Mediterranean Lemon Cake

This was REALLY TASTY.Β  Warm, fresh out of the oven lemony goodness. I’d been snacking on some very rich brownies for the 2 days prior, so these were a welcome reprieve!

I found this recipe through a search of Mediterranean desserts for my Reddit challenge – (https://www.reddit.com/r/52weeksofbaking/). I’ve done baklava before (was okay, not fabulous) and tiramisu kept coming up, but I wanted to do that for the Italy themed bake challenge in a few weeks. This lemon cake looked unusual to me, and I LOVE me some citrus! It also has olive oil in it, which is a new baking ingredient to me.

You can’t see with the pic, but it sunk a little in the middle. I should’ve left it in there a few more minutes, but it was already a beautiful golden brown and I didn’t want to overcook it. I also added about half of 1/8 tsp of lemon oil to the batter for a more pronounced flavor. These oils ROCK for baking and I use them often (affiliate link).

This recipe makes quite a bit of lemon syrup and I definitely didn’t use it all. This is an excellent light and airy cake!

Link to recipe – http://garlicgirl.com/2013/06/15/mediterranean-lemon-cake/

Enjoy!

Homemade Rainbow Layer Cake

This from-scratch rainbow layer cake is probably the most cheerful thing I’ve ever made. I kinda wish I had showed up at a party with my plain-looking white layer cake and sat quietly in anticipation while it was sliced open to much fanfare! Alas – my husband cut the first slice for the photo πŸ™

This was a FUN bake! I don’t particularly have any love affair with vanilla things, but let’s be honest – the primary reason to bake this is how it looks πŸ˜‰

That being said, this was actually pretty tasty. The icing is cream cheese buttercream, which I think really keeps it from being TOO sweet, although this still isn’t for the faint of heart. There is icing between all six layers, so plan on a mouthful of sweet stuff if you are going to invest the time to bake this.

I also don’t have 6 pans lying around my house and bought some disposable aluminum ones. Yay for not washing and drying the same 2 pans repeatedly!

BTW, you will need gel colors to get the flashy colors here, not the liquid kind. I’ve used Wilton gel colors before, but if you are tired of scooping color out of little buckets with a toothpick, try these gel colors (affiliate link) – these squeeze out of little dropper bottles instead. I LOVE these! I was able to count 3 drops per bottle to get the same intensity of color for all 6 layers.

Find out how to make this rainbow layer cake HERE!

 

Mardi Gras Macarons

Happy Mardi Gras!

Is that what you are supposed to say? I don’t know – Mardi Gras here in PA is marked mostly by baked goods in grocery stores turning purple, green and gold for a few weeks and then disappearing. Hence these macarons!

This is my favorite go-to mac recipe now. It’s so easy to add some flavoring oils to change it up, but also just makes a yummy plain macaron. Yay for simplicity πŸ™‚

BTW, are you looking for step-by-step mac instructions? LOOK NO FURTHER! Click here for a picture tutorial.

As you can see by the pic, these macs are tri-colored, albeit not very evenly done. I used this Wilton Color Swirl decorating set (affiliate link). I’m still working on my technique! Macs are so little that getting the ‘twist’ color scheme is a challenge. I suspect I’ll have better luck with cupcakes.

