American Flag Cake

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Happy Monday, kiddos!

How’s it going? How was your 4th of July? Did you have a great weekend with your family and friends?

I had a wonderful holiday full of family and good friends. E came home to celebrate, her godparents stopped for a visit as they were driving home from vacation, and we had two good friends come for dinner/dessert/fireworks. That’s exactly how I like my Independence Day celebrations – friends, family, food, and fireworks.

While dinner was all about the traditional cookout food, we decided to rebel and not serve pie for dessert (gasp!). I saw a really cool concept for a layer cake in Instyle Magazine and I had to try it out.

It starts with boxed cake mix – one box on red velvet and one box of white vanilla cake (not the yellow cake, the actual box that says “white”, or else the colors will get wonky).

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I made the red velvet cake according to the package in two eight-inch pans that were sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper (for easy cake removal). For the white cake, I prepared the batter according to the directions and pour half of the batter into a sprayed and parchment-papered eight-inch cake pan. With the second half, add some blue gel food coloring into the batter until you reach the perfect shade of blue (this is about a third of a 1oz jar of food coloring).

Now, it’s all about the assembly. I cut the perfectly risen vanilla layer in half, so I had two vanilla layers. Since my red velvet cake and blue cake layers didn’t rise very much (!), I ended up having less layers in the cake than the Instyle cake. But it all worked out fine!

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Place one red velvet cake layer on a plate lined with wax paper (I’m a messy icer!).

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Spread on a thin layer of vanilla icing… and yes, I am using icing from a can (two and a half cans of the stuff in total).

Then place a vanilla layer and add another thin layer of icing… and yes, I forgot to take a photo of these steps.

Then plunk another red velvet cake layer onto the growing cake stack and add more icing.

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Finally, it’s time to deal with the blue layer. Take the blue layer and cut a four-inch circle out of the middle of the layer.

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Place the blue ring layer on top of the cake.

Then grab the second vanilla layer and cut out a four-inch circle. Pop the circle into the middle of the blue ring.

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Tada!

All that’s left is to frost the cake!

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I usually pile a bunch of icing on the top of the cake and push it to the edges and let it fall over the sides. Then it’s easy to spread the frosting on the sides.

It’s important to pop the cake in the fridge for a little bit to let the frosting set up.

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Then cut into it and show off your American pride!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your cake makin’ friend,

C

 

Grab this recipe from Instyle Magazine’s website at http://www.instyle.com/news/fourth-of-july-flag-cake-recipe-video!

Blueberry Pie

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Hi, everyone! How was your 4th of July? Did you do anything fun? Eat anything awesome?

We pigged out here… 

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Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, potato salad, tossed salad, roasted corn salad, beers, and…

Blueberry pie.

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Oh. My. Goodness.

This was a total experiment, an amalgamation of different recipes I found online and a topping that I found on Pinterest. 

And it actually turned out well. I cried when I took it out of the oven. I cried when I took my five million pictures of it. I cried when I ate it. I cried when I realized that there was no more left.

But no worries, it was super simple to make!

 

For the filling:

Get yourself some blueberries.

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Fresh is best since it is the summertime and around here, blueberries are (slightly) dirt cheap. This is two pints.

Spread the berries on some paper towels, not only to dry them but to sort through them.

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Discard any little bits of stem, mushed berries, etc.

Toss the berries in a bowl and throw in some lemon zest.

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Then add the juice of half the lemon.

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Lemon and blueberries… yum! One of the best combinations. 

Depending on the sweetness of the blueberries, add some granulated sugar. 

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I ended up adding ½ a cup (which gave the pie the perfect tart-sweet ratio).

Now it’s time to choose sides. Half the recipes I found used tapioca as a thickener and the other half use corn starch. 

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I went with corn starch. Gotta stick with what I know (and what I have in my pantry!).

Along with the cornstarch, I added in allspice, cinnamon, and some salt.

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Not too much, but enough to give the blueberries a little depth.

Mix it all together.

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And resist diving in with a spoon. (please have more self control than I do!)

 

For the crust: 

Here is what you need for the crust…

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Yes, I am using store-bought pie crust. I have no qualms about using it. If you have a pie dough recipe that you love, go for it! Just make sure that you have enough for two crusts. 

Place one pie crust in the GREASED pie plate.

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Crimp the edges… please excuse my poor crimping skills. I try.

For 4th of July, I found the cutest idea on Pinterest – using cookie cutters to cut out pie crust stars for the topping. 

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I used a medium-sized star cutter and a small-sized star cutter.

I saw that the stars were getting slightly warm, so I popped them onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer for a couple of minutes. It made them bake much more evenly!

 

To assemble:

Place the filling into the pie crust.

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Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash (one egg with a tablespoon of milk whisked together). It’ll make your crust golden brown and shiny!

Then place your stars on top!

I think that the two sizes of stars makes it interesting.

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I put egg wash on the stars and then sprinkle some sugar over the top.

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Place the pie plate on a parchment-lined cookie sheet – this will save you from cleaning the bottom of your oven in case of spill over!

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35-45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.

Look how beautiful.

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It was delicious (and oh so patriotic!).

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Your pie lovin’ friend,

C

 

Blueberry Pie

  • Servings: 8 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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IMG_3937Ingredients:

2 pints of fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry

½ cup of granulated sugar (more or less, depending on sweetness of the berries)

2 tablespoons of corn starch

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Juice of ½ a medium-sized lemon

⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon of allspice

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 pie crusts

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

Sugar for sprinkling

 

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Stir to combine.

3. Place one pie crust in a greased 10” pie plate.

4. Using star cookie cutters, cut stars out of the second pie crust. If the stars get warm, place on a cookie sheet in the freezer until chilled.

