Lemon Coconut Nest Cake

By Jackie Alpers for Real Simple©

Lemon Coconut Nest Cake

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

Yield: 8 to 10 Servings

Ingredients: 

Cake:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2½cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain, whole-milk, Greek yogurt

Frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅓ cup plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2c ups finely shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 cup large dried coconut flakes or chips, unsweetened
  • 2 teaspoon sprinkles in spring colors (optional)
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate eggs, such as Cadbury Mini Eggs

 

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the lemon juice, then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Prepare the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and lemon extract until smooth.
  6. Frost the cooled cake, then press the finely shredded coconut into the sides and top of the frosting with your hands. Press the bigger coconut flakes on top. Garnish with sprinkles. Fill the hole in the middle with chocolate eggs before serving.

Hot Cross Buns

Recipe courtesy Levain Bakery

Hot Cross Buns

Make your Easter holiday dinner special. 

Hot cross buns are now traditionally served during the Christian Easter season, on Fridays during Lent and on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. However, their roots are rumored to have come from pagan spring festivals. Easter and the spring equinox all represent the season of renewal of nature in different traditions. What we now consider a cross symbol on top of hot cross buns was also originally a cross in honor of the moon for Egyptians and Greeks, a representation of a full moon and its four quarters to Romans.

Yield: 12 buns

Ingredients:

Buns:

  • 2 ounces fresh yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups high-gluten flour
  • Spice mix, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Glaze, recipe follows
Spice Mix:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk, plus more as needed
  1. Directions:
    Buns:
    Crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup of the warm milk (the milk should feel just warm to the touch but not hot). Using the dough hook attachment, gently mix together.
  2. Add the honey, butter, 2 eggs, flour, spice mix, salt, and raisins. Start the mixer and gently pour in the remaining 1 cup of milk while mixing. The dough should come together as a soft ball after a few minutes of mixing. If it is too sticky add a few sprinkles of additional flour; if it is too hard add a few more drops of cold milk.
  3. Turn this soft dough out directly onto a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until about doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. When it has double in size, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half and each half in half, etc. until you have a dozen pieces. Shape these pieces into rounds with your hands. Place these rounds equally spaced apart on a floured piece of parchment on a sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost doubled in size. (If you press gently with your finger on a bun it should bounce back but your fingerprint should remain a bit.)
  6. Beat the remaining egg with a fork in a small bowl. Very gently brush this mixture on each of the buns. Using a sharp knife cut a cross shape in the top of each bun. Besides being decorative this allows the bread to rise nicely as it bakes.
  7. Bake in for about 15 minutes or until browned. Let cool.
  8. When cool, ice each bun with the glaze in a cross shape, following your cuts and using your spatula to drizzle icing on.
  9. Spice Mix:
    Mix together all the ingredients.

Glaze:
Put the sugar in a large bowl with the milk. Work the sugar and milk together until combined, adding additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a nice smooth thick glaze.

White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Yield: 10 Servings

White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 8 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
  • 3-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in soup. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.
  2. In a greased 13×9-in. baking dish, layer half of each of the following: potatoes, ham, cheese and sauce. Repeat layers.

Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

 

 

Nutritional Facts
1 serving equals 417 calories, 20 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 88 mg cholesterol, 1267 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 22 g protein.

 

Originally published as White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes in Taste of Home December/January 2006, p27

Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

Serving a King Cake during Mardi Gras celebrations is a tradition that honors the Magi who visited the Christ child on the twelfth night or Epiphany (January 6).

The cake is shaped in a ring with a pecan, bean or plastic baby placed inside the dough, before baking, to represent the baby Jesus.

The cake is then decorated with the purple, green and gold colors of Mardi Gras, and divided among guests. Whoever finds the baby doll will host the next King Cake celebration.

Mardi Gras King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this King Cake.
Can you find the baby?

Dough Ingredients:
4 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees F)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 stick butter or margarine
5-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 dried bean, shelled pecans, or naked plastic babies

Icing Ingredients:
3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
4-6 tablespoons milk

Click for a video demonstration: Click Here!
Directions:
Combine the yeast, 1/2 of the sugar, and the lukewarm water in a very large bowl, stir well and set aside for a few minutes until the mixture swells slightly and small bubbles appear on the surface. Stir in the remaining sugar, milk, yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Add egg yolks and mix again.

In another bowl, work the butter/margarine into 5 cups of the flour.

Add the flour-butter/margarine mixture to the yeast mixture a cup at a time, mixing well after each cup is added. Begin to knead in the bowl, adding more flour if necessary to make a smooth, elastic dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 5 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is still sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl which has been buttered or sprayed with a no-stick spray. Cover and let stand in a warm place until dough doubles in size.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 8 x 14 inches. Brush each rectangle with 1/2 stick of melted butter or margarine. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture over each rectangle. Roll up from the wide end, as you would a jelly roll, inserting one of the dried beans, pecans, or naked babies along the way. Press the ends of the dough together and stretch the roll into an oval about 14 inches long. Place on a greased/sprayed cookie sheet and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 35-45 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with the fingers. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

Beat the butter or margarine until softened. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and continue to beat, gradually adding milk until a glaze consistency is achieved. Use half of the icing on each cake.

