Tag Archives: summer baking

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

I happily bake year-round, but I’ll be the first to tell you that my favorite kind of summer baking is no-baking. Like leaving the oven off. Like letting the fridge do all the work. Like not heating up my remarkably well-insulated New York City apartment on an already steamy day, and still having incredible dessert.

Today’s recipe is a variation on the queen of no-bake desserts: icebox cake! At its simplest, it’s just layering whipped cream and thin cookies (usually chocolate wafers or graham crackers) together and then letting the assemblage chill out in the fridge for a few hours. The cookies soften against the whipped cream and become cakelike—it’s very good.

Icebox cakes have been around for a good long time now, since the advent of the home refrigerator. In all those years—and in all the recipes I’ve tried—I’ve yet to find one that isn’t outstanding. Icebox cakes can be as easy or complicated as you want them to be. Low brow, high brow, whatever. The two ingredient classics are just as delicious as more intricate variations. I guess what I’m saying is that you should absolutely get on the icebox cake train if you haven’t already, and then, once you are a believer, twist up the original recipe and make it Triple Raspberry.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Oh yes, this cool & creamy pink icebox cake is loaded with raspberry flavor. From whole fresh raspberries to spoonfuls of raspberry jam to airy raspberry whipped cream, this cake is about as raspberry as it is possible to be!

All the ingredients are stacked in a loaf pan with plain honey graham crackers to divide the layers. After a long chill, the crackers are tender as can be, making for clean slices.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Can we discuss the cross-sections of fresh raspberries and ruby red streaks of jam? Because those…well, they’re my jam. I mean that in every sense of the word.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Like its predecessors, this cake is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s about as easy as from-scratch summer desserts come, and about as raspberry-forward as it can be! It’s berry good, if I do say so myself.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake
Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake
makes one 9x5-inch cake, about 8-10 servings

Raspberry Whipped Cream:
6 tablespoons pulverized freeze dried raspberries
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 cups heavy cream, very cold

For Assembly:
10-12 whole graham crackers (4 sections per cracker), divided
1 6-ounce package fresh raspberries, divided
1/2 cup raspberry jam, divided

Decoration & Garnish:
1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained
2-3 teaspoons pulverized freeze dried raspberries
fresh raspberries

Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

Make the raspberry whipped cream. Place freeze dried berries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 45-60 seconds. Alternatively, place the berries in a sealed zip-top bag and crush well with a rolling pin or other heavy object.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of pulverized berry powder, and reserve any remaining powder for another use.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and pulverized berries. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Gently spread 1/3 of the whipped cream in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Scatter 1/3 of the raspberries over the top and spoon 1/3 of the raspberry jam over, so that there are little globs everywhere. Tile a single layer of graham crackers over the top, breaking the crackers to fit, as needed. Press the graham crackers down *lightly* with your palm to adhere. Repeat layering step 2 more times.

Gentry cover the loaf pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the pan from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place a serving plate upside-down over the pan. Holding tightly to both the pan and the plate, flip them over so that the pan is now sitting upside-down on top of the plate. Gently lift the pan up to remove it. Gently peel off the parchment.

Decorate. Place jam in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds so it’s a bit loose. Push through a fine mesh strainer (set over a bowl) to remove seeds. Transfer warmed, seedless raspberry jam to a piping bag and snip the tiniest corner. Drizzle the cake with the jam as desired.

Dust cake with pulverized raspberry powder. Garnish with whole fresh raspberries. If not serving immediately, refrigerate.

Serve cake cold. Slice with a serrated knife, wiping it clean between cuts.

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Black & Blueberry Crisp

After a whole bunch of scheduling mayhem, we finally booked our annual vacation to Swan’s Island, Maine, this week, so that is low-key all I’m going to talk about for the next 72 days or so. Sorry, not sorry.

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Oh yes, I have Maine on the brain, which for me means allll the summer berries. What better time to break out my favorite thrifted dishes from Iverstudio and make a Black & Blueberry Crisp? This will surely tide me over until I can pack up a vehicle and escape New York City. Right? Riiiight???