5. Pour blueberry filling into the pie crust and top with the pie crust stars.

6. In a small bowl, combine egg and milk (egg wash). Brush egg wash over crust and the stars. Sprinkle sugar over the crust and stars.

7. Place pie in oven and bake at 400° for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, or until filling is bubbly.

8. Let pie cool to room temperature for approximately 4 hours before serving with ice cream, whipped cream, or both!

Cherry-Pomegranate Sherbet

Happy Post-Memorial Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and enjoyed the beautiful weather!

With the weather this weekend pushing into the 80s, I had the urge to break out the ice cream maker and whip up something for Memorial Day dessert. Since we are in the midst of cleaning up the yard for our graduation party, a cold treat was more appealing than cake, pie, or cookies.

BUT, since we were hauling pavers, reseeding the lawn, planting bushes, etc., heavy ice cream was not appealing either. Watching morning cooking shows with my mom led to me to Pioneer Woman’s Cherry-Pomegranate Sherbet… and the dessert decision was made.

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Sherbet, to me, is the baby of a sorbet and ice cream marriage. Sorbet is dairy-free but prepared similarly to ice cream (fruit is cooked with sugar and flavorings, pureed, and placed into the ice cream maker). Sherbet is basically a sorbet with dairy added to it – so it’s basically fruit ice cream (in my mind at least!). And while we are on the subject, I pronounce sherbet SHUR-bert… which, as my friend J explained, is incorrect because there is no second “r”. How do you say sherbet? Please tell me that I’m not the only one who pronounces it wrong…

However you pronounce it, this is an adaptation of PW’s Cherry-Pomegranate Sherbet.

In a saucepan, combine cherries (I used pitted, frozen ones), granulated sugar, and pomegranate juice and bring them to a medium boil.

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Let it slowly boil (or heavily simmer, you’re choice!) for about 10-15 minutes until the cherries soften. Then you need to let the mixture cool to room temperature before moving forward – this mixture is sticky and hot and I would be devastated if you burnt yourself!

And since I am spacey, let’s pretend that there is a picture of me pureeing the cooled cherries and their juices in a food processor with the juice of one lemon. You can puree until very smooth if you wish, but I left mine a little chunky (because I love chunks of stuff in my ice cream!).

Where I deviate from PW’s recipe is that I used skim milk and fat-free half-and-half instead of whole milk and cream.

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I used one cup PLUS one tablespoon of fat-free half-and-half and ½ a cup of skim milk. So it’s a little lighter than the original (I think…). I just added the dairy to the food processor and pulsed until the mixture turned a light rose. (PS – this post was not sponsored by Land O’ Lakes!)

Pour the sherbet base into your ice cream maker and freeze to your manufacturer’s instructions.

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My churn takes about 20 minutes to freeze a quart of ice cream/sherbet/sorbet.

When the sherbet is completely frozen, pour into a quart container and freeze for at least 24 hours.

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Yum!

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And look how cute this container is! It reminds me of the little ice cream shops that hand-pack their quarts of ice cream.

This sherbet is particularly delightful by itself…

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(shh… don’t tell!)

But the tart combination of cherries and pomegranate cries for a little something sweet to go on top. So, in honor of my mom’s friend who actually got the cherries for us, I decided to make a sherbet sundae and name it after her.

And I give you…

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The Blushing Dorothy!

It is super simple to make but packs a big, flavorful punch by balancing the tart sherbet with a sweet (and boozy) topping.

To make the topping, place a pint of sliced fresh strawberries in a bowl. Add one tablespoon of sugar (or more if your strawberries aren’t sweet enough) and one shot of good vodka – stir to combine. Let the berries sit for at least 15 minutes (but 45 minutes to an hour would be better).

To serve, scoop some of the cherry-pomegranate sherbet into a martini glass (or a bowl), add some of the macerated strawberries, and garnish with some mint. Yum!

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If you want a kiddo-friendly version, just leave out the vodka and puree the strawberries until a smooth sauce forms (I like this just as much!).

 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful summer treat! Check out the handy dandy printables at the bottom!

Happy Tuesday, everyone,

C

Cherry-Pomegranate Sherbet

  • Servings: 4-8 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

3 cups pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup pomegranate juice

juice of one lemon

1 cup + 1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half

½ cup skim milk

Steps:

1. Place ice cream maker core in freezer at least 24 hours before making (in the summer, I keep it in there all the time).

2. In a medium saucepan, place cherries, sugar, and pomegranate juice. Bring to a slow boil and let cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the cherries are soft. Let mixture cool to room temperature before proceeding.

3. In a food processor or blender, place juice of one lemon and the cooled cherry mixture. Puree until you reach a smooth consistency (but you can leave some cherry flecks in there if you want!).

4. Add in the half-and-half and the skim milk. Pulse to combine.

5. Freeze the sherbet according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

6. Place frozen sherbet in a quart container and freeze for at least 24 hours.

7. Serve by itself or as a Blushing Dorothy!

Blushing Dorothy

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

1 pint of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced

1 shot of good vodka

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar (or more if your berries are not sweet enough)

Cherry-Pomegranate Sherbet

Fresh mint, for garnish

Steps:

1. Place strawberries, vodka, and sugar in a bowl – stir to thoroughly combine. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, but they do get better the longer they sit (45 minutes to 1 hour).

2. Place one scoop of cherry-pomegranate sherbet in a martini glass, top with some of the strawberries and their juice, and garnish with fresh mint!

 

Note: If you want to make this kiddo-friendly, just leave out the vodka and drizzle with a little bit of dark chocolate sauce!