Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake This strawberry pistachio cake is simply phenomenal.  I absolutely love the simple, rustic look, with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  It doesn’t just look great though, this cake tastes divine!  The delicate pistachio flavor combined with fresh strawberries and crunchy pistachios will make anyone’s mouth water.  Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

I had a package of pistachio pudding in the pantry begging to be used.  I was planning on making these salted pistachio pudding cookies, but when I saw that strawberries were buy one get one, it was decided for me.  I can’t resist a good sale and I didn’t want to risk the strawberries going bad.  That would have been a shame, so the cookies will have to wait until next time!  I started with the recipe for my delicious pistachio loaf, added strawberries and baked it in two 9-inch rounds. Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Now, my pistachio loaf is really good…we’re talking REALLY good.  It is always a crowd-pleaser and I often am asked for the recipe.  Everyone loves it, but the fresh strawberries really brought it to the next level.  I was drooling just smelling this cake bake and then I took the first bite, full of tender and moist strawberries.  I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing like it was the fourth of July.Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

The cake rose a bit more than I had expected, so my strawberries got a little enveloped by the cake.  If you plan to make this lovely cake, I recommend only gently placing the strawberries on top.  You could also try baking it for ten minutes or so, quickly adding the strawberries, and continuing to bake.  You could even leave the halved strawberries out completely and just sprinkle the cake with more chopped pistachios.Rustic Strawberry Pistachio CakeRustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. box instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 7 strawberries, sliced in half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together cake and pudding mixes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended.
  3. Fold in nuts and chopped strawberries.
  4. Pour batter into cake pans. It will be thick and you may need to spread it with a spatula. Gently place halved strawberries on top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/06/13/strawberry-pistachio-cake/

 

Strawberries and Cream Blondies

Strawberries and Cream BlondiesYesterday was not my day.  The first line of this post would have read something cheesy like, “Welcome spring into your home with a pan of delicious strawberries and cream blondies!”  But wouldn’t you know that as I was wrapping the top of my pan in plastic wrap, it slipped from my fingers and I managed to catch it against the cabinet doors with my knees.  It probably would have looked better if I had let it hit the floor.  The gorgeous cheesecake and strawberry swirl was all mushed against the plastic wrap, and as you can imagine, that doesn’t lend to taking beautiful photographs.  I made the best of it by scraping  the smushed mess off the plastic wrap with a butter knife and licking it clean.  It was delicious!  I used some fresh whipped cream to disguise the messiness and who knows, maybe it was my day, afterall!  Anyway…

Strawberries and Cream BlondiesStrawberries and Cream Blondies

Welcome spring into your home with a pan of delicious strawberries and cream blondies!  Seriously, you had better hurry because spring is almost here!  I can tell by the puddles I’ve been jumping over as I walk to my car in the morning.  This morning, the water was actually deeper than the toe of my rain boot.  Spring is all about fun colors, dresses, and fresh fruity flavors.  Last week I even changed all of the scented candles and plugins from my warm winter vanilla scent to a lively citrus – Folks, I am ready!Strawberries and Cream Blondies

This dessert begins as a pan pf strawberry blondies made from a cake mix – simple and delicious.  Throw in in a light cream cheese layer…now we’re talking.  Add a fresh strawberry jam swirl and violà – we have reached perfection!  To be honest, I did not know how it was going to turn out.  I kind of made it up as I went along, adding some of this and that to adjust the batter to be the consistency I thought it should be.  My swirls weren’t the prettiest thing before I put it in the oven, and I was nervous that it would do something weird as it cooked and end up just looking really gross.  It looked great, you know, prior to the aforementioned dropping incident.  I actually think they still look pretty darn tasty with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh strawberry on top.  They taste even better than they look!