Anyway…

Crisps are one of the simplest desserts out there. Easier than pie in every way and just as good, they are perfect for beginner bakers and seasoned pros alike. Just mix up a simple pie filling, put it in a buttered pan, bury it in oaty, nutty crumbles, and bake until…well, crisp.

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Scoop the warm crisp into cute dishes, and finish with vanilla ice cream and more berries. Devour while determining how many vintage Maine sweatshirts is a reasonable number to have in your Etsy check-out cart. Is it four? I hope it’s four.

Black & Blueberry Crisp
Black & Blueberry Crisp
makes about 6 servings

Filling:
2 cups fresh blackberries (about 12 ounces)
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 12 ounces)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup chopped nuts of choice (I used hazelnuts), optional
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional
more blackberries & blueberries, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch casserole dish with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine blackberries and blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit while you prepare the topping.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together oats, flour, light brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form.

Transfer berry filling into the prepared casserole dish. Scatter topping onto the berries.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and berries are tender & bursting. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream and more berries, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.
Black & Blueberry Crisp
Black & Blueberry Crisp

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

While all of us were inside last year, tie-dye made a huge comeback. It’s a fun and easy way to augment clothes, towels, bedsheets or anything else that will absorb color. Why not take that same bright & twisty aesthetic and apply it to dessert?! We’re talking colorful little cups of cake and clouds of vanilla buttercream with technicolor details. They’re fun and funky, and summery as all get-out!

You’ve seen these cupcakes on here before, but never like this. The base is my favorite vanilla sour cream cupcake batter which has been everything from yellow with Nutella Buttercream to spiked with honey and finished with candy corn to marbled with a streak of red velvet to dolled up for the Easter bunny. Today’s version might be my favorite variation of all. Tie-Dye Cupcakes are beautiful to look at and incredibly fun to make.

Start by mixing together the batter and dividing it into four bowls. Grab a few of your favorite shades of food coloring and dye each bowl of batter a different color. A word to the wise that gel food coloring makes for richer colors and doesn’t threaten to add too much liquid to your batter. That said, if liquid is what you have on hand, use it!

Once your batter is dyed, spoon the colors into your cupcake pans. There are no hard and fast rules on how to do this, except to get all the colors in each cup and only up to 2/3-3/4 full. I like to give mine a little swirl with a skewer before baking, but this is strictly optional. After you’ve got all your batters in your pans, bake your cupcakes and let them cool.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Next up: frosting! These swirly-twirly colorful plumes of buttercream may look intimidating, but they are just regular old vanilla buttercream with a little food coloring. Where most colorful frosting recipes ask you to whip the dye directly into the mix, I take a different approach here.

Before the buttercream is loaded into the piping bag, it’s rolled up in a piece of plastic wrap that has been painted with lines of gel food coloring, then formed into a log. I found it easiest to divide the frosting in half for this step. Once rolled, one end of the log is trimmed off before the whole kit and caboodle is placed in the piping bag and then…well, it’s piping business as usual. You know, except for the part where each cupcake looks different and the edges of the frosting are bright and beautiful!

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

It goes without saying that Tie-Dye Cupcakes are delicious, but let’s be real: these are all about aesthetics. They’re so fun—perfect for summer get-togethers, birthdays, or any occasion that could use a pop (or four) of color and a really spectacular bit of vanilla cake.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Tie-Dye Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 food colorings of choice (I used gel)

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 food colorings of choice (I used the same gels from the cake)

Special Equipment:
plastic wrap
food-safe paintbrushes
piping bag with a tip and coupler

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Divide batter into four small bowls (about 2/3-3/4 cup batter in each). Add a different food coloring to each one and stir with forks to distribute the color (I used 5 drops each pink, blue, green and yellow gel).

To achieve the tie-dye effect, spoon a heaping 1/2 tablespoon of each color into each liner, adjusting as needed, until each one is 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking cupcakes for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

Lay 2 14-16-inch long pieces of plastic wrap on a surface. On each one, use paintbrushes to paint parallel 6-inch stripes of each color of food coloring about 1/2-inch apart. The food coloring may bead on the surface of the plastic wrap—this is okay.