Lastly, there’s a yummy cinnamon buttercream inside these colored cuties, which seems to be a common theme in a Mardi Gras king cake.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Mardi Gras Macarons
A simple and tasty Mardi Gras themed macaron. Filled with cinnamon buttercream and tri-colored!
Mardi Gras macarons
Course Desserts
Cuisine French
Servings
Ingredients
Macaron Shells
Cinnamon Buttercream
Course Desserts
Cuisine French
Servings
Ingredients
Macaron Shells
Cinnamon Buttercream
Mardi Gras macarons
Instructions
Make your macaron shells!
  1. Preheat oven to 280 F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat.
  2. Sift together powdered sugar and almond flour. Set aside.
  3. In a very clean bowl and starting on slow, whip up your egg whites. Once they are very foamy, start to slowly add your granulated sugar, a tablespoon or so at a time.
  4. Keep going until you get to stiff peaks. You should be able to turn the bowl over your head and not have a pile of meringue land on your head πŸ˜‰
  5. When you have stiff peaks, sift your almond flour/powdered sugar a second time directly over your meringue.
  6. Using the mac folding technique (see link to tutorial above or watch some You Tube videos!), fold in your flour/sugar into the meringue. Right before you get your lava consistency, add your gel color to your desired shade. For the tri-color I divided my batter up into 3 bowls and dyed each batch a different color and then used the Wilton Color Swirl coupler to pipe these. You could also still divide up the batter, dye 3 colors, and just make some purple macs, green macs, yellow macs, etc. Or make them plain and brush a little watered-down gel color on top when they are finished.
  7. After adding color, mix to the correct lava consistency appropriate for macs.
  8. Pipe batter into circles on your baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, turn them around, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes for standard size macs. They are done when one can be picked up off the parchment and not come apart.
  10. Let cool and then carefully pluck off parchment.
Make the cinnamon buttercream!
  1. Using a mixer, whip up your butter.
  2. Sift your powdered sugar and cinnamon over the butter and mix well.
  3. Add in your vanilla extract. If buttercream is too thick, add a bit of milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a nice piping consistency, i.e not runny but easily piped.
  4. Taste the buttercream and add more cinnamon if you like, a dash of salt, etc.
  5. Fill the macs with the buttercream.
Recipe Notes

If we aren't going to eat macs within the day, I put them in the fridge and they will last a few days (although I believe taste better room temp!). They also freeze well for longer periods and thaw out quickly.

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Cherry Almond Cupcakes

I finally got around to making a recipe from Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes, reviewed here. These cherry almond cupcakes were the first pick on my to-bake list and ROCKED! If this recipe is any indication, I think I’m going to enjoy trying a few others from author Lindsay Conchar.

You will notice in the pic absolutely no actual cherries in the cupcakes, although you can place one on top if you want to. I prefer just the flavor, minus the canned cherries πŸ˜‰ The icing gets its flavor and pretty pink color from maraschino cherry juice.

BTW, almond + cherry married together are delicious! These are perfect little Valentine’s Day cupcakes πŸ™‚

Recipe can be found in Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes! You can click on that cute little book below to purchase from Amazon if you’d like and I’ll get a small percentage to support this site.

Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Horns

I LOVE MARZIPAN!

There…I said it. And I think it’s woefully under-represented here in the US. Sure, you can find the very hard colorful “fruits” around the holidays pretty easily, but the real deal is so much better πŸ™‚

As someone who has used store-bought marzipan and homemade, definitely go with homemade when you can. It tastes fresher, and is actually far cheaper to make. A very easy recipe is below. Really – I’m talking about 5 minutes and lasts for a long time in the fridge.

Why the obsession with marzipan this week? Week 6 baking challengeΒ was tiny treats. These chocolate-dipped horns aren’t that tiny, but I figured you can eat them in a few bites, so they count!

This cookie is chewy and full of almond flavor – fair warning if you want something light and airy instead πŸ˜‰

The marzipan recipe below also works beautifully for rolling out in a sheet for covering a cake (I made a Battenberg last year with it!) or just breaking off chunks and molding into cute edible shapes, or dipping in chocolate and eating plain.

Both the marzipan and the chocolate-dipped horns came from the same place – the Daring Gourmet. I LOVE this blog! She has some unusual, not run-of-the-mill recipes, including many ethnic ones.

 

Marzipan RecipeΒ 

Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Horns Recipe

Enjoy!

Chocolate Hand Pies

This recipe CALLED to me, so I had to make it. Alas, I cannot take credit for these delicious tiny chocolate pies. The brain behind this recipe is Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction – click here for the deets. You will notice much more attractive hand pies when you follow that link πŸ™ I NEED that heart cookie cutter!

Consider this dough more challenging to work with than your standard pie dough. Mine was pretty crumbly and just.wasn’t.coming.together. I ended up adding an additional 3 tbsp of heavy cream to get a workable chocolate dough. Crumbly or not, it was delish even before baking πŸ˜‰

In the future I would definitely go a little heavier on the chocolate and peanut butter filling. I was scared of seepage during baking, but they would’ve been more gooey if I had been more generous. Gooey = more mouth-watering.

Enjoy!