After much trial and error I have finally recreated the best cake I’ve ever had – inspired by my sister’s wedding cake (the recipe for which is closely guarded and wasn’t available to a lowly home baker such as myself), a luxurious huckleberry-infused white cake that tastes like it’s straight from heaven. Moist and fluffy, decadent and refreshing, this has quickly become a family favorite and has converted even a self-proclaimed cake-hater.
The secret ingredient that elevated this cake from its plain, dry predecessor is sour cream, one of my favorite secret weapons in baking. I use it in biscuits, muffins, and even my famous chocolate chip pancakes!
Any fresh or frozen berry can be used in this unique bake. Pair this with your favorite frosting recipe like my white chocolate cream cheese frosting for a dessert that won’t require refrigeration – there won’t be any left to tuck away!
Mixed Berry Cupcakes
My most vetted recipe to date, this deliciously moist cupcake recipe is what berry-lovers dreams are made of. The main liquid in this recipe is made of berry puree, and because of the high acid content of the fruit it doesn't rise much during baking. For a spectacular cake, bake two 8" rounds and fill with fresh berries!
Combine sugar and berries in a small saucepan on low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. If seeds are not desired, press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" springform pan and/or line with parchment paper.
Using a stand or hand mixer at medium speed, cream together butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. When well combined, continue mixing at high speed until light and fluffy.
Reduce mixer speed to low and incorporate egg whites a little at a time. Ensure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
To add the cake flour and berry mixture, spoon in about 1/3 of the cake flour and mix completely, then add about 1/3 of the berry mixture and mix completely; continue in this fashion until all the flour and berries have been incorporated.
Scrape bowl and fold mixture a few times to make sure everything is mixed propertly. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until firm, not browned.
Cool for at least 1 hour before removing from pan. Use a knife to separate cake from the sides of the pan and overturn onto a cooling rack or frosting plate. Top with your favorite icing and garnish with berries. Serve chilled.
Cream cheese frosting is my favorite for any occasion! I don’t do a lot of fancy piping on my cakes and cupcakes so it holds up just fine for birthdays and family parties. This is a quick and easy recipe that takes a classic flavor to the next level with creamy melted white chocolate.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
This decadent frosting is just thick enough to hold its shape but isn't too rich. Use high quality white baking chocolate for best results.
Our family is a dessert family. That’s why when I say these turned out amazing, I am not afraid to toot my own horn! Pastry dough has always intimidated me because in order to get that perfect, flaky golden crust, the directions must be followed exactly: knead this many times, roll that many times, fold just so… And I’m just not that precise of a cook. But after a hankering for a fresh turnover and nowhere to get one during this pandemic nonsense I busted out the beloved Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and gave it a try. My husband and I have this running joke that anything that we deem exceptionally good we would put on the “bed & breakfast” menu. These are definitely b&b worthy!
My inspiration for this creation came from a pastry of my past: when I worked for the District Attorney’s office as a file clerk a local bakery used to deliver fresh baked goodies every Tuesday, and each week for the entirety my internship there I bought a raspberry cream cheese turnover that was to die for. I have yet to find its equal. This is the very item I had in mind when I slapped together an array of recipes to get what you see here.
Since we live in Idaho I just had to make my turnovers with huckleberries. My mom and I both have a few handfuls of the juicy purple jewels left from last year’s harvest so I’ve been trying to think of new ways to use them up. These tasty turnovers were perfect for the cause! #huckleberryerrythang
One of the secrets I used to speed up this recipe is the freezer (in classic Elizabeth fashion – I have very little patience for such things.) Since puff pastry has to be chilled consistently throughout the rolling process I cheated a little and chilled the dough between each rolling in the freezer, and in just half the recommended time. It worked flawlessly and there was no difference in the consistency of the dough in my opinion. This is not a French bakery, after all, and there weren’t any left for anyone to examine that closely anyway!
Of course you could substitute pretty much any other berry in this recipe. I’m going to try raspberries next because they’re another thing we’re have stocked up in the freezer from last summer. I can’t wait!
A "cheater" version of traditional puff pastry that is still worthy of a bed and breakfast menu! Any berry can be substituted for the huckleberries, as well as using prepared or frozen puff pastry instead of making it from scratch.
Sift flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Cut up 1 cup of the butter into small pieces, leaving the remaining ½ cup of butter in the refrigerator to keep cold.