Strawberries and Cream Blondies

The blondie layer is rich and has the texture of a dense cake or a cakey brownie.  The addition of 1/4 cup of homemade strawberry jam to the batter really transformed it to a more natural strawberry taste, as opposed to the strawberry flavoring taste that the cake mix has naturally; it added some lovely color as well.  There isn’t much I can say about the cheesecake layer; it was divine, as all cheesecake is.  The fresh strawberry jam swirled with the cheesecake layer was absolutely heavenly!  All in all, perfect strawberries and cream blondies!  Why yes, I will have a second piece.Strawberries and Cream Blondies

Strawberries and Cream Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 9x9 pan

Ingredients

    Strawberry Jam:
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Cheesecake Layer:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Strawberry Blondies:
  • 1 package strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup of prepared strawberry jam
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream or milk

Instructions

    Prepare the Strawberry Jam:
  1. Puree half of the strawberries using a blender or food processor. Add pureed strawberries and remaining sliced strawberries to a large frying pan. Add 2 Tbsp sugar and lemon juice. If you choose not to puree the strawberries, you should add a couple Tbsp water.
  2. Heat on medium heat, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until it reaches your desired thickness. You can add the remaining sugar if desired, some berries are sweeter than others, so adjust according to your taste.
  3. Let cool completely.
  4. Prepare the Cheesecake Layer:
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Set aside.
  6. Prepare Strawberry Blondies:
  7. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/4 cup of strawberry jam and continue to mix. Add up to 3 tbsp of heavy cream/milk if needed to make the mixture less thick (so it will be spreadable).
  8. Spread batter into a greased 9x9-inch pan.
  9. Spread the cream cheese mixture over top of batter, and spoon the the strawberry jam on top of it. Run a knife through the cream cheese and jam to create a swirl pattern. Try to avoid getting the knife in the blondie batter.
  10. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center come out clean.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/04/15/strawberries-and-cream-blondies/


Chocolate Strawberry S’mores

Strawberry Chocolate SmoresLast week I made chocolate graham crackers and strawberry marshmallows; it was only natural that they came together as s’mores.  It’s February and 20°F outside, so yeah, too cold to start a bonfire in Wisconsin.  I ‘d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind, but I settled for the broiler.  This was my first time making s’mores in the oven and let me tell you, it was easy peasy.  It was less messy to make than over a fire, but there’s really no way to eat a s’more without getting marshmallows all over your fingers (or your hair – what a pain!).  I decided not to, but you could add a piece of chocolate, or spread nutella /peanut butter on the graham cracker or add your own twist to it.Strawberry Chocolate Smores

The heart graham crackers didn’t break apart in the middle as perfectly as they look, I had to use a knife to help.  The squares did with no problem though.Strawberry Chocolate Smores

 Just let your broiler preheat on high.  Then place the bottom graham cracker on a baking sheet and top it with a marshmallow.  Broil it for 1-2 minutes, remove the pan, and let it cool a bit.  Place the top graham cracker on and you have yourself a s’more!

Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes

Strawberry Surprise CupcakesStrawberry Surprise cupcakes.  What’s the surprise, you ask?  I baked a fresh strawberry inside!  Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes

I actually only baked half of them with a strawberry because I wasn’t sure how it would work, so the rest were just vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.  It was a success though; the strawberry cooked to a soft, yummy surprise, and didn’t seem to affect tStrawberry Surprise Cupcakes  Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes he way the cupcake baked.  The cupcakes themselves weren’t mind-blowing; they tasted pretty standard vanilla-ish, and were light and fluffy like a box mix would be.  They were a just tad dry for my taste…See, I like my cake super moist and dense…I should have added a package of vanilla pudding to the dry ingredients – oh well!  The buttercream was amazing.  You could really taste that it was made with fresh strawberries, as opposed to using jam or jelly.Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes: (Adapted from iamjulieb.com)

  • 2 1/2 cups  flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt or salt substitute, i used no salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ~24 strawberries with the tops cut off
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil and vanilla extract.
  4. In a third , larger mixing bowl,  beat the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy (~3 mins).
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  6. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until blended.
  7. Fill cupcake wells two-thirds full.  If you want to bake strawberries in them, fill the well about 1/3 full, place a small strawberry inside, and then continue filling them to 2/3 full.
  8.  Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove the cupcakes and cool on a wire rack.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

Notes:  Do not overfill, a couple of mine flattened out over the top because they were too full, but the rest domed very nicely!

