1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 heaping tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degress. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scape down the sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together the zest, flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the flour mixture alternately with the lemon juice mixture in 3 additions, beating between additions and scraping down the sides.
Pour the batter evenly into each of the two pans and gently drop the pans against the counter top a few times to release air bubbles. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.
Lemon Curd: makes about 2 cups
6 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
12 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Add the lemon zest and sugar to a small saucepan. Place a fine mesh strainer over the saucepan and add the yolks into the strainer, stirring gently to release them through the strainer.Then pour the lemon juice over the yolks in the strainer, stirring, to force down the rest of the yolks (this will leave the membranes in the strainer without having them compromise the consistency of your curd). Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottoms and sides of the pan, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, from 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, once piece at a time, stirring after each addition until it is completely dissolved.
Pour the curd into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the top of the curd. This keeps a skin from forming. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least one hour to thicken.
To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a cake stand, then pour half of the lemon curd over it, spreading evenly out to the sides. Place the other cake layer on top, and repeat with the remaining lemon curd. Dust with powdered sugar if desired, and serve.
Note: Lemon curd freezes very well. Simply store in an airtight glass container in the freezer, leaving enough room for expansion at the top. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Red, White and Blue Salad
1 package (3 ounces) berry blue gelatin
2 cups boiling water, divided
2-1/2 cups cold water, divided
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (3 ounces) raspberry gelatin
1 cup fresh raspberries
Whipped topping and additional berries, optional
In a large bowl, dissolve berry blue gelatin in 1 cup boiling water; stir in 1 cup cold water. Add blueberries. Pour into a 3-qt. serving bowl. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Add the cream and sugar; cook and stir over low heat until gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. cool to room temperature. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Spoon over the blue layer. Refrigerate until firm. In a large bowl, dissolve raspberry gelatin in remaining hot water; stir in remaining cold water. Add raspberries. Spoon over cream layer. Chill until set. Garnish with whipped topping and additional berries if desired. Yield: 14-16 servings. -taste of home
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
• 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup natural applesauce
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
• 4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese (recommended: Neufchatel)
• 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. The cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator.
Gingersnap Cookies with orange-ginger filling
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , room temperature
• 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese
• 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter , room temperature
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. grated orange zest
• 1 tsp. orange juice
• 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar , plus more as needed
To make cookies: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla, and beat at medium-high until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture and mix until well combined. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat. Arrange about 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Using the bottom of a glass that has been lightly greased, then dipped in sugar, flatten dough into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven and immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
To make filling: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix until smooth, adding more powdered sugar as needed (filling should have consistency of very thick frosting). With a small spatula, frost bottoms of half the cookies (about 1 teaspoon filling each); top with remaining cookies (so bottom sides are together) to make sandwich cookies.