Spread the icing evenly over each cake and decorate immediately with granulated sugar that has been rendered purple, green and gold with food coloring, making alternating bands of color.

Other decorating options:
Divide the icing into three portions and use food coloring to make purple, green and gold icing. Spread in alternating bands along the length of the cakes.

Use purple, green and gold gumdrops, jelly beans, or other candy to decorate the white icing.

Recipe courtesy of New Orleans Public Library.

Bonus Trivia Question:

And, why are those three colors chosen for the King cake?

Purple Represents Justice.
Green Represents Faith.
Gold Represents Power.

Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes

Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes

Photo by Taste of Home©

Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1-3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 medium)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. In a small nonstick skillet, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until blended.
    Place half of the potatoes in a 1-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray; layer with half of the onion and cheese sauce. Repeat layers.
  2. Cover and bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly and potatoes are tender.

Nutritional Facts
about 3/4 cup equals 196 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.
Originally published as Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes in Healthy Cooking February/March 2009, p51

Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze Recipe

Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze

Photo from Taste of Home©

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 salmon fillet (2-1/2 pounds)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir the brown sugar, butter and honey until melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in the oil, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Place salmon in a large foil-lined baking pan; spoon brown sugar mixture over salmon. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutritional Facts
4 ounces cooked salmon equals 295 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 84 mg cholesterol, 403 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 28 g protein.

Originally published as Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon in Taste of Home December/January 2009, p69

Bunny Butt Cookie Recipe from Pillsbury™

Get the children involved by asking them to assemble and decorate their bunny.  You might want to get extra marshmallows for any little taste testers.

Yield: 22 Servings

Bunny Butt Cookies

These fun cookies will make a Hopp-y Easter for you and your family. Find the recipe here.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 container (12 oz) fluffy white whipped ready-to-spread frosting
  • Pink gel food color, if desired
  • 22 miniature marshmallows
  • Assorted size candy sprinkles

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, knead cookie dough and flour with hands until well mixed.
  2. Reshape dough into 9×1 1/2-inch log.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.Remove plastic wrap. Cut cookie dough into 33 slices. Cut 11 slices into 4 equal wedges; shape each wedge into ovals for bunny feet. Place cookie dough slices and bunny feet on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  5. In medium microwavable bowl, stir frosting and 1 to 3 drops pink food color until well blended. Microwave uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds or until soft but not translucent.
  6. To make bunny butt, frost 1 whole cookie slice and 2 bunny feet with frosting. Place bunny feet on bottom of cookie as shown in photo. Place 1 marshmallow in center of each cookie for tail. Decorate bunny paws with candy sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookie slices and bunny feet.

Tips

  • To add ears to your bunny, place candy-coated almonds or jelly beans at top of each cookie.
  • You can bake and freeze cookies up to 2 months ahead.

Spring Cheesecake Cake (raspberry, lemon & orange)

Click here for a delightful recipe from the “I am Baker” blog.

Spring Cheesecake Cake (raspberry, lemon and orange)

Find this recipe and more on the I am Baker blog. (Photo by Amanda Rettke)

Spring Cheesecake Cake (raspberry, lemon & orange)

Ingredients:

Raspberry Cheesecake

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Raspberry Extract
  • 2 drops McCormick® Red food coloring

Lemon Cheesecake

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract

Orange Cheesecake

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
  • 1 drop McCormick® Red food coloring
  • 1 drop McCormick® Yellow food coloring

White Sheet Cake

  • 1 cup (230g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (285g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional)

Instructions:

Raspberry Cheesecake

  1. Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
    Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add in extract and food coloring.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
  4. Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
  5. Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.

Lemon Cheesecake

  1. Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
    Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add in extract.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
  4. Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
  5. Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.

Orange Cheesecake

  1. Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
    Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add in extract and food coloring.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
  4. Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
  5. Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.

White Sheet Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan by spraying with non-stick spray then lining with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the sugar on medium speed and beat until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  5. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour in vanilla and then sour cream. (scrape bowl if necessary)
    Mix for 1-2 minutes on medium speed or until ingredients are fully incorporated.
  6. With mixer on low speed, pour half of the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Now pour in half of the milk.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk and mix until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan using a small offset spatula. (be sure it is nice and level!)
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Place in freezer until ready to assemble cake.

Whipped Cream
Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes.
In stand mixer, whisk whipped cream for 1-2 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and beat just until stiff peaks form. (If you need a more stable whipped cream add in meringue powder. If using immediately, you can omit the meringue powder.) Chill until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml) whipped cream.
To Assemble Cake

  1. Make sure cheesecakes and white sheet cake are chilled. Place clean 8-inch pan on top of sheet cake and run a sharp paring knife around the edge. You now have a perfect 8-inch round white cake disc. Do this again so you have 2 total.
  2. Remove chilled orange cheesecake from pan and set on cake stand. (this is a thin cheesecake and when very chilled, can be easily popped out of the lined cake pan. You can also use a spring-form pan)
    Place one 8-inch white cake on top.
  3. Remove lemon cheesecake from pan and gently place on top of white cake.
  4. Place other 8-inch white cake on top of lemon cheesecake.
  5. Remove raspberry cheesecake from pan and gentle place on top of white cake.
  6. Cover cake in chilled whipped cream and serve. (You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.)
Photo by Amanda Rettke

Check out the I am Baker blog.  (Photo by Amanda Rettke)

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