [they say].

UPDATE: We made these again for Nathan’s birthday with homemade breadcrumbs. We couldn’t find coarse at the store so we made our own. It was amazing the difference that they made. There was a perfect crunch on the outside. This time we made two pans. The first pan was done after thirty minutes. The second pan needed a little more time. It seemed the longer the pan stayed in the oven the more the filling leaked out. These were great the first time around and truly amazing the second time.

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Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 Servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (ATK mentions to stay away from dried thyme or the filling will taste like dust)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 TBSP pesto
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed
  • ¾ c Mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 TBSP melted butter
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Stir the cream cheese, goat cheese, thyme, garlic, 6 TBSP of pesto, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper together until smooth.
  3. Pound the chicken to an even ¼ inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper,.
  4. Mound ¼ of the cream cheese mixture at the wider end of the chicken, form the cheese into a log , and then roll the chicken up. There should be a little leftover filling.
  5. Arrange the chicken rolls, seam side down in a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.
  6. Mix remaining cream cheese mixture with the mayo, lemon juice, and mustard. Brush over the tops and sides of the chicken rolls.
  7. Mix melted butter with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over chicken.
  8. Bake until breadcrumbs are brown and the very middle of the chicken rolls measure an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve with lemon wedges.