Place the cut butter into the mixing bowl and using a pastry blender (or the whisk if you’re using a KitchenAid), blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the cold water. Using your hands (or the dough hook) to gradually blend the water with the flour mixture, mixing just until a rough, sticky dough is formed. Wrap dough in cellophane and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Place the remaining ½ cup of chilled butter on your work surface. Using your fingers smash the butter until it can be shaped, being careful not to over-work the butter and warm it too much. Work into a 5-inch square.
Remove the dough from the freezer and place on a lightly floured work surface (you may want to flour your rolling pin as well.) Roll into a circle about ½” thick, being careful not to stretch or tear the dough as you would a pie crust. Place the butter square into the center of the circle and fold the edges of the dough over the butter, pressing to seal the edges. You should now have a square of butter encased in dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll the square into an 8”x16” rectangle. (The dough may need to be pounded with the rolling pin several times to allow the butter to become more pliable.) Fold the rectangle 3 times as you would fold a business letter.
Turn the dough so it faces you lengthwise and roll into another 8”x16” rectangle.
Fold again 3 times as you would a business letter. Wrap it back up and freeze for 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling for the final time, preheat the oven to 400° and prepare the filling: beat softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well combined – make sure no lumps remain.
Combine berries, sugar and corn starch in a medium mixing bowl. Gently toss to combine.
Beat the egg white with the water and set aside for egg wash.
For the icing, whisk together powdered sugar, half & half and vanilla.
Return the dough to a lightly floured surface and repeat the process of rolling the dough into a rectangle, making 3 business-letter folds, twice more. Wrap the dough and freeze for another 30 minutes.
Return the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough 1/4" thick and use a pizza cutter to cut into six 7" squares. Add a tablespoon of each filling in the center, then fold the square in half to form a triangle.
Dip a finger in the egg wash and run it along the seam. Press to close. Also brush the tops of pastries using the egg wash and a basting brush. Sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Cool for 15 minutes, then drizzle icing on top.
Breakfast is definitely the most important meal at the cabin, especially on the weekends! Every Saturday and Sunday at the very least I make a traditional farm-style breakfast; more recently I’ve been experimenting with various baked goods, and much to my husband’s enjoyment have been blessed with wild success. One of those creations is a simple twist on a classic buttermilk pancake recipe that uses a secret ingredient: Greek yogurt! I know, it seems weird. But the savory yogurt adds a delicious creaminess and tang to your everyday pancakes that’s similar to the richness of sour cream cake. Don’t knock it till you try it! Top this treat with a whopping dollop of homemade whipped cream and you’ll enjoy the kind of breakfast that deserves a mid-morning nap.
I used to have an electric nonstick skillet that I loved cooking pancakes on but since we’ve been adding to our collection of cast iron cookware my new favorite is a flat #9 skillet. With just a small lip around the edge it makes flipping a breeze! This particular piece we found at a yard sale (!) and after my husband refinished it with a grinder and seasoned it in the oven it was back to brand new.
Don't let the name fool you – these pancakes are anything but ordinary! One secret ingredient takes this classic breakfast comfort food to a whole new level. If you don't have any plain Greek yogurt laying around, sour cream can be used in a pinch. Use any kind of chocolate chips you like or have on hand – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even white chocolate would all be delicious!
Until this past year I hadn’t fully understood the importance of tapioca pudding in my life. It’s something my husband used to buy for his weekday lunch. Little plastic, foil-topped pudding cups full of corn syrup, food coloring, added flavors and saturated fats… Ew!
But since visiting his grandmother’s house this year and discovering her recipe, it’s changed the course of our entire lives.
Aaron now refuses to eat store-bought.
I have been turned into a tapioca-making slave.
I had to invent a way to make a homemade puddin’ porta-pack for his lunches.
In order to feed this demanding pudding-fueled creature that is my spouse, I took his grandmother’s recipe, changed from instant to traditional tapioca pearls, and tripled the quantity. So without further ado, here it is for your snacking pleasure!
Aaron’s Favorite Tapioca
This recipe came to be through weeks of tasting and experimentation to yield my husband's absolute favorite tapioca pudding. It's more tapioca than pudding and makes a batch large enough to pack one serving in a week's worth of lunches, plus have some leftover for dessert.
Combine tapioca, milk, egg yolks and 1/2 the sugar sugar in medium saucepan. Let stand 5 min.
Meanwhile, beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating constantly until soft peaks form.
Bring to full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly stir egg white mixture into hot tapioca in saucepan until well blended. Fold in vanilla. Cool 20 min. Stir before serving.
To make portable snack packs, pour into portion-size plastic baggies while still hot. Using a canning funnel can make this much easier. Chill before serving. To eat, snip the corner of the baggie and enjoy!