Coffee ~ Gingerbread Squares

IMG_8960I’m working on a menu for an upcoming three-day catering job, and my mind is full of all sorts of different baking for this group. Besides their three meals a day, we keep a fresh fruit, baking & beverage counter stocked for them all weekend. Muffins, cookies, coffee cakes, and then always something yummy mid-afternoon, to be sure they don’t feel faint before dinner. This is one of the afternoon treats they’ll be getting, great with a cup of coffee, or a glass of milk. Lots of flavour with the molasses, spice, and coffee, with a familiarity that always pleases. Top the squares with Brown Butter Icing for a lovely nutty finish. Continue reading

Fluffy Lemon Buttercream

IMG_7668Every year at this time, our community celebrates a woman who has quietly volunteered to make our community a better place. Whether it’s through education, seniors outreach, communication, the environment, or many other facets, it all gets done by volunteers.

The program started a decade or so ago, and now the past recipients make a surprise visit to the woman’s home, ready to celebrate her with a cake, and a bottle of bubbly. Or two.

Usually I make the cake, mostly because I love doing it. I’m sure someone else will happily step up if the need arises. Cakes used to be served to celebrate any occasion, but as we’re more aware of the value of calories we consume we’re more selective on when to serve one. Consequently, they’re even more of a treat.

For this year’s event, I decided to do a 3-layer white buttermilk cake, filled with seedless raspberry preserves, and frosted with a fluffy and very lemony buttercream.

We enjoyed the cake, while sipping on bubbly, and chatting with each other through the evening. Ten women from very diverse backgrounds makes for very good conversation.

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Lemon Coconut Chiffon Cake

IMG_3659There is something very special about a light and fluffy chiffon cake.  Usually they are fragrantly laced with citrus, and are beautiful when served simply with some fresh macerated fruit with the juices wicking into the crumb.

They also work really well when you want to make a great presentation cake.  This recipe uses coconut right in the batter.  Once cooked, it is cut into layers and filled with lemon curd.  Top it off with a light and fluffy coconut icing (with a built in stabilizer), and it has become an amazingly pretty cake, that is light and not too filling.

There may seem to be a lot of instruction, but just read it through first, and you’ll see that it really is a very basic cake, and not hard to succeed at!

Find a small glass or jar to fit into the center hole of the cake, to put in a small posy or a larger blossom.  Just wrap the stems in damp paper towel, and put the flowers in the glass.  Slice the cake with a serrated blade to make a tidy cut. Continue reading