Top each set of stripes with half the frosting. Working with one assemblage of frosting/food coloring/ plastic wrap at a time, use the plastic wrap to roll and manipulate the frosting into a log shape with food coloring stripes going down all sides. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap so that the log looks like a piece of old-fashioned candy. Repeat this process with the other assemblage.

Working with one log of frosting at a time, trim one end and place the wrapped log trimmed-end-down in a piping bag fitted with a tip. Twist the piping bag closed and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Repeat trimming process with the second log of frosting when needed.

Serve cupcakes. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4.
Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Fresh sweet cherries are one of my absolute favorite summer fruits, but they sure don’t last very long! Buy a bag too early and they taste like chlorine; too late and they’re mush. But right now? Right this minute? They’re perfect! Sweet and pretty and perfect for eating on their own or adding to your summer bakes. Here are all my favorite sweet cherry recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Shortbread Bars

Like cherry pie but less than half the work, these shortbread bars are a summer staple around here. These are so simple—think fresh cherry pie filling sandwiched between two layers of shortbread. They’re sooo good, but if you want to turn up the volume…

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Cheesecake Bars

…you can add in a layer of cheesecake! Cherries and cheesecake are a classic match, especially when they’re paired with shortbread crust. Mmhmm.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Are you sensing a theme? Because I am! Sweet cherries and buttery cookie anything are absolute magic together. Here, sweet cherry pie filling is topped with a boatload of crumbled sugar cookie dough, then baked until brown, bubbly and screaming for ice cream.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette

Rhubarb isn’t just for strawberries anymore! Here it’s paired with sweet cherries, wrapped in homemade pie dough and baked until golden. This galette is sweet, tart, and perfect for any summer get-together.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Turnovers

I love a cherry turnover! As with so many other recipes on this list, the combination of sweet cherries and butter(-y pastry) are what makes these rustic little hand pies so irresistible. These are a summertime must-make.

Have you made these or any of my other sweet cherry recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Strawberry Lemon Bars

Strawberry Lemon Bars

I feel like I’ve been throwing freeze-dried strawberries in everything lately, but who can blame me? They’re pretty readily available at your local Target or Trader Joe’s, are consistently tasty, and can be eaten as a snack or pulverized into powder and tossed into anything that you wish to look and taste like summer. You know, like these Strawberry Lemon Bars.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

These are simply Lemon Bars with two tablespoons of pulverized strawberry powder in the filling and a tiny bit more in the confectioner’s sugar topping. Seriously, that’s it—no other changes. Easy peasy.

The primary flavor here is lemon, but there’s just a *little* hint of strawberry—think something akin to pink lemonade. It’s a subtle thing, to be sure, but it’s there and it’s delicious.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

The color, as you can see is anything but subtle. It’s bright as can be, in fact, and I totally dig it. I mean, why make another batch of regular old lemon bars when you can add one ingredient and get to show up to the party/picnic/cookout/your couch with these gems? I think we can call agree that pink, summery desserts just taste better.

Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
makes 16 bars

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Strawberry Lemon Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoons pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, from about 1/2 cup pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 medium lemons
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 drop red food coloring (optional)

Topping:
3-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Mixture will be very crumbly and dry. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and use your fingertips to press it into one even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest and pulverized strawberry powder. Use your fingertips to rub zest and powder into sugar until combined. Mix in all-purpose flour and salt. Whisk in lemon juice, followed by eggs and egg yolk, and melted butter. Add food coloring, if using. Mixture will be thin.

Pour filling over the shortbread crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until center is set. Let cool completely on a rack before chilling for at least four hours.

Use the foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel parchment (or foil) from the edges. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice bars.

In a small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and pulverized strawberry powder. Sift confectioner's sugar over the tops of the bars before serving.

Serve bars immediately or refrigerate for up to three days. Confectioner’s sugar will degrade over time—this can be remedied by sifting more over the tops.
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars