Blueberry Breakfast Cake

IMG_2535As we near the end of August, and berries are still in full supply, I thought I’d finally post my often-used recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Cake, ready for your Labour Day summer wrap up events. Make now and freeze, it can thaw on your way camping, or overnight ready for the last guests of summer. Of course, you can just make it and eat it, like we most often do.

Sometime a few decades ago I started making Bundt cakes. I never really understood the appeal until this cake. It started with making a simple lemon blueberry cake with a streusel mix going in the pan first, so when it was removed from the pan there would be a crispy topping built in. But never being one to leave good enough alone, I thought the streusel could simply go in the middle, making the cake come clean from the pan, not leaving chunks of streusel littering the counter. Having it in the middle gives the cake a wonderfully buttery crunch in the center of each slice.

I can honestly say that I’ve made hundreds of these cakes. Over the years it became my most asked for item in mixed baking for breakfasts & brunches. It’s perfect for adding to lunches for work or school, so timely that I should think to post this today, as there are only a couple of weeks left until school starts. Continue reading

Coconut Chai Cake

IMG_2094When we were very young, our parents would take us exploring in our cabin cruiser, “The Hurricane” up through Howe Sound, and further up along the Sunshine Coast towards Texada Island. While I never remember staying overnight on the boat, we did do some very long day trips. We’d sit in a line along the bench at the stern of the boat, with lifejackets rubbing our chins, while the sun and wind toasted us. Dad would sit on a high seat, steering, sometimes allowing one of us to help him. There was a small cabin, with counters, a table & bench seating. It most likely converted into a bed if needed. Mom would have packed our very reliable picnic basket with egg sandwiches, some sort of cake, and cookies, and lemonade. At some point, tins of Shasta sodas usurped the bottles of lemonade.

We’d spend all day doing long runs out in the sea, or poking from inlet to inlet, getting off the boat to explore. Needing to swim into shore, or be lifted by Dad.

On a recent road trip up to Bowser, and lots of tucking into the beach all along the way, north of Parksville, we stood on the beach and looked all the way from just south of Baynes Sound towards Vancouver. With the calm waters, and the hint of summer in the air, I was transplanted back to that bench at the stern of the boat, feeling the sense of adventure we always felt when leaving the dock, and very much felt the presence of our parents. Those wonderful boat trips, although early in our lives, imprinted the need to be near the ocean in all of us.

This is a delightful snacking cake that would be perfect for a day on a boat, or a picnic. Originally from BBC Good Food, I have tweaked it a bit, a delicious idea to put the wonderful flavours of Chai into a cake. Enjoy! Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Cake

IMG_9724Chocolate cake, one of our culture’s go-to desserts for celebrations, or the cake that sits waiting for the family to come home to from a long day hike, is deservedly legendary. Moist layers of chocolaty crumb, layered and topped with creamy icing make it decadent and yet simple, while a thin sliver satisfies, a big slice is a worthy treat.IMG_9732

This is a great recipe that can be used for a three layer over-the-top fancy cake, or just a simple sheet cake to serve with a bit of ice cream and some sauce. It is incredibly versatile, and will work with many desserts that require a cake base. Continue reading

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake with Lemon Glaze (Gluten Free)

IMG_9273_2Having several bags of last summer’s raspberries still waiting with baited breath in my freezer, I need to find ways to let them express themselves. Once again, Bon Appetit came to the rescue with a great cake recipe. The combination of ricotta and raspberries makes for a cake that tastes like it just came from a big old oven in a well used and loved kitchen. Ready for a family full of hungry mouths, or a group of adults discussing world peace over after-dinner coffees. You choose. Continue reading

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