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-5 Tbsp strawberry puree
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and 3 Tbsp strawberry puree.  Taste for flavor, and add more as necessary; I used ~4 1/2 Tbsp total.  Depending on the amount of puree you use, you may need to add powdered sugar to maintain the right consistency.
  4. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes

Homemade Strawberry Marshmallows

Strawberry Marshmallows  I don’t love store-bought marshmallows.  They’re too sweet and spongy, and taste too artificial for me. Yes, they have their use for rice krispies treats and s’mores, but that’s as far as my concern for them goes.  You can understand my confusion then, when I made peppermint marshmallows this past Christmas and fell in love.  It’s a whole different ballgame.  The texture and taste is so much different, and I actually want to eat these by the handful.  These strawberry marshmallows are just as good and PERFECT for Valentine’s Day.  I made the most adorable Strawberry Chocolate S’mores with them!Strawberry Marshmallows

It’s not as hard as it might seem to make them, it just takes a little patience, and if you don’t have a stand mixer, some soapy water to clean the base of your hand mixer.Strawberry Marshmallows

Strawberry Marshmallows (adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • Butter for greasing
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
  • 12-15 drops red food color
  1. Generously grease bottom and sides of 9×9 baking dish with butter; dust with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar.  In bowl of stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water to soften; set aside.
  2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Heat to boiling; cook without stirring 30-45 minutes to 240°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable; remove from heat.  If this is going very slowly, you can increase heat to medium-low.
  3. Slowly pour syrup into softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Increase speed to high; beat 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume. Add strawberry extract and food coloring; you can adjust flavor and color to your taste.  Beat on high speed 1 minute.  Pour into baking dish, patting lightly with wet hands.  Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Dust cutting board with about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar.  Place remaining powdered sugar in small bowl.  To remove marshmallow mixture, loosen sides from dish and gently lift in one piece onto cutting board.  Using sharp knife greased with butter, cut into squares of desired size (1 inch by 1 inch works well).  Dust bottom and sides of each marshmallow by dipping into bowl of powdered sugar.  Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.

Notes: Don’t worry if your sugar mixture looks yellow as it boils, it will turn bright white when you start to beat it.  I am very impatient, and the heating steps were taking longer than I felt they should have, so I actually had my heat at 3-4/10 to speed it up, and it was fine.  For the heart marshmallows you see above, I sliced a piece in half to reduce the thickness, then pressed down with a buttered cookie cutter.  I tried this with a smaller flower shaped cookie cutter that didn’t work as well – I think because the shape was not as simple as the heart.

Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies TreatsWhen I was buying marshmallows for the Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats I made last week, a bag of strawberry marshmallows caught my eye.  I immediately thought of the post for strawberry shortcake rice krispies I had seen a couple weeks ago and I knew I had to put my own twist on it!  Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

I was hoping to find dried strawberries, but the closest my go-to grocery store had was strawberry flavored dried cranberries.  I thought I was settling, but they worked marvelously. The slight tartness of the dried cranberries cut the sweetness of the marshmallows in the most delicious way.  The marshmallows have a mild strawberry taste, but you could add 1/2-1 tsp of strawberry extract to enhance it!  Overall, these were a big success!Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies TreatsStrawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bag of strawberry marshmallows
  • 6 cupscrisped rice cereal
  • 1 heaping cup of cubed angel food cake
  • 1/3 cup strawberry flavored dried cranberries
  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir continuously until melted.  Remove from heat.
  2. Add the cereal and stir to evenly coat.  Add the angel food cake and dried cranberries and fold until distributed throughout.
  3. Use buttered hands or a piece of waxed paper to press the mixture into a 13×9 baking dish.  Let it cool completely before cutting and serving.Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats